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Monday, April 01, 2013

Norwegian PL Tippeligaen 2013 - Team guide and predictions

Tippeligaen 2013: Team Guide to Norwegian Premier League

Football leagues: Tippeligaen 2013 Team Guides

A League Guide to the Premier League of Norway; Tippeligaen 2013

With this article we hope to promote the Norwegian Premier League, Tippeligaen, to foreign football fans. The Tippeligaen might be compared to the Belgian First division, Jupiler Pro, or the Swedish First division, Allsvenskan.

Tippeligaen is known for their tight battles and many rivalries, partially because of the small country and the geographical position of the biggest football cities. To predict the league table has never been more difficult, as the gap between the skills of the top 5 clubs has decreased.

In the last decade there have been a good export of promising players from Tippeligaen to bigger leagues, for example to the English Premier League, Dutch Eredivisie and most recently German Bundesliga. We can mention stars like John Obi Mikel (Chelsea), Alexander Tettey (Norwich), Rodolph Austin (Leeds), Anthony Annan (Schalke 04), Chinedu Obasi (Hoffenheim), Mame Biram Diouf (Hannover), Markus Henriksen (AZ Alkmaar), Tom Høgli (Club Brugge), Marek Sapara (Trabzonspor) and Mohammed Abdellaoue (Hannover).

In this first part of our guide to Tippeligaen 2013, you will get to know the clubs and will be given our league predictions for 2013.

By Fonadier (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Tippeligaen 2013; Basic Information

The Tippeligaen was founded in 1937 and has its name because of their main sponsor, Norsk Tipping, which is the one and only allowed sports betting company in Norway. The league has only been professional for the last 21 years. Tippeligaen 2013 will be closer and much more exciting than ever, and might be a battle between five clubs. Two of the top 5 clubs might be former Manchester United striker, Ole Gunnar Solskjaers Molde FK and Norwegian Hero from the 1994 World Cup, Kjetil Rekdals Vålerenga IF.

Fixtures and rounds The Football league of Norway differs from the ordinary league system in Europe, as it started 15th of March, and ends in the middle of November 2013. Before we get the final result of Tippeligaen 2013, the 16 clubs will play 30 matches each (league of 30 rounds). The final round will be played 10. November 2013. Rounds played during the weekends are broken up into one game on Saturdays, six games on Sundays and one game on Mondays. Midweek rounds are broken up into six games on Wednesdays and one game on Thursdays.

Top flight Champions
Rosenborg Ballklubb aka RBK is the most championships of the Norwegian Premier League, 22 championships in total, who recorded 13 championships between 1992 and 2005. The second team is Fredrikstad Fotball Klubb, with 9 wins. Fredrikstad is now located in the first division Adeccoligaen. Viking is the second best club, who plays in the Tippeligaen today, but are ranked third behind Fredrikstad on the overall Championship ranking.

Clubs of Tippeligaen 2013 and predictions

The 2013 version of Tippeligaen has a number of 16 clubs, which is located in two main areas of Norway. Seven of the clubs is located in the western part of Norway, called Vestlandet. Six of the clubs is located at the eastern part of Norway; Östlandet. From the northern Norway there is only one club represented.
We will take a closer look at all the clubs below and give you our predictions for each and every one of them.

Sandnes Ulf (14th 2012)

Sandnes Ulf was founded in 1911, and could be regarded as the smallest professional club coming from the county of Rogaland, the center of Norwegian Petroleum industry, which has made Norway a wealthy country. Despite their long history, Sandnes Ulf have always been in the shadow of Viking and Bryne. As early as 2010, Sandnes promoted from the 2nd division, where they have spend most of their time in the last decade.

Sandnes Ulf normally plays a 4-2-3-1 formation with a very direct playing style. At their best it's very entertaining to watch that kind of playing style, but mostly it leads to many conceded goals because of the average squad they possess. After the 2012 season they have lost their key player, danish forward Christian Gytkjær. Sandnes Ulfs manager Asle Andersen have been at the club for seven seasons which proves continuity and stability. If Sandnes Ulf should avoid relegation we believe ex-Arsenal youth goalkeeper Sean McDermott (19) needs to show his exceptional talent, partially because they have only one other goalkeeper choice, who is also pretty young (Aslak Falch (20). There ain't too much depth to the squad, and the team might rely on young promising talents to succeed; Zymer Bytyqi (16) (loan from Red Bull Salzburg), Albanian midfielder Anel Raskaj (23), striker Tommy Høiland (who was a remarkable talent in the past, but might be somewhere unpredictable), in addition to their captain, midfielder Aksel Berget Skjølsvik (25). We can also mention striker Jakob Olsson (21) who joined the club from GAIS on loan before this season. We believe the squad is not capable of handling the tough league of 2013.

