The Unpredictable Group C in UWCL: Chelsea Advances in Chaos

CupMarcin Bialas/NurPhoto via Getty Imageswill get a lot of attention over the next five years. The format coming in 2025-26 seems a little too big and takes something away from the delicately proportioned Champions League as we currently know it. The nature of how the knockout rounds are next season should show just how important the magnitude of competition is.Will the Swiss model make up for it? Quite possibly, if we’re happy to consider more midweek games next season. Is it more akin to the guys than we’d want in the women’s game? It feels that way, particularly with the size of the league in comparison to some club’s resources. I think Ho makes a good point that even with the teams at the very top, the group-stage format has been unpredictable than it has been in years and four from eight still goes through; that’s already cutting things fine enough. I don’t think that should change; there’s a lot at stake as it stands, but it can be entertaining as well.Marsden: I think eventually everyone will grow to love it. The Swiss model gives more teams a shot at group-stage football that previously would not have made the competition, thanks to a lack of television money or sponsorship. But the smaller clubs have given it a shot; see this year’s 1. FC Köln in Group A and Slavia Prague in Group B. Even if these two don’t make it out of the group stage, there are others who could come back next year and take the edge in the group, much as Ajax have.In the end, models come and go and there will be new ones in our lifetimes; I am happy to say I was the first of my friends to have attended games under the past format. But if history tells us one thing, the sport will move forward and so will we. Is it a bit different today? Definitely. Are some aspects of it not so great? Sure. But the future of the women’s game is evolving and as long as we’re here watching, we welcome the change.
January 26, 2024, 05:03 AM ET

As the 2023-24 Women’s Champions League group stage comes to a close, we witnessed a thrilling game between Bayern and Roma. It was a nail-biter of a match that kept Group C on the edge. Barcelona had already secured their spot in the knockout rounds by maintaining their 100% record with a 2-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt. This win resulted in Frankfurt’s elimination from the competition. Benfica drew 2-2 against Rosengard and secured the second spot in Group A. Lyon secured their spot in Group B with an overwhelming 7-0 victory against St. Pölten, while SK Brann’s 1-0 win at Slavia Prague secured their place in the knockout rounds as well.

Group C still remains uncertain, as Paris Saint-Germain claimed a 3-1 victory against Ajax Amsterdam, allowing them to take the top spot. However, Roma, who are currently at the bottom of the group, were held to a 2-2 draw with Bayern Munich. Only four points separate the top and bottom teams in Group C, making it a tight race. Chelsea sealed the top spot in Group D after a 2-1 win over Real Madrid, who were already eliminated. Swedish surprise package BK Häcken drew their key clash 0-0 with Paris FC, giving them a one-point lead for second place going into the final game.

The final group-stage fixtures will take place on January 30th and 31st, setting the stage for the knockout rounds. The conclusion of the group stage has led to some burning questions that our writers Sophie Lawson, Sam Marsden, and Connor O’Halloran analyzed and answered.

These events have been viewed as captivating and impressive by many, particularly the thrilling finale between Bayern and Roma and the remarkable goals scored across the matches. However, there are also teams that have faced disappointment, as showcased by the underwhelming performances of Real Madrid and Roma in the group stage.

There has been much debate surrounding the new ‘Swiss model’ that will be introduced in 2025-26, with differing opinions on whether it will be beneficial for the women’s game. This proposed change has caused a mixture of excitement and apprehension among fans and analysts alike, with some expressing nostalgia for the current group stage format. The potential implications of the new model on the women’s competition have become a topic of discussion among football enthusiasts.