UEFA Women's Champions League quarter-finalists FCR 2001 Duisburg and 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam go into the German winter break level at the top but not all the last eight are having things their own way domestically.
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Germany's UEFA Women's Champions League quarter-finalists FCR 2001 Duisburg and 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam have gone into the Frauen-Bundesliga winter break level at the top but not all of the European last eight are having things their own way domestically.
Pair in form
Both reigning European champions Duisburg and German titleholders Potsdam had comfortable home wins on Sunday, leaving the unbeaten pair on 32 points from 12 games, eight ahead of 1. FFC Frankfurt, who have a match in hand. Potsdam are top on goal difference after a 5-1 defeat of 1. FC Saarbrücken, Anja Mittag and Fatmire Bajramaj both on target to take their respective season tallies to 13 and 11. However, FIFA Women's World Player of the Year nominee Inka Grings looks likely to end top scorer for the third year running, and the sixth time overall, as her two goals in the 4-0 win against Hamburger SV moved her on to 20, two of which came last week in a 7-0 defeat of FC Bayern München. The season resumes in February.
The German rivals could meet in the UEFA Women's Champions League semi-finals, though they do not have easy last-eight tasks on 10 and 17 March, Potsdam meeting Norwegian title-winners Røa IL and Duisburg up against Arsenal LFC. While Røa are preparing for their 2010 campaign, signing striker Kine Kvalsvik, Arsenal have been experiencing some rare defeats in England.
On 22 November the Gunners lost 2-1 at Sunderland WFC – their first away league defeat since November 2003 – and two weeks later went down by the same scoreline in the FA Women's Premier League Cup semi-finals at Everton LFC. However, they overcame Bristol Academy WFC 8-0 on Sunday with seven different scorers and moved up to second, seven points behind Sunderland but with as many games in hand. The main threat to Arsenal are former European contenders Everton, who have also dropped only three points.
Like Arsenal, the two French quarter-finalists are under pressure in their league. Olympique Lyonnais, champions for the last three years, suffered their first league loss since September 2006 when they were defeated 3-1 at FCF Hénin-Beaumont on 15 November, ending a 70-game unbeaten run. On Sunday they could have gone top when they welcomed ambitious Paris Saint-Germain FC but needed a last-minute Sandrine Brétigny equaliser to hold their visitors 1-1, leaving them a point behind the capital club. Montpellier Hérault SC are five points off the lead in fourth, having been beaten 3-1 at home by Lyon on 6 December, though did get a useful 2-0 win at FCF Nord Allier on Sunday.
Montpellier meet Swedish runners-up Umeå IK and their new coach Joakim Blomqvist in the quarter-finals in March while Lyon are up against ASD Torres Calcio, who are two points behind UPC Tavagnacco in Italy. Torres dropped those points in a 0-0 home draw with winless AC Chiasiellis on 28 November, but have since recovered to prevail 3-0 at ASD Fiammamonza and 4-0 against ACF Venezia 1984. They have an important test on Friday in their last game before the winter break as they visit champions ASD CF Bardolino Verona, who are a point behind Torres in third.