Seven Matildas and Aussies are playing in the first round of Group Stage of the UEFA Women's Champions League, starting today.
The UEFA Women's Champions League game starts tonight, with the first round of Group play beginning for UEFA's only women's European competition.
Australia has seven players and one coach qualified in the competition, with four of them scheduled to meet each other in their first games today.
Dylan Holmes will face Ellie Carpenter when their clubs BK Häcken and Olympique Lyonnais play each other at 3:45 AM AEDT. The clubs are currently second and first respectively in their national competition's ladders.
However, Häcken are arguably the underdogs entering this competition. They have never progressed past the quarter final of the UWCL, in the previous format of the competition. In contrast, Lyon have won the trophy seven times in the last eleven years, most recently in 2019-20.
While both clubs are currently coming off a string of victories, Häcken having last lost in June and and Lyon being undefeated in la Division 1 this season, Lyon are the stronger team entering the match.
Moreover, the game could see the return of start striker Ada Hegerberg, who has been out for twenty-one months due to various injuries but is on the game sheet for the first time this year. Hegerberg's teammate the Matildas' Carpenter is expected to feature in the game having been a regular starter when fit and being named to the game.
Holmes would be a surprise inclusion if she were to start or play. The young Aussie has only featured in nine matches this year for BK Häcken, starting only three.
Also starting at 3:45AM will be Tessa Tamplin's Servette Chênois match against Joe Montemurro's Juventus FC. Tamplin made the switch to the Swiss side ahead of their 2021-22 season, after having played three A-League Women's seasons with the Newcastle Jets.
Montemurro took control of Juventus after leaving Arsenal at the end of last season. While the Italian side is favoured in this encounter, Servette did put in good performances during the qualification stage and so there may be a chance for an upset.
Chelsea FC will face Wolfsburg at 6AM AEDT. Sam Kerr and her English side are motivated to start their new UWCL campaign well after losing in last year's final. Wolfsburg will not be an easy game though, especially since the memory of their defeat at the hands of Chelsea in the quarter-final stage of last year's UWCL is still fresh in their minds.
While their qualification for the group stage this year did finish equal to Bordeaux, and required the club to win through penalties, Wolfsburg have always been strong European contenders and are second in the ladder of the Frauen-Bundesliga after Bayern Munich.
Arsenal FC also start their UWCL group stage campaign at 6AM AEDT. The Gunners take on current champions Barcelona FC. Like their London rivals Barcelona are undefeated in the league this year, having last lost a match in all competitions last March.
Steph Catley, Caitlin Foord and Lydia Williams will have a difficult contest on their hands, one that for the viewers should turn out to be very exciting.