HJK attack with venom but do they have the defensive rigour to make it in Europe?

Tue, Jul 26, 2011

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HJK made Champions League history trashing Bangor City 13-0 on aggregate in the second round of the competition. Both the second leg 10-0 victory at home and aggregate result are the biggest goal-fests ever celebrated in the Champions League. The result is a remarkable achievement in its own right, especially by a team from Finland, but, in truth, Bangor never represented a real test for HJK.

HJK’s second round victory may not have sent a storm warning through Europe, but it must have caused a few eyebrows to rise, and not least in Zagreb. The Veikkausliiga leaders face Dinamo Zagreb in the first leg of the third round in Helsinki on Wednesday and the Croatians will be wary of the hosts’ attacking quality. However, by looking at the evidence from the Bangor match alone, they also must have a pretty good idea where HJK’s weaknesses lie. (more…)

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HJK-Inter preview

Fri, Jul 8, 2011

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HJK entertain Inter tonight in one of the most highly anticipated matches of the current campaign. Inter, second in the table, chase the hosts by seven points with a game in hand, so if the Turku team manage a victory in Helsinki all the talk of handing the Veikkausliiga trophy to HJK may just turn out to be premature.

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HJK-JJK preview

Sun, May 29, 2011

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The surprise Veikkausliiga leaders from Jyväskylä take on the reigning champions at the Sonera Stadium at 6:30pm tonight. JJK remain unbeaten with sixteen points after six matches while HJK sit third with twelve points. Therefore, even with a limited grasp of arithmetic, the hosts are in for a match they need to win. (more…)

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HJK-FF Jaro preview

Thu, May 19, 2011

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HJK host Jaro at the Sonera Stadium tonight at 6:30pm. The home side have recorded three straight victories (KuPS (H), Inter (H), VPS (A)) after the opening day defeat against TPS in Turku and sit second in the table, a point behind JJK. Jaro have also recovered from their dodgy start to the season, that saw them get beaten by biggest relegation favourites RoPS (A) and Haka (H), by taking all three points at TPS and drawing at home to KuPS. Jaro are seventh in the table ahead of today’s fixtures.  (more…)

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Galactic Order Has Been Restored – NFN’s Veikkausliiga Preview – Rankings

Sat, May 7, 2011

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Did you miss NFN’s three-part Veikkausliiga preview? Don’t worry, you can find it here, just click on the linka. Part I -Part IIPart III.

Nordic Football News has once again brought you the most definitive Veikkausliiga preview concievable. Now for the final part, our standings prediction. After much debate and wrangling, NFN Editor Egan Richardson had to step in to adjudicate the dispute, and this is our best combined estimate of how the season will unfold.

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Jar Jar Haka And The Phantom Menace – NFN’s Veikkausliiga Preview Part III – The Relegation Candidates

Fri, May 6, 2011

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And so we move to the not-so-business end of the table, the rear. It promises to be quite a battle, since so many clubs have been forced to cut costs amid financial turmoil.

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Who Gets Gunned Down By The Financial Death Star – NFN’s Veikkausliiga Preview, Part II – The Mid-Table

Fri, May 6, 2011

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The mid-table more than any other part of the league is defined by the financial nuclear winter and different ways to approach it. Let the carnage ensue!

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There Will Be No Return Of The Jedi In This Universe – NFN’s Veikkausliiga Preview 2011

Fri, May 6, 2011

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It’s time for the annual NFN Veikkausliiga preview. As with last year, a three part preview, starting with the title contenders. Want to guess who we think will win?

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Will Finland Fall Victim To Mixu Paatelainen’s Stand Up Comedy Routine?

Mon, Apr 4, 2011

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So far in his managerial career, Mixu Paatelainen has employed a tested and true stage performers mentality: always leave on a high note. How will that affect his tenure with Finland?

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White Girls Can’t Dance

Wed, Mar 30, 2011

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Let’s not get carried away by the shock of the match-fixing scandal. A cap on foreign players in Veikkausliiga isn’t the answer.

