Saturday, December 29, 2007

Transfer rumors

ru·mor /ˈrumər/
–noun

  1. a story or statement in general circulation without confirmation or certainty as to facts: a rumor of war.

  2. gossip; hearsay: Don't listen to rumor.

  3. Archaic. a continuous, confused noise; clamor; din.

  4. –verb (used with object)
  5. to circulate, report, or assert by a rumor: It is rumored that the king is dead.


- dictionary.com


Fansites around Europe are over-heating in unrealistic entries. Our sports director says he's not in any kind of panic (TIPS-Bladet / Ingen transferpanik i FCK) while one of our scouts have been spending some time in the Czech Republic lately.

Incoming?



Søren Larsen

Current employer: Schalke 04 (German 1. Bundesliga).
Price: 1 million €.
Other offers: Eintracht Frankfurt, Wolfsburg, Nürnberg plus a British club.
Sources: Bild / Die Hau-ab!-Liste der Bundesliga, bold.dk / Avis: FCK vil have Søren Larsen.

Martin Laursen

Current employer: Aston Villa (English Premier League).
Price: ?.
Other offers: ?.
Source: bold.dk / Martin Laursen åben for FCK, Berlingeren / Aldrig mere Italien.

Yoav Ziv

Current employer: Beitar Jerusalem (Israel).
Price: ~½ million €.
Other offers: Club Brugge (Belgium).
Source:
Ekstra Bladet / FCK lun på israelsk landsholdsspiller
, Politiken / Israeler meldes på vej til FCK, bold.dk / Israeler koster FCK 3,7 millioner kroner, Haaretz / Beitar facing 'January sales' crisis.

Tommy Bechmann

Current employer: Bochum (German 1. Bundesliga).
Price: ?.
Other offers: ?.
Source: bold.dk / FCK jagter Tommy Bechmann.

Kasper Bøgelund

Current employer: Borussia Mönchengladbach (German 2. Bundesliga).
Price: ?.
Other offers: ? (quite possibly not even us).
Source: TIPS-Bladet / Bøgelund vil væk.

Thomas Kristensen

Current employer: FC Nordsjælland (Danish Superliga).
Price: ?.
Other offers: ? (quite possibly not even us).
Source: TIPS-Bladet / FCN-profil vil gerne til FCK.

Outgoing?



Marcus Allbäck

Offers: Elfsborg (Sweden).
Price: ~2 million €.
Source: Expressen / Elfsborg redo att köpa Allbäck - för 15 miljoner, Expressen / Öis: "Vi ska inte värva Allbäck".

Brede Hangeland
Offers: Newcastle (English Premier League) a.o.
Price: ~2½ million €.
Source: TIPS-Bladet / Newcastle vil igen byde på Hangeland.

Other possible transfers include Morten Bertolt and Michael Silberbauer.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Congratulations Aberdeen

Lowlights on YouTube video:


Guardian Unlimited / Smith leads rout as Aberdeen go through
Scotland have three representatives in Europe beyond Christmas for the first time in 37 years after an outstanding second-half display from Aberdeen, whose 4-0 dismantling of FC Copenhagen ensured that they, and not the bewildered Danish champions, enter today's draw for the Uefa Cup's last 32.


Scotsman / Aberdeen go forth after a night of perfection
"I am surprised they have won the game tonight, but after a performance like this maybe they have a chance," [Ståle Solbakken] said.


Football365 / CALDERWOOD ON CLOUD NINE
"Copenhagen have won in Amsterdam, they beat Manchester United and Celtic and we have beaten them convincingly with a great performance."
- Jimmy Calderwood

Copenhagen boss Stale Solbakken criticised his side for folding after Smith's goals. He said: "It was like two games in one. We controlled the game until they scored the first goal. After they scored the second, we lost our heads. The game was not over yet but we didn't have the mental strength and maybe the physical strength to come back. It was the worst 25 minutes in my time as coach of FC Copenhagen."


Telegraph / Aberdeen roll back the years in Uefa Cup
[In 1st half] Aberdeen were living dangerously, their defending complacent and pedestrian. [...] Whatever Aberdeen took with their half-time tea, it certainly worked.


Sportinglife / Aberdeen 4 Copenhagen 0
The Danes looked susceptible at long balls from the start and they were caught out by a simple ball over the top by Zander Diamond in the fifth minute.

Reading "susceptible at long balls" breaks one's heart. But it's true.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Motherwell Refuse Euro Rest For Aberdeen

MOTHERWELL manager Mark McGhee has booted out a bid by former club Aberdeen to postpone Saturday's SPL clash and boost their European hopes.

The Pittodrie side followed Rangers' lead by attempting to give their players every chance to prepare for next Thursday's UEFA Cup Group B showdown with FC Copenhagen.

But McGhee has thrown a spanner in the works because he thinks postponing the game gives Jimmy Calderwood's men an advantage in the SPL.

Danish Championship probabilities

Calculated from averages of bookie's odds. It's too early for any modeling and stuff like that, but here we go...
  • FC København ~2/3
  • AaB (Aalborg) ~20%
  • FC Midtjylland & OB (Odense) 5-10% each
  • Brøndby IF, AC Horsens & Randers FC ~1-1½% each
  • FC Nordsjælland & Esbjerg fB ~½%
  • Lyngby BK, AGF (Aarhus) & Viborg FF n/a

Monday, December 03, 2007

No Leo Franco rendezvous

When we played Real Mallorca in 2003, the Spanish team's goalie was Argentinian Leo Franco. And I was one of the 20.487 spectators, of course. Wednesday's match against Atletico Madrid should have been the second time for me to watch him, but due to an injury suffered in Atletico's 0-2 away win over Real Betis that won't happen. Back then we scored an own goal and lost 2-3 aggregate to Mallorca.

Sources: Franco doubt for Atlético double-header, Leo Franco Out For A Month, But Still Happy, Atletico Madrid Edge Out Betis.

UEFA Cup Group B analysis


Graphical presentation of the outcome of our UEFA Cup group.

It's not exactly surprising Aberdeen and Lokomotiv Moskva are favorites to leave the tournament: They are placed bottom and they each have only one more game to get points from.

Most likely Panathinaikos will finish 1st with 9, 10 or 12 points, Atlético Madrid 2nd with 7 or 8 points, Lokomotiv Moskva 4th with 2 or 3 points and Aberdeen last. We, FC København, are the group joker.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Quick preview: Sunday's home game vs. Brøndby IF

(Sorry. I forgot how Blogger mutilates tables. Scroll down, please...)


















































FC København



Draw



Brøndby IF



Probabilities (win)


~60%

~25%

~15%

Injuries


Jesper Grønkjær, Rasmus Würtz
and Michael Silberbauer


David Williams, Jean-Philippe
Peguero, Mikkel Bischoff, Morten Rasmussen, Nicolaj Agger, Peter Madsen
and Trond Andersen

League position


#1

+12 goals, 33 points



#9

-3 goals, 23 points


Past 10 encounters


5 wins, 9 goals

2 draws

3 wins, 7 goals


Points last 5 league games home/away


20

5










Sunday, November 25, 2007

This week's league: Elite tactics vs. mediocre dog fighting

The league in a nutshell: Copenhagen barely clinch victory in tactical top flight encounter with Odense while Brøndby suffer loss to league run-of-the-mill Esbjerg fB despite hard fought come back. Both Copenhagen teams scored twice but that must be the only similarity.

FC København - Odense Boldklub 2-1


This Saturday I witnessed from the sideline FC København registering another home win. By half time I was wondering why I hadn't put a bet on 0-0 because this was at least as defensive a game as anyone could have predicted. Before this weekend Odense only allowed 0.6 goals against on average and hadn't been beaten for seven games straight. We used five or six defenders in total and played the first hour with only one really dedicated striker. But with half an hour to go Marcus Allbäck made it 1-0 only minutes after entering the pitch. That man only scores important goals.

Now the game opened up a bit and we got two more goals to enjoy before leaving for post-game beers and games of billiard at the Copenhagen bars. A typical set piece header by Brede Hangeland and another sharp striker type finish by former FC København player David Nielsen. 2-1, 3 points and in place at the league pole position while Odense stay 4th.

Esbjerg fB - Brøndby IF 3-2


The contrast to Brøndby IF's away game against Esbjerg fB couldn't have been sharper. For one thing, I witnessed it getting drenched in hails and rain from the warm comfort of my couch. Brøndby have declared their crisis is over and talked of silverware in the pre-game interviews. Only to allow Esbjerg's Njogu Demba-Nyren to score after just 32 seconds.

Esbjerg continued dominating the game by excellent short passing, technical details and optimist attacking. Jesper Mikkelsen and Demba-Nyren made it 3-0. But before Brøndby collapsed Chris Katongo was brought on and managed to make it 3-1 by a resolute cannon ball finish from close distance. Then Stefan Gislason, Martin Ericsson and the strong wind collaborated on turning a corner kick into another goal.

