2014 Tippeligaen wraps up
Molde’s outstanding victory and Brann’s relegation cap the season
Norwegian American Weekly
After nine months and hundreds of matches, the 2014 Tippeligaen season has come to an end. A distinct champion and a surprising relegation round made this season one to remember.
Molde took the gold, proudly accepting its hard-earned position at the top of the pedestal with 22 wins and 71 goals. The silver went to Rosenborg with 60 goals, followed closely by third-place Odd with 58 goals.
Sogndal and Sandnes Ulf appear at the bottom of the table this year, ranking 15 and 16 respectively, and are thus relegated down to the first division league for the 2015 season. Sandefjord and Tromsø—the winners of the first division this season—will be taking their places in Tippeligaen next year.
Ranked number 14, Brann had to enter the relegation round to defend its spot in Tippeligaen. At the beginning of the season, Brann coach Rikard Norling told Bergens Tidene that the team’s goal was to bring home the gold, but their mere eight wins left them at the bottom of the table.
To start off the qualification round, the teams ranked third through sixth in the first division battled it out on November 9. Number four Kristiansund was defeated by number five Bærum 0-2, and number three Mjøndalen defeated number six Fredrikstad 2-0.
The two victors—Mjøndalen and Bærum—met in the next round on November 15 for the opportunity to play Brann. In an exciting, dramatic game of two overtime periods and multiple red cards, Mjøndalen secured the victory at home with a 4-1 win. The game was still tied 1-1 at the end of regular game time and the first overtime period. But in the second overtime, Mjøndalen secured the win with three more goals.
For the first of two matches between Brann and Mjøndalen, the teams met at Brann stadion in Bergen on November 23. Brann’s fans expected a victory and were devastated when the game ended in a 1-1 tie.
Mjøndalen was happy with the tie, but not ready for celebration just yet. “We looked like a good soccer team, I thought. We ran well, dueled well, and we created opportunities,” commented Mjøndalen coach Vegard Hansen to NRK.no. “But if anyone thinks we’re celebrating, it is far from the truth. Now it’s restitution and hard work that awaits.”
On November 26, Brann and Mjøndalen met for the final game at Mjøndalen stadion. With two goals scored by Sanel Kapidzic and one by Vamouti Diomande, Mjøndalen crushed Brann 3-0. As a result of this unexpected loss, Brann must move down from Tippeligaen for the first time in 27 years.
Loyal Brann fans are devastated, including Prime Minister Erna Solberg. “After the second goal, it just fell apart. I think it is incredibly sad that Brann will not participate in Tippeligaen next year. I feel for the fans and players,” said Solberg to NTB.
Norling wants to keep his position as head coach even after Brann is relegated to the first division, declaring that he will take Brann back to the top. But the club management is not sure Norling is the right man for the job. No official decisions have been made yet as of December 2, but most Brann fans hope to see Norling go.
But while soccer fans in Bergen fear for the future of their team, fans in Molde are ecstatic. After the conclusion of the Tippeligaen season, Molde continued to defend their title as number one by winning the cup finale 2-0 against Odd on November 23.
“It is absolutely crazy. It has been a fantastic season, and I think it’s hard to describe what we have experienced this year. The fact that we can top it with a gold in the cup finale is huge,” says Molde coach Tor Ole Skullerud.
Next season will undoubtedly bring more surprises as we watch to see if Molde can defend the gold and if Brann can climb back up to Tippeligaen.
This article originally appeared in the Dec. 12, 2014, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (800) 305-0271.