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Swedish football: The ultimate guide to the 2013 Allsvenskan

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Swedish football: The ultimate guide to the 2013 Allsvenskan
14:17 CET+01:00
With play in Sweden's top football league set to kick off at the weekend, contributor Nic Townsend offers the lowdown on each team and their chances of taking home the 2013 Allsvenskan title.

Throughout Europe it's still the middle of football season yet the competition is practically over. Manchester United, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Celtic and Juventus, have all but clinched their respective titles. But fortunately for football fans, Sweden's Allsvenskan, arguably the most open league in Europe, is kicking off this weekend.

After winning the Allsvenskan title last year, IF Elfsborg begins the new season as the clear favourite. They've certainly been the most consistent team over the past few years and on paper have the strongest squad.

That being said, it's important to bear in mind that six different teams have won the league in the last six years, with pre-season favourites often failing to live up to expectations.

In fact it's been a decade (Djurgården in 2003) since a team has managed defend their Allsvenskan title.

Unlike many of Europe's other top leagues, no one team has the financial clout to dominate. There are no billionaires distorting the competition by playing real life fantasy football. As soon as a club reaches a certain level of success, they're generally forced to sell their best players mid-season.

All these factors help keep the Allsvenskan competitive and unpredictable. Elfsborg might be the favourite, but both Malmö FF and AIK are not far behind.

Helsingborg, IFK Göteborg and most surprisingly of all, BK Häcken, also all have a very realistic chance of winning the league.

For a more detailed look at each team, their chances, as well as players to watch, click on the links below:

AIK

BK Häcken

Djurgården

Gefle IF

Halmstads BK

Helsingborg IF

IF Brommapojkarna

IF Elfsborg

IFK Göteborg

IFK Norrköping FK

Kalmar FF

Malmö FF

Mjällby AIF

Syrianska FC

Åtvidabergs FF

Östers IF

Nic Townsend

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