Helsingborgs v Hammarby
We have reached the final round of this thrilling Swedish Allsvenskan season, and while there are a couple of teams looking for results in order to avoid a relegation playoff, both of these sides have their positions solidified.
Helsingborg’s top tier stint lasted only one season – with a risible campaign behind them, in which they only secured four wins, they must already be preparing for life in Superettan. A couple of players may be moved on, but no major signings were made ahead of this season, meaning there are no astronomical wages to get rid of. Most players expected to help carry the team this year, such as club icon Rasmus Jönsson, have underperformed. The attack has been toothless, while defensively the team has been incredibly open, conceding 50 goals in 29 matches. A recent run of seven losses on the trot, conceding at least two goals in each of those defeats, secured their relegation early on.
Hammarby long pushed the top two teams, Häcken and Djurgården, for the top spot, but a run of five games without a win scuppered their chances of lifting Lennart Johansson’s trophy. They have recovered since, winning three of the last five, scoring 14 goals in the process, to secure a top three position and European football for next season. Mathematically AIK can still catch them, but a differential of 21 goals in Hammarby’s favour won’t be overturned.
An impressive 4-2 victory over top-three challengers and surprise package Kalmar FF last weekend secured third position for the Stockholm side in a match where Gustav Ludwigson got back to scoring ways and bagged a brace. A much-needed return to form for the Swede considering star forward Berisha has gone ice cold after an incredibly impressive start to his life in the capital. Nonetheless, there are scoring threats from all around the pitch for Hammarby, making them the second-highest scorers in the division after victors Häcken.
A goal-hungry Hammarby surely want to finish the season with a bang, and Helsingborg’s leaky defence is unlikely to be able to withstand much pressure.
Malmö v Degerfors
Much has been reported about Malmö’s fall from grace this season, having their worst campaign in recent history and finishing in mid-table with the strongest and most expensive squad in the division. Their European exploits can also be quickly forgotten, managing to stumble through to the Europa League group stages but getting handily beaten in all six matches once there.
Manager Åge Hareide has already confirmed he will be leaving, while a whole host of players on large contracts are likely to follow him. An ageing squad with clear holes will be refreshed and serious investment is expected in the off-season. For now, they have little to play for except going above Elfsborg in 6th. Securing their first win in nine matches in all competitions last weekend was a fall forward, however it came against a shaky Varberg side in poor form trying to remain in the division.
Degerfors are attempting the same and have through a mightily impressive unbeaten run – not suffering defeat in ten straight league matches – catapulted themselves into 13th and now have everything in their own hands. A draw here will secure their Allsvenskan status, considering they have a 10-goal advantage in terms of goal difference over Varberg, as well as a two-point head start. A real defensive resilience – a vital improvement as they were incredibly porous early in the campaign – combined with effective counter-attacking have brought them their recent fortunes. Loan signing Omar Faraj, who recently was confirmed as an AIK player for next season, has made a real difference, while CB Gustaf Lagerbielke, on loan from Elfsborg, has been a rock at the back also contributing goals at the other end.
Degerfors have plenty to play for and look an incredibly cohesive unit, whereas MFF are in disarray. The visitors only need a point and I expect them to do just that to remain in the top flight for another year.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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