Pressing for the equalizer Brøndby also allowed a couple of Esbjerg counter attacks. One of these ended in Niki Zimling - who otherwise had a great day at the job - wasting the opportunity of taking a penalty kick. Esbjerg fB are now placed 8th two points ahead of Brøndby.

Youth team midfielder survives shooting

17 years old youth team talent Jamal Bhuyan survives taking two bullets when he became the innocent victim of a gang related shooting outside Christiania in Copenhagen last week.

Jamal was in his father's shop at Prinsessegade 29 when he was hit by one bullet in a hand and another in the torso. The latter shot went through his stomach, liver and an artery. Two operations and a stay at the hospital later, Jamal will be back at Peter Bangs Vej training pitches soon enough.

The bullets were intended for a customer leaving the shop. Police says the incident was related to a conflict in a Pakistani gang.

Sources (in Danish): Tipsbladet / KB-talent såret af skud, Politiken.dk / 17-årig overlever nedskydning.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Seitaridis set for surgery at Atlético

Club Atlético de Madrid defender Giourkas Seitaridis will undergo surgery on Monday on his troublesome achilles tendon, ruling him out for up to six weeks.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Lokomotiv dismiss coach Byshovets

Anatoli Byshovets has been dismissed as coach of FC Lokomotiv Moskva the day after they ended the Russian season in a lowest-ever position of seventh.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Panathinaikos is a better team

Well at least they were yesterday when I saw them win 0-1 in Copenhagen. And their fans are better supporters than we are.



Granted: Players like Morten Nordstrand (not ready for this level), Rasmus Würtz (scratching his buttocks while opponent scores) and Niclas Jensen (missing corners like that disqualifies you buddy) looked outright silly in many situations. But that is no excuse for acting like teenagers with behavioral problems like many FC København fans did pretty much from the minute the Greeks scored. Support the team or stop pretending to be a fan, please. I felt like punching several of the fans around me in their faces but in stead enjoyed listening to the Greek fans going crazy.

The problems yesterday were rooted much deeper than in any individual player. Team organization looked like rubbish - which is of course always an observation relative to that of the opponent. And Panathinaikos were excellently organized, spoiling the Copenhagen play all over the pitch showing off occasional short passing and technical plays that we are not going to see FC København perform in years to come if ever.

And compare their starting line-up to my wild guess at what it would be: I got five players right. Either my guess was even more sloppy than I said it was or they used half their 2nd team. Never mind the fact Panathinaikos' seeding coefficient is three times ours - you buy a plastic FCK-hat and it's your God given right to shout insults for 90 minutes.

Our Swedish striker, Marcus Allbäck, is furious with us. At bold.dk he says (quickie translation of Allbäck raser mod FCK-fans):
When we went to the sideline after the game to thank for the support all we got was a fuck-finger. I don't understand how the fans could do that. That's lack of respect. I think it's an embarrassment our own fans starts booing after half an hour. They should be our 12th man but are the opposite.


To whoever gave Allbäck the finger: fuck you too.

PS: Yada, yada, yada the ref was bad yada, yada, yada. Yes, he managed quite a few blatant miscalls right in front of my eyes but please remember he also invented a penalty for us and shut up. Thanks.

Elsewhere: UEFA.com / Ndoye goal perfect for Panathinaikos, sportinglife.com / FC Copenhagen 0 Panathinaikos 1, Goal.com / Panathinaikos Almost Through After Copenhagen Victory.

The visitors were better throughout the game; on the strength of the first half showing alone they deserved perhaps something more than just a narrow advantage. -Goal.com


It was not FCK's night. - UEFA.com

Friday, November 02, 2007

Intelligence: Panathinaikos FC

With just six days to go here is a look at Greek Panathinaikos FC.

After six league games this season, Panathinaikos FC is placed 2nd in Greece with 13 points and a solid goal score of 9-1. Saturday they play Levadiakos - 2nd from the bottom of the table - away, most likely another three points. Opening the group on the 25th October they beat Aberdeen 3-0 (UEFA.com / Ivanschitz inspires Panathinaikos win).

Panathinaikos FC is ranked #32 at the UEFA Team Ranking 2007. Last season their European campaign came to an end at the hands of... RC Lens who beat them 3-1 (UEFA.com / Lens advance after Athens shut-out). But the club is 99 years old, lost the European Cup final 0-2 to Ajax in 1971 and has a long pedigree of impressive results. Little reason for optimism.


D Salpingidis - D Papadopoulos

A Ivanschitz - S Ninis - E González - G Karagounis

A Seric - J Sarriegi - N Morris - L Vyntra

A Malarz

A quite unreliable guess made from browsing the roster, and recent news on their games. In particular, they seem to have several options for their midfield: Marcelo Mattos and Alexandros Tziolis may well take the place of Sotiris Ninis and Ezequiel Gonzalez. The defense may look very different too, but the Panathinaikos defenders generally doesn't carry as impressive price tags as the midfielders does.


Central defender Josu Sarriegui Zumárraga is a recent signing from Athletic Club Bilbao (UEFA.com / Panathinaikos strengthen defence), defensive midfielder Marcelo Mattos was bought in Corinthians in July (UEFA.com / Brazilian prodigy joins Panathinaikos) while Karagounis is a veteran returning home (UEFA.com / Karagounis returns to Panathinaikos). Austrian playmaker Andreas Ivanschitz has returned from injury only recently but is fit. Sotiris Ninis is a lad 17 years of age, still a ball boy a year ago (UEFA.com / From ball boy to star, UEFA.com / Ninis comes of age at Panathinaikos).

In Scotland, they are now licking their wounds:
[...] struggled to deal with the pace and trickery of Pana front pair Dame N'Doye and Dimitris Salpigidis [...] the talent of Ivanschitz, who provided the assists from two free-kicks and the killer pass for Dimitris Papadopoulos' goal which sandwiched strikes from Goumas and Dimitris Salpigidis. [...] "I think Dnipro [the team Aberdeen played in the first round] were a better footballing team but Panathinaikos got the goals and that's what mattered.
SEVERIN SEES POSITIVES IN DEFEAT


Dnipro a better team? Set-piece situations? Baaah! Now the Scots count on beating us at home...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

New defender offensive?

Danish media are reporting we're buying Israeli defender Yoav David Ziv from Beitar Jerusalem, the club we eliminated to play European football this year. Price is supposedly around 500,000€. [Danish sources: forza.dk / FCK lun på israeler, bold.k / Israeler koster FCK 3,7 millioner kroner] As far as I remember from our games against the Israelis, he's pretty good.

I have tried to find an English language source for the story with no luck. What I did find however, was a Jerusalem Post story about Zionist settlers doing illegal construction work on "historic Israel" territory aka Palestinian territory occupied by Israel. As the land is the subject of ongoing peace negotiations the Israeli authorities work to stop these activities. And here is what - quite frankly - stuns me:

According to Yitzhaki, the settlement drive also has the support of seven players from the Betar Jerusalem soccer team.

Strikers Totu Tamuz and Amit Ben-Shushan, defenders Arik Benado, Yoav Ziv and David Amsalem, and midfielders Aviram Bruchian and Idan Tal did not plan to participate in Sunday's events, but had signed pledges of support, Yitzhaki said.

Hmmm... that's pretty extreme. Gee, I'm happy they don't "plan to participate"! Looks like we're getting a Zionist on the offense for our defense. I wonder if we'd buy a public Hamas-supporter? I guess we would.

But someone needs to scholar this guy about the only West Bank he's allowed to attack as long as he's with us: Brøndby IF aka "Vestegnen" ;-)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Another Copenhagen club: Lyngby BK

Lyngby Stadion - lystårn

FC København is of course not the one and only Copenhagen club. It's just the biggest, oldest, best and the only one with real international class. But this weekend they played away in the other end of Denmark (0-0 in Aalborg Saturday) so I clenched my thirst for live football with a visit to Lyngby on Sunday.

Visiting Lyngby is also a visit to the other end of the league table. Before this weekend they were rock bottom. The grilled sausages are semi self service but actually better than any food you can buy in Parken. The cheerleaders appeared to be school girls. Concrete and grass stands are separated by hedges.

Lyngby Stadion - pølser
Sausages grilled by a guy watching the game.


Lyngby BK beat visiting Viborg FF 2-0 in a game that was a lot more entertaining than the AaB - FC København appeared on TV. Lyngby sports an attacking style of play with emphasis on fast, precise passes utilizing both wings. Defensively they run a lottery business. Their goalie is Rune Pedersen, formerly FC København. Both teams managed to miss a couple of enormous scoring opportunities.



I shot a short video of the native fans doing their tribal thing.


Visiting Lyngby stadium is no problem. From Copenhagen central station take trains B or E north for about 15 minutes. From Lyngby train station it's a short walk or bus 182, 183 or 300S for just a couple of minutes. Follow fans in blue shirts.


View Larger Map
A Google map of the stadium.

G-14 invite received

As previously mentioned, the G-14 is expanding and FC København among the clubs that may join. Other clubs include Sevilla, Roma, Monaco, Werder Bremen and Chelsea. A total of around 50 clubs from 23 countries will get the invitation.

