• Sweden edition
 
Allsvenskan football 2012: a season preview
Häcken's Makondele above Kalmar's Sobralense in the last game of the 2011 season

Allsvenskan football 2012: a season preview

Published: 28 Mar 2012 15:31 GMT+02:00
Updated: 28 Mar 2012 15:31 GMT+02:00

For non-Swedes, especially those who come from traditional football powerhouses such as England, Spain or Germany, the standard of Swedish domestic football can be depressing. But as I stress every year, the Allsvenskan is one of the most open and competitive competitions in Europe.

In stark contrast to so many other leagues, no one team dominates, and its been nearly a decade since a reigning champion has been able to defend their title. With at least five teams harbouring realistic expectations of challenging for SM Guld, 2012 will be no different.

The Contenders

Over the winter break, IFK Göteborg has been busy rebuilding their squad after two seasons of underachievement. New arrivals include Daniel Sobralense, John Alvbåge, Pontus Farnerud, Nordin Gerzić and Kjetil Wæhler.

Most of the new recruits might be past their peak, but at this level, they represent good signings, and form a nucleus of a brand new team. Generally, when Swedish teams do go on a spending spree like this, it gets results – firstly a league title, quickly followed by bankruptcy.

Elfsborg has been the most consistent team in Sweden of late, finishing in the top four for the past six seasons. Yet in that time they’ve only won one league title, in 2006. They have a strong squad with some talented players, and not surprisingly they once again start the season as one of the favourites. In the past their downfall has been their inconsistency and inability to finish games off, but with a new manager, maybe that’s all about to change?

The standout side in 2011 was Helsingborg, who led the Allsvenskan for almost the entire season, and managed to clinch the title with games in hand. Not many pundits expect them to defend their title since they lost a number of key players in midseason. However in the second half of the year, they still fielded a strong and consistent side, and they’re not likely to drop many points in 2012 either.

Another contender, and my personal tip, is Malmö FF. The 2010 champions were hampered by injuries and a change of manager in 2011, but had returned to form by end of the season.

They still have some good young players in their squad – such as Ivo Pekalski, Jimmy Durmaz, Jiloan Hamad and Daniel Larsson – who will lift Malmö if they can regain their 2010 form.

And finally AIK is a potential dark horse. There were times in 2011 when they looked unbeatable, and were one of the few sides to outplay Helsingborg.

They have a good solid backline, and if new signing Celso Borges can fill the big empty space left by Mohamad and Teteh Bangura, they’ll once again be hovering around the top of the table.

The stragglers

The competition at the bottom of the table is likely to be as intense as that at the top, with six teams who will consider 2012 a good season if they manage to survive. Newly promoted Åtvidaberg FF and GIF Sundsvall are obvious candidates, along with IFK Norrköping and Syrianska, both of whom were only promoted in 2010, and Mjällby who were promoted in 2009.

However, I’m also sure that at least one of these sides will surprise everyone and push up the table. This time last year Gelfe were favourites to go down, but in the first half of the season, defied all expectations to maintain a top five position. Mjällby and Trelleborg did the same in 2010.

But Gelfe fell apart after the summer break, Trelleborg were relegated last season, and Mjällby spent most of 2011 in the drop zone.

Each of these six sides is basically made up of journeymen and obscure youngsters. For one of them, everything might come together nicely, but it’s anyone’s guess which one it will be.

The rest

That just leaves five more teams, who shouldn’t fear relegation but are not likely to challenge for the title either.

Örebro has made some steady progress over the past few seasons, but losing key players over the break has set them back, and will make it hard for them to push beyond mid-table.

Defying all expectations, Häcken now looks like an established top-flight side. Key to their success has been their ability to rejuvenate the careers of discards from other clubs. If they can do the same for new signing Andreas Drugge, after an unsuccessful stint at IFK Göteborg, then they can once again challenge for a European spot.

For Gais, 2011 was their highest finish for over twenty years, made even sweeter by the fact they beat archrivals IFK Göteborg.

Many Gaisare fear that 2012 can’t possibly be any better, but for as long as they can keep Wanderson (arguably the competition’s best player), they’re capable of beating anyone in the league. And if Mervan Celik returns after his brief stint at Glasgow Rangers, then they could even push for top four.

Kalmar continues their slow decline since winning the league in 2008, this time loosing Daniel Sobralense and Ricardo Santos. But their strong home record at their new stadium ensures they’ll be safe from relegation.

Djurgården has looked very average over the past few seasons, but manager Magnus Pehrsson has been busy over the winter break, building up a new team and rejuvenating his squad. His new singings aren’t as exciting as IFK Göteborg’s, but they should be good enough to survive in a comfortable mid-table position.

Final note

There is no escaping the fact that in terms of playing standards and financial muscle, Swedish clubs cannot compete with the rest of Europe.

Any Swedish club that qualifies for a European competition is likely to be knocked out before the end of August, and even the biggest clubs will struggle to keep their players once the transfer window opens up.

But it’s also these characteristics that keep the league so open and competitive.

