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UEFA Women's Champions League group stage preview: Breidablik vs Paris

Breidablik, the first Icelandic side to reach a major group stage in UEFA men’s or women’s club football, take on the two-time runners-up in this tournament.

Breidablik line up in qualfiying
Breidablik line up in qualfiying

Breidablik, the first Icelandic side to reach a major group stage in UEFA men’s or women’s club football, take on the two-time runners-up in this tournament.

The Kópavogur-based outfit were quarter-finalists in the UEFA Women’s Cup in 2006/07, the previous guise of this competition, succumbing to eventual winners Arsenal.

The 2020 Úrvalsdeild kvenna title-winners, a triumph that extended their record of 18 Icelandic top-flight successes, made it through to Round 2 of qualifying courtesy of big victories against KÍ Klaksvík of the Faroe Islands (7-0) and Lithuania’s Gintra (8-1), before they made history by reaching the inaugural group stage of the UEFA Women’s Champions League thanks to a 4-1 aggregate triumph against Croatian champions Osijek (1-1 a, 3-0 h).

Last season’s semi-finalists Paris, who were eliminated by eventual champions Barcelona, secured their maiden Division 1 Féminine crown in 2020/21 to end Lyon’s 14-year grip on the French top-flight title after finishing a point clear of their nearest rivals.

Ones to watch - Breidablik

Agla María Albertsdóttir

The 22-year-old was Breidablik’s top markswoman in the qualifying campaign, notching six strikes, including a hat-trick against Gintr.

She also showed her goalscoring prowess in in title-winning 2020 season, sharing the Icelandic top-flight golden boot with team-mate Sveindís Jane Jónsdóttir.

The midfielder is a product of the club’s youth set-up but did not make the breakthrough into the senior side before a move to Valur in 2015. She joined Stjarnan a year later, before returning to her first club in 2018.

The Icelandic international represented her country at the 2017 Women’s EURO in the Netherlands.

Tiffany McCarty

The 30-year-old joined Breidablik in April 2021, having been on the books of fellow Icelandic side Selfoss for the 2020 campaign.

She scored three goals in qualifying, netting in both Round 1 appearances, including a double in the 8-1 win against Gintr.

The attacker also registered in Friday’s 4-0 Icelandic Cup final success against Thróttur Reykjavík.

The Maryland-born forward has represented the United States at various youth level.

Selma Sól Magnúsdóttir

The 23-year-old was also among the goals ahead of this group stage, notching a trio of strikes including in the 1-1 qualifying Round 2 first leg away draw against Osijek.

The Icelandic international also found the net in preliminary rounds for this competition in both 2016/17 and 2019/20.

The midfielder made her Breidablik debut back in 2013 and has been part of the 2018 and 2020 title-winning campaigns with the club, spending the successful 2015 season out on loan at Fylkir.

Ones to watch - Paris

New Women’s Champions League format explained
New Women’s Champions League format explained

Marie-Antoinette Katoto

The 22-year-old, who joined the Les Rouge-et-Bleu at the age of 12, has amassed over 80 league goals since becoming a regular in the side in 2017.

The Paris youth product topped the Division 1 Féminine scoring charts in both 2018/19 and 2019/20, but her tally of 21 strikes last season was a goal short of the league’s top markswoman, Bordeaux’s Khadija Shaw.

The forward also finished as runner-up to Ada Hegerberg in the division’s golden boot race in 2017/18.

The French international scored her first Les Bleues treble last month in the 10-0 World Cup qualifying success against Greece.

Sara Däbritz

The 26-year-old was one of just two Paris players to start all seven of their matches in this competition last season, along with Paulina Dudek.

The midfielder, in her third season with Les Parisiennes following a move from Bayern in 2019, secured the second league title of her career last term to go alongside a Frauen-Bundesliga winners’ medal from 2015/16.

Last season’s championship will have gone some way to make up for her debut campaign with the French club being disrupted by a serious knee injury.

The German international added the 2013 Women’s EURO to her collection of titles amassed with her country at both Under-17 and Under-20 levels.

Kadidiatou Diani

The 26-year-old equalled her career-best tally of 13 league goals last term as Paris won their maiden title.

Last season was a double celebration for her, as she was named Division 1 Féminine Player of the Year by the French footballers’ union.

The forward has been with Les Parisiennes since 2017, when she joined from first club Juvisy.

The French international, who has represented her country at two FIFA World Cups in addition to the 2017 Women’s EURO, was a world champion in 2012 at Under-17 level and scooped the continental prize with the Under-19s a year later.

Key stats

Top five goals of the 2020/21 UEFA Women's Champions League
Top five goals of the 2020/21 UEFA Women's Champions League

• Breidablik have lost just two of their last 12 UEFA Women’s Champions League matches (inc. qualifying) – both of those defeats actually came against Paris (3-1 and 4-0 in the 2019/20 round of 16)

• Breidablik have scored a total of 19 goals in their previous UEFA Women’s Champions League matches this season

• Breidablik have won the Icelandic championship a record 18 times

• Breidablik notably reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Women’s Champions League/UEFA Women’s Cup in 2006/07 where they lost to the eventual champions Arsenal

• Breidablik are the first team from Iceland to reach a major UEFA club competition home-and-away group stage (men or women)

• Last season, Paris Saint-Germain reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Women’s Champions League for the fifth time

• In the quarter-finals of the UEFA Women’s Champions League last season, Paris Saint-Germain ended the reign of dominance of fellow French club Lyon who had won each of the previous five editions of the tournament

• Paris Saint-Germain were crowned champions of France’s Division 1 Féminine for the first time in 2020/21, ending Lyon’s run of 14 consecutive titles

Group stage: all you need to know