This weekend’s Tippeliga preview contains pollen allergy, diving, a first mention of NFN’s smug-o-meter, an injured Jesus look-alike, stripping and the possibility of a sporting director going into orbit. What more could you possibly want?
Molde (1st) – Viking (11th)
As the Norwegian end of NFN well knows, it’s simply impossible to make pollen allergy sound butch. Molde-defender Vegar Forren has given it a right good go though, telling TV2 that “when the birch is in bloom, I’m not”. The talented youngster has blamed that pesky pollen for his poor performances this season, a tactic NFN has been using for years. After Monday’s dive-tastic performance against Fredrikstad, the Viking-players have been told in no uncertain terms that they have to stop falling over for no reason: “Viking-players should stay on their feet more,” herr Uwe said after the game. Watch a video-compilation of Viking-players mysteriously losing their footing here.
Fredrikstad (4th) – Aalesund (7th)
He returns! Fredrikstad-manager Anders Grönhagen is back in town after having an operation on something that, without going into medical details, could have evolved into a rather nasty cancer. Having overcome that obstacle, the Swede now has to tackle the rather more trivial problem that no less than ten of his first team players are free to sign a pre-contract with another club in a fewmonths’ time. Because footballers all have hearts of gold, none of them will probably mind taking a massive pay-cut to stay at the club*.
*Might not be true
Lyn (6th) – Sandefjord (10th)
In every round there one or two games that is very hard for neutrals to get excited about. They very frequently involve Lyn. This is strange really, because the Oslo-outfit have a bunch of interesting young players who, when they hit form, should be terrific to watch. Also, when that happens, Lyn can sell them, which will solve their financial difficulties once and for all*.
*Might not be true
Odd Grenland (5th) – Vålerenga (13th)
Even if his general demeanor is off the charts on NFN’s smug-o-meter, you have to give Odd-manager Dag-Eilev Fagermo a lot of credit for how good his team has looked so far this season. Picking up players like Simen Brenne and Alex Valencia on the cheap and getting Peter Kovacs to perform consistently in the Tippeliga, it’s all very impressive. In fact, it’s such an impressive feat you forget just how annoying he is*.
*Definitely isn’t true
Start (9th) – Tromsø (3rd)
But no! Drug-fiend, Jesus look-alike and occasional midfielder Erik “Myggen” Mykland’s comeback could be off yet again, as the 37 year old has, you guessed it, picked up another minor injury, his 587th of the season so far. The other Start-players, who have all done a mightily impressive job so far this season, must be getting rather annoyed that the only person the press seem to care about is a guy who can’t even play. Up in Tromsø, midfielder Joel Lindpere has been fined 7500 by the Norwegian football federation for giving Brann-fans the finger. If the same rules applied to NFN, the financing of the proposed new 50,000-seater stadium in Oslo would be sorted instantly.
Update: But yes! Myggen has passed a late fitness test and WILL make his comeback in the Tippeliga after. Which probably just means that he’ll be wheeled out and run around for a good 60 minutes before he’ll go off with his 588th minor injury of the season.
Strømsgodset (16th) – Stabæk (8th)
Godset-manager Ronny Deila, the youngest and one of the cleverest managers in the league, has told VG that he’ll take off most of his clothes if Strømsgodset stay up. It’s hard to say what kind of effect that’ll have on anything, but the possibility of it catching on is a concern. Especially since Tom “Keiko” Nordlie could be back in the Tippeliga next year with Kongsvinger.
Lillestrøm (14th) – Rosenborg (2nd)
Speaking of Keiko, the former Lillestrøm-manager must be feeling a bit jealous of Henning Berg right now. When Lillestrøm were winless and struggling at this point last season everyone went off the rails and demanded his departure, while no one really seem to care that Henning Berg’s Lillestrøm have now gone five games without recording their first win of the season. “It was more chaotic back then. The players were stressed out and nervous,” says Bjørn Helge Riise, who was probably too injured at the time to be either.
Bodø/Glimt (12th) – Brann (15th)
There is a school of thought amongst Brann-fans that every problem the club has could be easily solved by strapping their sporting director Roald Bruun-Hanssen to a rocket and blasting him into outer space. Even though his decision to spend a good 10million on Demba last season played a significant part in bringing about the current meltdown of the world economy*, we’re not quite sure how his departure, however entertaining, would solve any of Brann’s problems on the pitch.
*Could be true