As the championship holders defended their title in spectacular style in North America, England’s new champions made up for last season’s disappointment. Elsewhere, there is still plenty of excitement in store in Sweden and Spain while two of Germany’s top teams are struggling. FIFA.com brings you all of the weekend’s highlights from selected women’s leagues around the world.
USA: Kansas City crowned champions once more
Kansas City became the first team in the short history of the NWSL to defend their title, after defeating Seattle Reign 1-0 in a captivating final in Portland, Oregon. After some excellent build-up play from Heather O’Reilly and Lauren Holiday, Amy Rodriguez headed past star goalkeeper Hope Solo in the 78th minute in front of 13,264-strong Providence Park crowd – a record for a NWSL final. Kansas defeated Seattle 2-1 in the same fixture a year ago.
For Rodriguez, O’Reilly, Holiday and Becky Sauerbrunn, this triumph marked a historic double after victory with the US national team at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™. “I couldn’t have written the script better. It’s a dream come true,” 28-year-old Holiday said after her latest win, having already announced in July that this season would be her last in club football.
England: Chelsea refuse to let title slip away
Although a thrilling end to the Women’s Super League appeared to be on the cards at the start of the final round of matches, Chelsea steered themselves unflinchingly to their maiden championship title. The London club defended their position at the top of the table as a brace from Fran Kirby and a goal apiece from Gemma Davison and Ji So-Yun sealed a 4-0 win over Sunderland. The result left closest rivals Manchester City two points adrift despite their own 2-1 victory against Notts County.
Having already celebrated success in the Women’s FA Cup final three months ago, the Blues’ double also helped them put the ghosts of last season to rest. Defeat by Man City a year ago meant they lost out to Liverpool in the championship race in the final moments of the campaign. “We’re no longer just second-class citizens in women’s football anymore,” said proud Chelsea coach Emma Hayes. “Not only are women welcome at this club but we’re breeding champions here too.”
Top three: Chelsea (32), Manchester City (30), Arsenal (27)*
Germany: Disappointment for Potsdam and Wolfsburg
Six-time German champions Turbine Potsdam continued their stuttering start to the new season with a surprise 2-0 loss to Sand, having already begun long-time coach Bernd Schroder’s final campaign with two defeats in their first three matches. Cup winners Wolfsburg also dropped points with a 2-2 draw against Freiburg – and to make matters worse, the She-Wolves held a 2-0 lead until the first minute of stoppage time.
Meanwhile defending champions Bayern Munich and Champions League winners 1. FFC Frankfurt continued to set the pace in the Women’s Bundesliga, with both celebrating away wins against newly promoted sides. The Bavarians defeated Werder Bremen 2-0 while their Hessian rivals beat Cologne by the same scoreline. Neither team has yet dropped a point after four matches.
Top three: Bayern Munich, 1. FFC Frankfurt (both 12), SGS Essen (9)
* Sweden: Rosengard continue to provide excitement*
The Damallsvenskan looks set for a photo finish with just two rounds of matches remaining. Although surprise pacesetters Eskilstuna United returned to winning ways by defeating Mallbackens 2-0 after losing 1-0 to Pitea in their previous encounter, holders Rosengard emerged from their clash with former league titans Umea with a vital three points. A brace from 21-year-old Macedonia captain Natasa Andonova means they remain just a point behind the leaders.
As the old saying goes: “When two parties quarrel, a third rejoices,” and this may yet be the case for Linkopings, whose assured 3-0 win over Kristianstads keeps them within three points of Eskilstuna. As if that was not exciting enough, the southern Swedish side face the top two teams in their final two matches and could yet snatch the trophy if they win both games.
Top three: Eskilstuna United (46), Rosengard (45), Linkopings (43)*
* Spain: Title contest finely poised*
No fewer than four teams are currently battling it out in the race for championship glory in Spain. Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao lead the pack with three wins and one draw apiece, with Bilbao’s 1-0 win over previous frontrunners Transportes Alcaine sending out a clear message that they have what it takes to keep up with the top sides during this campaign.
Barça and Atleti in particular have every reason to be confident as they look ahead to their Champions League openers. “Our main aim is to reach the quarter-finals,” explained Barcelona midfielder Alexia Putellas ahead of their encounter with Kazakh side BIIK Kazygurt. Although the mood is a little more reserved in Madrid ahead of their first-ever tie in Europe’s most prestigious club competition, club president Lola Romero declared: “Nobody can beat us when it comes to anticipation levels.”