Everybody loves the Champions League right? It has everything you’d want in football, thrilling matches, world-class goals, competitive fixtures, inspiring upsets, and to top it off, the best players in the world. So, it’s a big deal if your team gets into it, as you have yet another trophy which you could take home. But how do you actually get into this prestigious tournament? Well, for most teams anyway, qualifying rounds.
HOW DOES THE UWCL DRAW WORK?
The 2022/23 UEFA Women’s Champions League (UWCL) round 1 qualifying draw was released on the 24th of June, at 12:00 BST. The way the Champions League works is that they are separated into two sections. One is called the Champions Path, and it is for teams who won their domestic leagues (not including the Champions of England, Spain, Germany, France and Sweden) and the other is called the League Path (which is for teams who finished in 2nd or 3rd in their domestic leagues).
They are separated into ‘groups’, which determine who you have to beat to get through to Round 2 of qualifying. There is a semi-final and a final for each group. So, you only have to play 2 matches to get into Round 2, but if you lose, you are out. It works like this for both the League Path and the Champions Path.
WHAT ARE THE GROUPS?
Well, before I show you the groups, it should be known that the fixtures were based on club coefficients, with 8 seeded teams and 8 unseeded teams for the League Path, 22 seeded teams and 20 unseeded teams in the Champions Path. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the groups for the League Path.
2022/23 UWCL CHAMPIONS PATH GROUP FIXTURES
Group 1, Match 1: Pomurje vs Shelbourne
Group 1, Match 2: Valur vs Hayasa
Group 2, Match 1: Swansea City vs PAOK
Group 2, Match 2: Ferencváros vs Rangers
Group 3, Match 1: BIIK Kazygurt vs Split
Group 3, Match 2: Zhytlobud-2 Kharkiv vs Lanchkhuti
Group 4, Match 1: FC Zürich vs KÍ
Group 4, Match 2: Apollon Limassol vs Rīgas FS
Group 5, Match 1: Anderlecht vs UKS SMS Łódź
Group 5, Match 2: Gintra vs KuPS
Group 6, Match 1: Juventus vs Union
Group 6, Match 2: Flora vs Kiryat Gat
Group 7, Match 1: U Olimpia Cluj vs Glentoran
Group 7, Match 2: SFK 2000 vs Birkirkara
Group 8, Match 1: Twente vs Agarista-ȘS Anenii Noi
Group 8, Match 2: Benfica vs EP-COM Hajvalia
Group 9, Match 1: Dinamo-BGU Minsk vs Lokomotiv Stara
Group 9, Match 2: St. Pölten vs Ljuboten
Group 10, Match 1: Breznica vs Spartak Myjava
Group 10, Match 2: Vllaznia vs N/A (Received a bye)
Group 11, Match 1: Brann vs ALG Spor
Group 11, Match 2: Spartak Subotica vs N/A (Received a bye)
Some teams such as Vllaznia and Spartak Subotica has received a bye due to Russia being banned from all UEFA club competitions. There are some exciting matches, but the League Path with all the bigger, flashier teams will always be more interesting to the masses. So, what’s happening with the league path?
2022/23 UWCL LEAGUE PATH GROUP FIXTURES
Group 1, Match 1: Paris FC vs Servette
Group 1, Match 2: Glasgow City vs Roma
Group 2, Match 1: FC Minsk vs Slovácko
Group 2, Match 2: Breiðablik vs Rosenborg
Group 3, Match 1: Ajax vs Kristianstads DFF
Group 3, Match 2: Fortuna Hjørring vs Eintracht Frankfurt
Group 4, Match 1: Real Madrid vs Sturm Graz
Group 4, Match 2: Manchester City vs Tomiris-Turan
⚽️ #UWCLdraw ✅
The first draw has been officially .
Which group is the toughest?
— UEFA Women’s Champions League (@UWCL) June 24, 2022
For the semi-finals, there aren’t that many. However, Glasgow City vs Roma will prove to be a stubborn affair, with Roma seemingly on the way up, and Glasgow City, who are on the way down, with Celtic and Rangers bringing in money to Scotland. So, will Glasgow City, a team who have gotten all the way to the quarter-finals, beat Roma, a club taking their first steps in the Champions League?
Speaking of Rangers, they will try to get to their first group stage ever, but they will have to face a PAOK side who are very used to qualifying matches and have the experience that Rangers don’t. However, if PAOK were to lose to Swansea City, it could be a better outcome for the Blue Belles.
We obviously have to speak about the rematch which will probably happen between Manchester City and Real Madrid. Las Blancas beat The Blues 2-1 in the League Path Round 2 last season, due to a Claudia Zornoza goal in the second leg taking it from 1-1 to 2-1. Gareth Taylor will look to avenge this defeat, and with new signings such as Deyna Castellanos, Leila Ouahabi and Laia Aleixandri coming in, it seems that this one could go either way and may even be tighter than the last.