Trends at the apex of club football are examined in the UEFA Women’s Champions League technical report.
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The new UEFA Women’s Champions League technical report on the 2019/20 season is now available to view.Read the technical report
Corinne Diacre and Jorge Vilda, the national team coaches of France and Spain respectively, were on site at the eight-team final tournament staged in Bilbao and San Sebastián in late August. Backed by long-distance observations by current or former national team coaches Brent Hills, Monika Staab and Jarmo Matikainen, they highlighted trends of great potential value to coaches engaged in the further development of the women’s game.
Over the years, one of the bywords in technical reports has been to avoid continual comparisons with the men’s game. But the 2019/20 campaign confirmed that the top women’s team can hold their ground, in the sense that many of the trends are similar.
Intense high pressing, for instance. At the final tournament, practically all the teams were prepared to hold high lines and commit players to high collective pressing – with Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and the champions Olympique Lyonnais outstanding. As the observers emphasised, this creates a need to work at development levels on equipping outfield players and goalkeepers with the skills required to play out from high-pressure scenarios.
The goalkeeper’s role in building from the back is among the issues addressed. But the report also comments that keepers “were not seriously tested” during a tournament where they were required to deal with an average of 3.6 on-target goal attempts per game. Excluding Wolfsburg’s thumping quarter-final victory over Glasgow City, it took almost 10 attempts to create a goal – a statistic that generated debate among the observers about training-ground work on finishing skills.
This topic was interconnected with other salient statistics that 39% of goals originated in set plays (even though there were no penalties) or that 79% of the open-play goals were the results of deliveries from wide areas.
The season also set benchmarks for athletic qualities. In the final, for example, Lyon midfielder Sara Bjork Gunnarsdóttir covered 12.27km in the 90 minutes – a tally which definitely bears comparison with distances in the men’s game – with her right-wing team-mate Delphine Cascarino producing a sprint at 31.45km/h while covering back during the semi-final against Paris.
All this, supported by graphics and video links, is now available to view at: www.uefatechnicalreports.com.