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Women's Champions League preview: HB Køge vs Arsenal

HB Køge, after as tough start in Group C, welcome an Arsenal side flying high in England.

Arsenal celebrate beating Hoffenheim on Matchday 2
Arsenal celebrate beating Hoffenheim on Matchday 2 Arsenal FC via Getty Images

HB Køge will aim to channel an impressive Matchday 2 showing against reigning champions Barcelona as they go in search of their first group stage points when they face Arsenal, who won this competition back in 2006/07.

• The Elitedivisionen outfit kept the current UEFA Women's Champions League holders at bay for 63 minutes – and could even have taken the lead themselves in the opening 30 seconds – before eventually succumbing to Fridolina Rolfö's strike and Jennifer Hermoso's penalty deep in added time. No side in the competition last season managed to prevent the Blaugranes from scoring in the opening hour of a match on their way to lifting the trophy in May.

• Meanwhile, Arsenal, the only side in this season's inaugural group stage to have competed in the first edition of the UEFA Women's Cup, are aiming for successive victories following a comprehensive showing on Matchday 2.

• Jonas Eidevall's Gunners eased to a 4-0 victory over European newcomers Hoffenheim thanks to Kim Little's 21st-minute penalty, Tobin Heath's strike just before the break – her first for the Gunners – Vivianne Miedema's close-range finish just after the interval and Leah Williamson's late header.

• Both clubs suffered heavy defeats at the hands of Group C rivals on Matchday 1, the Danish champions going down 5-0 to Hoffenheim and the Gunners losing 4-1 in Barcelona.

Ones to watch: HB Køge

Kyra Carusa
• The 25-year-old attacker almost gave her side a shock lead within the opening 30 seconds of the 2-0 Matchday 2 home loss against Barcelona, forcing an improvised save from Sandra Paños.

• The California-born striker joined the club in February 2020, having previously been on the books of French side Le Havre, and was named the side's skipper ahead of the 2021/22 season.

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

• In December 2020 Carusa was named the club'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 last term.

Kaylan Marckese
• The goalkeeper has made 14 saves across the two group stage fixtures so far, with only three custodians making more ahead of the third round of matches.

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

• The 23-year-old saved a Nanna Christiansen penalty in the 1-0 league victory against Brøndby on 30 October.

• The Florida-born keeper joined the Swans in February 2021, having previously been on the books of Icelandic outfit Selfoss and NWSL side Sky Blue in her native United States.

Maddie Pokorny
• The 24-year-old netted the only goal in the 1-0 Elitedivisionen success against Brøndby on 30 October.

• The forward has started all of her side's four UEFA Champions League outings this season to date, including qualifying.

• Pokorny ended last term's title-winning campaign with eight league goals, only trailing Kyra Carusa in the club's scoring charts.

• The American joined the Swans in the summer of 2020, following a spell on the books of National Women's Soccer League side Chicago Red Stars.

Ones to watch: Arsenal

Tobin Heath
• The 33-year-old capped a fine move to score her first Gunners goal in the Matchday 2 success against Hoffenheim.

• The forward joined the north London outfit in September following a season with Women's Super League rivals Manchester United.

• Heath has previous experience of plying her trade in Europe, having had two stints with Paris across a couple of seasons in 2013 and 2014.

• The American international has won successive FIFA Women's World Cups, scoring in the 2015 showpiece success against Japan before starting the final defeat of the Netherlands two years ago.

Beth Mead
• The 26-year-old is yet to open her UEFA Women's Champions League group stage account, having struck once in qualifying this term – in the 4-0 Round 1 semi-final victory against Okzhetpes on 18 August.

• The attacker scored the Gunners' equaliser in an eventual 2-1 defeat against Paris in the UEFA Women's Champions League quarter-finals in August 2020.

• Mead rounded off a productive September, scoring three league goals and setting up a further three, to be named the Women's Super League player of the month.

• On 23 October the England international became the first woman to score a hat-trick at Wembley, hitting three in the space of 14 minutes shortly after being introduced as a 63rd-minute substitute in the 4-0 victory against Northern Ireland.

Katie McCabe
• The 26-year-old set up her side's fourth goal against Hoffenheim, her pinpoint corner nodded in at the near post by Williamson.

• She capped a memorable October by winning both the Women's Super League player and goal of the month prizes.

• The winger, who has been with the Gunners since December 2015 after signing from Shelbourne in her native Ireland, was converted to a full-back under former Arsenal boss Joe Montemurro.

• The Republic of Ireland international was appointed as captain of her national side back in August 2017, aged just 21, and won her 50th cap for her country earlier this year.

Key stats

• HB Køge are one of six sides still seeking their first group goal and one of five to have lost their first two matches.

• Arsenal have won nine of their last 11 UEFA Women's Champions League matches (W9 L2).

• The London club are unbeaten in their last three UEFA Women's Champions League matches against Danish clubs (W2 D1).

• Arsenal have not failed to score in their last 11 UEFA Women's Champions League matches, hitting 39 goals.

• The last time Arsenal drew a UEFA Women's Champions League match was in November 2011 against Rayo Vallecano (1-1); this is their 31st match since then.

• Arsenal have kept a clean sheet in seven of their last 11 UEFA Women's Champions League matches.