What to look out for in the UEFA Women's Champions League quarter-final second legs
Thursday, March 23, 2023
We pick out the key storylines from the ties.
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The UEFA Women's Champions League quarter-finals are decided on Wednesday and Thursday with all four ties standing at 1-0. We preview the action.
Women's Champions League knockout bracket
Wednesday 29 March
Barcelona vs Roma (18:45, first leg 1-0)
Arsenal vs Bayern München (21:00, first leg 0-1)
Thursday 30 March
Wolfsburg vs Paris Saint-Germain (18:45, first leg 1-0)
Chelsea vs Lyon (21:00, first leg 1-0)
Semi-finals (22/23 & 29/30 April)
1: Paris / Wolfsburg vs Bayern / Arsenal
2: Lyon / Chelsea vs Roma / Barcelona
Final (3 June, Eindhoven)
Winners semi-final 2 vs Winners semi-final 1 (16:00)
All times CET
Roma's Camp Nou dream
Barcelona have an intimidating record in any case, but their four UEFA Women's Champions League home games at the Camp Nou, all against seasoned opposition, have been particularly spectacular. Last season they won their quarter-final second leg 5-2 against Real Madrid, then defeated Wolfsburg 5-1 to open their semi. Then in the 2022/23 group stage Barcelona beat Bayern 3-0 and Rosengård 6-0, their aggregate of the four wins 19-3, with a total attendance of 258,888, including crowds in excess of 91,000 against Madrid and Wolfsburg.
So not the ideal location for Roma to be travelling, already having to overturn a 1-0 deficit to keep their debut campaign going. But after Salma Paralluelo gave the Blaugrana the lead at Stadio Olimpico, Roma – who had never played there before – gave Barcelona more than a test to the delight of most the Italian women's record 39,454 fans present. Former Barça stalwart Vicky Losada, now at Roma, could make her Camp Nou bow having missed out while at her old club due to a positive COVID-19 test.
Arsenal and Bayern finely balanced
Bayern edged a 1-0 win against Arsenal thanks to Lea Schüller's header, although the Gunners had two shots cleared off the line and the goalscorer later limped off. A one-goal lead over a London club is not necessarily a good omen for Bayern, having beaten Chelsea 2-1 in the 2020/21 semis only to lose 4-1 in the return, but under Alexander Straus this season they seem a greater European force than in the past, epitomised by their 3-1 group defeat of Barcelona.
Arsenal have lost in five of the six knockout ties they have played against German clubs, most recently last season's quarter-final against Wolfsburg, but on the five occasions they have gone into home second legs trailing in this competition they have progressed twice. The continued absence of Vivianne Miedema and Beth Mead is not ideal but their performance after Ajax signing Victoria Pelova came off the bench in the first leg, allowing Katie McCabe to switch from the right to her favoured left, was a formula that left Bayern clinging on to their lead.
Wolfsburg hold edge
Wolfsburg's tie with Paris Saint-Germain was perhaps the most anticipated of the four ties but the first leg was more tense then thrilling. A Dominique Janssen penalty gave Wolfsburg the edge, after Paris defender Élisa de Almeida was dismissed, oddly keeping up the run of away wins in this pairing after both legs of their 2014/15 semi-final went the way of the visitors.
Paris actually came through that tie, their 2-0 win in Germany meaning they could afford to then lose 2-1 at home, the first time Wolfsburg had ever been knocked out having been champions in their opening two entries. In fact, the only previous time Paris lost a first leg at home in this competition, they went on to win the tie: against Lyon in the 2020/21 quarter-finals. Then again, Wolfsburg have never gone out in Europe after winning the first leg of a knockout tie. Something has to give.
Lyon reign in peril
Before hosting Chelsea, Lyon had been at home in 18 European first legs, drawing the inaugural three then winning the next 15, and not being eliminated in any such tie since the 2008/09 semis against Duisburg, before OL had even made the first of their ten finals. But a Guro Reiten goal was enough for Chelsea to come away from OL Stadium with a 1-0 advantage to take to Stamford Bridge on Thursday.
So Lyon, who have played more European women's matches than any other club, now face an unfamiliar hurdle to overcome if they are to avoid only a second elimination in 14 quarter-finals. However, defender Vanessa Gilles warned: "Whether we're playing Chelsea or a league game, we're not going to change our style of play. We know what we do well; we're going to impose ourselves, and we know that whoever we play, there'll be room to create chances."
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.