Consequently making predictions is incredibly difficult. It’s so unpredictable that I wouldn’t be surprised if IFK Göteborg or Elfsborg end up mid-table, and Gelfe pushes into the top three.

I hope you keep this in mind when my predictions are inevitably proven misplaced. But as a regular follower of the Allsvenskan over the past six seasons, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Nic Townsend

Related links:

Your comments about this article

07:54 March 30, 2012 by stabbull
As a regular striktipseter, i agree strongly with ur last two paragraphs. Dont be suprised when ur predictions are ultimately proven misplaced. In this league, u just got to stick with the draws. speaking from a gamblers perspective :-)
Today's headlines
National
Swedish Saab plant sheds a third of workers
Workers at the Saab plant in Trollhättan. Photo: TT

Swedish Saab plant sheds a third of workers

Swedish car maker Saab has announced it has axed 155 workers, close to a third of its workforce. READ  

International
Sweden's 'most dangerous art' on sale
A Danish site is selling the works that the Swedish state wants destroyed. Screenshot: www.entartetekunst.dk

Sweden's 'most dangerous art' on sale

Work by controversial jailed Swedish artist Dan Park is on sale online and could reach a gallery in Copenhagen, despite a previous exhibition being pulled. READ  

Society
Sweden is 'second best' place to grow old
Pensioners in Sweden. Photo: TT

Sweden is 'second best' place to grow old

Sweden has dropped to second place in an annual index measuring the quality of life of elderly people in 96 countries around the world. READ  

National
Top Swedish skier killed in Chile avalanche
Andreas Fransson, left. Photo: Markus Alatalo

Top Swedish skier killed in Chile avalanche

UPDATED: The bodies of two of the world's top skiers, Sweden's Andreas Fransson and JP Auclair from Canada, were found on Tuesday after they were reported missing in an avalanche in the Andes. READ  

Politics
Coalition promise to boost welfare and jobs
Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven. Photo: TT

Coalition promise to boost welfare and jobs

UPDATED: The Social Democrats and the Greens have agreed to raise unemployment payments and promised to create more jobs in the construction industry, The Local has learned. READ  

National
Ikea recalls elk pasta
Two types of pasta are affected. Photo: IKEA

Ikea recalls elk pasta

Ikea has pulled two different types of elk-shaped pasta from its stores in Sweden. READ  

Presented by Regus
How to get your own great office in Stockholm
A woman using a Regus workspace. Photo: Regus

How to get your own great office in Stockholm

Stockholm's business climate is hotter than ever, which leaves start-ups and business travellers hunting high and low for flexible office space. The solution is easier than they think. READ  

National
King Carl XVI Gustaf opens parliament
King Carl XVI Gustaf arriving on Tuesday afternoon. Photo: TT

King Carl XVI Gustaf opens parliament

BREAKING: Sweden's post-election parliament is meeting for the first time following a fanfare opening from King Carl XVI Gustaf. READ  

Opinion
Should Sweden's school age be raised?
A high school in Stockholm. Photo: TT

Should Sweden's school age be raised?

After the new coalition announced plans to extend Sweden's compulsory schooling until the age of 18, The Local asked two Swedes at high school if they agreed with the idea. READ  

Brand stories
JohannaN: beautiful jewellery with a story

JohannaN: beautiful jewellery with a story

Just 27 and already living off of her own designs, some may consider Johanna Nilsson lucky. But she doesn't believe in luck. She's the founder of a jewellery line blending sustainability, subtle style, and Scandinavian simplicity - and it's taking the world by storm. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Apology for Swedish model's stolen photos
Politics
New coalition agrees on defence and migration
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Botkyrka
Education
New government to make school compulsory to 18
Politics
Sweden Democrat wins Deputy Speaker spot
Blog updates

28 September

Spoiled Doyle (Blogweiser) »

"What you gotta watch out for in Sweden is the good stuff. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re_EzUe6xpI In Sweden, it’s the good things you have to watch out for. Video on @TheLocalSweden http://t.co/rAb8eGFdTD pic.twitter.com/w37YYwMXy1 — Joel Sherwood (@joeldsherwood) September 29, 2014 " READ »

 

26 September

 (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Autumn swept into Sweden at the start of this week with snow in the north of the country and flooding in the south. As well as a change in the weather, Sweden’s change in political direction became clearer, with Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven formally announcing his party would work with the Greens as..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Swedish scientists sneak Bob Dylan lyrics into articles
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Gallery
People-watching: September 28th
National
When Italian style meets Swedish simplicity
Lifestyle
Review: Sweden's first alcohol-free nightclub
Gallery
In Pictures: The MS Estonia disaster
Lifestyle
Ten things expat women notice in Sweden
Politics
What's next on Sweden's political stage?
Gallery
Sweden's 2014 election: Most memorable moments
Society
What's on in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 24th
Seaman Oliver Gee with his first lobster
Lifestyle
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Gallery
In Pictures: Fredrik Reinfeldt through the years.
Society
Plucked out of Canada for love and guitars
Politics
How Sweden Democrats went mainstream
Politics
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

852
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN