The 2022/23 UEFA Women’s Champions League group stage continues on Wednesday and Thursday with the second set of matches.

We preview the best of the action to come.

Where to watch: DAZN/YouTube

Paris seek turnaround

Paris Saint-Germain did not just cruise through the inaugural group stage last season but took a luxury cabin, winning all six games and scoring 25 unanswered goals. But that unblemished record disappeared immediately on Matchday 1 last Thursday as Chelsea came to the French capital and clinched an efficient 1-0 victory.

Now Paris travel to Real Madrid knowing a loss, coupled with a Chelsea win against Vllaznia, would leave last season’s semi-finalists six points adrift of the top two; not irrecoverable but far from ideal. Madrid were among Paris’s group victims last season, the French side winning 2-0 away and 4-0 at home, though three of those six goals were scored by Marie-Antoinette Katoto, now sidelined after injury at UEFA Women’s EURO 2022.

Also missing against Chelsea was Lieke Martens, and Paris will be keen to have their star signing back from illness in Madrid, as she has been forming a formidable attack alongside Kadidiatou Diani, Ramona Bachmann and Grace Geyoro. Madrid were made to work for their opening 2-0 win at Vllaznia in Albania but are looking a tough outfit this season, as Manchester City already discovered in round 1, and will hope to have Caroline Weir back to continue to impress along with Esther González.

Highlights: Paris 0-1 Chelsea

Turin reunion

French teams suffering losses at home to London clubs was a Matchday 1 theme, and it was played in fortissimo last Wednesday as Lyon – shorn of the injured Ada Hegerberg, Catarina Macario and Griedge Mbock Bathy, among others – began their title defence with a 5-1 defeat by Arsenal. That was comfortably OL’s heaviest European reverse and pretty much unprecedented ever since FC Lyon became Olympique Lyonnais in 2004.

Still, a trip to Juventus Stadium might prove a tonic since it was there in May that Lyon dethroned Barcelona to claim the club’s eighth Champions League title. They also knocked out Juventus in the quarter-finals, though the Italian side began with a 2-1 comeback win in Turin before the tie was turned in France.

“We have senior players in the treatment room for many weeks but we have a squad available,” says Lyon coach Sonia Bompastor. “We won’t find any new players in the next few days. You have to mentally regain confidence and go with ambition to play against Juventus and put on a performance there to get back in position in the standings.”

As for their opponents, they won their opener 2-0 at Zürich with both goals coming in the last 20 minutes. Having had their last two European campaigns ended by Lyon, it would send a significant message if Juve could keep the holders behind them in the group, especially as they face a double-header with Arsenal once fixtures resume in late November.

Highlights: Lyon 1-5 Arsenal

Can Rosengård stop Barça?

Barcelona signalled their intent to reclaim the trophy they lost to Lyon last season when they downed Benfica 9-0 in their opening match. Alexia Putellas may be injured and Jenni Hermoso gone, but two-goal Asisat Oshoala was at her unplayable best and Geyse came off the bench for her European debut and quickly grabbed a double of her own.

Next opponents Rosengård, the sole contenders from the competition’s one-time Nordic heartland, opened the scoring for the whole group stage through Loreta Kullashi, only to suffer a 2-1 loss at Bayern. However, they showed they will be no pushovers for the two section favourites and will hope to assert their pedigree in Malmö, having reached the last eight on seven occasions in their various guises (even if that includes a 2016/17 elimination by Barcelona).

Highlights: Bayern 2-1 Rosengård

When are the rest of the Women’s Champions League group stage games?

Matchday 3: 23/24 November
Matchday 4: 7/8 December
Matchday 5: 15/16 December
Matchday 6: 21/22 December

Briefing notes

• A coincidence of scheduling means all eight games on Matchday 1 bring together teams that won their openers and teams that lost. Perhaps the sides facing the most daunting trips are Vllaznia and Zürich, who take on Chelsea and Arsenal respectively, both on a high after their successes in France.

• Benfica pulled off perhaps the two biggest surprise results of the 2021/22 group stage, holding Bayern 0-0 and then winning 2-1 at Häcken. The Eagles welcome the German side again on Thursday determined to reassert themselves after their humbling at Barcelona.

Where is the 2023 UEFA Women’s Champions League final being played?

Eindhoven’s PSV Stadium will stage the 2023 UEFA Women’s Champions League final on the weekend of 3/4 June.

First opened in 1910, the 35,000-capacity PSV Stadium has a long history of hosting major matches, including the UEFA Cup finals of 1978 (second leg) and 2006, the second leg of the 1988 UEFA Super Cup and three games at UEFA EURO 2000.

On 6 April 2018, 30,238 fans at the home of PSV Eindhoven watched the Netherlands beat Northern Ireland on the way to the FIFA Women’s World Cup, a record crowd for any UEFA-organised women’s qualifier. On 2 June 2019, a then Dutch record women’s football attendance of 30,640 saw the Netherlands face Australia in a friendly at the stadium.

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