Paris Saint-Germain have staked their claim as favourites for the UEFA Women's Champions League, while over in England and the USA, Chelsea and Portland Thorns both remain on song. Read about all this, plus some key action at both ends of the Frauen Bundesliga, in FIFA.com's round-up of the latest women's club news.
In the UEFA Women's Champions League, Paris Saint-Germain are increasingly shaping up as the team to beat. Having previously overcome Lyon in the round of 16 and cruised past Glasgow City in the quarters, the Parisiennes got the better of holders VfL Wolfsburg in the first leg of their semi-final tie. Chelsea, meanwhile, have now picked up three wins in as many games in the Women's Super League, serving clear notice of their title credentials. Over in the USA, Portland Thorns have also kept up their perfect start to the season.
*UEFA Women's Champions League: Frankfurters have a foot in Berlin *It is a case of contrasting fortunes for the two German representatives at the semi-final stage of the competition. Two-time defending champions Wolfsburg face an uphill struggle to reach the final, while 1.FFC Frankfurt can begin packing their bags for the short trip to Berlin, where they will be bidding to add to their sizeable silverware collection by lifting the trophy for the first time since 2008.
Wolfsburg succumbed 2-0 at home to Paris Saint-Germain and have their backs against the wall ahead of the return leg this coming Sunday. Goals from Sabrina Delannoy and Shirley Cruz Trana dented the Wolverines' hopes of making it to the showpiece for the third year on the bounce. However, as the saying goes, where there is life, there is hope, as Norwegian star Caroline Hansen noted after the first-leg encounter: "Even if they were the better team today, I'm still convinced we can turn it around in the return match. PSG are a good side, we knew as much beforehand, but if we perform to the best of our ability in Paris, we can still progress."
Frankfurt, on the other hand, are on the march. Brondby IF are their latest victims, having fallen to a chastening 7-0 drubbing in Germany, with Celia Sasic netting four times. The other goals came courtesy of Dzsenifer Marozsan and Simone Laudehr, as well as the unfortunate Rikke Sevecke, who put into her own net. The Danish side will be hoping to salvage some pride in this Saturday's second leg in Copenhagen.* *
*USA: Portland perched on top *Two-time champions USA were the first country to name their squad for the upcoming FIFA Women's World Cup™. However, before Jill Ellis's charges can launch their pursuit of another crown at the big event, there is the small matter of several rounds of action to play in the NWSL, whose season just recently kicked off. Goalkeeper Hope Solo, who will be one of the Stars and Stripes' leading ladies in Canada alongside the country's all-time top scorer, Abby Wambach, was unable to prevent Seattle Reign falling to a 3-2 loss to Chicago Red Stars this weekend. Having already chalked up a goal and assist apiece earlier in the game, Christen Press capped an outstanding performance by bagging a stoppage-time winner.
Another seasoned shot-stopper, German veteran Nadine Angerer, fared better. Her Portland Thorns side are sitting pretty at the top of the table after two wins on the bounce, the latest of which – a 1-0 victory over Western New York Flash – was secured through Allie Long's strike in front of a 13,148-strong partisan crowd in Portland. The Thorns have now gone seven games unbeaten at home.
After getting the season off to a flyer, Sky Blue FC had to settle for a share of the spoils second time round, being held 1-1 by Houston Dash. Katy Freels broke the deadlock a quarter of an hour in, only for Jessica McDonald to level the scores in the second half. Washington Spirit, meanwhile, will have been lifted by their first victory of the campaign, having put reigning champions Kansas City to the sword 3-1 at home.
Top three: Portland Thorns (6 points), Houston Dash, Sky Blue (both 4)
*Germany: Bayern Munich still within striking distance *The Frauen Bundesliga is nearing its conclusion and with two rounds left to go, Bayern Munich remain hot on Wolfsburg's heels. After the league leaders' 10-0 rout of Herforder SV last Wednesday, the Bavarians responded at the weekend with a 2-1 win over FF USV Jena to move back within a point of the top. Also in the chase are Frankfurt, who prepared for their European exploits with a 4-2 midweek victory away to SC Freiburg. A brace from U-20 world champion Lena Petermann ultimately counted for nothing, with the hosts overwhelmed by the firepower of Celia Sasic, Kerstin Garefrekes, Simone Laudehr and Veronica Boquete, all of whom got on the scoresheet for the visitors.
The battle for safety is proving every bit as thrilling as the title race. MSV Duisburg passed up the opportunity to overhaul FC Sand and climb out of the drop zone, only managing a 1-1 draw in the proverbial relegation six-pointer between the two strugglers. Having maintained their two-point advantage over Inka Grings' side, Sand will fancy their odds of staying in the top flight.
Top three: Wolfsburg (51 points), Bayern Munich (50), Frankfurt (49)
*England: Chelsea on the charge *Three matches played, three wins, nine points. The new Women's Super League season could not have got off to a better start for Chelsea, who edged past Liverpool on Sunday on the back of triumphs over Notts County (2-1) and Bristol Academy (4-0). A second-half effort from Eniola Aluko was enough for the Blues to claim a 1-0 win in their maiden home league fixture of the campaign. Fara Williams had a golden chance to equalise but fluffed her lines from the penalty spot, meaning the holders have already lost twice this term, following on from the 2-1 opening-day defeat by Sunderland.
Arsenal have jumped into second place thanks to a 1-0 victory away to Manchester City, their second win in five days. Attacker Chioma Grace Ubogagu's strike sealed the three points for the Gunners, who had beaten Bristol Academy 2-0 in midweek.
Top three: Chelsea (9 points), Arsenal (7), Sunderland (6)