What to look out for in the UEFA Women's Champions League quarter-finals
Monday, February 20, 2023
We pick out the key storylines from the ties.
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The UEFA Women's Champions League quarter-finals involve four past champions, one European debutant, and plenty of storylines. We pick out the key potential highlights from the ties as the road to Eindhoven reaches the knockout phase.
Women's Champions League knockout bracket
Tuesday 21 March
Bayern München vs Arsenal (18:45)
Roma vs Barcelona (21:00)
Wednesday 22 March
Lyon vs Chelsea (18:45)
Paris Saint-Germain vs Wolfsburg (21:00)
Wednesday 29 March
Barcelona vs Roma (18:45)
Arsenal vs Bayern München (21:00)
Thursday 30 March
Wolfsburg vs Paris Saint-Germain (18:45)
Chelsea vs Lyon (21:00)
Semi-finals (22/23 & 29/30 April)
1: Paris / Wolfsburg vs Bayern / Arsenal
2: Lyon / Chelsea vs Roma / Barcelona
Final (3 June, Eindhoven)
Winner semi-final 2 vs Winner semi-final 1 (16:00)
All times CET
Arsenal seek new formula
Arsenal are in a record 15th quarter-final, but it is a full decade since they reached the last four. Topping a group containing Lyon and earning seeding for this round has given the Gunners genuine hope of ending that wait, though after kicking off with a stunning 5-1 win away to the holders, the subsequent loss of both Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema to injury has blunted their attack. In an attempt to soften the blow, the club swooped in January for the likes of Kathrine Kühl and Miedema's Netherlands colleague Victoria Pelova (who faced Arsenal with Ajax in round 2).
Bayern inflicted a rare defeat on Barcelona in the group stage and can take further heart from Arsenal's record against German clubs: five defeats in six knockout ties, most recently last season's quarter-final against Wolfsburg. Then again, Bayern have not had their own way against English sides either, suffering tense reverses to Chelsea in the 2020/21 semis and 2017/18 round of 32.
Roma's Olympian challenge
Seven of the eight quarter-finalists have been here at least three times before, but for Roma this is new territory. The European debutants have already caught the eye, however, beating experienced campaigners like Glasgow City, Paris FC, both Sparta and Slavia Praha, and St. Pölten, with Wolfsburg also held in the group stage.
So far, so good, though Barcelona will surely present a whole different challenge. Finalists three times in four years, the Catalan giants had to cope with the absence of Alexia Putellas during the group stage but still racked up an intimidating 29 goals in their six games.
The first leg will be a maiden outing for Roma's women's side at the Stadio Olimpico ahead of a Camp Nou return. Hoping to realise a lifelong dream of playing at the latter venue is Roma's January signing from Manchester City, Vicky Losada, who won all there was to win in three spells with Barça but missed the chance to lead them out on the team's Camp Nou bow against Espanyol in January 2021 due to a positive COVID-19 test. Roma's Andressa Alves also represented Barcelona between 2016 and 2019.
Paris Saint-Germain and Wolfsburg have been two of the iron horses of this competition over the last decade, only consistently eclipsed by their mutual nemeses Lyon and, more recently, Barcelona.
Lyon's dominance is the main reason why Paris and Wolfsburg have just two titles between them, the German club lifting the trophy in their debut campaigns of 2012/13 and 2013/14. However, at least one of these teams has reached the semis every season but one since, a run that will continue this year.
Paris missed out on quarter-final seeding after bookending their group campaign with defeats by Chelsea, a side Wolfsburg eliminated at that stage last season. The two-time winners have looked formidable, meanwhile, spearheaded by the goals of fit-again Ewa Pajor – competition top scorer so far with seven.
Nevertheless, Paris can take hope from their 2014/15 semi-final elimination of Wolfsburg, while Ramona Bachmann, their quarter-final hero against Bayern last term, will doubtless be keen to repeat the trick against one of her former clubs.
Chelsea take aim at perfect Lyon
Arsenal's tally of 15 quarter-finals is one more than Lyon's, a very rare competition benchmark not set by the eight-time champions. Even so, Lyon's record in their past 13 last-eight appearances is pretty good, namely winning all but one of those ties.
Chelsea boast a perfect pedigree in quarter-finals, on the other hand, but from a vastly more modest three attempts. And while Lyon triumphed for the eighth time in their ten finals last season, the Blues have made it that far just once – in 2021, when they lost to Barcelona, themselves beaten in the decider by OL in 2019 and 2022.
The French side also defeated Chelsea in a tight 2018/19 semi-final, and though Emma Hayes' charges, spearheaded by Sam Kerr, have proved themselves against Paris this season, Lyon have already won in London this term, bouncing back from their 5-1 loss to Arsenal by winning the away return.
The holders have also gradually welcomed back absent stars such as Sara Däbritz, Dzsenifer Marozsán, Ellie Carpenter and Amel Majri, with Ada Hegerberg and Catarina Macario potentially to follow in time to face the Blues. As for Chelsea, their squad includes Kadeisha Buchanan, a multiple Women's Champions League winner with Lyon before her summer switch to London.
Where is the 2023 UEFA Women's Champions League final being played?
Eindhoven's PSV Stadium will stage the 2023 UEFA Women's Champions League final at 16:00 CET on Saturday 3 June.
First opened in 1910, the 35,000-capacity PSV Stadium has a long history of hosting major matches, including the UEFA Cup finals of 1978 (second leg) and 2006, the second leg of the 1988 UEFA Super Cup and three games at UEFA EURO 2000.
On 6 April 2018, 30,238 fans at the home of PSV Eindhoven watched the Netherlands beat Northern Ireland on the way to the FIFA Women's World Cup, a record crowd for any UEFA-organised women's qualifier. On 1 June 2019, a then Dutch record women's football attendance of 30,640 saw the Netherlands face Australia in a friendly at the stadium.