Brann extinguishes the Toppserien competition

Two-time winners in post-season playoffs

Photo: Ole Martin Wold / NTB
Svava Rós Gudmundsdóttir (middle) celebrates her goal against Rosenborg that gave Brann a 1-0 lead, with Tuva Hansen (left), who provided the assist.

Business & Sports Editor
The Norwegian American

For the first time, the Toppserien women’s soccer league decided to try a post-season playoff. The pandemic delayed the initial debut from 2021. The top four teams played for the championship with each team playing each other twice, home and away. The six other teams plus two teams from the 1st Division played a relegation tournament.

The playoff idea is already drawing complaints as making it meaningless. It all worked out for Brann. After a 14-win-3 draws-1 loss, 45-point regular season, Brann added four more wins and two draws for the championship. As the regular season champions, they received six bonus points, second-place Rosenborg (13-2-3–41), four, third-place Vålerenga (12-3-3-39), two, and fourth-place Stabæk (8-3-7-27), none. The playoff table had Brann with 20 points, followed by Vålerenga (4-1-1–15), Rosenborg (2-1-2-11), and Stabæk (0-0-6-0).

It was the Bergen team’s second straight championship, accomplishing the feat last year as Sandsviken. They merged with the Brann men’s team organization. Over the last two seasons, including the playoffs, Brann has fashioned a 35-6-1 record and outscored opponents 113-23. The only loss was 1-0 to Rosenborg back on June 12. The tournament played all the games—a change the league might want to consider making–so on Oct. 30, Brann drew with Vålerenga 1-1 and Rosenborg beat Stabæk 2-1.

Brann had already clinched the playoff title on Oct. 23 when it edged Rosenborg 2-1. Icelandic Svava Rós Gudmundsdóttir’s tally in the 50th minute started as a free kick, which landed at an open Tuva Hansen on the left, who crossed the ball for Gudmundsdóttir to head into the far corner of the net. The second goal came in the 62nd minute off a nicely timed pass from Lisa Naaslund to Therese Sessy Åsland, who shot the ball into the far corner. The Rosenborg goal came after Brann keeper Aurora Mikalsen flubbed the ball after a long pass and Emilie Nautnes wound up with the ball, and shot it past Guro Bergsvand and Mikalsen.

“This feels fantastically delicious, and it feels well deserved,” Hansen, who was named the tournament’s best player, told NRK. “This gold is well deserved,” said Åsland. “I think we have been the best this year.” One more trophy awaits as Brann was scheduled to face Stabæk in the Norway Cup final on Nov. 5. Mikalsen, defenders Marit Lund, Hansen, and Bergsvand are on Norway’s national team, and Naalsund is a former member. Midfielder Maria Brochmann led Brann with 7 goals (after Emily Terland took her 10 goals to Brighton on July 30), followed by forward Gudmundsdottir, last year’s Player of the Year Lund (who also had 10 assists) and MF Åsland, each with 6 goals.

In the relegation, Lyn (4-3-0-15) “won,” followed by Arna-Bjørnar (4-2-1-14); Lillestrøm (3-2-2-11); Asane (3-1-3-10); Røa (2-2-3-8); Avaldsnes (2-1-4-7); and Tromsø (2-1-4-7). Tromsø remains in the 1st Division. Kolbotn (1-2-4-5), which was sixth in the regular season, drops to the 1st Division. Røa, which was winless and in last place in the regular season, remains in Toppserien. Asane is a newcomer to the top league.

This article originally appeared in the December 2, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American.

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Michael Kleiner

Michael Kleiner, business and sports editor, has more than three decades of experience as an award-winning journalist and public relations professional. He has operated his own PR and web design business for small businesses, authors and community organizations in Philadelphia since 1999. Not of Norwegian descent, he lived in Norway for a year with his family at age 11 and has returned as an adult. He is the author of a memoir, Beyond the Cold: An American’s Warm Portrait of Norway, and a member of NorCham Philadelphia. Visit;