In today’s Champions League Round of 16 draw, Fiorentina were drawn to play against one of the top English sides, Manchester City.
Tessel Middag will be happy, going back to face her former club, but it’s going to be a tough tie for the Viola. Having said that, the other possibilities were Lyon, PSG and Chelsea, so there was never any chance of an easy draw.
Fiorentina will travel to the Academy Stadium in Manchester for the first leg, to be played March 3rd or 4th. They will then welcome City to the Stadio Franchi a week later.
Fiorentina of course made it this far by overcoming Slavia Prague in the last round. Daniela Sabatino’s last gasp winner in Prague is definitely the highlight of our season so far.
Manchester City are here thanks to a 5-1 aggregate win over Swedish side Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC. In the first leg in Sweden, the home side had taken the lead after just two minutes. City came from behind to win that one 2-1 with goals from Georgia Stanway and American Sam Mewis.
The second leg ended in a 3-0 win for the English club. Stanway scoring twice in the second-half after Lauren Hemp had given them a first-half lead.
Currently in second spot in the FA WSL behind Chelsea, they have only lost one league game in their 14 matches so far. That came against the league leaders back in October. Their most recent game was a 3-0 win over United in the Manchester derby.
In the Champions League they have previously reached the semi-final stage twice. On both occasions, 2016/17 and the following season, they lost out by just one goal to eventual winners Lyon.
Their squad now includes three members of the USA 2019 World Cup winning squad. Abby Dahlkemper signed in January to join Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle who are with the club since last August. England international Ellen White is their top-scorer in this season’s league campaign, with eight goals to her name.
While Fiorentina bowed out of last season’s competition at the Round of 32 stage to Arsenal, City made it to the Round of 16. They were knocked out on a 3-2 aggregate score by Atletico Madrid.
After the Viola’s heroics in the last round, I don’t think any team will take Fiorentina lightly. It’s going to be a big ask for the team, but these are the games that kids imagine when they dream of being a professional footballer.