On Thursday evening the matches for the penultimate round of the group stage of the Champions League were held. FC Barcelona played a great game at Emirates, beating Arsenal 4-0. The footballers from London will fight the German Hoffenheim for the promotion from group C. The favorites triumphed in group D - Bayern took down BK Hacken, and Olympique Lyon defeated Benfica Lisbon. Both winning teams advanced to the Quarter Finals of the Champions League.
HB Koge vs Hoffenheim
FC Barcelona hold all the cards in group C. The defenders of the championship title have already secured their promotion to the next phase of the UEFA Women's Champions League, they scored fifteen goals so far, conceding only one. Going into this game, behind the Catalans are Arsenal. Thursday's game of the Gunners carried a lot of prestige, hence the decision to play it at the famous Emirates. Hoffenheim, third in the ranking, has mathematical chances of promotion, but the Germans must win against Koge and count on the defeat of the team from London. If that happens, the promotion between the teams from England and Germany will be decided in the final match at the stadium in Hoffenheim. The visitors were the favorites to win on Thursday night, but Koge was not going to give up easily. Danish players allowed the opponents to play the game on their conditions, and they set themselves up to pose a threat after counter-attacks. In the eighth minute, after one of such counterattacks, a great intervention was recorded by the goalkeeper Hoffenheim, showing her reflexes on the goal line, which prevented the loss of a goal. Moments later the team from Germany lost the ball in the middle of the field, the ball was passed to Koge's captain. Kyra Carus did not waste a 100% opportunity and with a precise strike on the long post took her team into the lead. Losing the goal had a motivating effect on Gabor Gallai's side, who attacked the goal guarded by Kaylan Marckese with even greater enthusiasm. The visitors dominated the possession of the ball, it seemed that the equalizer was only a matter of time. In the 26th minute, Julie Brandt stormed into the Danish team's penalty area and was fouled. The referee had no doubts that in this situation Hoffenheim deserved a penalty. Nicole Billa took the ball and with a certain blow she led to a draw. Hoffenheim's best striker entered the list of shooters for the second time ten minutes later, hitting again from the eleventh meter of the pitch. The visitors came down to the locker rooms for the break with favorable result. In the second half, the Germans played sparingly, clearly satisfied with the modest lead. The Hoffenheim players controlled the course of events and managed to bring the victory to the final whistle. In view of the defeat of Arsenal in the clash with FC Barcelona, the match decisive for the promotion to the play-off phase will be a direct match between Hoffenheim and the team from London.
Arsenal vs Barcelona
The Catalans came to the British Isles in the strongest squad, but it turned out that the coach Jonatan Giraldez would have to cope without Patri Guijarro. Blaugrana's central midfielder tested positive for covid-19, which prevented her from appearing in that game. It was quite a surprise that Vivianne Miedema, Arsenal's best striker, was absent from the team. Both teams started the match with a slight weakness, but invariably the fans gathered in the stands of Emirates were in for a football festival. The first quarter of the game was fierce, FC Barcelona, as is their custom, stayed on the ball most of the time and tried to pierce the Arsenal formations with perpendicular passes. The Gunners team coped well with these attempts by the Catalans, and patiently waited for the opportunity to surprise their rivals from a counterattack. Manuela Zinsberger also performed well between the posts. The rematch was played under the dictation of the Spanish team, which managed to prove its advantage. Arsenal's central defender Jen Beattie played a large part in the goal for Blaugrana. Beattie passed too lightly to Steph Catley, and Aitana Bonmati took the ball close to the goal. The visitors' midfielder rushed to the goal and hit the long post, giving the uwcl champions a well-deserved lead. In less than seven minutes, the visitors delivered a second blow.
From the left wing, Fridolina Rolfo placed a precise cross on Jenni Hermoso's foot. The Blaugrana forward placed the ball in the goal, doubling the goal of the Catalans. Right before the break, Rolfo showed a great shot from outside the penalty area. Swedish player crashed from a distance, the ball rolled over the Zinsberger glove and fluttered in the net. In this half, no more goals were scored, the speeding Catalans at the Emirates stadium gave a little football lesson to the current leaders of the English FA WSL. The picture of the game in the second half did not change much, the fluency with which the champions of Spain operated the ball along the entire length and width of the field could be impressive. In the 70th minute it should be 4: 0 for visitors from the Iberian Peninsula, but Zinsberger showed off an excellent double parade. Five minutes later, the goalkeeper of The Gunners did not have much to say when the Hermoso hit. Footballers from the capital of England were not able to even score an honorary goal and for the second time had to take the loss against Catalan club.
BK Haken vs Bayern Munich
Last month, the fans following the games of the European championship from group D provided a lot of excitement. The current leaders of the French Division 1 have two points advantage over the Bavarians, BK Hacken still has a real chance of promotion, the condition for extending these hopes was a victory against Bayern. The Swedish soccer players made sure that there was no shortage of emotions at the stadium in Gothenburg. The fans gathered in the stands watched the match full of fighting, and the local people in the first installment did not stand out qualitatively from the higher-ranked rivals. The visitors from Munich could not break through the tight defense of BK Hacken for a long time, and in addition they let their rivals be surprised in the 36th minute. Denmark launched a swift counterattack, and the opportunity was finalized by the team's biggest star, Stina Blackstenius. It looked like the Home team, who did well in this match, could make quite a sensation, but the end of the first edition belonged to the German champions. Three minutes after Blackstenius scored, Viv Asseyi equalized, and in the last minute of this game, Jovan Damnjanović scored a 2-1 goal. The soccer players from the Bavarian capital were in good spirits for the break, but the ambitious attitude of the BK Hacken team heralded that this was not the end of emotions in this match.
It was like that, but only one team scored goals. The visitors in the second installment scored three more goals for the Danish champions. First, the doublet was shot by Damnjanović in the 54th minute, just over a quarter of an hour later Linda Dallmann took advantage of the mistake of one of BK Hacken's defenders, and Lineth Beerensteyn brought the last blow in the very end. Bayern Munich lived up to the expectations of its supporters and probably beat the Danish outsider 5: 1. BK Hacken did not manage to stop the German hegemon and the advancement of the team from the Bavarian capital to the next phase became a fact.
Benfica vs Olympique Lyonnais
At the Benfica campus, the local team took on one of the most successful teams in women's club football, Olympique Lyonnais. The French were the favorites to win in this match and such a state of affairs was quickly confirmed. They took the visiting lead at the first convenient opportunity. The first minute of the duel was beginning when Ada Hegerberg hit the local Benfica's net. The soccer players from the Portuguese capital did not even manage to organize their defensive ranks well, and they had to compensate for the losses. The French runners-up followed the blow and shortly thereafter led by the difference of two hits. Wendie Renard took advantage of a good cross from a corner, hitting her head and placing the ball in the home team's net.
The locals were not able to keep pace with the opponents, who felt very confident on the pitch of the Lisbon stadium. The confirmation of Lyon's good performance was goal number three by Griedge Mbock in the 40th minute of the rematch. Even before the whistle announcing the end of the first edition, Hegerberg hit 4-0 and it was clear that the visitors were probably going for a full set of points in this match. In the second half, the charges of the coach of Sonia Bompastor at times gave the initiative to the Portuguese champions. Nevertheless, Lyon scored the fifth goal after a two-shot from Signe Bruun and Melvine Malard. The players of the local club had to swallow the bitterness of defeat and acknowledge the superiority of Olympique Lyonnais. The French team maintained its position as the leader of group D and guaranteed itself promotion to the next stage of the competition.