The administration of FC København have not decided whether to join or not. Understandably, I think. We're just making the break into European class and some of what G-14 wants could have made this harder, I think.

Sources: sportinglife.com / SEVILLA TO GET G-14 INVITE, forza.dk / FCK inviteret indenfor i fornemt selskab.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Naked butts

Danish newspaper B.T. put up a little gallery of Mathias 'Zanka' Jørgensen and Ailton Almeida accepting the punishment for losing a ball juggling competition: Having the rest of the team fire off shots at their bared buttocks.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

UEFA Cup group stage draw

Group B
1. Panathinaikos FC (GRE)
2. FC Lokomotiv Moskva (RUS)
3. Club Atlético de Madrid (ESP)
4. FC København (DEN)
5. Aberdeen FC (SCO)
UEFA.com / Past masters meet in group stage, Daily Record / Dons get Atletico, Lokomotiv, Panathinaikos, Copenhagen.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Possible UEFA Cup opponents

Our coefficient of 19.129 puts us in fourth seeding layer. Meaning next week one team from each of the following pots will end up in the same UEFA Cup group as us.

Pot 1: Villarrea, Bayern München, AZ Alkmaar, Panathinaikos, FC Basel, Girondins Bordeaux, Bayer Leverkusen, Anderlecht.
Pot 2: Tottenham Hotspur, Lokomotiv Moscow, Zenit St. Petersburg, Sparta Praha, AEK Athens, Hamburger, Bolton Wanderers, Austria Wien.
Pot 3: Spartak Moscow, Sporting Braga, Galatasaray, Atlético Madrid, Getafe, Everton, Fiorentina, Stade Rennais.
Pot 5: Aris Thessaloniki, Aberdeen, FC Zürich, AE Larissa, SK Brann Bergen, IF Elfsborg, Helsingborg IF. (Not AaB Aalborg because no teams from the same association are put in the same group.)

(Once again: thank heavens for copy/paste.)

We're in the UEFA Cup

As of writing this, when I Google for articles on tonight's game vs Lens, zero (0) turns up. I can't have that so here we go: The FC København vs RC Lens UEFA Cup qualification game from the perspective of a Copenhagener.

Buying the ticket I felt realistically hopeful we'd progress. Drawing 1-1 at home in the first of two games like these is hard to turn around for a aggregate win; it's only happens about 1 in 5 times. (Which is not the same thing as saying FC København had 4 in 5 chance of progress like the Danish newspaper B.T. incompetently did.)

It was a rainy evening in Copenhagen and the pitch was unpredictable and fast. The referee soon proved to be about the same quality as the pitch. Not the best conditions but ok.

Just a quarter of an hour into the game Lens' Eric Carriere took advantage of a loose ball and put the guests ahead. The home side atmosphere dropped somewhat but both audience and players kept it going. Quite a few chances were missed in both ends of the stadium.

Outstanding performances were pulled by Libor Sionko and Jesper Christiansen among others. The former thanking the coach by fielding him in the starting 11 by being a constant threat to Lens' left side, a physical and technical feat on a very large part of the pitch; the latter by performing a handful of world class saves.

Then with a quarter of an hour to go Marcus Allbäck leveled the score when it was the French defense who were taking a little nap. Symptomatic of a close and very professional game. People in the stand went nuts.

Five minutes into the overtime Michael Gravgaard had to risk everything to stop a Lens attack but got the man in stead of the ball and was correctly sent off. This provoked the international debut of 17 year old Mattias 'Zanka' Jørgensen (he already did five minutes of Danish Cup and 15 minutes of Danish league time). And boy did he do well! Applause for Zanka!

But the following minutes turned into some kind of nightmare with Lens trying to finish off Copenhagen. Then Libor Sionko led a counter attack and was run over in the Lens penalty area. The resulting penalty kick was taken advantage of by Jesper Grønkjær, FC København had one leg in the UEFA Cup group phase and the stands were in ecstasy.

I had been thinking 200 Dkr for the ticket to a game against "some French team" was a little expensive. As far as I remember, it was cheaper when we beat Lazio? But let's just say this one was worth it all. Whew!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Brøndby at UEFA.com

Usually, I leave Brøndby alone. But today they made news at UEFA.com... Rivals' pity highlights Brøndby gloom:
"There is no doubt the ongoing rivalry between Brøndby and us has been good for both clubs financially, and for Danish football in general," [club director Dan Hammer says,] "If Brøndby's crisis goes on for too many more seasons we will have to find a new rival, and that will take time."

Friday, September 21, 2007

Papin comment

Lens will probably have to do without Julien Sable [against Toulouse] who injured his ankle against Copenhagen.

"It's a little sprain and it should not be too serious," said Papin to Lequipe "It will be sorted in the next few days."

Papin was pleased with the display against Copenhagen, if not the result.

He said: "I only regret the first five minutes. We are confident in our play and we looked good against a solid team."

Source: Football365.com - EMANA CONFIDENT OF VICTORY - France - Football365 News

Sunday, September 16, 2007

2 x 1-0 & G-14

Both us and RC Lens won our league games Saturday by 1-0 home, both scoring at about 2/3s of the game played into the 2nd half.

FC København - AC Horsens 1-0


57' Morten Nordstrand

Lens - Nancy 1-0


71' Aruna Dindane

Aruna Dindane scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot on 70 minutes

Source: Sporting Life - NANCY SLIP TO FIRST DEFEAT

Nancy coach Pablo Correa said: "We have the impression that we gave them the match, we missed our chances. Our biggest battle was with ourselves."

Source: AFP: Lyon close in on Nancy as Marseille crisis deepens

[Q:] Lens doit-il mettre un peu de côté une compétition, l'UEFA par exemple, pour être performant en Ligue 1 ?

[A:] Je ne sais pas s'il faut lâcher quelque chose. Il y a un gros effectif. Je n'ai d'ailleurs jamais côtoyé un effectif pareil. Je crois que l'on peut jouer sur tous les tableaux. Cette dynamique doit nous aider à créer une émulation. Il n'y a pas de titulaires. Tout le monde est là pour donner cent pour cent de lui pendant le temps qu'il joue. Dès mercredi, face à Copenhague, il y aura probablement un gros turn-over, avec une équipe qui sera performante et ne voudra rien lâcher. C'est ce que l'on s'est dit depuis le stage du Touquet.»

Source: L'EQUIPE.FR Football - Sablé : «Un grand soulagement»

From reading the above articles and a few more here's a line-up ('?' probably just the same guy as last week):


Akalé - Dindane - Monterubbio

Boukari


Sablé - Mangane


Ramos - Hilton - Coulibaly - Laurenti


Runje



Update: CB Hilton and GK Runje were selected for last weekend's team of the weak - along with such players as Juninho, Rothen and Elmander.

2nd update: Lineup corrected according to football-lineups.com - what a wonderful site!

G-14



After yesterday's game Jørgen Glistrup and Flemming Østergaard paid visits to the stadium bar allowing my buddies to have their pictures taken with them and answering questions on the recent G-14 rumors. In short, they seemed more concerned with what influence if any you'd get from a membership of it than if allowed in at all.

Recent articles on G-14: Goal.com - G-14 Set For Expansion, El G-14 estudia aumentar su número - Marca.com (Spanish), FCK forhandler om indtræden i G14 (Danish).

Thursday, September 13, 2007

International performances 12th of September

Fans arrived singing songs of protest but left with a feeling of promise as Canada and Costa Rica played to an entertaining 1-1 draw on "Black Wednesday" at the National Soccer Stadium in Toronto.

Source: Soccer News Black Wednesday's silver lining - sportsnet.ca

The hosts were quickly into their stride at the Sparta Stadium, Libor Sionko's shot deflecting wide but a breakthrough was not long in coming, Jankulovski exchanging passes with Plašil and skipping past Richard Dunne to drill in. Sionko spurned another presentable opportunity and Ireland finally began to exert some pressure of their own, Dunne exploiting a Sionko miskick to play Doyle in on goal and the Reading FC striker guided his left-foot shot beyond Petr Čech only for the post to come to the goalkeeper's rescue.

Source: uefa.com / Czechs close in on finals place

Denmark kept alive their hopes of reaching UEFA EURO 2008™ as Morten Nordstrand scored twice in a convincing home victory over Liechtenstein.

Source: uefa.com / Nordstrand on song in Denmark stroll

Hangeland did not look particularly brilliant at the first Greek goal.
Source: uefa.com / Greece on course with Oslo draw

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Hangeland thought he'd be playing with Newcastle

Norwegian newspaper VG Nett says Brede Hangeland was Man of the Match in Moldova - Norway yesterday. And Brede talks about how he had his bags packed for a move to Newcastle when FC København turned down the offer of about 4 million €. Enjoy if you can read Norwegian.
Source: VG Nett / Hangeland: - Følte jeg var nær en overgang

International performances 8th of September

San Marino - Czech Republic 0 - 3



San Marino far from disgraced themselves here, holding the Czech Republic to a (relatively) narrow victory in Serravalle - even after going down to ten men.

