• 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:

Don't miss...X
Left Right

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
Thunderstorms replace Swedish heatwave
The Viking Lines ferry pictured was ripped away from the dock as a result of the storm. Per Gustavsson / TT

Thunderstorms replace Swedish heatwave

UPDATED: The Swedish summer was brought to a halt on Sunday as thunderstorms caused chaos in Stockholm with further inclement weather forecast for the week ahead. READ  

Cops looking for dead woman's partner
Police carry out a technical examination following the discovery of a woman's dead body in Ystad on July 26th 2014. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Cops looking for dead woman's partner

Police in southern Sweden are eager to speak to the partner of a 43-year-old woman who was found dead in an apartment on Saturday. Elsewhere in the south a 26-year-old man was arrested in Malmö on suspicion of carrying out a string of shootings. READ  

Gaza crisis delaying case of murdered child
Protesters gather in Malmö for a pro-Gaza demonstration on July 26th 2014. Stig-Åke Jönsson / TT

Gaza crisis delaying case of murdered child

The ongoing conflict in the middle east is delaying the investigation into the death of an 8-year-old girl who was found dead in Sweden in May. Meanwhile, over a 1,000 people attended a pro-Gaza march in Malmö. READ  

Politician reported for selling 'negro ball'
A selection of Swedish chocolate balls. Leif R Jansson/TT

Politician reported for selling 'negro ball'

UPDATED: The Afro-Swedish national association has reported Swedish politician Eva Sidekrans to the police for selling chocolate balls labelled as "old fashioned unprejudiced negro ball" saying it incites racial hatred. She has since apologized. READ  

'Dead' Swede's damages claim killed off

'Dead' Swede's damages claim killed off

A 36-year-old woman in central Sweden who was listed as deceased by the tax office has lost her claim for damages after the Chancellor of Justice rejected her demand for compensation. READ  

Five dead in 'black Friday' drownings
A life ring pictured in Stockholm. Maja Suslin/TT

Five dead in 'black Friday' drownings

Five people died in drowning related incidents on Friday, further raising the death toll of those lost in the water in July. READ  

Swedes insist EU prioritize environment

Swedes insist EU prioritize environment

An EU public opinion poll released on Friday revealed that Sweden is the only nation which thinks the environment should be a top priority for the union. READ  

Police turn blind eye to Swedish 'slave trade'
File photo: TT

Police turn blind eye to Swedish 'slave trade'

Police in Gothenburg have confirmed that sex trafficking in the city has developed into a full-blown slave trade - but that they lack the resources to do anything about it. READ  

Pirate Bay inmate claims religious persecution
Photo: TT/The Missionary Church of Kopimism

Pirate Bay inmate claims religious persecution

Peter Sunde has complained that his religious rights have been impinged after he was refused permission to meet a representative of a church inspired by the keyboard shortcuts for cut and paste. READ  

Stockholm 'bomb man' jailed and deported
Police at the scene of the threat in June. Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Stockholm 'bomb man' jailed and deported

The 43-year-old man who threatened Stockholm's Gamla Stan with a bomb in June was sentenced on Friday to two years in jail, followed by deportation. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Top ten Swedish taboos
Society
Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
Politics
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Society
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
Blog updates

24 July

Sharing our Pride: Celebrating Love & the LGBT Community! (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"It’s mid- July in Stockholm, and with much of the city on vacation, things can seem a little quiet – the streets, the bus, and the grocery store. One thing that has not paused for a summer break, though, is preparation for Stockholm’s Pride Festival, which will take place from July 28 to August 2...." READ »

 

22 July

Det (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! “Det” is a personal pronoun that can be used in many ways, and it might me confusing if you always translate “det” to English “it”. In this article I will do my best to guide you to how to use “det”. Det replacing a word, a phrase or a clause Let us begin with the less confusing..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Society
What's On in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching July 23
National
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
Gallery
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Society
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Gallery
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Tech
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
Lifestyle
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching July 15-16
Photo: Ola Ericson/Image Bank Sweden
Society
What's On in Sweden
Photo: Lisa Mikulski
National
Hope springs eternal for expat pet shop owner
Gallery
Princess Estelle steals limelight at mum's birthday
National
Swedes risk infants' lives by covering up prams
National
Swede runs for office just using Bitcoin funds
Gallery
People-watching July 11-13
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing 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

723
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
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
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