Scandinavia: FCK set the pace; summer champs round-up
Things already have a familiar look about them after just four matches in Denmark’s Superligaen whilst the summer championships of Norway, Sweden and Finland are starting to get interesting as they reach the final third of the season.
Any hope amongst the rest of the Superliga clubs that FK København would loosen their grip on the title early on will not have been helped by the champions’ unbeaten start to the new campaign. Following Ståle Solbakken’s departure for German Bundesliga club 1.FC Köln, new coach Roland Nilsson has had an encouraging start to life at the capital club. Following an opening day win against SønderjyskE, FCK drew with potential title contenders Odense Boldklub in their first home match of the season before putting FC Nordsjælland and HB Køge to the sword with back-to-back victories. The champions lead the table with ten points from their opening four matches but last season’s runners-up Odense Boldklub are amongst three clubs to be just two points behind the leaders along with AaB Aalborg, the last team to deprive FCK of the title in 2007-08, and AC Horsens.
Norwegian champions Rosenborg Trondheim have had an up-and-down kind of season in the Tippeligaen this time around and currently lie in eighth place twelve points behind leaders Molde FK albeit with two games in hand. The champions defeated the league leaders 3-2 in the most recent round of matches but any hopes of a comeback seem to be a little far-fetched at the moment. Molde FK lead the way with 38 points from 19 games with coach and former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjær doing well in his first full season in the dugout. Molde are closely followed by Brann Bergen (33 points) and Tromsø IL (32 points).
The Swedish Allsvenskan has become a two-horse race in recent weeks with Helsingborgs IF and IF Elfsborg pulling away from the chasing pack. Leaders Helsingborgs (45 points) currently hold a three point advantage over Elfsborg with both clubs enjoying good form with the former unbeaten since May and the latter June. With the two clubs due to meet in Elfsborg’s Borås Arena on September 21st it would set the title race up nicely if both of these teams were still making all of the running at that time.
In contrast the Finnish Veikkausliiga looks set to be heading its way to the capital yet again with defending champions HJK Helsinki topping the table with a nine point lead over Inter Turku although the former do have a game in hand. Both of the top two have lost three league matches so far but the difference in quality is in HJK’s ability to finish teams off consistently with the Helsinki giants failing to draw a single game all season, winning sixteen of their nineteen games thus far.