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Veikkausliiga Transfer Merry-go-round: Inter and MIFK keep busy, while Korkeakunnas builds his Helsinki colony at MyPa

Thu, Mar 3, 2011

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The 2011 Veikkausliiga season kicks-off in two months so let’s not waste any time trying to make up witty introductions to the ever so fascinating world of Veikkausliiga transfer tittle-tattle and instead, mimicking the transfer market behaviour of most Finnish top tier teams, the Merry-go-round is just going to plunge in among the transfers news and take any piece it can get its hands on.

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Veikkausliiga Transfer Merry-go-round: HJK already look ready for the new season, while near-relegated JJK are thinking too big for their own good

Wed, Jan 12, 2011

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When you go for a Sunday stroll around the Finnish transfer circus  at this time of the year, in this bleak financial and meteorological climate, you would expect to see a sad merry-go-round sitting stranded in the cold, transfer ponies buried under five feet of snow, emptiness echoing in the absence of laughter, shrieks of joy and the sound of little feet of transfer rumours scampering merrily around the ride. But no, the Transfer Merry-go-round is already set in motion and taking on not only those little rumours but grown-up transfers as well. So on for the ride we go as we try to make up for the time we have lost having been too timid to venture outside and defy the cold and the snow that is blanketing all of Finland.

After last season’s failure, Honka are busy building a new squad

After a below-par season for everybody’s favourite team to push HJK off the title podium, ending up in fourth behind mighty KuPS, Honka are looking busy renewing their squad. Their Christmas cleaning started with the captain Rami Hakanpää who left for HJK and continued with Ville Koskimaa and Janne Henriksson (both signing for VPS) while John, “The Magician”, Weckström who, whenever he is not scoring goals like this in pointless pre-season friendlies is actually not at all that magical, found a new home at Haka. Arrivals include MacPherlin Omagbemi Dudu (also known as Dudu) who signed from bronze-winning surprise package KuPS, left midfield crosser Ilari Äijälä (MyPa) and the twenty-year-old Duarte Tammilehto (Klubi 04) who was rescued from the safe home for evil HJK’s discarded puppies. Aleksander Kokko, who after two rubbish seasons after being top scorer in the league probably still thinks he’s a top scorer, and former Inverness CT midfielder Markus Paatelainen are still without a club.

HJK making up the numbers, while Westö goes travelling

Like already mentioned, “Rambo” Hakanpää signed for HJK and will replace Pyry Kärkkäinen (AC Oulu) and Peter Magnusson in the centre of the HJK defence. Although Kärkkäinen and Magnusson are decent Veikkausliiga centre-backs, neither is probably missed much by the HJK fans. They will, however, definitely rue losing Johannes Westö who decided to have a year off from football to travel the world. This doesn’t really come as a surprise since the multi-talented humanist has made no secret of the fact that football might not be the most important thing in the world for him. After this somewhat controversial decision, the Merry-go-round is simultaneously disappointed, somewhat annoyed and overcome by awe of Westö’s bravery and strength of character. The reigning champions were quick to find a replacement for the long-haired prodigy, however, as they signed FF Jaro’s diminutive  midfield scamperer Sebastian Mannström. The former U21 attacking midfielder is a like-for-like replacement for “JW” and a talented player in the bargain, but he will do well to avoid the big [sic] fish in a small pond syndrome. HJK also signed AC Oulu’s Dominic Yobe who should be a decent if unspectacular addition to their midfield. Being disappointed, annoyed and in awe at the same time reminded the merry-go-round of goalscoring sprinter Juho Mäkelä who quite surprisingly signed for FC Sydney. Mäkelä’s sprinting abilities will come handy inside penalty areas in stadiums around Australia in general and Queensland in particular as he tries to make his trademark surges inside the box and score goals from point-blank range while trying to stay clear of “the invasion of snakes and crocodiles”.

