Rosenborg wins Tippeligaen 2016
By far the winningest team in the bunch, Trondheim tops the elite league for the 24th time
Jo Christian Weldingh
Rosenborg became league champions after beating archrivals Molde 3-1 at Aker stadium on Sept. 24 with five games remaining in the season. Never before has a league title been won with so many games left to play.
Rosenborg and the whole city of Trondheim were ready to celebrate before the game at the home stadium of their archrivals. With a draw, the league title would be theirs for the second season in a row. Rosenborg has won the league with four games left to play on three occasions: 1996, 2003, and 2009.
Molde manager and Manchester United legend, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, said before the game that his team would do anything in their power to avoid a Rosenborg-celebration at Aker stadium.
“We will not concede points tonight. We will not let Rosenborg celebrate their league championship in Molde. We will ruin their party and give them a warning about what is to come next season,” he said. Molde won the league in 2014 but has been a huge disappointment to their fans this season, finishing in fifth place.
Rosenborg didn’t have a single chance in the first half. The hosts dominated the game and had several chances to score. When Bergmann Sigurdson scored with a clinical finish after 30 minutes, it was not undeserved.
In the second half, Rosenborg was back to their true self and even more dominant than Molde was in the first. After 50 minutes, team captain Mike Jensen scored with a beautiful finish after a cross by defender Jonas Svensson. Molde did not play as well as they did in the first half, and Rosenborg seemed to gain confidence throughout the game. After 62 minutes the turnaround was complete when substitute Pål Andre Helland passed to striker Christian Gytkjær: Tippeligaen’s top goal scorer did what he does best and headed the ball into the net. Mike Jensen finished off the night when he scored the last goal after 89 minutes.
“Mike Jensen has been Tippeligaen’s best player this year,” several members of the press stated after the game. “It feels fantastic; it’s hard to describe,” Jensen said after the final whistle. “Everyone in the team has been focused on this and to finally stand here as champions is an incredible feeling.”
Solskjær had to eat his words. Rosenborg won the league on archrival Molde’s home grounds after all. “Disappointing,” Solskjær said after the game. When asked if Molde will be able to compete with Rosenborg for the title next season, he answered with a decisive “Yes.”
Coach Kåre Ingebrigtsen gets most of the credit for Rosenborg’s success the last couple of seasons, and many experts have compared him to Nils Arne Eggen, the legendary coach who won 13 consecutive league titles from 1992 to 2004. When asked how he feels about winning his second league title, Ingebrigtsen answered with a quote from his old coach and idol: “Any idiot can do it once, but doing it twice is much harder,” he said. “It’s not just about players and coaches, it’s about a whole club that has been doing things right for a long time.”
In reality, Rosenborg’s league title was never threatened this year. After losing the first game of the season, the team from Trondheim started winning and never looked back. At one point they were more than 20 points ahead of runner-up Brann. This is Rosenborg’s 24th time winning Tippeligaen, which is a record.
Jo Christian Weldingh grew up in Lillehammer, Norway, but is currently living in Oslo. He has a BA in Archaeology from The University of Oslo and a BA in Business Administration from BI Norwegian Business School.
This article originally appeared in the Dec. 2, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.