The title may well be sitting pretty securely in Rosenborg’s pocket, but there’s are still plenty of juicy bits left in the stew that is the Tippeliga. In this weekend’s preview the mystery behind Mad Martin’s continued employment is revealed, there are still no offers for Brann’s girly forward while Fredrikstad hire everyone’s favorite space hopper-shaped manager in a desperate bid to avoid relegation..
Vålerenga (11th) – Molde (2nd)
Last week we reported that the main reason Martin Andresen is still at Vålerenga is that the club’s financial backers still support him, even if hardly anyone else do. On the surface this seems peculiar, why is Mad Martin so popular with the moneybags? Aren’t these guys supposed to be hard-boiled, results-orientated businessmen? Then, this week it emerged that if Vålerenga sack Mad Martin the club would have to pay him a whopping 10 million kr in parachute payments. That would explain it.
Tromsø (9th) – Fredrikstad (14th)
After slipping into the relegation-zone last week, all sorts of alarm-bells went off in Fredrikstad. And when you’re a Norwegian club fearing relegation, there’s really only one number to call: That of Tom “Keiko” Nordlie. Shaped roughly like a space hopper, Nordlie has become something of an expert at rescuing clubs from relegation woes after saving Viking’s bacon back in 2006 and then last year keeping Kongsvinger in the Adeccoliga against all odds. On the other hand he is slightly mad, and whenever he’s spent a considerable length of time at a single club he’s ended up falling out with pretty much everyone. Consider him somewhat of a Norwegian Barry Fry. This could get interesting.
Strømsgodset (15th) – Odd Grenland (3rd)
Another team that’s made changes with a view to avoiding relegation is Strømsgodset, who have gone down the slightly more unorthodox route of getting in 37 year old former Rosenborg defender Vidar Riseth. Unable to get a game at Lillestrøm, Riseth has taken a pay-cut to join Ronny Deila’s delicious disciples. In addition to being a raving lunatic who will get on everybody’s nerves, Riseth knows absolutely every dirty trick in the book and might just give Godset a much needed edge in their fight for Tippeliga survival.
Viking (7th) – Sandefjord (8th)
Sandefjord continue to defy odds and continue to be a stellar example that football is about more than having better players than the other team. If the individual abilities of your players were the only deciding factor of this sport then Sandefjord would be relegated by now, but in terms of teamwork, tactical discipline and pure determination they are surely amongst the best in the league. Viking’s expensively assembled squad on the other hand continue to underperform, but pick up just enough points here and there to make their manager Uwe Rösler’s continued employment vaguely justifiable.
Aalesund (12th) – Bodø/Glimt (13th)
NFN-favorite Kjetil Rekdal continued his confusing spell of not saying anything particularly offensive this week, and apart from some sniffy comments regarding the difficulties involved with attracting top players to Aalesund he hasn’t been very unhappy about anything either. One suspects though that he’s only luring us all into a false sense of security, before suddenly rocking up at a press conference near you, accusing Steffen Iversen of being a glue-sniffer before punching Bengt Eriksen in the head and moon-walking out of the room. One can but dream.
Start (6th) – Brann (5th)
Manager Bjarne Berntsen caused much confusion this week when he called up Erik Huseklepp to the Norwegian women’s team.. nope, sorry, that’s me daydreaming again. In spite of much speculation, largely fueled by his agent, it appears that Brann’s feminine frontman will be staying put after all. Apparently no bids have been received, and this is unlikely to change over the weekend. Good news not only for Brann who would be a bit buggered without him, but also for neutrals as he is one of the few players in the league capable of truly special things.
Rosenborg (1st) – Lyn (16th)
The phrase “top versus bottom” doesn’t really cut it as undefeated Rosenborg take on two wins in twenty two games Lyn. Of course, Rosenborg being Rosenborg, this will probably just be yet another unconvincing 1-0 win and not the smackdown the gulf between the sides would suggest..
Lillestrøm (10th) – Stabæk (4th)
Slowly but surely Stabæk have made their way up the table, and having saved several of their big hitters from this Thursday’s inevitable defeat against Valencia they should be fresh and ready for this one. Lillestrøm for their part have launched a cheeky bid for two of Lyn’s promising youngsters, but surprisingly the cash-craving club declined. “I thought this would be important to Lyn in the situation they are in” LSK-manager Henning Berg sniffed, seemingly surprised that his old club didn’t want to sell him two of their seven* remaining players.
*might not be an accurate figure