Women's Champions League quarter-final preview

Can Wolfsburg, FFC Frankfurt, Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain set up all-German and French semi-finals? Brescia, Rosengård, Slavia Praha and Barcelona have other ideas.

Paris take on Barcelona
Paris take on Barcelona ©Abbas Zahidi

Quarter-finals (23 & 30 March)
Wolfsburg (GER) v Brescia (ITA)
Rosengård (SWE) v FFC Frankfurt (GER, holders)
Lyon (FRA) v Slavia Praha (CZE)
Barcelona (ESP) v Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)

Semi-finals (23/24 April & 30 April/1 May)
1
Lyon or Slavia v Barcelona or Paris
2
Wolfsburg or Brescia v Rosengård or Frankfurt

Final (26 May, Stadio Città del Tricolore, Reggio Emilia)
Winner Semi-final 2 v Winner Semi-final 1

Brescia are in their first quarter-final
Brescia are in their first quarter-final©Jacopo Beccalossi

Previews:
Wolfsburg v Brescia

This is Wolfsburg's fourth quarter-final in as many seasons and the 2013 and 2014 winners are hoping that Brescia will go the same way as Rossiyanka, Barcelona and Rosengård in previous years. It has been a bit of a mixed season for Wolfsburg but Sunday's 3-1 defeat of FFC Frankfurt, with two goals by Caroline Graham Hansen, took them into the Frauen Bundesliga's top two, following hot on the heels of last month's 1-1 draw with leaders Bayern München courtesy of Tessa Wullaert's late equaliser.

Brescia are making their quarter-final debut but can take heart from their 12-game unbeaten Serie A run which has taken them two points ahead of Mozzanica at the summit. Winter signing Paige Williams has four goals in eight league matches since arriving from Everton.

Player to watch: Caroline Graham Hansen (Wolfsburg) – having missed the start of the season through injury, the 21-year-old Norwegian is now proving the Wolves' player for the big occasion.

Frankfurt have a new coach after Colin Bell's departure
Frankfurt have a new coach after Colin Bell's departure©Sportsfile

Rosengård v Frankfurt
Unlike the other seven contenders, Swedish champions Rosengård are in close-season mode (and indeed assured of a 2016/17 berth come what may). With new recruits Erica Ekelund, Olivia Olofsson, Gaëlle Enganamouit, Sofia Lundgren, Lieke Martens, Ella Masar, Erin McLeod and Katrin Schmidt replacing the departed Josée Bélanger, Malin Gunnarsson, Sofia Hagman, Rebecka Holm, Kathrin Längert, Nathalie Persson, Line Røddik and Kirsten van de Ven, Rosengård have played two competitive games in 2016, beating Kristianstad 3-0 in the Swedish Cup last 16 courtesy of a Marta hat-trick, and on Thursday overcoming Linköping 2-1 to lift the Swedish Super Cup.

Frankfurt had looked in good form in 2016 before their Sunday loss at Wolfsburg, which turned on the sending-off of goalkeeper Desirée Schumann. Since the round of 16, Matt Ross has replaced UEFA Women's Champions League-winning coach Colin Bell, and the Australian mused: "Of course Marta, who can decide a game on her own, stands out but we would be ill-advised to only focus on her."

Player to watch: Mandy Islacker (Frankfurt) – The scorer of last season's late final winner has taken on a more substantial role up front for Frankfurt this term following Célia Šašić's retirement.

Slavia are travelling to Lyon
Slavia are travelling to Lyon©Pavel Jiřík

Lyon v Slavia Praha
Another meeting between a club with a perfect quarter-final record – Lyon with six out of six – and a side at this stage for the first time in Slavia. Another first is the French champions staging the opening leg at the new Stade de Lyon, having put on many fine European displays in front of big crowds at the old Stade de Gerland. Lyon are in their usual ominous form, having scored 60 goals without reply in their eight outings in 2016, Paris the only team to escape with a 0-0 draw. To further boost morale, France striker Eugénie Le Sommer agreed a new deal to 2019 on Tuesday.

While anything other than winning the trophy would be a disappointment for Lyon, getting to the quarter-finals is a huge success for Slavia, emulating the feat of Sparta Praha in 2005/06. Newly-promoted Kristýna Čiperová, who only turned 17 on Saturday, hit a hat-trick in the recent 6-0 thrashing of Bohemians Praha that resumed Slavia's campaign after the winter break, but Lyon present a formidable challenge

Player to watch: Ada Hegerberg (Lyon) – scored twice in each of Lyon's four European fixtures so far and tallying 35 competitive club goals this season.

Paris hope to win a UEFA Champions League double
Paris hope to win a UEFA Champions League double©Anthony Massardi/Moustic Prod

Barcelona v Paris Saint-Germain
Two of the three clubs aiming for a men's and women's UEFA Champions League double come face to face, yet while Barcelona are favourites to retain the male title, they are outsiders in this tie. In their first campaign as a fully-professional squad they trail Athletic Club in an exciting Spanish championship race but proved their European ability by knocking out Twente, who had previously eliminated Bayern.

Last year's runners-up Paris have signed Kenza Dali and Rosana to enhance an already formidable squad. Their only loss this term was 5-0 at Lyon in September; in the home return last month Paris held them 0-0.

Player to watch: Anja Mittag (Paris) – the all-time competition top scorer is one away from reaching 50 European goals, though she has not struck for Paris in 2016.

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