In our review of women’s league action around the world, FIFA.com homes in this week on Europe, Japan and New Zealand. In Germany, FFC Frankfurt are in danger of losing touch at the top end of the table, we now know the identity of the new Japanese champions, and New Zealand’s best youngsters are battling for places in the championship semi-finals. FIFA.com brings you the latest women’s league news from around the world.
*Germany: Potsdam extend lead *Last Sunday’s big showdown in the German Women’s Bundesliga saw champions Turbine Potsdam visit cup holders and once all-conquering FFC Frankfurt. A capacity 5,200 crowd at Brentanobad stadium saw two attacking teams tear into each other from the start, but visiting Potsdam ultimately came away with the points, Jennifer Cramer and Anja Mittag scoring the goals in a 2-0 win. Coach Bernd Schroeder’s team are now six points clear of FFC, who slipped to third after FCR Duisburg comfortably beat Bayern Munich 3-1. Jennifer Oster, Alexandra Popp and Kozue Ando hit the target for Duisburg.
At the wrong end of the table, Bad Neuenahr made it two wins on the bounce with a 2-0 success against Lok Leipzig and climbed to seventh in the process. Tail-enders Bayer Leverkusen lost 2-0 to Essen-Schonebeck and remain rooted to the bottom on just three points.
*Top three: Turbine Potsdam (27 points), FCR Duisburg (22), FFC Frankfurt (21)*
*Japan: Leonessa claim the crown *Kobe-based INAC Leonessa went into the latest round of fixtures needing three points from their last two games to be sure of the Nadeshiko League title. Leonessa made it with a game to spare after easing to a 4-0 success against Elfen Sayama. Japan’s 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup heroine Yukari Kinga opened the scoring, with midfielder Chiaki Minamiyama doubling the lead before half-time. Japan internationals Nahomi Kawasumi and Shinobu Ohno added further goals in the second period. With one game to go, coach Kei Hoshikawa’s team have 39 points and can no longer be caught by second-placed NTV Beleza, who are themselves guaranteed the runners-up spot on 35 points.
*Top three: INAC Leonessa (39), NTV Beleza (35), Urawa Red Diamonds (30)*
Switzerland: Zurich riding a wave of success
After cruising to a 4-0 victory over Grasshoppers Zurich and taking over top spot in the Swiss National League A, FC Zurich made short work of a second derby in the space of a week and cemented their grip on first place with a thumping 8-0 success against bottom club FC Schlieren. Fabienne Humm with a brace and Barbara Beutler set FCZ on their way to a 3-0 half-time lead. Humm and Beutler scored again after the break, with Ramona Lendenmann and Selina Zumbuhl also adding their names to the scoresheet. The final goal came with eight minutes remaining when Lea de Boer unluckily put the ball over her own line. Second-placed SC Kriens kept up the chase with a 3-0 home win over champions BSC Young Boys.
*Top three: FC Zurich (31), SC Kriens (29), FC Basel (25)*
*New Zealand: Semi-finals in their sights *In New Zealand’s ASB Women’s Youth League, where the regulations permit a maximum of three players aged over 20, the teams are deep into the fight for places in the championship semi-finals. Northern Football, leaders in the Northern Conference, were already sure of a last-four berth prior to meeting Waikato BOP Football, so a 6-2 defeat had no bearing on their chances of progressing. However, it was a psychological blow to a team with a previously unblemished record – and it came against chief pursuers Waikato, who are now just two points adrift of Northern Football on ten points to the leaders’ 12.
In the Southern Conference, Mainland Pride defeated Football South 5-1 to go top of the standings, after Capitol Football were held to a 1-1 draw by Central Football. Hannah Wong starred with a quickfire hat-trick for Mainland, who now have 12 points to Capital Football’s ten, and are also already assured of a place in the semis.