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Vllaznia vs Real Madrid: Match facts, previous meetings, key players

All you need to know ahead of the UEFA Women's Champions League Group A opener.

Albanian champions Vllaznia, who have made history by reaching this stage of the UEFA Women's Champions League, will be aiming to spring a surprise in their landmark Group A opener against last season's quarter-finalists Real Madrid.

The Shkoder-based club, who secured their ninth successive league and cup double last term, are the first Albanian side to reach the last 16 of UEFA competition since KF Tirana 33 years ago in the men's European Cup.

Vllaznia vs Real Madrid: latest updates

Vllaznia sealed their place in this season's group stage by beating Slovakian champions Spartak Myjava 1-0 in their Round 1 final before another narrow victory against Ukrainian club Vorskla-Kharkiv-2 in Round 2, winning 3-2 on aggregate (1-1 a, 2-1 h).

Real Madrid, who finished third in the 2021/22 Spanish top flight, booked their return to the UEFA Women's Champions League group stage with a 5-1 aggregate Round 2 win against last season's Norwegian Toppserien runners-up Rosenborg (3-0 a, 2-1 h) after victories against Sturm Graz (6-0) and Manchester City (1-0) in Round 1.

Last season, Las Blancas became the first UEFA Women's Champions League debutants to reach the last eight since Manchester City in 2016/17, finishing second in Group B before going out to Primera División rivals Barcelona in a high-scoring quarter-final tie (1-3 h, 2-5 a).

Players to watch

Vllaznia's Megi Doci
Vllaznia's Megi Doci

Megi Doci

The attacker, who turns 26 on 14 October, played every minute of Vllaznia's three qualifiers ahead of this group campaign.

The forward scored the opening goal in the 1-1 first-leg draw at Vorskla-Kharkiv-2 in Round 2 on 21 September.

Her 66 league goals last season helped Vllaznia seal a ninth successive Albanian Women's National Championship.

Last season;s triumph was the 11th league title of Doci's career, having lifted the divisional trophy in back-to-back seasons with KS Ada Velipoje before joining Vllaznia in 2013.

Doci struck five goals in ten appearances in 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup qualifying, finishing as Albania's top scorer as they ended Group F in fourth place.

Captain Doci was one of four Albania players to play every minute of their ten matches in World Cup qualifying, along with Vllaznia team-mates Viona Rexhepi, Sara Maliqi and Ezmiralda Franja.

Caroline Weir

The 27-year-old moved to Real Madrid on a free transfer from Manchester City in July 2022.

The attacking midfielder hit her first league goal for her new club in a 3-0 win at Athletic Club on 2 October.

She struck four times in qualifying for this season's group stage – Madrid's joint-highest total along with Esther González.

Weir got the only goal to eliminate former side City in the Round 1 final in Madrid on 21 August, before scoring three across the two legs of the 5-3 aggregate defeat of Rosenborg in Round 2.

She won four major honours in as many seasons with City, scoring twice in the 3-1 FA Women's League Cup final victory against Chelsea in March.

Weir was part of the City side that reached the UEFA Women's Champions League quarter-finals in 2020/21, losing 4-2 on aggregate to eventual winners Barcelona.

The Scotland international scored a 90th-minute penalty in a 3-0 home Women's EURO 2022 qualifying win against Albania in October 2020.

Key facts

Vllaznia are unbeaten in their three European matches this season (W2 D1).

The Albanian side have not lost in 13 competitive games in their own stadium.

Real Madrid have won each of their four European matches this season.

The Spanish side kept four clean sheets in their six group stage matches last season.

Madrid have scored in their last eight UEFA Women's Champions League matches.

Las Blancas have conceded only one goal in their previous four European matches this season.