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.

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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.