Glasgow City Head Coach, Scott Booth, knows his side will be in for a tough week as they prepare to host three national champions from across Europe in the UEFA Women’s Champions League. Only the side that finish top progress to the last 32, so they’ll be looking to dash the hopes of Anderlecht (Belgium), FC Martve (Georgia), and GSK Gornik Leczna (Poland).
“I think the first game is always important and it’s going to be tough to face Anderlecht” said Booth. “It’s a toss-up between Anderlecht and GSK Gornik Leczna between who are the highest level of competition that we’ll face but they’re both good sides. That means that first game is very important.”
Glasgow City have been involved in the UEFA Women’s Champions League every year since it’s rebranding in 2009. In that time, City have featured in six qualifying group stages, progressing four times as group winners. Their only two failures came back in 2009-10 and 2010-11.
Their best run in the competition was reaching the Quarter-Finals during the 2014-15 campaign where they were defeated by the eventual runners-up, Paris Saint-Germain. However, City have failed to progress past the last 32 in the last three seasons.
Their experience though is something that their Captain and record goal scorer, Leanne Ross, believes will be a huge boost towards reaching the last 32 this year.
“We’ve got experienced players in our team” said Ross. “We’ve got international players as well. We’re used to playing big games and the pressure being on us in terms of expecting to win. It will be difficult but hopefully the experience we have we can pass that on and help them (the less experienced players) through it.”
While there are some unknowns about their opposition, Scott Booth and his team have been doing their research.
“We don’t know much about FC Martve but we get to see them before we play them in the second game. Anderlecht we’ve got enough footage of now and we know them. They’re a good side and we know that it’s going to be a tough game. We then face GSK Gornik Leczna in the last game and they’re a very good side. I’ve watched them quite a lot.
“We know what we need to know about these teams and it’s just about our own application in the games. It’s about making sure we go in with a level we know we need to bring to go through.”
City have had some changes to their squad during the summer break. They’ve lost Scotland international, Christie Murray, to Liverpool and Maddie Hill has also left. However, they’ve added Bosnian international, Lidija Kulis, from Turbine Potsdam, Slovenian international, Lara Ivanusa, from Olimpija Ljubljana, and Jenna Clark from Rangers.
“We’ve had three new faces come in, which is great, and about two and half weeks to get them settled in” said Leanne Chrichton. “We’ve also had a couple of players that have picked up knocks along the way, so we’re trying to get everyone back fit and ready.
“It’s a great experience and everyone is looking forward to it. The ones that haven’t been involved before, they’ve really upped their game in training. Everyone is raring to go and looking to nail a starting spot in the team. We need that competition as over the course of the week we’re going to need the whole squad fit and ready”.