Birkirkara will represent Malta in the UEFA Women’s Champions League for the fifth time in their history when this week they will be in action in the preliminary round tournament in Ljubljana, Slovenia.  

The Stripes were drawn in Group Six and will kick off their commitments when they face FC Minsk of Belarus this evening.

Next up for Birkirkara will be a match against group favourites FC Zurich, of Switzerland, on Friday.

They will wrap up their  commitments on August 28 when they face home side ZNK Olimpija Ljubljana. 

The Stripes will be under the charge of coach Melania Bajada.

The former Birkirkara player was handed the job this summer following the departure of championship winning coach Shawn Meilak. 

Bajada said that the team has worked hard in the last few weeks to arrive for this tournament in the best possible shape.

“Our preparations for this tournament have been ongoing for the past two months and our main objective was to ensure the players reach a good physical condition and at the same time get their match rhythm back,” Bajada told Times of Malta.

“We have kept the same core of the team from last season and the players have shown good application in training and are keen to show what they have been practising on the pitch this week.” 

The Stripes have managed to bring back to their fold Gozo FC duo Ann-Marie Said and Tracy Teuma, who were crucial to their success last season when they ended Hibernians’ domestic dominance by completing a league and cup double. 

Both players excelled last season with defender Said earning a double nomination for the best MFA Best Women’s League Player and MFPA Best Female Player while forward Teuma scored seven goals in 22 appearances for the club.

“The two aspects on which we have put a lot of focus were the physical and the tactical areas and I believe that if we play to our strength, we can leave our mark in the competition,” Bajada said.

Switzerland’s representatives Zurich are the favourites to top the group, being the most experienced team in this group.

Clinching domestic double last season, they went on to reach the last 16 of the competition, defeating Austrian champions Sturm Graz 9-0 on aggregate along the way before exiting Europe following their stern test against eventual winners Olympique Lyon.

The Swiss side boast huge international experience in their squad.

Their biggest name is undoubtedly Caroline Abbe who is the captain of Switzerland’s national team and led the side during this summer’s European Championships.

Moreover, they also have other members of the national team including Martina Moser and Fabienne Humm and also youth talents like Federica Cavicchia, who is part of Italy’s U-19 selection.  The other experienced side in the group is Minsk of Belarus.

The Belorussians are a powerhouse in their domestic scene and an occasional figure in the latter stages of the competition as well, having also reached the last 32 last year.

They are currently leading the national championship with maximum spoils, paving their way for a fifth straight title.

Hosts Ljubljana, on the other hand, will be featuring in their maiden European competition having pulled an upset in halting Pomurje’s dominance on the national platform last season.

Sign up to our free newsletters

Get the best updates straight to your inbox:
Please select at least one mailing list.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By subscribing, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing.