Glasgow City begins their Champions League campaign on Thursday as they take on the 2015 Damallsvenskan runners-up Eskilstuna United.
It is down to Glasgow City’s progress in Europe that has seen Scotland now have two sides in the Champions League, and they will have hopes of making another run like the one in 2014-15 where they reached the Quarter-Finals. That still stands as Scotland’s best run in Europe, either in the Women’s game or in the Men’s game since the group format was introduced.
This is Glasgow City’s 10th year in the Champions League and sixth in a row that they’ve featured in the Round of 32. Last season was the first season where they automatically entered the tournament int eh Round of 32, and didn’t face the Qualifying Round.
There have been many famous European nights with Glasgow City in Europe, possibly the greatest being in that 2014-15 season when the current club’s joint top scorer Suzanne Lappin’s late goal saw them beat FC Zurich to reach the Quarter-Finals.
As a seeded team, City still faced some possible dangerous unseeded sides. Whilst they may have been happy to avoid either the new WSL 1 champions Manchester City or last season’s WSL 1 winners Chelsea as they did in last season’s Champions League, Eskilstuna United cannot be overlooked.
The Damallsvensken is a highly competitive league with some of the best players in the world like Brazilian star Marta. It also features Scottish stars like Ifeoma Dieke and Shannon Lynn who play for Vittsjö GIK and ex-Glasgow City goalkeeper Lee Alexander who joined Mallbackens IK.
City’s Head Coach Scott Booth, about to manage in his second UEFA Women’s Champions League campaign, said “Everyone at the club is looking forward to our 1st Leg game in Sweden. The Champions League is special. The club has enjoyed a few adventures in this tournament already but we would love to build on that. It will be tough against Eskilstuna United because they are a top side but we are confident we can progress if we play well on Thursday and in our home match at the Excelsior Stadium.”
Glasgow City will clearly want to win the first leg, however, the main objective is for the club is to make sure they are in a strong position for the second leg.
Whilst the Swedish side is competing in the UEFA Women’s Champions League for the first time ever, you only have to look at their last season to show their threat. They finished just one point behind the champions FC Rosengård. Overall, last season, they lost four league games coming against Rosengård and Piteå.
They may not have fared as well this season, as they sit in third behind Linköpings and Rosengård with no chance of the title, but you only have to look at their squad to see the challenge they are facing.
Eskilstuna’s defence includes Icelandic defender Glódis Perla Víggósdóttír who played in every minute of Iceland’s recent UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 qualifying campaign which included two games against Scotland. At the age of just 21, she already has 41 caps. Familiar to City’s Irish contingent will be Eskilstuna’s captain Louise Quinn who joined in 2013 to help the club with the Eiltettan and promotion to the top flight. After helping them finish second last year, Eskilstuna coach Viktor Eriksson stated that Quinn was as one of the best defenders in the Damallsvenskan.
Olivia Schough has had a superb summer for her country as she helped Sweden win a Silver Medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics – having knocked out the USA and Brazil on route. Schough joined Eskilstuna United in 2014 and so far this season has scored three goals with two assists in her 15 games.
Eskilstuna’s top scorer in the Damallsvenskan this season is Mimmi Larsson who joined this season from fellow top-flight club Mallbackens IF. She has played in all 17 league games and has scored seven goals with two assists.