You can see the full squad of Sandnes Ulf at their home page.

Our Predictions for 2013: - 16th

Hønefoss BK (13th 2012)

Hønefoss BK was founded in 1895, 118 years ago and was part of L/F Hønefoss until 2008. Hønefoss BK is located in the middle east of Norway (Østlandet) in the county of Buskerud. Buskerud is mostly known for their hunting abilities in mountainous plateau with forested valleys. Despite their long history Hønefoss have spend much of their time in the last decade in the first division. They promoted to the Premier League in 2011. The club have never won any championships or trophies.

Hønefoss BK normally plays a traditional 4-4-2 and has a three colored kit; white, black and green. The club plays their games at AKA arena, which has a capacity of 4256 people. The season of 2013 can be long and hard for the young manager Leif Gunnar Smerud who joined Hønefoss in 2011. The squad of Hønefoss is pretty average compared to the top three clubs in Norway and have not strengthen their squad worth mentioning. Last season they scored only 30 goals in 30 matches, and played draw in 12 of the matches!

The club needs to rely on the 37 year old local defender Frode Lafton, who is also their team captain. Other key players are former Everton youth goalkeeper Lars Stubhaug, Icelandic defender Kristján Örn Sigurðsson and Finnish Riku Riski. We will also highlight Ivorian young striker Kevin Beugre, who can be the attacking force of a defensive team. This 20 year old young striker have recorded an overall of 19 goals in 46 matches in his entire career. Other important Norwegian players might be Helge Haugen, Kevin Larsen and Aleksander Solli, who joined Hønefoss from Vålerenga before this season.

You can see the full squad of Hønefoss at their home page.

Our Predictions for 2013: - 15th

Sarpsborg 08 FF (2nd Adeccoligaen / First Division)

Sarpsborg 08 Fotballforening was founded in 2008 and is a collaboration of Sarpsborg SK and Sparta Sarpsborg. They took over the place of Sarpsborg SK in the league system, but finished last in the second division the first year as a new club. In the decade of 2000 the club changed name several times. What have happen since the appointment of Roar Johansen back in 2009 is only remarkable. The club promoted from the second division to the Premier league in two seasons and was awarded manager of the year 2010. Sarpsborg got quickly relegated back into Adeccoligaen, but earned promotion before this season. Roar Johansen was fired even though they promoted to the Premier League and former Sheffield United striker Brian Deane was appointed. Sarpsborg 08 is located in the south-eastern part of Norway in the county of Østfold.

Sarpsborg 08 normally plays a continental 4-2-3-1 formation and has been playing attractive attacking football. Their counter attacking and quickness might prove to be their lucky star. Sarpsborg play in deep blue kits and play their games at Sarpsborg Stadium (Capacity of 5500 people). The squad of 2013 might become to lightweight but they have some experienced and exciting footballers. Key players such as ex-Auxerre defender Jeremy Berthod, Norwegian striker Martin Wiig, who have been part of the complete Sarpsborg saga and the cousin of Norwegian International striker Tarik Elyounoussi, Mohamed (18) would be key to a successful season. Other notable players might be Ole Christoffer Heieren Hansen (26, Captain) and Øyvind Hoås (29)

You can see the full squad of Sarpsborg 08 at their home page.

Our Predictions for 2013: - 14th

IK Start (1st Adeccoligaen / First Division)

IK Start was founded in 1905 and is located in the largest city of the south Norway, Kristiansand, in the county of Vest-Agder. Start have won the Premier League Championship two times, in 1978 and 1980. They became runner up in 2005, but have struggled since then. IK Start have qualified for the Norwegian Cup final 5 times, but have lost every final.