Source: Goal.com - Euro 2008 - San Marino Sink To Czech Republic Late Show

The Czech Republic picked up the expected win in San Marino which consolidated second place in UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying Group D but they were made to work by their hosts.

Source: uefa.com - UEFA EURO 2008™ - Hard work pays off for Czechs

# 17 Libor Sionko unused substitute.

Sweden - Denmark 0-0



The home side will feel that they should have won the game, but Denmark have left the Rasunda with a point following a 0-0 draw. While Denmark looked good in places, it was the Swedes who carved out most of the openings - each of which, however, was wasted...

Source: Goal.com - Euro 2008 - Sweden And Denmark Play Out Entertaining Draw

Sweden stayed on course to reach UEFA EURO 2008™ thanks to a goalless draw with neighbours Denmark that took Lars Lagerbäck's team three points clear in Group F.

Minute-by-minute
1 Grønkjær (Denmark) is flagged for offside.
19 Grønkjær (Denmark) commits a foul after challenging Hansson (Sweden).
33 Grønkjær (Denmark) misses the target.
37 N Jensen (Denmark) delivers the corner.
80 Grønkjær (Denmark) is booked.
88 Mellberg (Sweden) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Grønkjær (Denmark).
90+1 Gravgaard (in) - Tomasson (out) (Denmark)

Source: uefa.com - UEFA EURO 2008™ - Solna shutout suits Sweden

Jesper Christiansen injured in practice (!), Marcus Allbäck, Rasmus Würtz, Hjalte Nørregaard and Morten Nordstrand unused substitutes.

Moldova - Norway 0-1



Moldova kept the score down but failed to excite as Norway managed a narrow 1-0 win in Chisinau.

Source: Goal.com - Euro 2008 - Norway Edge Out Moldova

Steffen Iversen struck four minutes into the second half as Norway secured a victory against Moldova in Chisinau which boosted their bid to qualify for UEFA EURO 2008™.

Minute-by-minute
62 Hangeland (Norway) commits a foul after challenging Zmeu (Moldova).
82 Hangeland (Norway) delivers the corner.

Source: uefa.com - UEFA EURO 2008™ - Iversen goal takes Norway second

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Last weekend's league games

02/09 2007: Nice - Lens


50' Bakari Kone, Nice 1-0
81' Aruna Dindane, Lens misses penalty


Akalé - Dindane


Monterrubio - Sablé - Kovasevic - Demont


Ramos - Coulibaly - Hilton - Laurenti


Runje



02/09 2007: FC København - Randers FC


14' Jesper Grønkjær 1-0


Allbäck - Nordstrand


Grønkjær - Nørregaard - Würtz - Silberbauer


Jensen - Hangeland - Gravgaard - Wendt


Christiansen


(Written straight from feeble memory... may have minor errors.)

Friday, August 31, 2007

UEFA Cup opponent: RC Lens

RC Lens (FRA) v FC København (DEN)


Sources: uefa.com - UEFA Cup, Fortune smiles on English sides - Yahoo! Eurosport.

RC Lens has an impressive UEFA coefficient of 51.706 - compare that to Benfica's 67.149. This season's Le Championnat results have so far been less than impressive though: Bordeaux-Lens 1-0, Lens-Paris SG 0-0, Lens-Valenciennes 0-0 and Strasbourg-Lens 2-1. Probably in part because they focused on their international games: In the second qualifying round for the UEFA Cup they defeated Young Boys 5-1 (uefa.com - Lens ensure dream start for Papin). Yes, Jean-Pierre Papin is their coach. Interesting.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Goodbye Champions League. Hello UEFA Cup

SL Benfica stood firm in the face of a tide of pressure from FC København as Kostas Katsouranis' first-half goal proved enough to secure a 3-1 aggregate victory for the Portuguese outfit, and a place in the UEFA Champions League group stage.

Source: uefa.com - Battling Benfica deny København.

The hosts had started best, chalking up several chances in the first 15 minutes and looked the stronger team for much of the match but failed to convert their opportunities into goals.

Source: ESPNsoccernet - FC Copenhagen v Benfica Report

Shots at goal statistic: about 8 against 2. Unbelievable. On top of that, ref Eric 'Ajax loverboy' Braamhaar, missed calling the most obvious penalty I remember seeing. Some swift short passing brought Allbäck in a position clear for finishing but his man marker didn't hesitate kicking right at his supporting leg. If that wasn't a penalty, torture, maiming or otherwise violating a Geneva Convention is needed for one.

Luckily, Mr. Braamhaar didn't miss the opportunity to hand out a yellow card to Atiba Hutchinson for stating the obvious. And since when is blatantly handballing to deflect a mega-chance not a red card offense? OK, that might have been a tough call, but seriously. Silberbauer, I believe it was, was denied an enormous chance later in the game. Gee, I'm so sorry Braamhaar's Ajax also left the tournament 1-3 yesterday.

Good luck to Benfica.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Atiba Hutchinson interview

The official FC København webpage has published a short video of two very short interviews with Hjalte Nørregaard (in Danish) and Atiba Hutchinson talking about their expectations and the team tactics for tomorrow's game against Benfica.




...and contrary to what they try to make you believe the video does not require Windows Media Player ;-) But just click the image and watch the video.

Benfica home preview

The 1st leg away was a 2-1 defeat to Benfica. A loss but not too bad. While FC København hasn't exactly impressed since then, Benfica seems to have gotten into a bit of trouble: Star players leaving, most defenders injured, new coach and who knows what else. Yesterday Pedro Mantorras was ruled out for months due to a knee injury. José Camacho hasn't promised anyone a win - actually his latest comments look more like preemptive excuses.

Benfica's squad: Goalies: Butt and Quim, defenders: Luis Felipe, Luisao, Leo, Miguelito, Nelson and Miguel Vitor, midfielders: Petit, Katsouranis, Fabio Coentrao, Di Maria, Adu, Nuno Assis, Rui Costa and Romeu Ribeiro, strikers: Cardozo, Bergessio, Yu Dabao and Nuno Gomes.

FC København's squad: Strongest possible selection except Jesper Grønkjær is suspended. No important players injured and some even rested during this weekend's league game.

Approximate outcome probabilities: Home win: 40%, draw: 30%, away win: 30%. To progress for Champions League group phase: FC København 35%, Benfica 65%.

Once the ball gets rolling all of the above will be forgotten and the game sensed from my season ticket seat. But I'll be prepared for UEFA Cup games only after this one, sure.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

0-0

OB - FC København 0-0



...

Benfica - Guimaraes 0-0



It’s going to take more than just a few training sessions to set Benfica back on the right track [...] Before the match returning tactician José Antonio Camacho reaffirmed his confidence and repeated his trust in budding star centre-back Miguel Vítor. The defender earned widespread applause with his solid work in defusing a slew of attacks by the visitors while the bulk of incisive attacking came from the boots of veteran number 10 Rui Costa and Under-21 man Fábio Coentrão [...] Nuno Gomes missed a great chance early on as the number 21 slapped a shot wide of Nilson’s sticks after being well set up by Paraguayan import Cardozo. Quim was solid for Benfica whenever called on.

Source: Goal.com - Camacho Unable To Reap Immediate Reward At Benfica

OB and Guimaraes (Vitória Guimarães) were this weekend's league opposition for København and Benfica respectively. Guimaraes has an UEFA coefficient of 15.913, OB 12.51. On last season's 'Computertabelle' at Kicker.de Benfica ranked 20, FC København 78, OB 89 and Guimaraes outside top 100. Qualified opponents for both teams to warm up for Wednesday with.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Camacho speaks

Camacho has until Wednesday to prepare his new team for their crucial return trip to Copenhagen following a weekend meeting with Vitória SC. "According to the chairman and the other coaches, the team needs more players and I cannot implement my philosophy in just one day," warned Camacho. "The team will have to work very hard [to beat København]. I need to get to know them 100 per cent but we will be a competitive side."

Source: uefa.com - Magazine / Camacho's rescue mission

The Anderson deal is now reality. Benfica is currently looking at Borja Oubiña in Celta de Vigo (Source: El fichaje de Oubiña por el Benfica, en punto muerto - Marca.com) and Maximiliano Pereira in Defensor Sporting (Source: Benfica tenta contratar médio uruguaio do Defensor Sporting) - but we don't care who they buy now.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Benfica defense weakened further?

Marcelo Kiremidjian, l'agent de Cleber Anderson, nous a confirmé l'information. « Normalement, sauf changement de dernière minute, c'est lui que Lyon a choisi », indique l'oeil de l'OL au Brésil, qui précise même que Cleber Anderson «arrivera ce soir (mercredi soir) ou demain (jeudi) matin à Lyon et passera sa visite médicale demain (jeudi) matin ».

