Bodø/Glimt to win third consecutive league title?
JO CHRISTIAN WELDINGH
When Bodø/Glimt won their first ever league title two years ago, it came as a major surprise. Experts and pundits expected them to end up mid-table, but the team from Bodø in northern Norway, made up of seemingly average players, exceeded everyone’s expectations and won the league. Glimt’s domination was so sensational and unexpected that it was written about in The New York Times.
Glimt followed up their success in 2020 by winning their second consecutive league title in 2021 and going deep into the UEFA Conference League, beating José Mourinho’s Roma 6-2 in the group stages. Glimt’s continued success has been compared to Rosenborg’s success in the Champions League in the 1990s.
Bodø/Glimt is still the favorite to win Eliteserien in 2022, but both Molde, which finished just three points behind in last year’s league, and Rosenborg, which just appointed Norwegian soccer legend Kjetil Rekdal as their new head coach, are also expected to compete for the title.
Glimt in 2020 might have been the best Norwegian soccer team of all time. They scored 103 goals, set a new league point record, and almost knocked AC Milan out of Europa League.
After losing several key players to bigger European clubs during the winter break, last season’s performances were even more impressive, when coach Kjetil Knutsen repeat ed the success with a new set of players.
This winter, Glimt has seen the departure of even more key personnel, the most notable being Marius Lode, Fredrik Bjørkan, Patrick Berg, and Erik Botheim. Glimt’s title challenge will depend on the success of their replacement signings, Anders Konradsen and Runar Espejord.
Top returners are midfielders Hugo Vetlesen, who had five goals and five assists, and Gjermund Åsen, who assisted on 12 goals.
Despite Bodo/Glimt’s success in recent years, Molde might be the biggest favorite to win this year’s league title. Their performances last season were too inconsistent to compete for the title, but they were only three points behind when the last match was played.
The team has been able to hold on to their key players and with a strong leader in coach Erling Moe and a healthy economic situation, everything is in place for Molde to perform even better than last year. Midfielders Kristoffer Haugen and Eirik Ulland Andersen each scored six goals in 2021, while Ola Brynhildsen had five goals and 11 assists and Magnus Wolff Eikrem added four goals and 10 assists.
The team from Trondheim used to be Norway’s No. 1 team, but heading into the 2022 season, they have not won the league since 2018. Inner turmoil and unsuccessful signings have been dominating Rosenborg in the last few years and the club has not been able to launch a proper title challenge.
They have the biggest economic muscles of all the teams in Eliteserien, however, and have brought in a couple of new players in Tobias Børkeeiet, Victor Jensen, and Sam Rogers. The new signings, combined with Rekdal as their new head coach should give them a boost. Rekdal’s arrival in Trondheim was a surprise to many.
Rosenborg has always prided themselves on playing attractive soccer, while Rekdal is known for his cynical, defensive style of play. That culture clash might cause a problem as the season progresses. Top goal scorer back is Stefano Vecchia (11).
Viking finished third last year and have the league’s top returning scorer in forward Veton Berisha (22 goal, 5 assists) as well as Zlatko Tripić (7-4).
Eliteserien will begin April 2 and the stadiums will be at full capacity for the first time since the 2019 season.
This article originally appeared in the April 1, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.