Start normally plays a traditional 4-4-2. Starts playing style is often described as "makrellfotball" (mackerel football), meaning the whole team is in constant, coordinated motion, and is a very attacking team despite opposition team. The home suit is colored in yellow and black. Start play their games at Sør Arena, which has a capacity of 14,563 people. In the second season for the ex-Brann player and coach, Mons Ivar Mjelde (45) might be capable of getting the team to avoid relegation. Of course it will all depend on the players and the flow thoughout the season. Key players like Icelandic profilic striker Matthias Vilhjallmsson (26), midfielder Babacar Sarr (22), experienced striker Espen hoff (31) and former Norwegian National player, goalkeeper Håkon Opdal (30). Start have many foreign players in their team; 2 Icelandic players, 2 from Costa Rica, Solomon Owello from Nigeria and 2 Senegalese footballers. 2013 could be either really good for Start or they will struggle in the bottom of the table. We believe the team has to avoid injuries on key players and get an immediate flow with points from day one.

You can see the full squad of Start at their home page.

Our Predictions for 2013: - 13th

Sogndal (12th 2012)

Sogndal Fotball was founded in 1926 and is the local club of a small beautiful town located in the west of Norway, in the county of Sogn og Fjordane. In their 84 long history they have never won the Norwegian Premier League. They managed to reach the final of the Norwegian Cup in 1976, but lost. Sogndal is the home club for former Chelsea pro Tore Andre Flo, and Jostein Flo (some might remember the Flo-pass invented by Egil "Drillo" Olsen at the Norwegian national team).

Sogndal Fotball normally plays a traditional 4-4-2 and wears white and black kits. Sogndals manager Jonas Olsson (41) might struggle. Experienced players like Eirik Bakke and Kenneth Udjus have moved out of the doors at Fosshaugane Campus (Capacity of 5523 people), before this season. It's a big question mark if former IFK Gøteborg goalkeeper Erik Dahlin (23) can stop the opposition team of scoring. Last season Sogndal scored 29 goals and conceded 37. The young talented squad must improve defensively this season. Key players like striker Malick Mane (24) and Ulrik Flo (24) needs to score more goals. Other players worth mentioning is Danish Tonny Brochmann (23), Brazilian striker Ricardo Santos (26) and Rune Bolseth (one of only two players above 30 years). Relative of Tore Andre Flo and Jostein Flo, Per Egil Flo (24) is the team captain.

You can see the full squad of Sogndal at their home page.

Our Predictions for 2013: - 12th

Odd Ballklubb (10th 2012)

Odd Ballklubb was founded in 1894 (118 years ago). The club is located in Skien, in the county of Telemark. Odd is one of the oldest football clubs in Norway and have a long and successful history. The club have won the Norwegian Cup the most times (12), and won the cup for the first time as far back as in 1903. Between 1902 and 1910 they won the cup four times and became runner up four times. Most of the 12 Cup Trophies came before the 1940's. They won the latest Cup trophy in 2000. Odd have also won the Norwegian Premier League two times (1950-51 and 1956-57). For the last decade Odd have been overall positioned in the top 10 of the Premier League table.

Odd normally plays a basic 4-3-3 formation. They plays in the same color as Rosenborg; white and black. The club plays their games at Skagerak Arena, which has a capacity of 13500 people. The season of 2013 can be difficult both financially and for the young squad and the their manager Dag-Eilev Fagermo (46). In 2012 Odd scored 40 goals and conceded 43. They won 11 and lost 12. On the paper, Odd have one of the best defenses in Tippeligaen and the continuity in regard of tactical setup and playing style might be their key to success. Odd have a good talent academy which could prove successful in the coming years when the 17 to 19 year old players gain experience and trust.
We believe, with todays squad, Odd needs to rely on the goals of experienced target man Frode Johnsen (39) to succeed. Other notable players would be striker Adem Güven (27), defender Fredrik Semb Berge (23), goalkeeper Andre Hansen (23) and midfielder Jone Samuelsen (28).

You can see the full squad of Odd at their home page.

Our Predictions for 2013: - 11th

FK Haugesund (7th 2012)

FK Haugesund was founded in 1993 only 19 years ago because of a merge between two local clubs, Haugar and Djerv 1919. FK Haugesund is located in the western part of Norway, in the county of Rogaland. The nickname of FK Haugesund is "the Arabs"...don't ask me why.
FK Haugesund has a pretty short history, but appeared in the Tippeligaen as quickly as 1997. In the last decade FK Haugesund have spend much of their time in the first division, but when achieving promotion to the Premier league they have played pretty well compared to whats expected. FK Haugesund have only reached the final of Norwegian Cup once (2007), which they lost 0-2 to Lillestrøm.

