HomeFootball NewsGroenen Describes Champions League Format As ‘Strange’

Groenen Describes Champions League Format As ‘Strange’

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Jackie Groenen has described the format for the UEFA Women’s UEFA Champions League, of which qualification continues on Tuesday evening, as ‘strange’

The 28-year-old Belgian-born Netherlands international midfielder, who has 105 caps for the Dutch, plays her club football for Paris Saint-Germain and she has questioned whether the current system and format of the competition is ‘the right way to go’.

“On one hand I don’t fully agree with the system, but on the other hand I’m excited to play a game with this magnitude and pressure.”

Since the 2021/22 campaign, it has been a 16-team group stage format with four groups of four. With only four automatic qualification spots for the group stages, which begins in November, the qualifying stages are harsh and very competitive with some giants of the women’s game already being eliminated.

The likes of Arsenal, who were semi-finalists in the competition last season, as well as Italian side Juventus have already been knocked out in the qualifying rounds with Juventus losing to Eintracht Frankfurt on penalties and Arsenal suffering the same fate against Paris FC.

Round 2 of UEFA Women’s Champions League qualification begins this evening with 12 two-legged ties to determine who will join Barcelona, Olympique Lyonnais, Bayern Munich and Chelsea in the group stages next month.

Groenen said that the ‘big teams going out in the pre-phase’ is a ‘bit strange’ and has also described Manchester United as the ‘hardest one we could draw’.

Groenen left United last year and has said that her return to Leigh Sports Village for the first-leg of their qualifying tie will be an opportunity to say a ‘proper goodbye’.

“Everyone knows I loved it at Manchester United and it was a dream for me to play there as a fan of the club since I was a child, it means a lot to be able to come back and have a proper goodbye.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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