The Women Champions League 2019/20 tournament will restart and take place in Spain, in the Basque Country from 21 August to 30 August. The final was originally set to be played in Vienna at the end of May.
All remaining matches in UEFA Women’s Champions League will be played as an eight-team straight knock-out tournament at the San Mamés Stadium in Bilbao and the Anoeta Stadium in San Sebastián.
The quarter-finals will be played on 21 August and 22 August, and the semi-finals on 25 and 26 August at 8pm.
The final will take place in San Sebastián on 30 August at 8pm.
The draw took place at UEFA in Nyon on 26 June to determine the order of matches and the final match schedule is below.
Friday 21 August
Glasgow City vs Wolfsburg (Anoeta Stadium, San Sebastián)
Atlético Madrid vs Barcelona (San Mamés Stadium, Bilbao)
Saturday 22 August
Arsenal vs Paris Saint-Germain (Anoeta Stadium, San Sebastián)
Lyon vs Bayern München (San Mamés Stadium, Bilbao)
Semi-finals (25/26 August)
Tuesday 25 August
2: Glasgow City/Wolfsburg vs Atlético/Barcelona (Anoeta Stadium, San Sebastián)
Wednesday 26 August
1: Arsenal/PSG vs Lyon/Bayern (San Mamés Stadium, Bilbao)
Final (20:00 CET, 30 August: Anoeta Stadium, San Sebastián)
Winner semi-final 2 vs Winner semi-final 1
Special rules brought in
UEFA have introduced some special rules for this knock-out tournament: “Five substitutions will be allowed in all the remaining matches in season 2019/20, in accordance with the temporary change to the Laws of the Game.”
It makes sense as three games in nine days is a very short time for recovery.
They have also made a ruling forbidding teams using new players signed in the summer transfer window: “Teams will be allowed to register three new players on their List A for the remainder of the 2019/20 season, provided such players were already registered and eligible for the club since the last registration deadline (18 March 2020). List A will still only be able to contain a maximum of 25 players. It will not be possible for clubs to register newly-transferred players.”
Most of the eight teams still in the tournament will have a large turnover this summer and they won’t be able to use their new players. It means some might scramble to get departing players to sign a contract extension until 30 August.
If we look at the squad list registered by Arsenal, there are 23 names. Caitlin Foord was added to the FA WSL squad during the winter transfer window and therefore is eligible to be added to the list.
The following 15 players are here to stay: Zinsberger, Stenson; Beattie, Willliamson, Maier; Van De Donk, Nobbs, Little, Wälti, Roord, Filis; Miedema, McCabe, Evans, Mead.
Viktoria Schnaderbeck, meanwhile, is taking her time over a new contract and could leave or extend her stay. The 29-year old told the Austrian FA’s (OFB) official website, “I am in a good conversation with the club, but I want to take my time with the decision. But there is a trend, and it is for Arsenal. I feel totally comfortable here and know that the club is also satisfied with me.”
Danielle Carter was eligible to be added to the list after recovering from her second ACL injury but has, sadly, been allowed to leave the club.
The following seven players on the UEFA list are leaving the club or have already left: Peyraud-Magnin, Veje, Mitchell, Quinn, Kemme, Grant, Flores.
So, Arsenal could play three games in nine days with a squad containing only 16 to 19 players, pending additions from the Academy. To be fair, it is unlikely they will be ready to play a Champions League quarter-final, semi-final or final, as they are all young with nearly no first team football experience.
On the disciplinary side, only Katie McCabe is in danger of missing the next game as she was the only Arsenal player booked in the previous rounds. The yellow card count resets at the semi-final stage.
Arsenal can only qualify for the 2020/21 tournament by winning this one as they finished outside the top two this season.
It is certainly a difficult task, but as mentioned earlier many opponents, including Lyon, will have the same weakened squad problem as the Gunners due to player turnover.
Regarding travelling fans, a decision has not been made yet. Obviously it will depend on the sanitary conditions in August in Spain and Europe overall.
Things can change quickly with a Covid-19 second wave starting to emerge in many countries.