The 2020/21 Women’s Champions League has reached the latter stages after UEFA made the draw for the quarter-finals, with competition in the elite club competition fiercer than ever before.
Lyon have won five titles in a row to utterly dominate Europe in recent years, but are they finally in danger of being deposed and the crown heading somewhere else?
There are six clubs in the last eight who have never won the Champions League before and are gunning to lift the trophy.
Here’s a look at how all eight remaining sides rank…
UWCL best: Semi-finals (2003/04)
Sweden’s Rosengard are suddenly the only Scandinavian club left in the competition after Brondby, Fortuna Hjorring and LSK Kvinner were all knocked out in the last round.
They had an easy ride in the last 32 against Georgian minnows Lanchkhuti, winning 17-0 on aggregate, but the last 16 Austria’s St Polten was more of a challenge.
Veteran midfielder and national legend Caroline Seger has won this competition before with Lyon, while the squad features a number of other Sweden internationals, but it will be an uphill battle even just to make it through to the semi-finals.
Quarter-final opponent: Bayern Munich
UWCL best: Winners (2012/13, 2013/14)
As two-time former winners and losing finalists in two of the last three seasons, Wolfsburg have an incredible history in the Champions League. Yet the competition now at the elite end of the women’s club game is tougher than ever before.
If the German side have it in them to defeat Chelsea over two legs in the quarter-finals, they would prove they are a match for anyone. But the English champions are stacked with world class quality in most areas of the pitch and are determined to win this trophy for the first time.
It will be hard for Wolfsburg, as good as they are themselves, to match that.
Quarter-final opponent: Chelsea
UWCL best: Semi-finals (2018/19)
Bayern Munich have a perfect record 15 games into the 2020/21 Frauen Bundesliga season and are on course for their first German title since 2016.
Bayern got probably the most favourable draw available to them in the last 16 against Kazakhstan’s BIIK Kazygurt and, with a squad featuring plenty of international players from Germany and a handful of other European nations, they will have the quality to see off Rosengard in the last eight.
Matching their 2018/19 semi-final appearance should be achievable, but bettering it by making the final could be step too far.
Quarter-final opponent: Rosengard
UWCL best: Runners-up (2018/19)
Barcelona remain the only club from southern Europe to have reached a Women’s Champions League final to date, losing to a Lyon side at its absolute peak three years ago.
They finally re-established domestic dominance from Atletico Madrid last season and have won all 18 of their Primera Division games this season, opening up a seven-point lead on their rivals with multiple games in hand. They are also becoming regulars in the latter stages in Europe.
Spain will be the next European nation to make the transition to elite at international level and a significant proportion of the squad comes from this Barcelona side, which is also complemented by top international imports like Caroline Graham Hansen, Lieke Martens and Asisat Oshoala.
Quarter-final opponent: Manchester City
UWCL best: Winners (2010/11, 2011/12, 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20)
Is there a possibility that, after five consecutive Champions League titles, Lyon’s crown is finally starting to slip?
It is not they, but Paris Saint-Germain, who just about lead the way in France this season – having inflicted Lyon’s first league defeat since December 2016 earlier in the campaign.
The squad is still absolutely littered with world class players, but they are not as strong as they were, still haven’t got Ada Hegerberg back from long-term injury, and have seen their rivals get stronger and stronger.
Quarter-final opponent: Sparta Prague or Paris Saint-Germain
UWCL best: Runners-up (2014/15, 2016/17)
Paris Saint-Germain have not actually qualified for the Champions League quarter-finals yet, with the second leg of their last 16 tie against Sparta Prague not scheduled until next week. But with a 5-0 aggregate lead from the first leg, it would be incomprehensible for them not to see it though.
PSG have been the top team in France so far this season, outscoring Lyon, conceding fewer goals and even inflicting a first defeat on them in literal years.
It will be Lyon next up in the Champions League for PSG and, if they can get the better of them, they will fancy their chances against anyone.
Quarter-final opponent: Lyon
UWCL best: Semi-finals (2017/18, 2018/19)
If Chelsea maintain their form, they will win another Women’s Super League title to make it four league triumphs in the last six seasons. It was only recently that they lost a first league game since 2019 and the elusive Champions League is the competition they now most want to win.
The Blues have arguably the best coach in the women’s game in Emma Hayes and a squad that is an embarrassment of riches. Pernille Harder is the most expensive female player in history, Sam Kerr has hit form, Fran Kirby is back to her best and the squad has phenomenal depth.
Their route through to a first ever final is the more favourable of the two on offer and they would fancy their chances against Wolfsburg in the last eight and then either Bayern Munich or Rosengard in the semis.
Quarter-final opponent: Wolfsburg
UWCL best: Semi-finals (2016/17, 2017/18)
Manchester City’s dream team took a little time to find its feet this season and that alone may be the reason they don’t recapture the WSL title from Chelsea. But their current run of nine consecutive wins in the most competitive top domestic league in Europe says plenty.
As well as having both established and up and coming England players, the squad has a spine built on three USWNT World Cup winners in Sam Mewis, Rose Lavelle and Abby Dahlkemper. Lucy Bronze has already won this twice, while it is the only trophy eluding veteran captain Steph Houghton.
City made light work of Fiorentina last time out and, despite a difficult route to the final that will mean beating Barcelona and then either Lyon or PSG, they won’t fear anyone.
Quarter-final opponent: Barcelona