A familiar face takes on a new form on Thursday when the first UEFA Women's Champions League begins and the games can be followed live from the matchcentre on the uefa.com and UEFA Women's Champions League homepages.
The competition takes over from the UEFA Women's Cup which began in 2001/02. It starts with the qualifying phase which runs until Tuesday and where 28 teams will vie for seven places alongside the 25 clubs given a bye to the knockout Round of 32. Among those 28, playing in seven one-venue mini-tournaments of four teams, are the runners-up from the eight top-ranked nations, entering alongside league champions for the first time.
Two of those are in a single pool, Group 7, in which Everton LFC and Norwegian newcomers Team Strømmen FK take on Croatian hosts WFC Osijek and FC Levadia Tallinn for a knockout berth. Former semi-finalists Brøndby IF and Montpellier Hérault SC are also both involved while FC Bayern München make their bow in European women's competition and Linköpings FC represent Sweden for the first time. Turkey have first representatives in the shape of Trabzonspor.
The seven mini-tournament winners will progress to join the 25 other entrants, including final UEFA Women's Cup holders FCR 2001 Duisburg, in the knockout phase of the competition, with the draws for the Round of 32 and Round of 16 made at 12.00CET on 14 August. In another innovation, the final will be played as a one-off match two days before the men's UEFA Champions League final in the same city, with the 2009/10 decider scheduled for Thursday 20 May in Madrid. For a full season calendar and explanation of the format click here.
*Will be renamed Lillestrøm SK Kvinner on 1 January 2010.
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