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Women's Champions League preview: HB Køge vs Barcelona

HB Køge face another tough test as the holders come to Denmark.

HB Køge faced a difficult start at Hoffenheim
HB Køge faced a difficult start at Hoffenheim Getty Images

HB Køge host their first ever match in the UEFA Women's Champions League proper against the might of last season's winners Barcelona.

• The Danish champions suffered the biggest defeat of Matchday 1, going down 5-0 at the hands of fellow European newcomers Hoffenheim.

• Meanwhile, the Blaugranes swept Arsenal aside in a dazzling display, with Asisat Oshoala in impressive form, scoring one and setting up two more as the Primera División side ran out 4-1 victors. Mariona Caldentey and Alexia Putellas set the hosts on their way, Oshoala adding a third just after the break. Lieke Martens' clinical finish restored Barça's three-goal advantage after Arsenal had pulled one back, Putellas having a penalty saved in added time.

• Jonatan Giraldez Costas's Barcelona had more goal attempts (37) than any other side on Matchday 1, whilst HB Køge faced 29 themselves in that heavy loss to Hoffenheim.

Ones to watch: HB Køge

Kyra Carusa
• The 25-year-old attacker joined in February 2020 from French side Le Havre, and was named captain ahead of this season.

• The California-born striker began her collegiate career with Stanford University, before a spell with the Georgetown University team.

• The former United States youth international made her Republic of Ireland debut in 2020, having qualified for representation via her grandparents.

• In December 2020 she was named HB Køge's first Women's Player of the Year and was selected – along with team-mate Kelly Fitzgerald – in the Elitedivisionen Team of the Season for 2020/21, having topped the league's scoring charts.

Kelly Fitzgerald
• The 26-year-old has already surpassed her league goalscoring tally from last term, when she chipped in with two goals from her defensive midfield role.

• She signed for HB Køge in August 2020, following a spell with NWSL side Utah Royals, having previously represented Danish side Stabæk.

• The California-born midfielder skippered the University of California team, the California Golden Bears, where she played from 2013 to 2017.

Kaylan Marckese
• The goalkeeper made nine saves on Matchday 1, fewer only than Arsenal's Manuela Zinsberger (ten, against Barcelona).

• The 23-year-old joined the Swans in February 2021, having previously been on the books of Icelandic outfit Selfoss and NWSL side Sky Blue in her native America.

• The Florida-born custodian combined playing for the University of Florida's team with studying for a degree in sports management, graduating in December 2018.

Ones to watch: Barcelona

Mariona Caldentey
• The 25-year-old scored the opener and also provided an assist in the 4-1 Matchday 1 success against the Gunners, being named Player of the Match.

• She has found the net in three of her last four UEFA Women's Champions League starts, converting a penalty in successive appearances in March.

• The forward, in her eighth season with Barcelona after joining from first club Collerense in July 2014, bagged a career-best 13 league goals last season en route to her third Primera División title.

• The Spanish international was the only Barça player to feature in all 34 league matches last term, racking up the most starts and minutes played for the club in the 2020/21 Primera División.

Asisat Oshoala
• The 27-year-old, who celebrated her birthday on Saturday, was directly involved in three of Barcelona's four goals against former club Arsenal.

• The forward was one two players to supply two assists on Matchday 1, along with Wolfsburg's Lena Oberdorf.

• The Nigerian international joined the Blaugranes in January 2019 from Chinese outfit Dailan, having previously had spells with Women's Super League sides Liverpool (2015–16) and Arsenal (2016–17), where she lifted the 2016 FA Women's Cup.

• Her first UEFA Women's Champions League goal came in Barcelona's 4-1 final loss to Lyon in May 2019, and she has struck four times in her last seven outings in this competition.

Alexia Putellas
• The Barcelona skipper scored and had a penalty saved in the Matchday 1 victory against Arsenal, and has now found the net in her last two outings in the competition, including May's 4-0 win against Chelsea in last season's final.

• The 27-year-old was one of seven Blaugranes players to feature in all nine matches of their triumphant UEFA Women's Champions League run last season, with only María León playing more minutes in the competition for the club in 2020/21.

• In August she scooped both the UEFA Women's Player of the Year award – the first Spaniard to receive the honour – and was named the Midfielder of the Season for 2020/21.

• The Spanish international, who won her fifth Primera División title last term, extended her stay at the club until 2024 on 8 September.

Key stats

• HB Køge's only previous home match in this competition is their second-round encounter against Slavia Praha in September 2021, which they won 2-0 courtesy of goals from Cecilie Fløe Nielsen and Cornelia Kramer.

• HB Køge have won their last seven competitive home games (F18 A2).

• The Danish side have lost only one of their last 23 home matches in all competitions (W21 D1).

• HB Køge have not failed to score in their last 23 home matches in all competitions.

• Barcelona have won two and drawn two of their previous four UEFA Women's Champions League matches against Danish clubs.

• The holders have won 20 of their last 24 UEFA Women's Champions League matches (D1 L3).

• Barcelona have lost only one of their last eight UEFA Women's Champions League matches outside of Spain (W6 D1).

• Barcelona have failed to score in just one of their last 25 UEFA Women's Champions League matches.

• Barcelona have conceded more than one goal in just two of their last 24 UEFA Women's Champions League matches.

• Three or more goals have been scored in nine of Barcelona's last ten UEFA Women's Champions League matches.