Fort he second consecutive season, competitive matches for Juventus Women started continentally rather than against domestic opposition. Because of that, Juve went into its Serie A Femminile with a decent amount of minutes under their belts even though it wasn’t against household names within Italy.
On Saturday, Juventus Women got the chance to open their domestic campaign once and for all.
The unfortunate opposition was, as is essentially tradition for last season’s Serie A champion to play the Serie B champion, Serie A newbies Como. And I say “unfortunate” because it became very obvious very quickly which one of those teams will be competing for another title this season.
Juventus Women rolled to a 6-0 season-opening win over Como, with Cristiana Girelli scoring a hat trick within the opening 40 minutes, Lisa Boattin doing Lisa Boattin while wearing the captain’s armband and the rest of Joe Montemurro’s side looking as strong as ever to start a season. It gave the five-time reigning champions a very, very good start as they look to go for the sixth in as many seasons of existence. More importantly, it was the kind of performance that showed a summer that is different from others — they played all of one friendly this summer! — is no big deal as Montemurro begins Year 2 of his already very successful project.
But as much as the season-opening win and the advancement to the next round of Women’s Champions League qualification were a good way to both start and end August, the next month — even though there’s an international break currently underway — is a pretty big important one on multiple fronts for Montemurro and company.
(Seriously, an international break after one week of the season. You gotta love Italy even though you probably don’t love everything about Italy.)
This is what the month of September has in store for Juventus Women:
- Sept. 1: Women’s Champions League qualifying round 2 draw
- Sept. 11: Inter at Juventus Women
- Sept. 17: Roma at Juventus Women
- Sept. 20/21: First leg of UWCL qualifying round 2
- Sept. 24: Juventus Women at Sassuolo
- Sept. 27/28: Second leg of UWCL qualifying round 2
That’s obviously a draw and then two games that will help Juve determine their European fate going forward this season. But domestically, there’s a matchup against your former manager and big-time rival, a matchup against the second-place team from last season that is very much wanting to make a serious title push this season and the fourth-place finishers from last year that is a sleeper to contend for a European spot.
You want big games? Well, that’s basically a month worth of big games right there. And all in the span of less than three weeks — which, considering how a little more spread out the women’s fixture list tends to be compared to the men, is saying something.
But simply because of what time of the season it is and just how the Serie A Femminile schedule is set up this season — remember, there’s only 10 teams in Italy’s top flight and the end of the season will have a very different and new look to it — there’s going to be an important domestic fixture with almost every turn of the page. Come back from the October international break, there’s Milan and Fiorentina (and the UWCL group stage) waiting for you. Come back from the November international break and the second half of the league schedule is set to begin just as the final UWCL group stage games arrive.
For now, though, it’s all about September and what business there is to take care of for Montemurro’s squad.
Getting an early upper-hand on the likes of Inter and especially Roma will be a boon to their chances of winning a sixth straight Scudetto, but as we’ve talked about already on this here blog, getting to the Women’s Champions League group stage for a second straight season is now what is expected of this group. Considering they are going through the champions path, Juve are likely to get a much more favorable draw as compared to the other Serie A Femminile team trying to qualify for the group stage, Roma.
How Montemurro handles these big September fixtures will be quite the task. He’s got some of his best players out injured, most notably Barbara Bonansea, who was injured during the first round of UWCL qualifying. But with Girelli scoring three goals right out of the gate — she’s nearly halfway to her total for the entirety of the 2021-22 Serie A Femminile season — and the defense performing admirably despite being shorthanded at the center back spot for weeks now, there’s a lot to be optimistic about when things get going again after the international break.
And if September looks a lot like August, then there’s going to be plenty more reasons to be happy, goals to celebrate and European nights potentially coming back to the Juventus Stadium. That sounds like a pretty good development to me. Maybe not to the rest of Serie A Femminile, but they’re the ones trying to chase down the Bianconere until further notice.