Europe's major summer leagues are breaking up for UEFA Women's EURO 2013 and UEFA.com looks at how things are shaping up with exciting title races in Sweden, England and Norway.
Article top media content
Europe's major summer leagues are breaking up or concluding in time for UEFA Women's EURO 2013 and UEFA.com looks at how things are shaping up in the nations taking part in the finals in Sweden.
In the case of the summer leagues (Sweden, England, Norway, Iceland and Finland), teams are chasing places in the 2014/15 UEFA Women's Champions League with next season's contenders having been decided in their 2012 campaigns.
Last season's title went to a final-day decider when Tyresö FF won 1-0 at FC Malmö to deny the previous champions and take their first crown; they are the top two again halfway through the 2013 campaign. They were matched on Wednesday and drew 2-2 in Malmo, the home side falling behind to two Marta goals before Anja Mittag replied in kind either side of the break.
Tyresö therefore remain three points ahead of Malmö, the leaders aided by 12 goals from Christen Press and nine by Marta. Not out of the running are Linköpings FC, two points behind Malmö in third and Press's former club Göteborg FC are one further back, aided by an impressive return of ten goals from English forward Jodie Taylor.
Arsenal LFC won the first two summer FA Women's Super Leagues but they have plenty to do to take their tenth English title in a row. In their first two games they lost 4-0 at home to Liverpool LFC and were held 1-1 at Lincoln City LFC, though have won both fixtures since. With two matches in hand they are eight points adrift of the top two, Liverpool and Bristol Academy WFC, whose only loss was to Arsenal. Birmingham City LFC are one place behind the Gunners in sixth, nine points behind the leaders.
A young contender for England's finals squad, Everton LFC striker Toni Duggan, is top scorer on five goals, one ahead of – among others – Swedish pair Louise Fors of Liverpool and Chelsea LFC's Sofia Jakobsson. Matches resume on 4 August with Liverpool at home to Arsenal.
There is still a full programme of fixtures to go at the weekend, but the league is shaping up as a two-horse race between champions Lillestrøm SK and last season's runners-up Stabæk FK, who are two points ahead thanks in no small part to 11-goal leading scorer Elise Thorsnes, with both sides yet to lose. Røa IL, title holders four times between 2007 and 2011, are back in sixth, yet to recover from losing 4-1 at home to Stabæk in their season opener. Kolbotn IL are the closest challengers to the top pair, six points adrift of second.
PK-35 Vantaa have won the title three years running but the side they succeeded as champions in 2011, Åland United, are leading the way. A 3-0 win at lowly NiceFutis on Wednesday ensured they go into the summer break unbeaten, and they are currently a point ahead of PK-35 with a game in hand. Finnish international Tina Saario, who Åland signed from HJK Helsinki in the close season, has 12 goals in as many games.
Games in Iceland continue into July, but Stjarnan – unseated as champions by Thór/KA in 2012 – are sitting pretty with six perfect wins, scoring 23 goals and conceding just one. That was in a 2-1 victory at Thór/KA, who are ten points adrift already. Breidablik were keeping pace but lost 3-1 at FH Hafnarfjördur last Wednesday to fall three points behind, though still two in front of ÍBV Vestmannaeyjar, who they meet on Friday. Stjarnan go to ÍBV and Breidablik either side of UEFA Women's EURO 2013 and two away wins could put them in sight of the title.
Having switched, like their men's league, to a winter season, Russia's 2012/13 campaign ended on Saturday with FK Zorkiy Krasnogorsk winning their first title in only their second top-flight season, ending five points clear of FC Rossiyanka, champions for the previous two years. Both sides will again represent Russia in Europe in 2013/14.
In another league that was completed at the weekend, Brøndby IF made it three titles in a row in a superb season in which they won 23 and drew one of their 24 games. That sole draw was against Fortuna Hjørring, who were runners-up for the third year running, seven points behind – only two of those not dropped against Brøndby. Both will once again be Denmark's UEFA Women's Champions League entrants.
The league ended in early May with FC Barcelona winning a title decider at Athletic Club. On Sunday they could complete a double having won through to the Copa del la Reina final, the competition played from the last eight onward after the league was completed.
Having knocked out Rayo Vallecano de Madrid 2-0 on aggregate, both goals coming in second-leg extra time, Barcelona repeated the trick with a 5-1 overall success against Club Atlético de Madrid, who had eliminated Athletic. Facing Barcelona on Sunday morning will be CD Alcaine, seventh in the league, but victorious against CEF San Gabriel and – on away goals – Levante UD.
Completed leagues involving UEFA Women's EURO nations
Germany: 1st VfL Wolfsburg, 2nd 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam
France: 1st Olympique Lyonnais, 2nd Paris Saint-Germain FC
Italy: 1st ASD Torres CF, 2nd UPC Tavagnacco
BeNe League: 1st FC Twente, 2nd Standard Femina de Liège