Damallsvenskan: Tyresö in the lead after Round 3
Three rounds have been played in the Damallsvenskan of 2013. Last year’s champions Tyresö FF are the only team that has won all their three games – 1:0 against Umeå, 2:0 at Vittsjö and again, 2:0 at home against Linköping.
Only three times we had an audience larger than 1,000 – Tyresö was involved in every of those games as well.
Most experts believe that the defending champions are most likely to take another title – the roster is more or less the same. A few young talents left since they would not get to play that much and international star players like Christen Press (coming from Göteborg) and Spanish striker Jennifer Hermoso Fuentes have made Tyresö even stronger. A couple of weeks before the season started it was announced that Marta has renewed her contract and that it extends to the summer of 2014, securing her playing for the team through the entire Champions League Season of 2013/14.
After three rounds it still feels like there is a lot to do to make the new team get the most out of its capacity, however, their individual strength is big enough to beat almost any other team in the league.
Contenders will of course be LdB FC Malmö. The champions of 2010 and 2011 got back their Dutch goalgetter Manon Melis (Linköping could not afford her anymore and had to make some severe cuts in the roster) and Colombian megatalent Yoreli Rincon. Preseason saw Malmö lose twice in Frankfurt and Copenhagen and in the UWCL quarter finals against Olympique Lyonnais, Malmö was without a chance to go further. Both games (0:5 0:3 in Lyons favor) were a demonstration of probably the best women’s soccer team on this planet.
Malmö won 1:0 against Jitex and 3:0 over newcomers Mallbacken and luckily achieved a draw (2:2) in Piteå, scoring the equalizer in extra time. Particularly that match gave hints that Malmö’s defense is vulnerable.
Kopparberg/Göteborgs FC could finish third this year. Losing Christen Press to Tyresö must have been a chock to the West Swedes, but English striker Jodie Taylor could be one of the big surprises this year. She scored a hattrick in Sunday’s game at Sunnanå that Göteborg won 5:1. In addition to Taylor, Göteborg has recruited former Swedish WNT player Jessica Landström and Norwegian hope Cathrine Dyngvold plus Swedish midfielder Marie Hammarström who is, again, reunited with her twin sister and goalkeeper Kristin. The first two matches led to draws for Göteborg: 1:1 with Linköping and 0:0 with local rivals Jitex.
Surprisingly to many, KIF Örebro which ended up 10th last season seem to be in much better shape this year despite financial problems that have forced the club to cut down expenses. 4:0 against Mallbacken and 3:1 against Vittsjö plus a respectable 1:1 at Umeå see KIF lying second right now. It is going to be interesting to see how the Czech twins Irene and Lucie Martinkova, both midfielders, will play for Örebro this season. A success might lead to future signings from Eastern parts of Europe in the league.
Speaking of foreigners. Swedish WNT coach Pia Sundhage is apparently one of many who think we have too many players from abroad in the Swedish league. When LdB FC Malmö started their UWCL quarter final against Lyon there were only three Swedish players in Malmö’s starting line-up compared to nine French in Lyon. “Do I really come to Malmö to see only three Swedish players for Malmö and one for Lyon (Lotta Schelin)?” Sundhage said on Swedish TV and started another debate about that issue, leading nowhere since the clubs are free to decide.
Worse news: Swedish WNT defender Emma Berglund of Umeå tore her ACL ten minutes into the first game against Tyresö.
From now on, we’ll summarize the Swedish events on a weekly basis for you, paying less attention to statistics and more to developments and hopefully regular interviews with players. Stay tuned.
Round 1 (13-17/4): KIF Örebro – Mallbacken 4-0, Sunnanå SK – Vittsjö GIK 1-5, Kristianstads DFF – Piteå IF 1-1, LdB FC Malmö – Jitex BK 1-0, Tyresö FF – Umeå IK 1-0, Kopparberg/Göteborgs FC – Linköpings FC 1-1.
Round 2 (20-24/4): Umeå – Örebro 1-1, Mallbacken – Kristianstad 1-2, Linköping – Sunnanå 1-1, Vittsjö – Tyresö 0-2, Pieå – Malmö 2-2, Jitex – Göteborg 0-0.
Round 3 (27-28/4): Örebro – Vittsjö 3-1, Malmö – Mallbacken 3-0, Tyresö – Linköping 2-0, Kristianstad – Umeå 1-2, Sunnanå – Göteborg 1-5, Piteå – Jitex 3-2
Top scorers: With three goals each are Jodie Taylor (Göteborg), Anja Mittag (Malmö), Victoria Forsmark (Piteå), Helén Eke (Örebro)
Rainer Fussganger covers the Damallsvenskan, Sweden's top league.