The Allsvenskan league is coming to it’s final stage with a game for all or nothing, between IFK Goteborg and AIK.
Two of the BIg Three in Sweden (along with Malmo) are meeting in a true Superclassico worthy of a comparison with the biggest encounters like Barcelona vs Real or Liverpool vs Manchester and what is a better venue than the Ullevi stadium, the home ground of IFK Goteborg (the biggest outdoor stadium in Sweden).
AIK, the club who have played the most seasons in the Allsvenskan, are top of the table with one point ahead of their famous rivals from Goteborg. The two teams arrive at the final hurdle after Goteborg drew on their home turf against Halmstad and almost blew their title bid away, but a 70th minute own goal by AIK against Orebro meant that the 2009 Allsvenskan title will be decided in the most prestigious and exciting match of the season.
A match between AIK and IFK Goteborg is one of the bitterest of rivalries in Sweden outside of Stockholm probably the biggest. The two teams which are based in the two largest cities in Sweden (AIK from Stockholm and Goteborg from Guthenborg) haven’t had any major success in the league this decade until AIK finished runners up in 2006 and Goteborg were champions in 2007.
Gnaget opened their season with a new coach ,Mikael Stahre, the man who brought Vasby United(an AIK feeder club) from the 3rd tier of Swedish football to the 2nd. The start was excellent, come the start of may(after one month of regular football) finding themselves top of the league with 4 wins out of 6 (although their two losses came at their home ground, the Rasunda stadium, to Swedish top sides Malmo and Henrik Larsson’s Helsingborgs).
In May AIK were a bit dire, only winning 3 matches out of 6 and were 6th place but won their away game at the best Swedish team of the past decade, Djurgardens. Gnaget were back in action in July after the June break, drawing against Orebro and won their next game against Goteborg (can this be a sign?). For 4 months,AIK were unbeaten between the end of may and the end of September, until another loss to Helsingborgs, who won 3-2 after a brace from Henrik Larsson (who retired on October 28th after Helsingborgs 2-0 home defeat against to Djurgardens.
One of the key men for AIK this season is Argentinian striker Ivan Obolo, scoring 9 goals in the league and an amazing scorcher from 35 yards in the start of the season against Djurgarden. Obolo significance is high due to his important goals, class and flair that are shown regularly on the pitch and obviously caught the eye of scouts in Germany and Italy. Fellow Argentinian Jorge Ortiz is a key player in Stahle’s first team and is considered one of the best holding midfielders in the league. Another key man is Daniel Orlund, AIK’s man between the posts and the main reason for the low number of conceded goals by AIK. On the wings we can find two tenacious defenders in Markus Jonsson who has a 100% penalty conversion through his professional career and the English Jenny Pavey.
But the King of AIK is definitely Daniel Tjernstrom, the captain of the club. At 35 years of age, he participated in the highs of the 1999 cup win and the 1999 runners up position, and the lows during the dark years when AIK were relegated in 2004 and got promotion quickly in 2005.
The most hounored club in Sweden and the most supported one throughout it is once again an inch away of a championship.
The club performance was mediocre in recent years compared to the fantastic 90’s when they won 6 championships and the 80’s when they won 2 championships and their famous brace of UEFA cup wins in 82′ and 87′.
The club managed to put in a good season with the best record at home games in the league being unbeaten with 11 wins out of 14 (before today’s title decider). Goteborg started the season a bit unstable with losses against Helsingborgs and a 4-1 defeat to Hacken but made an excellent result thrashing by Djurgardans 6-1. May came and Goteborg played great, apart from the loss to Elfsborg 2-0 and managed to build a 5 game win streak until the draw with Halmstad in early July, which preceded the defeat to AIK at the Rasunda stadium.The European exit came after a 3-1 defeat at Ullevi to Israeli club Hapoel Tel Aviv and two draws against Helsingborgs and Djurgardens meant that Goteborg were having a bit of a rough time, dropping to as low as 9th in the league. But then came the 4-0 thrashing of Elfsborg with a brace from Hannes Stiller and a great goal from Tobias Hysen, pushing IFK back to fourth by the end of September.
Stefan Rehn and Jonas Olsson are joint managers of the club after playing together in the early 90’s for Kamraterna( Goteborg’s nickname) achieving honors with the club, and may once again lead the team to glory although now as coaches and continue their success after the 2007 championship.
Tobias Hysen, the son of Glen Hysen, the former Liverpool striker, is the Allsvenskan leading goalscorer, and leads the club offensive line to being one of the deadliest in the league. the club’s keeper is Kim Christiansen who last September was the star of a controversy – it was discovered that he kicks the goal posts to make the goal smaller, despite of that (or due to that?) he is hailed one of the best keepers in Sweden. The club’s two rocks at the back are Sigoroson, the Icelandic gem, and Karl Svensson (who was linked at succeeding Alexandersson as club captain) the former Ibrox inhabitant.
In terms of hooliganism the game today will be in the spotlight because of the heavy animosity between Ratta( the derogatory term for AIK fans) and Anglarna (which is one of the eldest supporters’ club in Sweden). /in 2002 a clash between the supporters led to the first Swede getting killed in a hooligan clash who was an IFK Goteborg supporter. Hopefully today’s match won’t result in such an outcome, though it’s very likely the ground and it’s surrounding will see a fair share of rioting.
So what’s expected today? A match between two old rivals from the two biggest cities in Wweden and only one will come out victorious and clinch the championship, can this be the first AIK championship since 1999 or the second title in 3 years for Kamraterna?