Source: L'EQUIPE.FR Football - Lyon choisit Cleber Anderson

Since I don't speak French, technically I don't know if the above really means he's currently in Lyon for the medical. But his name is already missing from Benfica's Wikipedia entry. And I do know it'd improve our chances of Champions League this year, especially since Luisao is out on suspension for the 2nd leg.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Santos raus

Benfica have sacked coach Fernando Santos after being held to a draw by promoted Leixoes in their opening league match of the season

Source: Benfica sack coach Santos | Guardian Unlimited.

...0-0. Meanwhile in Portugal...

Leixões - Benfica 1-1



[...] The newly-promoted Leixonenses (a.k.a. Babies) – back in the first division after seventeen years trawling the lower reaches – managed to keep a valuable point towards their aim of ending the season in the Portuguese elite.

Their Encarnado rivals therefore give early ground to both Sporting and FC Porto, also evincing a frustrating slowness in getting the ball up field and to danger men Nuno Gomes and Cardozo. Only Rui Costa showed true grit with his typically intelligent and precise passing but it wasn’t enough to down a determined Leixões who were only stopped by a great performance by Quim.

Nélson, Luís Filipe, Nuno Assis and Nuno Gomes all had poor games, Fernando Santos taking the latter off for Bergessio and them extirpating Luís Filipe in favour of Under-21 star Fábio Coentrão. This improved Benfica somewhat, but the goal took its sweet time in coming as the hosts kept their eye on the ball and dripped enthusiasm that kept the favourites in check right up to the waning moments.

A Rui Costa corner was netted by Petit (88 min) and the goal seemed to serve as the winner but just as Benfica breathed a sigh of relief, Leixões took a deep breath and struck out for the last time, supersub Nwoko (90 min) finally beating Quim to leave Benfica with a shock and a paltry point when they had taken all three for granted.

[...Benfica lineup]: Quim; Nélson, Katsouranis, David Luiz and Léo; Petit; Luís Filipe (Fábio Coentrão), Rui Costa and Nuno Assis (Andrés Diaz); Nuno Gomes (Bergessio) and Cardozo.

Source: Goal.com - Portugal - Bwin Liga: Porto Pummel, Benfica Bungle

Middlesbrough midfielder Fabio Rochemback is interested in a move to Benfica. The Portuguese side are keen to sign the Brazil international and they see him as an ideal replacement for Manuel Fernandes.

Source: FABIO KEEN ON BENFICA MOVE

The Lisbon Stock Exchange announced Monday that Joe Berardo had acquired just 1 percent of the club's stock with his offer of €3.50 (US$4.70) per share.

Source: Portuguese tycoon fails in his attempted stock market takeover of Benfica - International Herald Tribune

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Benfica news and... "notícia"?

Costa pathos


With so many players having their careers guided by agents and motivated by cold-blooded, cool-headed monetary considerations and advertising contracts we rarely get to see a player whose hot-blooded love for a club continues to gush uncontrollably from the bottom of his heart. It may be old school but it’s a lesson that Rui Costa continues to deliver in style.

Source: Goal.com - Editorial/Comment - Rui Costa: Lessons From The Maestro

Luisao doubtful for 2nd leg


"(Luisao) is not fit enough to play the friendly against Algeria on August 22," said a statement from the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF).

Source: Sporting Life / INJURED LUISAO OUT OF BRAZIL SQUAD

It was Adu's debut (woo-hoo!)


Adu was inserted as an attacking midfielder, but drifted out to the wings in an attempt to find some space to operate. As the new boy in town, he limited himself to quick, snappy passes instead of trying to run at defenders. Early in the second half, Adu sent a pass to the Paraguayan Oscar Cardozo, whose header was stopped by goalkeeper Jesper Christiansen. Late in the game, Adu attempted a bicycle kick, but his shot went wide of the goal.

Source: NY Times soccer blog / Adus European Debut

Notícia from Mais futebol


Player's Union says something about Anderson. Source: Anderson recebe nota de culpa até sexta-feira

Katsouranis will play for Greece against Spain. Source: Katsouranis chamado para o particular entre Grécia e Espanha

Leixões coach comments on this weekend's league opening game vs Benfica. Source: Carlos Brito e o jogo com o Benfica: «Não seremos subservientes nem arrogantes»

20K+ spectators expected for Leixões-Benfica. Source: Leixões-Benfica: mais de 20 mil espectadores no Estádio do Bessa

...I think. Because I don't know Portuguese.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Eagle 2, Lion 1

A late Rui Costa goal ensured SL Benfica took the advantage from the first leg of their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie against FC København.

uefa.com / Rui Costa breaks København hearts

Canadian international Atiba Hutchinson scored in a losing cause Tuesday as FC Copenhagen was beaten 2-1 by Portugal's Benfica in the third qualifying round of the Champions League.

globesports.com / Canadian scores in losing cause in Champions League

Freddy Adu made his European debut Tuesday, drawing cheers when he entered as a first-half substitute for Benfica of Portugal during its 2-1 Champions League victory over FC Copenhagen. [...] Adu, one of the highest-profile players in Major League Soccer, got a taste of how hard it is to please Benfica's fans. The team was jeered off the field at halftime.

FOX (AP) / Champions League - Adu makes European debut with Benfica

Quick verdict: Solid tactical team performance - masterminded by coach Solbakken no doubt - to leave Benfica helpless in the offense for long stretches of the game. Outstanding performances by William Kvist and Michael Gravgaard - and good ones too by Jesper Christiansen, Jesper Grønkjær and a few others. Remember what no international media outlets chose to mention: Rui Costa's first goal came after one of the worst passes made since 1986 when Denmark's Jesper Olsen handed the ball to the Spanish offensive at the World Cup in Mexico. And actually his second came while some Copenhageners were busy asking the ref for a penalty.

Unlike last time Copenhagen visited Benfica, this time their mascot eagle went straight for it's snack thereby not forecasting a home team triumph. 2-1 is the slimmest possible win in this type of games as only 46% of the first leg home teams that make it ends up with aggregate wins.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Preview(s): Benfica away

It’s a case of déjà vu in the Portuguese capital as Benfica attempt to bring home the bacon with a win against the great Danes.

Goal.com - Match Preview - CL Qualifying Preview: SL Benfica - FC Copenhagen

There is no denying that Benfica looks to be more formidable of the two and with the advantage of the home ground and above all the partisan fans, we can expect a better showing with the need to chalk up a huge win to take to Copenhagen for the return leg.

Source: AsianHandicap.com – Benfica v. Copenhagen

Approximate outcome probabilities: home win: 70%, draw: 20%, away win: 10%.

Newsvine / Champions League qualification: 3rd round, 1st leg - Tuesday games

[Manuel Fernandes] had been named in the Benfica squad for their Champions League qualifying match against FC Copenhagen tonight, but he did not join up with the squad once confirmation of Everton's offer arrived. The midfielder would be ineligible to play for Everton in the Uefa Cup should he play against the Danes

Belfast Telegraph / Everton close to securing £6m Fernandes deal

"I do not know a lot about Benfica's current situation, but I still consider them favourites to qualify for the group stage," [Copenhagen coach Ståle Solbakken] said. "However, they may not be much stronger than Beitar Jerusalem were at this moment in time."

UEFA.com / København test for new-look Benfica

Expected (aka "wild guesses at") lineups



Benfica


Bergessio - Ó Cardozo - R Costa
Petit - F Coentrão - Katsouranis
Miguelito - Luisão - D Luiz - L Filipe
Quim


København


M Allbäck
A Hutchinson
J Grønkjær - R Würtz - H Nørregaard - L Sionko
N Jensen - B Hangeland - M Gravgaard - W Kvist
J Christiansen


The linups depend a lot on Benfica's transfers and issues with individual players, the choices of coach Solbakken and today's form of the players. The above could very well be wrong at about six positions total. And actually, as much as "wild guesses" I admit to a bit of "wishful thinking" as well.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

From Esbjerg to Benfica

In yesterday's 5-2 win I missed the last goalSporting Life / COPENHAGEN MAKE THEIR MOVE. Today, YouTube is my friend...



Tuesday night we'll be tuning in to the transmission from Portugal - with the weird comfort of risking little and the realistic hopes of winning everything. Here is some recent reading matter on Benfica:
Benfica Coach Fernando Santos is beginning to define how Benfica 2007-8 will look like in the wake of the pre-season experiments. The goal seems likely to stay in local hands and two promises appear to be on the way out as the Águias prepare to make a break from last year’s silverware drought…

Goal.com - Portugal - Benfica Shaping Up After Guadiana Test
In a sudden change of heart, Benfica’s first-choice left-back has reportedly asked to be allowed to rescind his contract and leave the Lisbon club just as the season appears around the bend…

Goal.com - Portugal - Brazilian Wants Out Of Benfica

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Reactions to the Jerusalem elimination

Kale, for the second time in a week, found only air, and Allback silenced about 20,000 Beitar fans at Teddy with an easy touch into the net.

