FC Rosengård - 1. FFC Frankfurt Preview: Defending champions face a tough test in Sweden

The UEFA Women’s Champions League returns at the quarter-final stage for what should be a hotly-contested match between the title holders and the Swedish champions.

FC Rosengård - 1. FFC Frankfurt Preview: Defending champions face a tough test in Sweden
Can Frankfurt defend their UWCL title? (Photo: Reuters)

Defending champions 1. FFC Frankfurt resume their quest to become the third team after Olympique Lyonnais and VfL Wolfsburg to win two consecutive UEFA Women’s Champions League titles since the competition was revamped for the 2009-10 season. They visit Malmö to play FC Rosengård in the first leg of what should prove to be a tight and competitive quarter-final.

Match fitness

Rosengård’s season only just began at the weekend with a 2-1 victory over Linköpings FC in the Swedish Super Cup, and may be ring-rusty, but that win will have boosted their confidence. Frankfurt will have the advantage of being in the middle of the season and have more match fitness as a result, but their confidence may have been dented after their 3-1 weekend defeat at VfL Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga, although they put in a spirited performance.

Road to the quarter-finals

Rosengård have eased through to the quarter-finals with a 9-0 aggregate win against PK-35, and an 8-2 aggregate win against Verona. Frankfurt have had a harder time of it, beating Standard Liège 8-0 on aggregate before they shared two 2-0 away wins with LSK Kvinner, edging the resulting penalty shootout 5-4.

Rosengård's top scorer Marta will be hoping to add to her tally (Source: skd.se)
Rosengård's top scorer Marta will be hoping to add to her tally (Source: skd.se)

Past history

The sides have met four times before in European competition, with Frankfurt winning 3-1 on aggregate in 2012, and 4-1 on aggregate in 2004.

It is important to note that Rosengård were unbeaten at home on both occasions, winning 1-0 in the most recent game played between the sides in Malmö before two late goals sealed Frankfurt’s progress in the second leg.

Rosengård’s most recent experience against German opposition was a spirited 4-4 loss on away goals against Wolfsburg which will stand them in good stead this time around.

Fresh faces

Rosengård have strengthened with a number of winter signings, including Erin McLeod, Ella Masar, Gaëlle Enganamouit, and Lieke Martens, and that added strength in depth will give them extra attacking options for their German opponents to deal with in addition to the tournament's second top scorer Marta.

Frankfurt's only new injury issue comes from Ana-Maria Crnogorčević, who will miss the game due to a bang on the head sustained against Wolfsburg. Dzsenifer Marozsán and Mandy Islacker are the only two players from either team on yellow cards, and Frankfurt will need them to be responsible, as both are vital players.

Verdict

It is likely to be one of the most closely-contested matches of this stage of the tournament. Frankfurt are probably the slight favourites for the tie as a whole, but with the first leg at home Rosengård will be looking to capitalise and take a lead to defend back to Germany.