Big words from JJK and trouble ahead for MIFK

Relegation flirts JJK have bagged some sizeable captures in Eero Korte (FC Lahti), Mikko Manninen and Babatunde Wusu (both from TPS) and Tamás Gruborovics (IFK Mariehamn). Wusu is a former JJK favourite and is expected to provide ammunition for the goal-shy JJK attack. Korte should be able to marshal the midfield and Manninen brings pace and directness to their attacking moves. The Jyväskylä club seem to have a rocket launcher for confidence since they are already talking the talk by claiming that they will be top-three candidates next season. Even though the signings are undoubtedly impressive, they still have a long way to go from trudging knee-deep in the relegation bog for two seasons to the top of Veikkausliiga. We all know that JJK can crawl but perhaps they should learn how to walk (for example by managing to win some home games first) before trying to run. If there is light at the end of the tunnel for JJK, IFK Mariehamn are feeling anxious that the halo they see is caused by a relegation train heading their way. No less than eight players left after a disappointing last season when they finished only  two points above the relegation spot (Gruborovics to JJK; Willis Ochieng, Dmytro Voloshyn, Medoune Gueye, Ante Simunac, Boussad Houche, Johan Carlsson and the destruction derby vehicle Sasha Anttilainen are all without clubs as far as the Merry-go-round knows). Even if few MIFK fans will probably shed tears watching these players go (Gruborovics’ departure being the exception perhaps), the fact that MIFK only have about ten player contracts at the moment speaks volumes about their failed transfer policy. Tough times ahead for the Åland club. At Anjalankoski the winds of change are sweeping through the silent streets of what was once such a prominent paper factory town. Ever since former Viikingit coach Toni Korkeakunnas took up the reins in the autumn, there has been so much activity (Niko Kukka (AC Oulu), Eetu Kaipio (Viikingit), Tommi Vesala (Viikingit) and Mikko Innanen (Haka) have arrived while Antti Uimaniemi (VPS), Äijälä (Honka) and Tosaint Ricketts (Timisoara, ROM) left) at Saviniemi that unless the Merry-go-round knew better, it would think that the smell emanating from the factory is caused by newly printed bank notes. But even though there probably was no dancing on the aforementioned streets when the news of the new arrivals broke, things are at least looking much healthier on the football pitch than in the account books at MyPa. And finally, joining Kärkkäinen (from HJK) at AC Oulu is former Haka captain and pseudo-hard man Jani Kauppila. That’s pretty much your lot, for now.

Ed: Apart, of course, from Toni Kallio’s move to Muangthong United, the champions of Thailand.

Not a Veikkausliiga transfer, strictly speaking, but it deserves a mention somewhere.

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A Fitting End for The Silver Generation

Wed, Oct 13, 2010

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If there was one road to redemption for the Jari Litmanen/Sami Hyypiä generation, it was avenging the bitter loss of 11.10.1997, but it wasn’t to be. I guess it couldn’t have ended any other way. What started exactly 13 years ago ended in identical  fashion. Finland had their throats slit by the Hungarians yet again. The Silver Generation is dead.

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Time to Exorcise Some Demons

Tue, Oct 12, 2010

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The day is finally here. The Huns of Budapest finally return to the scene of their most heinous crime. For Finland, it’s time to stand tall and bury their most horrifying memory.

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Tippeligaen, round 25: Media fervently hopes for actual excitement about the gold, young talented kid plays without a worry in the world.

Mon, Sep 27, 2010

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As the battle for the may-be-important fourth place rages on, the mainstream media still prove to be a bunch of clueless cowards, preferring to seek out pretend drama that may or may not become real at some point in the future. NFN will thus be the only provider of the real drama RIGHT NOW, and we’ll start by once again puttin up the part of the league table that really matters: (more…)

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Finnish Cup final day picture special

Sat, Sep 25, 2010

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Olli Jantunen is busy taking pictures at all three Finnish cup finals today. This post will be updated throughout the day, but first we have a few photos from the women’s and ‘little’ finals (the latter is something like the FA Vase. Jantunen’s portfolio is here.

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