Source: Haaretz / Great Danes top Beitar at Teddy

A fabulous pass by Idan Tal sent in Alvarez on the right who pushed into the penalty area and passed to Itzhaki to slot home on the hour mark.

Source: Soccer: Jerusalem Post / Betar Jerusalem's European dream ended

"It is matches like those ones that you live for as a football player. It's always great fun measuring yourself against the greatest teams in Europe and now we have another chance to do that." - Hjate Bo Nørregaard

Source: UEFA.com / Relieved København target Benfica

No new signings are planned for the Benfica challenge but Libor Sionko will have his permit to play by then. Anyway, first it's Esbjerg at home Saturday.

Update: It's getting better!



Man, those Israelis are a bitter lot...

"If I were one of their fans, I wouldn't pay a shekel to see [FC København]. The truth is I wouldn't go for free because they're a disgusting team, and they played old-fashioned soccer, which was just enough to get by us. I didn't come to Beitar just for Europe, but there's no doubt it was a part I looked forward to." - Idan Tal

Source: Haaretz / Shum 'The best team doesn't always win'

[...] the truth is that Beitar isn't a team worthy of even coming close to the Champions League. Neither is FC Copenhagen for that matter - if that consoles anyone.

Source: Haaretz / Postmortem / Beitar's troubles have yet to begin

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Don Ø: "I am one of the three most famous people in Denmark"

'Don't forget, we beat Man. United'

"In Canada nobody knows me." - Atiba Hutchinson.


Schum: I'm certain we will progress

"I'm certain that if we play at our regular level we will progress" - Jerusalem coach Itzhak Schum


Plus The Last Word: Schum-Spiegel effect could make it happen if you really need it all. (But I'm beginning to think they are horribly naive. They talk about getting past us and the 3rd round opponent to qualify for the Champions League, not the UEFA Cup. And they are still traumatized about losing to Dinamo Bucuresti - boasting an UEFA coefficient of 34.255, 5½ times higer than Beitar Jerusalem.)

Monday, August 06, 2007

Jerusalem warm-up: Ståle and Grønkjær talks

"We spoke a lot about the Beitar fans' fanaticism, but this is soccer and we are professionals. An enthusiastic crowd is good for the home team, but we will be focusing on the match. I am more worried about the heat and the weather than I am about the crowd." - Ståle Solbakken.


"We need to score in the away match, that is the key. The moment that we score, Beitar will have to get three." - Jesper Grønkjær.


Looking to the nine bookies currently offering bets on the game the approximate outcome probabilities at 40% for a home win, 25% for a draw and 35% for another Copenhagen win. Since any draw and win will do our chance of an aggregate win is larger than 60%. Looking at 733 double encounter knock-outs with first game 1-0 home wins in 412 instances the first game home team advanced to next round. That's 56%.

The only major wild card in the equation is whether or not Rasmus Würtz gets fit for the match. But honestly, I'm not really worried either way.

Related: UEFA.com / Beitar target København conquest
"København are a good side yet we can still beat them and reach the next stage, where Benfica are waiting." - Beitar coach Itzhak Shum.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Champions Legaue qualification 3rd round opponent: Benfica

If we make it past Beitar Jerusalem.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
The Benfica guys, I think?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Everyone hurrying out the door as soon as the show was over.

An interesting detail about Benfica is they just signed US wonderboy Freddy Adu: AP / U.S. Teen Star Adu Joins Benfica.

See all match-ups at UEFA.com.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Possible transfers: Wamberto and Hysen

Swedish Tobias Hysén [Wikipedia | Transfermarkt] is leaving Sunderland for IFK Göteborg or FC København or a Norwegian club.

Brazilian Wamberto [Wikipedia | Transfermarkt] is training with the team next week.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Expected lineups: FC København vs Beitar Jerusalem

Wild guesses could be more like it, but here we go:

Beitar Jerusalem (4-5-1):
T Tamuz
M Zandberg - D Boateng - I Tal - G Alberman - B Itzhaki
Y Ziv - A Benado - S Gershon - C Alvarez
T Kale

FC København (4-4-2):
M Allbäck - M Nordstrand
J Grønkjær - M Silberbauer - R Würtz - A Hutchinson
N Jensen - M Gravgaard - B Hangeland - W Kvist
J Christiansen

Kick-off in six hours. It has rained a bit during the night and morning, so expect a fast pitch.

In related news, someone appears to be staging a demonstration with the slogan "Kick Israel apartheid out of International Football!" at Trianglen which is the square closest to stadium - that one will pass through if walking from the train station closest to stadium. I hope people will take it easy.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Champions League starts tomorrow

Tomorrow, Tuesday the 31st of July, we play our first European game of this season. And may it be the first of many.

I did a quick run over of all Champions League 2nd round qualifying match-ups and posted it to Newsvine. Here's what I put down on FC København vs Beitar Jerusalem:
FC København (DEN) v Beitar Jerusalem FC (ISR): Drawing each other is just not a very good feeling for either team as they both expected to make it beyond this round. Beitar Jerusalem's owner, Arcadi Gaydamak has invested heavily in strengthening his team and expects a return on that investment. Both teams are full of national team players of Scandinavian countries and Israel respectively - and Israel has done very well so far in the European Championship qualification group E where they are currently ranked second three points ahead of England. ... Approximate outcome probabilities: Home win 60%, draw 25%, away win 15%.


Unfortunately, our new man, Libor Sionko, will not get to play the games against Beitar Jerusalem. Like all good fans I was informed of the deadline for signing players for this round, and knew it had passed. But strangely, in their news section UEFA.com suggest he could play (UEFA.com / København seek hangover remedy). This is not the case. But actually, our sports director has asked UEFA for some disambiguating of related football law paragraphs with the expected result that he can't play (Tipsbladet.dk / FCK-indkøb bliver ikke klar til Beitar-kampene). Don't know if it'd be such a smart thing to field a newcomer in this type of game anyway.

A guy we do expect to see - and perhaps boo a little? - is Cristian Álvarez. Having considered the offers from both Beitar Jerusalem and FC København this summer, Álvarez chose Jerusalem. And has handed the presentation DVD of FC København to his new club for use in preparations. Quite unfortunate.

In the department of the curious but irrelevant: FC København have given free tickets to all players and team leaders of the 5th Homeless World Cup that is currently taking place in Copenhagen (fck.dk).

Update - just saw this one: Back from the dead and ready to face Beitar. It's Ståle's near death experience over again and a few words on tomorrow's game:
While he may not fear death, Solbakken is apprehensive about the encounter with Beitar, especially about having to travel to Jerusalem for the return, he says. "After three games we finally won in the league, but we still haven't reached the point where we need to be as far as our game is concerned. After all, we won against a weak team and Beitar is a lot more dangerous."

Is there any player in particular that worries you at Beitar?

Solbakken: "No, but Beitar is a good team that could easily fit among the top teams in Denmark. Beitar has a strong defense and in our first matches this season we have found it hard to create chances. In our last match we created chances, but still found it hard to score."

Friday, July 27, 2007

Incoming: Czech national team winger

Rangers winger Libor Sionko is poised to move to Danish outfit FC Copenhagen after the clubs agreed a transfer fee.


Elsewhere: Setana Sports, Sportinglife.com.

According to his Wikipedia entry...
Sionko plays on the right of an attacking three which supports the main forward but frequently swaps position with his opposite number.

21 matches played with the Czech Republic national team; 3 goals, 6 assists. Unreliable sources says the fee is 3.5 million € and the contract is for 2009.

Yes, please!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Beitar Jerusalem squad update: Rômulo Marques Antoneli

Romulo Marques Antoneli, aka Romulo, who yesterday completed his move to Beitar Jerusalem, is described by the Brazilian press as a "physical striker who knows how to seize his chance."

However, his previous opportunity on the European stage started in similar cicrumstances to those that brought him to Beitar, and ended in misery.


A Brazilian 2nd division player... who coudn't get on the team in Mainz... whose strength supposedly is being 1 cm taller than our smallest central defender. And get this: forget about match fitness, Romulo haven't even done personal training lately due to knee injury.

"He's a good guy, and maybe he'll be good in the Israeli league. But the Champions League? Only if he has really developed over the past two years in Brazil. I hope for Beitar's sake that he has." - Rudiga Vogel, German sports journalist.

Developed in Brazil?

"He couldn;t take the pressure from the fans who would curse him all the time, and that really deflated him. But he's a real professional with a very strong right foot and an excellent game in the air. He's also a really cool guy that everyone likes. We're all pleased that he has been given a chance to play in the Champions League." - Cruzeiro goalkeeper Fabio.

Verdict: Not scared.

Also see Rômulo Marques Antoneli's Wikipedia entry.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Aalborg away tomorrow and Bella in the sky with diamonds

Tomorrow it's AaB away. Always a difficult one and this time Rasmus Würtz' debut as a visiting opponent there. Expected lineup about the same as last time. Since I didn't go see training, my guess would be as wild as anyone's. But Mikael Antonsson is in the squad and could debut? We'll see.

My magical probability assessment says AaB win 22%, draw 26%, FC København win 52% chances.

