Ten things you should know about the UEFA Women’s Champions League

Ten things you should know about the UEFA Women’s Champions League

08/09/2019 18:21

The UEFA Women’s Champions League returns to the Stadio Artemio Franchi in Florence on Thursday 12 September for the first leg of Fiorentina’s Round of 32 tie against Arsenal (19:00 CEST kick-off).

We’ve put together a list of ten key facts on the competition ahead of the big match.

1) The competition was launched in 2001 as the UEFA Women's Cup, before taking on its current name in 2008. Since 2016, the top two in the 12 top football associations in the UEFA rankings qualify directly for the Round of 32 stage (Juventus and Fiorentina in Italy this year).

2) The format is slightly different to the men’s version. The preliminary phase uses a group format: there are ten groups of four teams, with the winners of each group going through to the Round of 32 draw in Nyon. Here the teams are divided into two pots: there are 16 seeds and 16 unseeded teams. As Norwegian team Kvinner were knocked out in the group stage, Fiorentina went down as one of the seeded teams, but ended up drawing English champions Arsenal – by far the best side in point two. The ties will be played over two legs until the final, which will be a one-off game held at Viola Park in Vienna on 24 May 2020.

3) Reigning champions Lyon have won the last four editions of the UWCL. The French side have won the competition six times in total, more than any other team. Next in the ranking are Frankfurt (4), followed by Umea, Turbine Potsdam and Wolfsburg (2) and Arsenal and Duisburg (1).

4) Danish outfit Brondby hold the record for the most appearances in the knock-out stages of the competition, having appeared in the Round of 32 on 16 occasions. Lyon and Wolfsburg are the only other teams to have played at this stage in ever edition of the new format of the Women’s Champions League.

5) The 2019/20 edition will be the first time that teams from Albania and Kosovo have appeared in the UWCL.

6) The best-ever finish by an Italian team in the competition came in 2007/08, when Verona reached the semi-finals. They lost 4-2 and 3-0 against Frankfurt, who went on to win the competition that year.

7) Before this year, Fiorentina had always faced – and eliminated – Danish side Fortuna Hjorring in the Round of 32 stage. In the 2017/18 edition, a 2-1 win in Florence meant a 0-0 draw in Denmark was enough to see the Viola through, while last year Fiorentina won both legs 2-0 to ease past Fortuna.

8) Arsenal are in great form coming into the match, having won their last seven games in a row. The North London outfit won their first Women’s Super League match of the season 2-1 against West Ham on Sunday.

9) Fiorentina have never advanced further than the Round of 16 in the UWCL. The Viola were knocked out by Wolfsburg in the 2017/18 edition, losing 4-0 at the Franchi before succumbing after a spirited 3-3 draw in Germany. It was Chelsea who got the better of the Viola in the 2018/19 season, winning 1-0 in England before easing to a 6-0 win in Florence.

10) Janni Arnth is the only player in either squad to have played for both clubs. The Danish defender joined the Viola from Arsenal in the summer transfer window.

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