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Winning form for knockout hopefuls

The UEFA Women's Champions League round of 32 begins on Wednesday so looks at the domestic form of some of the leading contenders with winning starts for all three German clubs and a close race in Sweden.

Inka Grings scored a hat-trick for Duisburg at the weekend
Inka Grings scored a hat-trick for Duisburg at the weekend ©Getty Images

The UEFA Women's Champions League round of 32 kicks off on Wednesday, with the holders of Europe's strongest championships making their bows. As part of the new competition, replacing the UEFA Women's Cup, leading nation were granted two berths and looks at the contenders' current domestic fortunes in the six leagues with remaining multiple entries – Italy's two contenders ASD CF Bardolino Verona and ASD Torres Calcio are yet to start their campaigns. For Wednesday's full fixture list click here.

Three Frauen-Bundesliga sides are in action this week, 2008/09 UEFA Women's Cup winners FCR 2001 Duisburg, German champions 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam and newcomers FC Bayern München, who came through the qualifying round like all the domestic runners-up at this stage. The German season is two weeks old and all three have a perfect six points, Duisburg beating both Hamburger SV and Tennis Borussia Berlin 4-1, Inka Grings claiming a hat-trick in the latter fixture. Potsdam lead following a 3-0 win at 1. FC Saarbrücken and 5-0 defeat of SC Freiburg, while Bayern – who face Turbine next weekend – overcame SG Essen-Schönebeck 3-0 and USV Jena 2-1.

With five games to go in the 22-round summer Damallsvenskan season, European contenders Umeå IK and Linköpings FC are locked in a title race, just as last year. At the weekend, Umeå were held 1-1 by AIK Solna, while Linköpings FC claimed a seventh straight victory at Kristianstads DFF and now only trail the champions on goal difference.

While some teams in the FA Women's Premier League are several games into their seasons, Arsenal LFC and Everton LFC began their programme on Sunday following the return of their England players after UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™. Arsenal, aiming for a seventh successive title, won 1-0 at Birmingham City LFC with an early Kim Little goal while Everton defeated Nottingham Forest LFC 6-0.

The new league season began on Sunday and champions Olympique Lyonnais sailed to a 6-0 win against AS Montigny-le-Bretonneux with a Shirley Cruz hat-trick. However, Montpellier Hérault SC were held 1-1 at ASJ Soyaux, who ended last season with a ten-game winless streak.

Both European contenders maintained unbeaten starts on Sunday. Fortuna Hjørring defeated Skovlunde IF 3-0 to remain four points clear of Skovbakken IK while Brøndby are six adrift with two games in hand following a 7-1 win against SønderjyskE. The only points the top two have dropped was when they drew 2-2 in Hjorring on 13 September.

Reigning champions Zvezda-2005 are six points clear of last season's runners-up WFC Rossiyanka with four games left. Their league campaigns resume next week but on 15 September Rossiyanka beat Zvezda 3-1 to retain the Russian Cup.

Titles decided
Valur Reykjavík have retained the Icelandic crown ahead of Breidablik, who will also enter the UEFA Women's Champions League next season as Iceland have moved ahead of Norway into the top eight in the association rankings for the 2010/11 edition. Meanwhile. Åland United have clinched their first Finnish championship with three games to spare, eleven points ahead of this season's European entrants FC Honka Espoo.