And about an hour after the game I'm for sure going to check out the results of the Champions League 1st Qualification Round 2nd leg games. Because our old friend Fredrik Berglund has just jinxed the outcome of Elfsborg - Linfield significantly:
"We will beat Linfield 3-0. It was a real sickener that we didn't win the first leg match in Belfast, but sometimes, no matter what you do, the ball won't go into the net. It is a 'must win' game for us on Wednesday and I am 100 per cent confident. We will win 3-0. No question. You can put your house on it."


Belfast Telegraph / Put your house on 3-0 victory, says cocky Lundberg
(Excuse the journalist being challenged with the Swedish name.)

In 1993 we eliminated Linfield when Lars Højer Nielsen scored for 4-0 in the extra time of the 2nd leg game to overturn a 0-3 loss away in Ireland. (Thanks, Nipserstat!)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Intelligence: Jérôme Pérez

Danish and French media reports FC København are talking to one Jérôme Pérez, French right back (bold.dk / FCK lurer på fransk back, Mercato365.com / Copenhague : Jérôme Pérez convoité). Now that's interesting (considering my latest post). Here's a brief file of information on him.

Born the 18th of February 1982 Jérôme Pérez is 25 years old. Currently listed at the roster of French team US Créteil-Lusitanos he is credited with 102 matches and four goals during his four seasons there. Last season he played 2093 minutes in his 26 games, so he was a regular starting 11. Before joining Créteil in 2003 he played with Marseille. (L'Equipe fact page, French Wikipedia)

Last season Créteil were relegated from Ligue 2 and Jérôme's contract has ended so we're talking a free transfer here. On top of not already having a dedicated right back in the squad, the concerns regarding the lack of depth in the second team just got worse today: The reserves lost 0-4 to AB of the next best league and defensive talent Mathias Zanga Jørgensen suffered a knee injury!

Unfortunately, Celtic of Glasgow are also reported to have interest. They just spent "more than £8m" on two Italian midfielders and are rumored to double that transfer investment. (Evening Times Online / Capone on the Celtic hit list)

Verdict (despite inadequate information): Buy. Att.Jérôme: Remember the Napeleonic Wars - don't join the British!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Take it easy and remember where we came from

Earth. We came from... earth. Such as this:

dsc02354

Yesterday's defeat at the hands of Farum aka FC Nordsjælland has of course inspired a handful of newspaper columnists in re-evaluating the power balance of Danish football. I will spare you the links to the paid rants. But I can't help noticing how all of a sudden coach Solbakken is out assuring us he scouted 50 right backs.

The thing is, when FCN scored in injury time, they did so on a swift counter attack and a volley across our central defensive air force to exploit the loose marking by substitute right back William Kvist. One little detail. One lost game. Media frenzy. Att. Ståle: I am joking when I write 'Ståle raus'. Of course. And it's perfectly ok with me when you do not obey my 'expected lineup' ;-) I appreciate William's long throw-ins too (even though I actually didn't see all of this particular one game due to work).

All teams loose a game every now and then. Even Gorica - today they lost their UEFA Cup qualifier at mighty Rabotnicki (whoever they are). Another old acquaintance of mine, MTK Budapest, whom I saw lose 0-1 at the hands of none other than mighty Benfica (it was terribly cold but you could buy shots of some booze at the Budapest stadium, I remember) won their UEFA Cup qualifier today. I also remember thinking "I'm far out" freezing at that Hungarian concrete stand. But actually, some years later we only advanced at the expence of Ferencvaros, I belive it was, because our goalie at the time, Swedish Magnus Kilstedt, pulled the performance of a life time in the penalty shoot out.

What am I getting at? I don't really know. Except take it easy. The very round and boucing ball is the reason we love the game. Forget the Champions Leage hymn and hype for a second - that was last year - smell the grass and get to work. We have three possible subs for the right back who all wants some of the action. Buying a dedicated guy would be nice - but not in a panic because of one unfortunate incident.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Ståle raus: Beitar loss a poor consolation

Beitar Jerusalem lost 3-1 to Levski Sofia of Bulgaria in a pre-season friendly in Austria last night, but there was good news for Itzhak Shum's team when its Champions League qualifying round opponent FC Copenhagen lost its opening Danish league match 1-0 to FC Nordsjaelland.

[...]

The Danish champion was criticized by the local media after its performance last night, with television commentators saying the team looked as if it hadn't returned from its summer recess.


On a side note, the Swedes crowned Allbäck 'king of Copenhagen' prior to yesterday's game (Aftonbladet / Allbäck kung i FCK) - but he was actually sidelined at kick-off.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

17th of July training session

Here's a couple of photographs and notes on today's training session for you.



(For larger size images at Flickr.com just click.)

dsc03200x

Ståle Chicken Dance
Coach Solbakken interrupted training often to explain, complain and illustrate. Here it seems to be on how to dance like a chicken



Ståle Piss-In-Air
This is sideways jumping while grapping your crutch



Atiba Hutchinson
Our Canadian super-star, Atiba Hutchinson, did nothing but jogging and stretching today



Niclas Jensen freekick
Niclas Jensen ready to fire off a left wing free kick



dsc03235x
"Incoming!"



Brede Hangeland and the rest
Our big guy, Brede Hangeland, about to get to it



dsc03239x
Warming down



dsc03248x
Today's audience



During today's training game Oscar Wendt did quite a bit of "first team" right back duty. And he did very well. Morten Nordstrand scored the only regular goal after creating a chance himself when exploiting the "second team" defense being sloppy with a fast ball at the wet surface.



Expected lineup



M Allbäck - A Almeida

J Grønkjær - HB Nørregaard - R Würtz - M Silberbauer

N Jensen - B Hangeland - M Gravgaard - O Wendt

J Christiansen

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Championship 2007/2008 probability assessments

  • FC København 63%
  • Brøndby IF 13%
  • OB 8%
  • FC Midtjylland 7%
  • AaB 6%
  • FC Nordsjælland, Esbjerg fB ~1-2%
  • Viborg FF, Randers FC, AGF, Lyngby BK, AC Horsens <½%
Hmmm...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Friendly: Schalke 04 - FC København 2-2


5' 0-1 Michael Gravgaard
9' Kevin Kuranyi 1-1
32' 1-2 Morten Nordstrand
81' Kevin Kuranyi 2-2

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Friendly: Kaiserslautern vs FC Copenhagen 0 - 3


Kaiserslautern [0 - 3] FC Copenhagen
24' [0 - 1] A.J. Almeida
43' [0 - 2] A. Hutchinson
49' [0 - 3] J. Grønkjær (pen.)

Two national team periphery players signed

København complete double swoop

Aalborg BK midfielder Rasmus Würtz described FC København as "the perfect place to play" after joining the Superligaen champions along with FC Nordsjælland striker Morten Nordstrand on Friday.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

West Ham AND Newcastle bidding for Hutch!?

West Ham and Newcastle are set for a $6 million battle to land FC Copenhagen's Canadian utility player Atiba Hutchinson.


According to AHN Transfer Central.

Dear West Ham and Newcastle: Please go away. Thank you!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Jerusalem and Beitars considering the challenge

Two articles from the Jerusalem Post. The Last Word: European hopes for Israel's teams:

[...] to be pitted against Danish champion FC Copenhagen has made the light at the end of the qualifying tunnel seem even further than before.

Copenhagen is not just the biggest team in Denmark, but it has recently become one of the powerhouses of Scandanavian soccer. [...]

It's not going to be easy for Betar on July 31, with the first game in Denmark, but with good preparation the Israelis could produce a shock result, which would incidentally only take them through to a second qualifying game against even higher quality oppositoin.




Betar drawn with FC Copenhagen in Champions League qualifier

"The draw is difficult, but reasonable," Betar coach Yitzhak Schum said. "We must advance no matter who we face. I hope that after the tie is over we'll be able to say that the draw was good."

[...]

"The draw could have been better and it could have been worse," Betar midfielder Michael Zandberg said. "Copenhagen is a strong side with European experience and we can't afford to underestimate any team."

[...]

"I think this is a good draw, we could have been drawn against better sides," veteran defender David Amsalem said. "It's always better to play the first leg away from home. They don't know what Teddy's like and our main goal will be to settle the tie in Jerusalem."

Newcastle interested in Brede

Official Newcastle homepage

One new name to emerge is that of FC Copenhagen centre-back Brede Hangeland. The 26-year-old Norway international is said to be available for a fee in the region of £2m, according to The Sun and The Times.


Elsewhere: BBC, Times Online.

Friday, June 29, 2007

It's Beitar Jerusalem

The first bump on our road to more international glory has just appeared like a rabbit out of the magician's hat: it's Beitar Jerusalem [UEFA.com | Wikipedia] of Israel.




Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


From the live draw at UEFA.com


More info at UEFA.com.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Mikael Antonsson signed

Here's an English note on what today's Danish TV sports news has been all about:
FC Copenhagen have signed Sweden defender Mikael Antonsson [Wikipedia] on a four-year contract from Greek club Panathinaikos, the Danish champions said on Thursday.

