Euro Roundup: UWCL, Millwall and FA Cup

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UWCL Finalists

The finalists of the UWCL have been confirmed and it will be Lyon taking on Wolfsburg yet again. These two last met in 2016, when Lyon lifted the trophy in Italy.

Lyon had a tough task against Manchester City in the semifinal. In the away leg, Lyon were held scoreless, leaving things in some doubt. In the second leg, however, they called on a former City player to put her old team out. A great volley from Lucy Bronze in the 17th minute was enough to put Lyon through.

In the other semifinal, Wolfsburg faced Chelsea–for the third time in recent years. They entered the tie as favorites, but Chelsea gave them a shock by taking an early lead in the first leg when Fran Kirby crossed the ball in for Ji to put in. The tide turned pretty quickly, though, with Wolfsburg coming back though with 3 goals of their own. A 3-1 win in the first leg left them in good shape to close things out at home, which they did fairly easily, winning 2-0 to go through 5-1 on aggregate, though it did take them a while to get the first goal. Chelsea will be disappointed to be knocked out, but they’ve made history, beating Bayern Munich, Rosengard and Montpellier to get to this stage. It’s been over a decade since we’ve seen an English team in the final–a feat last accomplished back in 2006 when Arsenal won the Champions League final 1-0 on aggregate against Umea–but it surely won’t be long until someone breaks that streak.

The Champions League final between Lyon and Wolfsburg will take place in Kiev, Ukraine on May 24.

Management Changes

There have been some significant management changes happening at the international level in Europe. Back in March, Steffi Jones was sacked as Germany manager and Horst Hrubesch as her temporary replacement. Now, they have finally appointed a permanent manager. Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, who is currently the Switzerland manager, will take over after World Cup qualifying. She’s been the Swiss boss since 2012 and has experience in Germany through her playing and coaching career. She was capped 125 times for Germany from 1984 to 2000. Of course, this means the Swiss team will soon be without a manager. They look likely to qualify, so it will be an important decision who they bring in.

FA Cup Finalists

The second piece of silverware in England this year is up for grabs this weekend, at the FA Cup Final between Arsenal and Chelsea. The last time these two met at Wembley Arsenal were victors with Danielle Carter scoring the all important goal.

Arsenal faced fellow WSL1 side Yeovil Town on February 4, and managed to get a good 3-0 win with Jordan Nobbs and Beth Mead both on the scoresheet. The next round saw them take on WSL2 side Millwall Lionesses. Despite the difference in league levels, it was a tough game, with Beth Mead scoring the only goal to put the Gunners through. Goals came easier in the quarterfinal match against WPL South side Charlton Athletic, as Arsenal scored five goals from five different players.  The semifinal was against WSL1 side Everton. It was a tough game, with Carter opening the scoring 25 minutes in but Chloe Kelly leveling things. In the end, Arsenal did just enough to get through, thanks to a deciding goal from Louise Quinn.

Chelsea had a solid run and goals galore in their route. They thrashed London Bees 10-0. This is a side that had previously knocked Chelsea out of the Conti Cup on penalties, but the Blues made sure to not underestimate them this time around.  Yet another thrashing followed with a 6-0 win against Doncaster. The quarter final saw them face Liverpool, where Chelsea earned a good win, thanks to goals from Jonna Andersson, Katie Chapman and Maren Mjelde. Their toughest game came in the semifinals, against Manchester City. Like Arsenal and Charlton, these two have some history in FA Cups. The last time these two met at this stage, Chelsea got a 2-1 win with Fran Kirby scoring in the last seconds of the game in extra time to put Chelsea through. This time around, history repeated itself a bit, with Kirby once again making the difference as her two goals were enough to send Chelsea through. The first came from a defensive error by Steph Houghton, but the second was an impressive effort started by a long pass by Erin Cuthbert which Kirby ran onto, cut inside, sent the defender the wrong way and put it past the keeper.

The final will take place on Saturday 5th May at Wembley. The match kicks off at 5:30pm BST and will be shown live on BBC1. Recent reports suggest there will be a huge crowd, with over 40,000 tickets already sold. They should be in for a good game, and there could be a fair few goals in it if previous matchups are anything to go by.

Millwall Lionesses need your help

It’s never good to hear about another team folding or financially struggling. It’s happened in England with Fulham, Charlton and Notts County–who were ultimately forced to fold right before the start of the season. Of course, there’s been such foldings in the US as well.

This time, it’s Millwall on the chopping block. This has nothing to do with performance, with Millwall currently sitting in 2nd place in the WSL driven by an exceptional yearlong unbeaten run that only recently came to an end. Despite that success, the club recently put out a statement saying that all funding channels had been exhausted and they could be forced into administration, and potentially failing to fulfill future fixture obligations.  The immediate crisis was averted, however, after the team put out a crowd funding page, looking to raise £10,000 to secure their short term future. The women’s football community responded with force, managing to raise the funds in the first 24 hours. With more funds still coming into that page, Millwall have set a new target of £30,000 to stabilize the situation. If you want to contribute to the effort, you can donate here. Millwall are also looking for a sponsor to help secure the club’s future. Hopefully this will be a club saved and not another lost.

Image courtesy of Corri Goates