Denmark: Superliga begins with the usual suspects as favourites
The new Danish Superliga begins this weekend and many people will be wondering if there is anybody who can stop FC København (FCK) from claiming another championship. The capital club, formed as recently as 1992 due to a merger between traditional clubs KB Copenhagen and B1903, have won the championship eight times in their history but it is in the last decade where they have maintained a stranglehold of domestic dominance winning the title seven times since 2001 including four of the last five championships, only AaB Aalborg interrupting their run in the 2007-08 season. Can coach Ståle Solbakken keep the title at Parken Stadion or will one of the other teams finally achieve some league glory of their own?
The league programme kicks off on Saturday in Odense where local club OB, runners up for the last two seasons, will meet Esbjerg fB with the home side most people’s tip to be the team that can end FCK dominance. With former Manchester United players Roy Carroll and Eric Djemba-Djemba, last season’s top scorer Peter Utaka and former AC Milan star Thomas Helveg in the team there is plenty of experience for De Stribede who are an ambitious club but have been starved of success in recent years save for a couple of Danish Cup triumphs in 2002 and 2009. However it is a first league title since 1989 that the third-city club are craving whilst their opponents Esbjerg last won the title over thirty years ago and finished a respectable fourth place last season but were a distant eighteen points behind the champions in the process.
Before FCK came along there was only one team in Denmark who were well known outside of their home country and that was Brøndby IF. The club who gave the world such great players as Peter Schmeichel, Kim Vilfort and the Laudrup brothers have been, by their own high standards, unsuccessful since they achieved the Danish league and cup double in the 2004-05 season. With only the Danish Cup of 2007-08 to show for their efforts since many feel it’s about time that Brøndby IF supplied a major title challenge again and having finished in third place last season they will hope to start this time around with a good win over Randers FC, a small club from northern Jutland who survived in the Superliga by the skin of their teeth having finished just a mere two points ahead of relegated Aarhus GF.
As for the champions they begin their title defence with an away game at SønderjyskE, a team who have just about survived in the top flight since their promotion from Denmark’s 1st Division in 2007-08. The last two seasons have seen the team from southern Jutland (hence the name) finish in tenth and ninth places and their target for this season will be something along the lines of mid-table security. In Zealand, the island on which the capital Copenhagen is located, FC Nordsjælland will face off against Silkeborg IF with both teams fully aware that there was very little other than goal difference separating the two teams last season although in their head-to-head meetings in the 2009-10 season FCN won two of the three games so will have that little advantage going into today’s game in the city of Farum.
The remaining two games in Matchday 1 involve last season’s promoted teams AC Horsens and Lyngby BK. The former went up as last season’s 1st Division champions having pipped the latter to the title by four points. Both teams, who have replaced Aarhus GF and HB Køge in the Superliga, will play against FC Midtjylland and AaB Aalborg respectively upon their return to the top flight. AC Horsens, back in the Superliga after just one season away, will play their first game at home on Sunday whilst Lyngby BK will complete the round of games upon facing the 2007-08 champions from Aalborg on Monday night.
SUPERLIGA FIXTURES – MATCHDAY 1
17/07/2010 Odense Boldklub v Esbjerg fB
18/07/2010 AC Horsens v FC Midtjylland
18/07/2010 Randers FC v Brøndby IF
18/07/2010 FC Nordsjælland v Silkeborg IF
18/07/2010 SønderjyskE v FC København
19/07/2010 Lyngby BK v AaB Aalborg
WATCH VIDEO OF FC KØBENHAVN’S 2009-10 FINAL DAY TITLE TRIUMPH HERE: