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New beginnings, champs show style
There was intriguing action over the weekend in the world of women’s club football as FIFA.com takes a look at the latest from leagues at three very different parts of the season. The new campaign opened in Japan with the table immediately taking on a rare look, however in Denmark and Germany it was very much a case of the status quo remaining unchanged.
Japan: Season opens with tight margins
The new season in Japan began with numerous tight contests and an unusual name at the summit. INAC Kobe Leonessa have cruised to the past two titles, but for now they must make do with third place, albeit on goal difference, following the opening week of the Nadeshiko League. Urawa Red Diamonds have an early hold of top spot after a 3-0 win over Speranza FC Osaka-Takatsuki. Perennial challengers NTV Beleza are second thanks to a 2-0 victory over newly-promoted Kibi University. Leonessa, for their part, were forced to rely on goals in each half from American Beverly Goebel-Yanez to see off JEF United. Much focus was on Division 2 champions Vegalta Sendai and the team from the disaster struck northern region lived up to the occasion with a 1-0 win at Okayama Yunogo Belle thanks to a strike from Asuka Kakazu.
Denmark: New season, same contest
Champions Brondby and Fortuna Hjorring kicked-off 2013 just as they concluded 2012 – in tight competition. After a lengthy mid-season hiatus, the pair – who boast an enormous margin over third-placed Skovbakken - resumed their championship tussle with both claiming comfortable 3-0 victories. Fortuna cruised past Vejle while Brondby did the same at Skovbakken leaving the champions maintaining their five-point hold at the summit.
Top three: Brondby (45 points), Fortuna Hjorring (41), Skovbakken (23)
Germany: As you were
The three front-runners – Wolfsburg, FFC Frankfurt and Turbine Potsdam - all continued to push for the title with victories of varying margins. Leaders Wolfsburg were pressed hardest and they needed a Conny Pohlers winner four minutes into injury time to take home all three points from Freiburg. Things were far more comfortable for Frankfurt at Gutersloh, with towering midfielder Kerstin Garefrekes helping herself to a hat-trick inside the opening 50 minutes. Reigning champions Turbine, meanwhile, also won by the same margin with three unanswered goals against Bad Neuenahr.
Top three: Wolfsburg (35), FFC Frankfurt and Turbine Potsdam (both 31)