FK Haugesund normally plays a traditional 4-4-2 and is recognised by their white and blue kit. The club plays their games at Haugesund Stadium, which has a capacity of 8800 people. Jostein Grindhaug (40) is the manager of the club and is a former Djerv 1919 and FK Haugesund player. He replaced Rune Skarsfjord who left to become an assistant manager at SK Brann in 2009. The squad of Haugesund is pretty average compared to the top three clubs in Norway. The team must rely much on the Norwegian International striker Alexander Söderlund, who have recorded 21 goals in 58 appearances for the club. Other key players are Vegard Skjerve, Per Morten Kristiansen (captain), former Watford City youth player Umaru Bangura and Joakim Våge Nilsen. Haugesunds main strength might be their excellent home form, where they are very difficult to face. Their main weakness this season might be the lack of depth in midfield. We believe their top scorer Alexander Søderlund might move to a bigger club in the summer transfer window, which might make them struggle in the difficult part two of Tippeligaen 2013, the autumn.

You can see the full squad of Haugesund at their home page.

Our Predictions for 2013: - 10th

Lillestrøm SK (9th 2012)

Lillestrøm SK or the Canaries was founded in 1917 and could be regarded as one of top 5 clubs in Norway. Lillestrøm SK is located some miles outside the capitol of Norway (Oslo) and is the main city of the Norwegian county, Akershus, a county full of small or minor professional and amateur clubs.

LSK have won the Norwegian Championship trophy five times (runner up 8 times). The last Premier League trophy where 24 years ago(!) in 1989, which is kind of remarkable compared to their huge profile and team support, but went into the shadow of the dominance of Rosenborg in the 90's and early 2000. Lillestrøm have also won the Norwegian Cup 5 times, lastly in 2007. They have been runner up to the Cup trophy 7 times. Between 1998 and 2007 LSK featured regularly in the top 10 of Tippeligaen, but have struggled for the past 5 years, partly due to the lack of coaching ability of former Blackburn manager, Henning Berg, a manager who had a preference to buy and use young players. The other part of the lack of success was finances. Today Lillestrøm is managed by the former Swedish IF Elfsborg coach Magnus Haglund (39), who led the Swedish club to their first league title in 45 years!

Lillestrøm SK normally plays a traditional 4-4-2 and is easily recognized with their black and yellow kits. The club plays their games at Åråsen Stadium, which has a capacity of 12250 people. The Tippeligaen 2013 can be a remarkable year for the yellow and black birds, as they have kept much of their key players and preserved some continuity. Key players such as 35 year old defender Frode Kippe (Captain), the younger brother of John Arne Riise and former Fulham professional Bjørn Helge Riise, former Brann SK midfielder Erik Mjelde and last but not least the experienced striker Thorstein Helstad (35), former Rosenborg, Le Mans, Monaco and Austria Wien professional. We could also mention the foreign players Icelandic Pálmi Rafn Pálmason, Swedish attacking midfielder Johan Andersson and the one who might replace Mathis Bolly, who left LSK for Fortuna Düsseldorf in the January transfer window, Ivorian striker Moryké Fofana. Last season Lillestrøm scored almost as many goals as they conceded. To succeed in 2013 they might park the bus more often, and win against the smaller teams. We believe the club needs a good start, so they can play without pressure for points, to achieve a place on the upper half of the table this season.

You can see the full squad of Lillestrøm at their home page.

Our Predictions for 2013: - 9th

Aalesund FK (11th 2012)

Aalesund FK was founded in 1914 and is located in the North-west of Norway, in the county of Møre og Romsdal. In the last decade Aalesund FK have been gone from struggling in the first division to establishing themselves among the top 16 of Tippeligaen. Aalesund had their golden years between 2009 and 2012 by winning the Norwegian Cup twice (in 2009 and 2011), which is the only two championships achieved in their 98 years old history.
The former Liverpool and Roma pro, John Arne Riise, started his career at Aalesund as he's born in Aalesund.

Aalesund normally plays a 4-2-3-1 formation and is easily recognized by their orange and blue home kits.
The club plays their games at Color Line Stadium, which has a capacity of 11000 people. Jan Jönsson was appointed new manager of the club after being fired at Rosenborg BK at the end of last season. The 52 year old Swedish manager can be the one who take Aalesund to new heights. Before this season they have splashed out €1Mill on the Moroccan striker Abderrazak Hamdallah, which is the highest transfer fee ever paid!