The 26-year-old, who has three caps, will join his new team mates on July 1. The clubs did not disclose financial details.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Canada advances to Gold Cup semifinals

Ali Gerba scored two goals in the first half and Canada reached the Gold Cup semifinals for the second time in the last four tournaments with a 3-0 win over Guatemala on Saturday.

AP / Canada Advances to Gold Cup Semifinals

We're so far out of season, I enjoy an image of Atiba Hutchinson celebrating.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Transfer rumors: Linderoth to Galatasaray, Gravgaard to Newcastle

Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet quotes a Turkish newspaper that Tobias Linderoth will sign with Galatasaray. Obviously in Swedish, so believe in me: ”Linderoth snart klar för Galatasaray”

...The Journal and Northern Echo also suggest FC Copenhagen centre-back Michael Gravgaard is still on Newcastle's radar.

Toon Transfer Talk: Rumours Round-Up: June 10
A visit to that link will reveal a lot of rumors. I don't know why my search agents keep coming up with this rumor. Do the deal or shut up.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Nasty side effect of UEFA's Control and Disciplinary Body decision

Fully as expected, the Denmark vs Sweden game is now a 0 -3 Sweden win following UEFA's Control and Disciplinary Body meeting. However...
As well as awarding the match to Sweden by default, the Danish Football Association (DBU) has been fined 100,000CHF (€61,000) and ordered to play their next four home UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifiers at least 250km from Copenhagen.

This means zero more ticket sales earnings from national games for FC København. Stocks have already dropped a bit. DBU will appeal the UEFA decision. The closest appropriate stadium seems to be Hamburg, Germany!

See UEFA.com / Copenhagen contest goes to Sweden.

UEFA competitions 2007/2008

A quick note of important dates and possible opponents.


  • 29th of June: UEFA draws 1st and 2nd qualification rounds

  • 31st of July and 1st of August: 1st leg 2nd qualification round. FC København enters at 2nd qualification round for the Champions League as a seeded team.

  • 3rd of August: UEFA draws 3rd qualification round. If in it, FC København will be un-seeded.

  • 7th and 8th of August: 2nd leg 2nd qualification round

  • 14th and 15th of August: 1st leg 3rd qualification round

  • 28th and 29th of August: 2nd leg 3rd qualification round



Possible opponents in the 2nd qualification round include: Beitar Jerusalem (Isr), Zaglebie Lubin (Pol), NK Domzale * (Slo), IF Elfsborg * (Swe), FK Sarajevo * (Bos), FK Ventspils * (Lat), MSK Zilina * (Svk), Derry City * (Irl), FH Hafnarfjardar * (Isl), FBK Kaunas * (Lit), Tampere United * (Fin), Sheriff Tiraspol * (Mol), Olimpi Rustavi * (Geo), Pobeda Prilep * (Mac). Teams marked "*" have to qualify through the 1st round though. So this list is kind of the "worst case scenario" (unless of course some good team advances from TOTO Cup through 1st round!). Anything but easily qualifying for the 3rd round would be disastrous.

Possible opponents in the 3rd qualification round include: Liverpool (Eng), Arsenal (Eng), Valencia (Esp), another Spanish team to qualify (Zaragoza, Atleteco Madrid, Villarreal or Getafe I believe), Benfica (Por), Ajax (Ned), Werder Bremen (Ger), Celtic (Sco), Steaua Bucuresti ** (Rom), Lazio (Ita), Glasgow Rangers ** (Sco), Shakhtar Donetsk (**) (Ukr), Besiktas ** (Tur), Anderlecht (Bel), Dinamo Kiev (**) (Ukr), Levski Sofia ** (Bul). Teams marked "**" have to qualify through the 2nd round though. Realistic expectations should include losing the 3rd qualification round match-up to enter the UEFA Cup (as usual - and most likely as un-seeded).

For more information see Bert Kassies homepage.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Irish FA chief executive complaining

Belfast Telegraph International / Angry Wells slams Danes

"I complained to UEFA about this stadium [PARKEN, home ground of both FC København and Denmark national] before as it's the same one we played in back in October," said Wells.

"I was very unhappy with the way our fans were treated in general at the stadium.

The stewarding was poor, access to the stadium was poor and the gates were not open in time."

Monday, June 04, 2007

grep 'current or former FCK player' Match Report of TOTAL INTERNATIONAL DISGRACE @ UEFA.com > blog

UEFA.com / Denmark - Sweden (aka FCK1 vs FCK2), match abandoned at 3-3



1 Linderoth (Sweden) commits a foul after challenging Poulsen (Denmark).
2 Allbäck (Sweden) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Poulsen (Denmark).
5 Gravgaard (Denmark) fouls.
5 Allbäck (Sweden) commits a foul after challenging Gravgaard (Denmark).
7 (0 - 1) Elmander (Sweden) scores!
Sweden lead their fierce rivals Denmark, with Johan Elmander on target just seven minutes into this Group F encounter - the forward shooting low into the net after capitalising on a mistake by Michael Gravgaard. The Swedes were a point behind section leaders Northern Ireland before kick off so would go top with a win tonight.
11 Ljungberg (Sweden) commits a foul after challenging L. Jacobsen (Denmark).
14 Allbäck (Sweden) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Kahlenberg (Denmark).
15 Gravgaard (Denmark) misses the target.
16 Allbäck (Sweden) misses the target.
20 Linderoth (Sweden) takes the corner.
22 Gravgaard (Denmark) fouls.
23 (0 - 2) Hansson (Sweden) scores on free-kick!
Sweden double their advantage and in fine style as Petter Hansson sends a free-kick from just outside the penalty area into the top-right corner of the net following Gravgaard's foul on Elmander.
24 L. Jacobsen (Denmark) commits a foul after challenging Elmander (Sweden).
28 L. Jacobsen (Denmark) delivers the corner.
34 (1 - 3) Agger (Denmark) scores!
Denmark pull a goal back through Daniel Agger, the Liverpool FC defender scoring with a left foot strike after being set up by a Gravgaard header.
40 L. Jacobsen (Denmark) commits a foul after challenging Nilsson (Sweden).
40 Allbäck (Sweden) is adjudged to be in an offside position.
44 Linderoth (Sweden) delivers the corner.
45+1 L. Jacobsen (Denmark) misses the target.

50 Allbäck (Sweden) is adjudged to be in an offside position.
52 L. Jacobsen (Denmark) delivers the corner.
57 Linderoth (Sweden) takes the corner.
60 Allbäck (Sweden) commits a foul after challenging Andreasen (Denmark).
60 Linderoth (Sweden) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Daniel Jensen (Denmark).
63 Grønkjær (in) - Daniel Jensen (out) (Denmark)
64 Linderoth (Sweden) fouls.
66 Gravgaard (Denmark) commits a foul after challenging Allbäck (Sweden).
67 Allbäck (Sweden) is flagged for offside.
68 Linderoth (Sweden) delivers the corner.
69 Poulsen (Denmark) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Ljungberg (Sweden).
73 L. Jacobsen (Denmark) takes the corner.
75 L. Jacobsen (Denmark) delivers the corner.
83 Gravgaard (Denmark) has an effort on goal.
83 Linderoth (Sweden) commits a foul after challenging Jørgensen (Denmark).
84 Linderoth (Sweden) is cautioned by the referee.
86 L. Jacobsen (Denmark) takes the corner.
87 Linderoth (Sweden) fouls.
87 Grønkjær (Denmark) delivers the corner.
89 Rosenberg (Sweden) was fouled in the penalty area by Poulsen (Denmark)
89 Poulsen (Denmark) is dismissed.
The final whistle is blown.
With a minute of the 90 still to play the match has been abandoned and the result will now be confirmed following an investigation by the UEFA Disciplinary Committee upon receipt of the referee and delegate reports.



Talk about involvement! Now, if I was to include the former Brøndby IF players as well... Rest assured this one will be discussed for months if not years. Brøndby Support excelled by having a few members kicked for lighting fireworks in the stadium despite that being banned.

Swedish Aftonbladet has collected a series of photos of the red card being given to Christian Poulsen and the attack itself.

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Copenhagen Files

I love football and I love the Internet. Copenhagen Files is a playground of mine for the latter and a billboard of the former. The focus is on FC København - the #1 club in Copenhagen and Denmark.

I watch every single FC København game - aways usually on the Danish TV, home games currently from my season ticket seat at Parken Stadium. Every now and then a report from the nearby training pitches are to be expected. Or perhaps just from the supporter environment at local parks or bars ;-)

I also like to bet on games which usually takes place online these days. Therefore, I gather numbers and look at them; I analyze, twist, turn and play with them. And some of them ends up here as my probability assessments. But this blog is not about betting.

In the right hand column I collect every single relevant link you can think of. I actually use it for bookmarks often - perhaps they will prove handy to you too? They should easily guide you to the latest info on injuries, club economy, squad value etc.