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Women's Champions League: Dates, teams, history & more

The UEFA Women's Champions League, the blue riband club event in European football, is currently in its 24th season.

Since the first running of the tournament, then called the UEFA Women's Cup, back in 2001/02, only eight different sides from five different countries have managed to put their names on the trophy.

French powers Lyon have won the tournament a record eight times while Barcelona are the defending champions in 2023/24.

Women's Champions League dates for 2023/24

The UEFA Women's Champions League is a season-long competition which historically has tended to start in September and end in May.

This season's tournament began on September 6, 2023 and will finish on May 26, 2024 with the final, which will be staged at San Mames in Bilbao.

Women's Champions League format

The format to the Women's Champions League has constantly been tweaked over the years as more sides have got involved.

The 2023/24 Women's Champions League is the fourth straight season under the existing format which involves two rounds of qualifying, resulting in 12 clubs joining the elite quartet of Barcelona, Lyon, Bayern Munich and Chelsea in the group stage.

The group stage features 16 clubs divided into four groups, with fixtures played between October and January, and the top two from each section qualifying for the knockout stage.

Women's Champions League 2023/24 teams

Seventy teams from 49 associations were entered into the current Women's Champions League tournament.

The six highest-ranked countries - France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, England and Czech Republic - were able to enter three teams, another ten countries including Scotland could enter two teams, the rest entering only the one name.

Of the 70 only the highest-ranked four - Barcelona, Lyon, Bayern Munich and Chelsea - were spared qualification and were seeded straight into the group stage.

So good is the calibre of women's football around Europe that a couple of the game's big guns – Arsenal and Juventus – failed to make it past the first qualifying stage.

And other giants, class acts such as Real Madrid, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain, had to enter the tournament at the second qualifying round stage, meaning tough home-and-away ties to try to secure a place in the group stage.

Women's Champions League history

The competition was first played in 2001/02 and was known as the UEFA Women's Cup.

Women's club football was only just beginning to stir at the start of the century with just 33 teams from 33 countries taking part.

There was no Barcelona, no Lyon, no Chelsea back in 2001/02 where the qualifiers for the quarter-finals included the likes of Russian outfit Ryazan, Trondheims-Orn from Norway and Finnish club HJK.

FFC Frankfurt were the winners of the inaugural tournament, beating Swedish side Umea 2-0 in front of a crowd of 12,106 at the German club's home ground.

The first major change in the tournament, tapping into the growth of the women's game, came in 2009/10 when it was rebranded the UEFA Women's Champions League, which allowed the runners-up as well as winners of Europe's top leagues to enter and opened its doors to all 55 associations.

Six-time German champions Turbine Potsdam won the title that season, making them one of four German clubs to be crowned queens of Europe. No other country has produced more winning teams.

Lyon won the first of their record eight titles in 2010/11 and for a period were simply invincible, the likes of record scorer Ada Hegerberg leading them to five titles in a row from 2015/16.

From 2021 the competition was given another tweak, this time allowing the top six-ranked countries to enter three teams, up from two.

Barcelona, featuring so many stars of Spain's World Cup-winning squad, were the last winners, beating Wolfsburg 3-2 in the 2023 final.

2023/24 Women's Champions League draw


  • Hacken v PSG
  • Brann v Barcelona
  • Ajax v Chelsea
  • Benfica v Lyon

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