If Aalesund should have a successful season much will depend on the form of the attacking force of the foreign players Jamaican footballers Tremaine Stewart, Demar Phillips and Jason Morrison, Costa Rican excellent playmaker Michael Barrantes and young Nigerian striker Leke James. Norwegian key players like goalkeeper Sten Grytebust, midfielders Fredrik Larsen and Fredrik Ulvestad needs to step up to make the 2013 version of Tippeligaen better than the 2010 version, where they recorded a 4th place! The Captain of 2013 is Jonathan Tollås Nation, a 22 year old defender.

You can see the full squad of Aalesund FK at their home page.

Our Predictions for 2013: - 8th

SK Brann (6th 2012)

SK Brann was founded in 1908 and is located in the west Norway, in the third largest county; Hordaland. SK Brann is one of major clubs in Norway (both in public interest and in regard to triumphs. They have recorded 3 championships and six national cup trophies through their 104 year old history. Brann had their golden years in 1960 and 70's when they won the Norwegian Premier League twice (1961-62 and 1963). It went 44 years before they retained the Norwegian Championship. Three years earlier in 2004 Brann won their sixth Norwegian Cup trophy after 22 years without success in the national cup. Brann SK have attracted many good footballers in the last decade. Most notable Norwegian players, who have played for Brann SK is Thorstein Helstad, Martin Andresen, Azar Karadas, Claus Lundekvam and Jan Gunnar Solli.

Brann SK normally plays a traditional 4-4-2 and normally wears a red and white kit. The club plays their games at Brann Stadium, which has a capacity of 17317 people. Rune Skarsfjord was appointed as manager in 2010 after Roger Nilsen got sacked because of poor results. Rune Skarsfjord got the tough job to rebuild the team, and have done a good job for the last two seasons (4th in 2011 and 6th 2012), even though the fans expectations are top 3. And the pressure from the home fans might be the reason why Brann can't capture a top three place this year either.
The key players for success in 2013 might be 28 year old former Bari and Portsmouth professional Eirik Huseklepp, midfielders Fredrik Nordkvelle, Tomasz Sokolowski, Amin Askar and Fredrik Haugen. Like Aalesund (and every other Tippeliga team), Brann must depend on foreign players for success. Hungarian defender Zsolt Korcsmar, polish goalkeeper Piotr Leciejewski, who is regarded as the best goalkeeper of Tippeligaen, and Austrian striker Martin Pusic might become vital for new trophies. Swedish defender Markus Jonsson is the captain of the team. The main weakness of the team is the depth in the defensive line.

You can see the full squad of SK Brann at their home page.

Our Predictions for 2013: - 7th

Viking FK (5th 2012)

Viking Fotballklubb Stavanger was founded in 1899 (113 years ago) and is the biggest club in the county of Rogaland. Viking play their games at Viking Stadium, which has a capacity of 16300 people. Viking normally plays in dark blue jerseys and white shorts. Viking is one of the most successful football clubs in Norway and have won the Norwegian Premier League 8 times. Viking had their golden years in the 70's by winning the Tippeligaen 5 times (1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1979). 1979 was a pretty good year for the Dark Blues, as they did a double. A part from winning the Norwegian Cup in 1979, they have won it 4 times (mostly in the 50's). It's 22 years since they last won anything, but can reach the Norwegian Cup final this year...

Viking has a highly experienced manager in Kjell Jonevret (50), who joined the club last season. Now he has been given time to set his playing style. Viking ended up with similar points as Tromsø last season, and there is much pressure on the team, as they possess a very good squad, which might bring the club into the top 5 of Tippeligaen 2013. Viking play in an continental 4-2-3-1. Their first choice goalkeeper is Rune Almenning Jarstein, who is also the goalkeeper of the Norwegian national team. In front of him you'll find Icelandic national team player Indriði Sigurðsson (31) and team player of the year 2012, Johan Lædre Bjørdal. In the midfield you'll find good players such as King Osei Gyan (24, ex-Fulham), El Hadji Makhtar Thioune (28) and promising Yann Erik de Lanley (20) who have speed and technical skills to outrun his opponent. But the key player might be Veton Berisha this season, who must step up and raise his performances despite the huge pressure. Veton is only 18 years old and is the younger brother of Valon Berisha (Red Bull Salzburg). On the paper, Viking has a very good starting eleven, but we believe Viking might struggle because of the huge pressure on the younger players and the few options in the defensive line. The lack of depth might result in an average season, and winger Trond Olsen needs to assist the young wonderkid (read Veton Berisha).

Check out the full squad of Viking at their home page.

