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UEFA Women's Champions League: What to look out for on Thursday

Debutants HB Køge welcome holders Barcelona for their first home group game: we preview all the action in Groups C and D.

HB Køge are hosting holders Barcelona
HB Køge are hosting holders Barcelona UEFA via Getty Images

A week after the UEFA Women's Champions League group stage launched, the second set of games continues on Thursday.

UEFA.com picks out some of the key action, all broadcast live across the world by DAZN/YouTube.

All kick-off times CET

Group C: HB Køge vs Barcelona (18:45), Arsenal vs Hoffenheim (21:00)
Group D
: Bayern München vs Häcken (18:45), Lyon vs Benfica (21:00)

What to look out for?

HB Køge in the big time
Little over a year ago, HB Køge had never even played in the top division of Danish women's football. But off the back of American investment, HB Køge not only gained promotion in 2020, but last season ended a two-decade duopoly of the Danish title involving Brøndby and Fortuna Hjørring. A five-year plan to earn Champions League football, announced when the cash investment came through in January 2020, has been achieved in less than two, a group place secured when European regulars Sparta Praha were beaten home and away in round 2. However, HB Køge went in at the deep end last week with their 5-0 loss to Hoffenheim while Barcelona began their title defence by dismantling Arsenal 4-1.

Highlights: Barcelona 4-1 Arsenal
Highlights: Barcelona 4-1 Arsenal

Häcken reunited with Bayern
BK Häcken is a new name to the UEFA Women's Champions League but the club are not; as Göteborg FC they reached the quarter-finals in 2011/12 and 2012/13 and won their first Swedish title last year. After revealing financial problems, they were taken over by neighbouring men's club Häcken, keeping together a formidable squad spearheaded by Stina Blackstenius. They have mixed memories of a previous trip to Bayern in September 2019, when Rebecka Blomqvist (now of Wolfsburg) scored with nine minutes left to give the visitors a 1-0 win, although having lost the first leg of the round of 32 tie 2-1 at home, they were out on away goals. Bayern, meanwhile, field two key Swedish players in Hanna Glas and Sofia Jakobsson. Neither side had a happy opening week, with Häcken losing 3-0 to Lyon and Bayern held 0-0 at Benfica.

Watching brief

• The only one of the 16 group stage contenders who also played in the inaugural UEFA Women's Cup of 2001/02, Arsenal possess plenty of experience of German opposition. Now, European debutants Hoffenheim become the latest Frauen Bundesliga team to take on the Gunners, in what is a meeting of two clubs benefiting from the new group-stage entry system for third-place domestic finishers from the top six domestic leagues. Contrasting opening results make this both a crucial match for Arsenal and a huge opportunity for Hoffenheim.

• Lyon vs Benfica is not a new Champions League game: the men's clubs were in the same group in both 2010/11 and 2019/20. However, as the Benfica women's team only began playing in 2018, this is unsurprisingly their first encounter with the seven-time European champions. Despite an incredible record in their short existence, it will still be a major upset if Benfica can do when their men have failed to during their two visits to Lyon – and avoid defeat – but they have already raised eyebrows by holding Bayern.

Key dates

Group stage
Matchday 2: 13/14 October
Matchday 3: 9/10 November
Matchday 4: 17/18 November
Matchday 5: 8/9 December
Matchday 6: 15/16 December

Quarter-final & semi-final draw
20 December

Quarter-finals
First leg: 22/23 March
Second leg: 30/31 March

Semi-finals
First leg: 23/24 April
Second leg: 30 April/1 May

Final (Juventus Stadium, Turin)
Date tbc