With the quarter-finals of the Women’s Champions League set to begin next week, the top teams left in the competition are ready to fight for the most prestigious trophy in the game.
Ranking favourites to go all the way in any competition can be difficult, but it’s a particularly tough job with the calibre of side left in the 2022/23 edition.
Olympique Lyonnais are the defending champions, are seeing off Barcelona in the 2022 final, and both fancy their chances of going all the way once more. Here’s 90min’s favourites to scoop up the trophy when it’s all said and done.
It’s harsh to call AS Roma the serial underdogs, but it would be a huge surprise if they won the Champions League given that it’s their debut season in the competition.
Historically, Italian teams have not done well in UEFA competitions, with Hellas Verona being the only team from the country to make it to the semi-finals of the UEFA Women’s Cup (the UWCL’s predecessor) back in 200708.
This season, Roma have impressed with their attacking style of play under Alessandro Spugna, and are top of the Serie A table with an eight-point lead.
They’re set to face their biggest test of the season in Barcelona, and it’s difficult to imagine that they can pull off an upset against last season’s beaten finalists.
Arsenal haven’t been the most consistent side this season, with Jonas Eidevall’s team going through some major ups and downs throughout the year.
In recent years, Arsenal, alongside other English clubs, haven’t been able to get over the hurdle of the knockout round, and the Gunners have fallen short in the quarter-finals the last three seasons they’ve been in the UWCL.
The team has also had to adjust to playing without Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema, who are both out with long-term injuries.
Their recent 3-1 win over Chelsea in the Conti Cup should give them some confidence heading into their tie against Bayern Munich.
Chelsea have a lot to prove this season after disappointingly crashing out of the group stages last season.
Emma Hayes’ side are doing well in the league, leading the Women’s Super League by two points with a game in hand, and they managed to top their UWCL group with five wins, and a 1-1 draw against Real Madrid.
The pain of the final in 2021, in which they conceded four goals within 36 minutes, is still surely a sore subject in the Chelsea dressing room, and they’ll want to right that wrong as soon as possible.
It has been a season of almosts for Paris Saint-Germain this season. They are just shy of top of the Division 1 Feminine table, one point behind Olympique Lyonnais. They missed out on top of their UWCL group, their losses to Chelsea putting them in second place. They even lost 1-0 to Lyon in the Trophee des Championnes at the beginning of the season.
PSG have especially struggled with scoring this season, leading to unnecessarily dropped points, and will have to create a high volume of chances and be more decisive in front of goal this season if they want a spot in the semi-finals.
Similar to Arsenal, Bayern Munich have had some high points this season, but they’ve also struggled against sides that they are more than capable of beating.
One thing that can’t be questioned about this Bayern team is their mental strength, which was best shown when they claimed a 3-1 victory over Barcelona in this year’s group stages, ending the Spanish club’s 16-match winning streak.
VfL Wolfsburg can never be counted out of the Women’s Champions League, and this year, they’ve been especially dominant in all competitions.
It’s a team stacked in every area of the pitch, with several of their players impressing last summer for Germany during the Euros, making it to the final in Wembley. All eyes will particularily be on Lena Oberdorf, who has the ability to break up opposition play and progress her team forward with great speed and skill.
Wolfsburg last won the Women’s Champions League in 2014, and fans are confident that they can go back to winning Europe’s greatest competition.
Olympique Lyonnais are Women’s Champions League royalty, there is no doubt about that. The team has won eight CL titles, which included a record five successive titles from 2016 to 2020.
Last year, they won their eighth title against a Barcelona team that were flying high, turning them over 3-1 in the final. Some competitive words were exchanged ahead of the much-anticipated match, with Ada Hegerberg saying: “There was women’s football before Barcelona, ??and it was played here for years.”
They haven’t been at their best this season, but just when the doubts start to creep in about this team, it seems like they always rise from the ashes and prove their rightful spot on top.
Barcelona are coming into the knock-out rounds with revenge on their minds after the loss in the final last season.
They may not have Alexia Putellas at their disposal, but they’ve fared well without her. The Catalans have won every single game they’ve played this season, bar one (Bayern Munich in the UWCL group stages), scored 137 goals, and have only conceded 11.
On current form, it would be foolish to look past Barcelona as they are clearly hungry to reach heights that have yet to be achieved in women’s football.