Our Predictions for 2013: - 6th

Tromsø IL (4th 2012)

Tromsø Idrettslag was founded in 1920 and is the only club in the Tippeligaen who comes from the north Norway, in the county of Troms. The cold climate and long winters forces Tromsø to train much of their time indoor. Tromsø IL have actually never won the Tippeligaen, but have been runner up two times; 1990 and 2011. They have won the Norwegian Cup two times (1986 and 1996), and actually reached the final last season, but lost against Hødd. After the last season Tromsø have lost the broad football knowledge of ex-manager, Per-Mathias Høgmo. Former assistant manager, Agnar Christensen, have taken over the responsibility to manage TIL. A rookie manager on this level, but has partnered up with ex-Manchester United coach Jonathan Hill and top goalscorer in the history of the club, former striker Sigurd Rushfeldt.

Tromsø play a continental 4-2-3-1 and can be recognized by their white and red striped jerseys. The club plays their games at Alfheim stadium, which has a capacity of 6859 people. Alfheim is covered by artificial turf, which makes it difficult for the opposition team as the turf is quicker and better than what they are used to. In my point of view, Tromsø have actually one of the best midfields in the Tippeligaen. Last season their Czech striker Zdeněk Ondrášek, was joint top scorer (14 goals) with Péter Kovács, Strømsgodset. Tromsø have lost ball winning midfielder Kara, and have to rely on Norwegian national players Ruben Yttergård Jenssen, Remi Johansen and the golden foot of Thomas Drage or Josh Pritchard (20) (loan from Fulham). The defensive line looks also very good with Miika Koppinnen as the leader (captain), ex-Bolton stopper Jaroslawl Fojut and Saliou Ciss (23) as an attacking wingback, might reject Marcus Sahlmann much to do. Aleksandar Prijović (22) have now spend over 6 month at the club and can be an exciting player to follow in the coming months.
We hope Tromsø can do better than our predictions, but we feel with the strong opponents in Strømsgodset, Molde, Rosenborg and Vålerenga it would be a drop compared to last season.

You can see the full squad of Tromsø at their home page.

Our Predictions for 2013: - 5th

Vålerenga (8th 2012)

Vålerenga Fotball was founded in 1913, and will celebrate their 100th anniversary this season. Vålerenga IF is the only team in the Tippeligaen from the capitol of Norway, Oslo, and are often referred to as "Enga".
Vålerenga have won the Norwegian Premier League 5 times, the last one in 2005. In 2010 they were runner up, which has happen two times before. The club have won the Norwegian Cup 4 times (1980, 1997, 2002, and 2008). Vålerenga had their golden era in the 80's by handing in 4 trophies, reaching the Norwegian Cup final three times in five years (but lost the final two times).

Since the 2010 silver the club have struggled in the middle of the table. Last season Vålerenga scored 42 goals and conceded 44. Since then, successful Kjetil Rekdal has started his second period as manager of Vålerenga. With the appointment of Kjetil Rekdal, there have been an change in the dressing room and the optimism has increased. Vålerenga have also strengthen their squad with many star players. In the doors of Ullevaal Stadium (capacity of 25572), Jan Gunnar Solli (31, New York red Bulls), Christian Grindheim (29, loan from FC København), Mos Abdellaoue (24, loan from FC København), Daniel Fredheim Holm (27), has entered. Key players like Norwegian striker Torgeir Børven (21) and Fegor Ogude (25) might be two important players in additional to the new signings mentioned earlier. Vålerenga has a pretty good squad who can conquer the top three this season. With the pressure surrounding the team from the Vålerenga fans, Klanen, it might become a difficult season if their not close to Molde and Rosenborg in the first 10 matches. Vålerenga have also a bunch of promising talents who can become great players with the right guidance. We believe Vålerenga will progress from last season, but miss some of the depth in the defensive line to claim the top spot.

You can see the full squad of Vålerenga at their home page.

Our Predictions for 2013: - 4th

Rosenborg (3rd 2012)

Rosenborg Ballklubb was founded in 1917, 95 years ago in Trondheim. Trondheim is located in the county of Sør-Trøndelag. In their 95 year long history, Rosenborg have become the most successful club in Norway. They have won the Premier League 22 times. They won their first Premier League trophy in 1967 and the last in 2010. The golden years was the 90's and the early decade of 2000, where they won 17 trophies of possible 21. They have been runner up 5 times. RBK have won the Norwegian Cup 9 times from the first victory in 1960 to the last in 2003. RBK is one of few countries who have participated in the UEFA Champions League 13 times (between 1995 to 2007, which 8 of them where consecutive 1995-2002). Rosenborg are both hated and loved in Norway and their history is the cause of this effect.

