Doing Goals

The English Blog on Swedish Football

Posts Tagged ‘Superettan’

Two Games Left

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Since the last update, the title race between Malmö and Helsingborg remains the same, although it has taken some unpredictable turns. In early October, Helsingborg lost their first home game of the season to Gais, while Malmö increased their goal difference with a 3-0 thumping of Trelleborg. However a fortnight later, after the international break, Helsingborg became the first team all season to beat Elfsborg in Borås, winning 1-3. Meanwhile Malmö lost their first home game of the season, going down to Kalmar 0-1. Both sides recorded healthy wins this weekend, meaning the title race will go down to the last weekend of the season. As it stands both sides are level on points but Malmö’s goal difference is better by 8 goals. Helsingborg must play Halmstad away and Kalmar at home. Malmö have BP away and Mjällby at home. Keep November 7th free because the last game of the season is going to be a corker!

Swedish football also made a rare appearance in the British media last week, although unfortunately for the wrong reasons. An article on AIK’s recent hooligan problem featured on the Guardian’s football website. Like many of the people who posted comments after the article, I think Sweden’s supposed ‘problem’ has been hugely exaggerated…but I suppose when the quality of football isn’t worth writing about you’ve got to find something else to write about instead. Having said that, within days of the article’s publication AIK away fans were accused of physically threatening Halmstad players, suggesting they’re not too fussed about adverse publicity abroad.

AIK have spent of the season in the relegation zone, but by winning their last two games, they have managed to pull themselves free. Which is more than can be said for BP who look almost certain to go down. Gelfe’s 1-0 win over fellow struggles Gais last Sunday has given them slim hope but with games against Djurgården and IFK Göteborg, they’ll struggle to get the points to pull themselves up. Åtvidaberg, AIK, Halmstad and Gais will all be desperately trying to salvage any point they can in the next two games to avoid the relegation play off.

Regardless of who ends up going down, we at least now know who will be replacing them with the Superettan season concluding last weekend. Syrianska, the club started by Syriac immigrants in Södertälje back in 1977, won the competition and will be playing in the Allsvenskan for the first time in their short history. Due to their Syriac roots, they’ve built up a cult following that extends all over the world, and no doubt their fans will add some much-needed colour to the top division next season.

IFK Norrköping, who have been on top most of the season, will also be promoted. Unlike Syrianska they have a long history in the Allsvenskan, and played their as recently as 2008. GIF Sundsvall will get the chance to win promotion through a play-off against the third last team in the Allsvenskan.

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The Super Ones

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

I know this review is a little late, but in case you didn’t notice, last weekend saw the kick-off of the Superettan, Sweden’s second division. The competition comprises of 16 teams, with the top two automatically getting promoted to the Allsvenskan, with third entering a two-leg play-off against the Allsvenskan’s third last team.

Overall the competition is relatively even and having watched very little Superettan matches in the past I’m reluctant to offer my own predictions. However from what I gather from the pundits the consensus seems to be that the Superettan title will most likely be won by one of four key contenders: Hammarby, Örgyte, Assyriska and Syrianska.

The first two, Hammarby and Örgyte, would ordinarily consider inclusion in the Allsvenskan as their birthright. But both were dismal last season and found themselves getting relegated (and Djurgården were lucky not to join them). Admittedly ÖIS spent seasons 2007 and 2008 in this division and supporters are disappointed to seem themselves back here so soon. As for Hammarby, their relegation comes just when their long-suffering supporters thought they’d finally consolidated their Allsvenskan status.

Both sides have successfully kept their squads together and will be hoping for a quick promotion straight back up, Unlike many other European competitions, relegated teams in Sweden don’t seem to have the same pressure to sell players. ÖIS’ Alvaro Santos was determined to leave, obviously thinking the Superettan was beneath him, but with no club willing or able to make an offer, he’ll be stuck in the second tier.

Also amongst the favourites are Assyriska and Syrianska. Both come from Södertälje, and both have been built out of migrant communities, but expect some serious animosity between these two as they’ll both be competing for a precious spot in the Allsvenskan. Assyriska have finished in the top four in the past two seasons, and last season only missed out after losing on away goals in a spiteful match against Djurgården. They’ve recruited well over the winter, including Turkey’s Eris Ceyhun who has played for Fehnerbahce and Galatasaray. However not to be out done Syrianska have made one of the biggest signings in the Superettan in Nigerian striker Peter Ijeh, formerly of Malmö FF and IFK Göteborg.

One other team that will be closely watched will be Landskrona and their new manager Henrik Larsson. As one of Sweden’s most loyal servants a lot of people want to see him do well. And as is the case with many high profile players who enter management, many even assume he’s a great manager. Before Landskrona’s first match he was being linked to the vacant manager’s job at former club Celtic. I for one am actually quite cynical about Larsson’s managerial aspirations for the simple reason that players blessed with his sort of natural talent generally make poor managers. But I’d love to be proved wrong.

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