Olympique Lyonnais, 1. FFC and ASD CF Bardolino Verona are all on top of their domestic leagues at the winter break with only one defeat between them.
UEFA Women's Cup semi-finalists 1. FFC Frankfurt, Olympique Lyonnais and ASD CF Bardolino Verona all go into Christmas on top of their domestic leagues - while deposed holders Arsenal LFC remain faultless in England.
Lyon only won Division 1 Féminine for the first time last season and look on course to defend their French crown. Four days after eliminating Arsenal in the quarter-finals to continue their superb UEFA Women's Cup debut, they defeated Toulouse FC 10-0 with Sandrine Bretigny scoring five goals and Elodie Thomis a hat-trick. They then won 5-0 at FCF Henin Beaumont and although Juvisy FCF ended the champions' perfect start with a 0-0 draw, Lyon won 3-0 at ASJ Soyaux on Sunday to maintain a seven-point lead over Montpellier HSC.
Up against Lyon in the two-legged semi-finals on 29/30 March and 5/6 April are Umeå IK, the Swedish champions who return to action in spring. They have already booked their 2008/09 UEFA Women's Cup campaign, as have Norwegian champions Røa IL, Iceland's Valur Reykjavík, FC Honka Espoo of Finland, and Russian title-winners Zvezda-2005 Perm.
Umeå's fellow two-time winners Frankfurt are top in their bid to defend the Frauen Bundesliga crown. They beat 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam to reach the German Cup semi-finals at the weekend but suffered a setback on Wednesday in their postponed trip to VfL Wolfsburg. Mirka Mohs put the home side ahead in the 44th minute but within seconds Steffi Jones, postponing her retirement to play in this game, equalised with what proved the final goal of her career as the match ended 1-1. "The players were spent," said Frankfurt general manager Siegfried Dietrich. "When they have recharged their batteries, they will not only play successful but also attractive football again."
The champions are now five points clear of FCR 2001 Duisburg but the second-placed side have two games in hand, which they will use before their trip to Frankfurt on 24 February. Their European opponents Bardolino lead Torres Terra Sarda by three points at the Serie A winter break thanks to a 3-0 defeat of Milan ACF when Valentina Boni, Martino Mencaccini and Alessia Tuttino were on target.
While Arsenal will not be involved in the semi-finals, they look in good shape to return to Europe next season as they have won all eight of their FA Women's Premier League fixtures. Among their recent results was a 2-0 win at Everton LFC, who entered the UEFA Women's Cup themselves as English runners-up and were previously unbeaten, and a 1-0 victory at Bristol Academy WFC secured by a late Karen Carney goal. Bristol remain top but Arsenal are now only five points behind with seven games in hand due to postponements during the FIFA Women's World Cup. Arsenal and Everton will also meet in the League Cup final in the new year after victories in last-four ties at the weekend.