The successful history had to end sometimes, and with the retirement of the man behind their success, Nils-Arne Eggen, RBK have partially struggled since 2004, partially because of a generation change in squad, but also because of lack of continuity on the coaching staff and board. Gone are the golden years as the richest club in Norway. Rosenborg is now forced to produce their own talents and succeed with their transfer spendings. Back in the club is Per Joar Hansen as manager, a manager who failed last time.

Since 2012 they have lost ex-Tottenham striker, Steffen Iversen (retired), top scorer Swedish Rade Prica and Daniel Fredheim Holm. Before this season we believe Rosenborg have strengthen their squad with three Danish footballers; midfielder Mike Jensen (25), striker Nicki Bille Nielsen (25, ex-Villarreal) and winger Tobias Mikkelsen (26, ex-FC Nordsjælland). Key players like Borek Dockal (24), who is described as the Czech David Beckham, and Norwegian national winger Tarik Elyounoussi must assist the Danish attacking force. Nigerian striker John Chibuike needs to step up and prove his goalscorer talent this season, as he only scored 4 goals in 26 appearances(!). RBK have also some young and promising midfielder talents, who can inherit the throne after Roar Strand and Markus Henriksen, in Fredrik Midtsjø (19), Jonas Svensson (20) and Ole Kristian Selnæs (18).

RBK normally plays in black and white in a 4-3-3 formation and play their games at Lerkendal Stadium, which has a ground capacity of 21166 people. Last season Rosenborg scored 56 goals and conceded the least, with 26 goals conceded. The statistics is kind of impressive compared to the weakness in defensive line. If the statistic from 2012 shall be improved experienced fullback Mikael Dorsin (31), captain Tore Reginiussen (26) and Swedish goalkeeper Daniel Örlund needs to boost the team morale and step up as front figures for the younger talents. One player worth mentioning might be Costa Rican wingback Cristian Gamboa (23), who might surprise both fans and opposition players. We believe 2013 might be a let down for the RBK fans, partially because of lack of depth in attacking and defensive line, but also the time the squad might need to gel before we see the full potential. We hope RBK can do better than our predictions as Norway needs a profilic team who can reach the group stage of Champions League.

You can see the full squad of Rosenborg at their home page.

Our Predictions for 2013: - 3rd

Strømsgodset (2nd 2012)

Strømsgodset Idrettsforening was the revelation of 2012, which ended in silver! The club was founded in Drammen in 1907. Drammen is the capitol of the county of Buskerud. Strømsgodset had their first golden years in the 60's and 70's which led to winning the Premier League once (1970). Strømsgodset have won the Norwegian Cup 5 times (1969, 1970, 1973, 1991 and 2010). They have been runner up for this tournament twice. The club play their games at Marienlyst stadium, which has a capacity of 7500 people. Their promising manager, Ronny Deila (37) was tutored by Odd manager Dag-Eilev Fagermo, and the former Strømsgodset and Odd player have guided the team into a new golden era.

It might be worth mentioning that the club have formed a partnership with Manchester City, which makes them able to loan some of their young talents, such as Bismark Adjei-Boateng (18), Enock Kwakwa (18), Abdisalam Ibrahim (21) and Razak Nuhu (21). Strømsgodset normally plays a 3-5-2, and is based on Norwegian and Senegalese football players. In the previous season Strømsgodset proved their attacking force by scoring 62 goals in 30 appearances. They conceded as many as 40, which might prove their weakness. The squad has been strengthen in the attacking line even further by the signing of Thomas Sørum (30) (ex-Helsingborg striker) and Simen Brenne, but might miss Anders Konradsen, who were sold to Rennes. The local leader Alexander Aas has retired and Ole Kamara has been sold to 1860 München. Deila has an excellent squad to work with, and have the Premier league top scorer of 2012 in their ranks. Senegalese national team goalkeeper, Adam Larsen Kwarasey (25), Jarl Andre Storbæk (34) and Lars Christopher Vilsvik (24) is the main core of the defensive line. Strømsgodset might lack some creative force in the midfield, but Øyvind Storflor might assist the two main key players; Hungarian experienced striker Peter Kovacs (35) and Thomas Sørum. We believe Strømsgodset can progress from 2012, even though they haven't the best finance compared to Molde. Strømsgodset might win the title this season, it all depends on if Molde can find their goalscorer.

