Eliteserien 2021

No obvious winner, title wide open

Elitersen

Photo: Svein Ove Ekornesvåg / NTB
Molde’s Ohi Omoijuanfo (right) celebrates with Fredrick Aursnes (left) after 5-4 win over Haugesund August 8, in which Omoijuanfo had a hat trick. As of Sept. 26, Omoijuanfo has 21 goals in 20 games.

 

JO CHRISTIAN WELDINGH
Oslo

In the 2020 Eliteserien, Norway’s men’s national soccer league, it was a one-horse race, with Bodø/Glimt as the runaway winner. Glimt did not just take home the title, they had practically won the league in early October, with a record number of both points and goals. It was the first title for Bodø/Glimt in its 104-year existence and the first for a club in Northern Norway. So far, the 2021 season is far from decided.

Entering this year’s season, it was expected to be a contest among three teams. Bodø/Glimt was expected to continue their great form from last year, while Rosenborg and Molde were expected to be eager to claim the title they have won so many times before.

Bodo

Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB
Bodø Glimt’s Ulrik Saltnes protects the ball from Vålerenga’s Ivan Näsberg in the Sept. 26 match.

As of Sept. 26, Bodø/Glimt is sitting at the top of the table with 41 points (12 wins-5 draws-3 losses), three points ahead of Molde (11-5-4) in second place. Rosenborg (11-4-5) is placed third with 37 points with Kristiansund FK (11-2-7) on their tail with 35 points. Lillestrøm (10-4-5, 34 points) returned to Eliteserien and is a point behind Kristiansund in fifth with Thomas Olsen’s 17 goals second in the league while Viking’s Veton Berisha is third with 13, as Viking is in seventh (9-5-6, 32 pts). With 10 games left to play and only 9 points separating the top six teams, nothing is decided.

Molde’s success is in part due to their striker Ohi Omoijuanfo. The 27-year-old Norwegian has scored 21 goals in 20 matches. He has two hat tricks and six doubles. His performances on the pitch have already made him a target for bigger foreign clubs, and he will move from Molde to Red Star Belgrade in Serbia when the Norwegian soccer season is over.

Bodø/Glimt lost several of their key players after last year’s success story, and many pundits were worried they would struggle this year. The team hasn’t been quite as effective as last season, but their title hopes are still alive. Central midfielder Ulrik Saltnes (7 goals) has been key in maintaining last year’s winning formula. Erik Botheim leads B/G with 11 goals.

Åge Hareide’s first full season as a coach, and the return of players like Alexander Tettey, Per Ciljan Skjelbred and Markus Henriksen, was expected to give Rosenborg a good chance of reclaiming the Norwegian soccer throne. However, the club from Trondheim has been struggling this season. Both Tettey and Henriksen have been sidelined with injuries and the results haven’t gone their way. Kristoffer Zachariassen and Stefano Vecchia each have 8 goals.

Usually, it’s what happens on the pitch that makes the headlines in Norwegian soccer, but this year Brann SK has gotten much unwanted attention for issues off the pitch and within the organization. The team from Bergen didn’t win a game until Round 11 and they sacked their controversial coach, Kåre Ingebrigtsen.

Then, on Aug. 11, 12 Brann players decided to hold an after party at their own stadium in Bergen. After the night in question, one woman has accused one of the players of sexually assaulting her, while another woman has accused a different player of aggravated assault. Three players, Vegard Forren, Mikkel Andersen and Kristoffer Barmen, have gotten their contracts terminated after the incident. The investigation is still pending.eliteserien table

This article originally appeared in the Oct. 8, 2021, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

Jo Christian Weldingh

Jo Christian Weldingh grew up in Lillehammer, Norway, and lives in Oslo. He has a bachelor’s degree in archaeology from the University of Oslo and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from BI Norwegian Business School.

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