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Season review: Sweden

Published: Sunday 18 November 2012, 18.39CET
With a new coach on the bench in the shape of Jörgen Lennartsson, IF Elfsborg collected a first title since 2006 as they pipped surprise package BK Häcken to top spot.
by Sujay Dutt
Season review: Sweden
Anders Svensson (right) captained Elfsborg to a first title since 2006 ©Getty Images
Published: Sunday 18 November 2012, 18.39CET

Season review: Sweden

With a new coach on the bench in the shape of Jörgen Lennartsson, IF Elfsborg collected a first title since 2006 as they pipped surprise package BK Häcken to top spot.

IF Elfsborg went into the season with a new coach, but the same high expectations, and grabbed their first Allsvenskan title in six years. Jörgen Lennartsson was the man charged with replacing Magnus Haglund after his predecessor's eight years at the helm, and the 47-year-old responded by leading the Boras club to their sixth Swedish championship.

Champions: IF Elfsborg
Perennial league favourites for most of the past decade, Elfsborg finally managed to clinch the title that they last won in 2006. New coach Lennartson delivered success by settling on a perfect blend of experience and youth, with the likes of Anders Svensson and Stefan Ishizaki bringing the former while Oscar Hiljemark and Niklas Hult injected fresh vigour. The foundations were laid during the first half of the season, as Elfsborg raced into an eight-point lead before the league paused for UEFA EURO 2012. After letting the chasing pack get a whiff of first place as their form then stalled, Di Gule won four of their last six outings to top the table by two points – and deny BK Häcken, Malmö FF and AIK.

European places*
IF Elfsborg – UEFA Champions League qualifying
BK Häcken – UEFA Europa League qualifying
Malmö FF – UEFA Europa League qualifying

* Subject to final confirmation by UEFA

Player of the year: Stefan Ishizaki (IF Elfsborg)
On the eve of the Swedish football awards, Elfsborg coach Lennartsson suggested that the prize for best Swedish player should go to Ishizaki. As it turned out, the midfielder could not compete with Zlatan Ibrahimović, who picked up the Guldbollen for a sixth consecutive year, but Elfsborg's title-winning season relied heavily on Ishizaki's assists and goals – one of them a spectacular volley from his own half against Örebro SK in April.

One to watch: Majeed Waris (BK Häcken)
Häcken's free-scoring attack was led by the 21-year-old Ghanaian, who finished as the league's top scorer with 23 goals, five of them coming in one glorious match against IFK Norrköping. Allsvenskan defenders can now breathe a sigh of relief as the razor-sharp striker completed a transfer to FC Spartak Moskva at the end of the Swedish season.

Surprise package: BK Häcken
The suburban Gothenburg club has a smaller following than city neighbours IFK Göteborg and GAIS Göteborg, but on the pitch there was no doubting the number one team in Sweden's second city. In the end, Häcken almost caused a major upset by taking top spot, but they could not quite reel in Elfsborg. Häcken did tower above everyone else in one area, though, scoring 67 goals in their 30 games, 19 more than the champions.

Leading scorer: Majeed Waris (BK Häcken) 23

Relegated: GAIS Göteborg, Örebro SK and GIF Sundsvall

Promoted: Östers IF, IF Brommapojkarna and Halmstads BK

Number: 1
GAIS Göteborg's total number of wins in 30 league matches. Predictably enough, the Green and Blacks finished bottom.

Quote
"Foolish people do foolish things."
AIK defender Alexander Milošević took a humble approach after watching his strike from 45 metres soar into the back of the net against Sundsvall – a candidate for goal of the year.

Last updated: 19/11/12 0.02CET

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http://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/association=swe/news/newsid=1893818.html#season+review+sweden

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