You can see the full squad of Strømsgodset at their home page.

Our Predictions for 2013: - 2nd

Molde FK (1st 2012)

Molde FK was founded 102 years ago in 1911 and has inherit the football throne of Norway recent years over Rosenborg. Molde FK is located in the north western part of Norway, in the county of Rogaland. Molde have retained the Premier League Championship the last two seasons. They have won the Norwegian Cup two times (1994 and 2005). The years between 1994 and 2000 is by Molde fans called the silver era, as the local, former Norwegian National Manager, Åge Hareide, who guided the team to 2nd place behind Rosenborg. Ole Gunnar Solkjaer was bought from Molde before joining Manchester United.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer might have learn one or two things by Alex Ferguson. Solskjaer has taken some of the United-culture in to the dressing room of Molde. With the help of former Manchester United coaches Richard Hartis and Mark Dempsey they have established a winning culture in Molde. The multi-millionaire Kjell Inge Røkke and Bjørn Rune Gjeldsten have aided him with funds to buy who he likes. Last season Molde scored 51 goals and conceded 31, not the most impressive statistics. Despite having sold key players like Vegard Forren to Southampton and Davy Claude Angan (China), we believe the squad have enough quality both among the coaches and the players to defend the title. The club is one of few clubs who is fortune to have good finances which makes them able to strengthen their squad with international players if the result absents.

Solskjaer have adopted an continental style of play and normally plays in a 4-2-3-1 formation. The club normally plays in blue and white kits. Molde play their games at Aker Stadium, which has a capacity of 11800 people. Last season Molde scored 51 goals and conceded 31. Pretty good statistics, but not amazingly good.

With the sale of the top scorer of the team previous season (Angan), Molde might struggle to find the goal. The 2013 version of Molde is a young and ambitious squad. The squad has much depth and much quality. Molde have one of the best goalkeepers in Norway, Espen Bugge Pettersen, two young goalkeepers who could easily replaced him (former Newcastle pro Ole Söderberg and Ørjan Nyland). Key players such as attacking midfielder and playmaker, former Manchester United youth player, Magnus Wolff Eikrem could be important for success. We can also single out Finnish International defender Joona Toivio and young ex-Liverpool striker Lauri Dalla Valle. Other important Norwegian players is Even Hovland, Jo Inge Berget (Ex-Udinese), Knut Olav Rindarøy and Etzaz Hussain. Molde might rely on Nigerian striker Daniel Chima Chukwu and Swedish inside forward Mathias Mostrøm to score the goals which are needed. One question could be the depth of the team; Are there two many players in the squad which would force Ole Gunnar to rotate the squad too much?

You can see the full squad of Molde at their home page.

Our Predictions for 2013: - 1st

Summary of the League Table Predictions of Tippeligaen 2013

Football leagues: Tippeligaen 2013 Team Guides

Predictions for the Top Goal scorer title of Tippeligaen 2013

It is very difficult to predict who will have the most goals this season, but we will give it a go. No matter what you will get some idea of who the best strikers in the league are. Notice there are none Molde players on this list. Obviously there will be many other players who will fight for this title.

1. Zdeněk Ondrášek - Tromsø
2. Torgeir Børven - Vålerenga
2. Peter Kovacs - Strømsgodset
4. Thomas Sørum - Strømsgodset
4. Veton Berisha - Viking

Predictions for the Golden shoe title of Tippeligaen 2013 (most assists)

It is very difficult to predict who will have the most assist this season, but we will give it a go. No matter what you will get some idea of who the best midfielders in the league are. Obviously there will be many other players who will fight for this title.

1. Øyvind Storflor - Strømsgodset
2. Thomas Drage - Tromsø
3. Borek Dockal - Rosenborg
4. Razak Nuhu - Strømsgodset
5. Jo Inge Berget - Molde

Part 2. The Norwegian profiles of Tippeligaen 2013; Player recommendation for Football Manager 2013

1 comment :

  1. Geir Aasen22:08

    Great article! But you might want to change a name I noticed was wrong: "Jon Gannuar Solli". His name is "Jan Gunnar Solli" ;) I know, Norwegian names are hard ;P

    If I may, I also would like to plug a subreddit in English that I moderate, relevant to this blogpost: