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Season review: Denmark

Published: Friday 25 May 2012, 16.19CET
FC København were denied a fourth successive title by first-time champions FC Nordsjælland, but the Copenhagen side earned some consolation in the form of the Danish Cup.
by Peter Bruun
Season review: Denmark
Nicolai Stokholm played a leading role in Nordsjælland's title success ©Getty Images
Published: Friday 25 May 2012, 16.19CET

Season review: Denmark

FC København were denied a fourth successive title by first-time champions FC Nordsjælland, but the Copenhagen side earned some consolation in the form of the Danish Cup.

FC Nordsjælland won their maiden Danish title in Kasper Hjulmand's first season as their coach, with deposed champions FC København forced to settle for just the Danish Cup this time around.

Champions: FC Nordsjælland
After one of the most dramatic finales to a Danish season for many years, Nordsjælland took the title on the final day, with a 3-0 win against AC Horsens in front of a record 10,300 crowd at Farum Park ensuring that København's dominance would not continue into a fourth season. Mikkel Beckmann, Andreas Laudrup (son of Danish legend Michael) and Andreas Bjelland kept the Wild Tigers two points clear of FCK, whose 2-1 final-day win against Silkeborg IF was to no avail. "This is a fantastic feeling," said Nordsjælland winger Tobias Mikkelsen. "This calls for a big celebration."

Cup final: AC Horsens 0-1 FC København
Brazilian midfielder Claudemir scored the only goal three minutes before half-time at the Parken Stadium, but final debutants Horsens gave the capital side some scares in the last 25 minutes. "There could have easily been more goals, as Horsens had their chances, and we also had several on the counter," said FCK midfielder Thomas Kristensen. At that stage, FCK were top of the table and on course for a domestic double, but their luck would run out in the final games of the season.

European places*
FC Nordsjælland – UEFA Champions League group stage
FC København – UEFA Champions League third qualifying round
FC Midtjylland – UEFA Europa League third qualifying round
AC Horsens – UEFA Europa League third qualifying round
AGF Århus – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round

*Subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the Year: Nicolai Stokholm (FC Nordsjælland)
The official Player of the Year will be announced in December, but Stokholm will have a strong chance of taking the honour – no small achievement given that the midfielder is 36. His experience, however, proved to be of immense value to Farum-based Nordsjælland, with his intelligence and ability to read the game making him a key figure. Arguably, it was that kind of leadership on the field that FCK lacked.

One to watch: Nicklas Helenius (Aalborg BK)
The 21-year-old attacking midfielder and forward has been attracting some covetous glances from clubs in bigger leagues, and with good reason. His 12 goals this season left him third in the overall Superliga rankings. Clever and skilful, his acceleration has marked the Under-21 international out for a move to the senior ranks in the years ahead.

Surprise package: AC Horsens
Horsens were denied third place on the final day of the season, and despite losing to FCK in their maiden cup final appearance they cannot be disappointed by their best campaign for more than 40 years. Coach Johnny Mølby has fashioned a well-organised unit without any expensive stars, and while they did not net any trophies this time round, the prospect of playing European football for the first time next season represents a substantial consolation prize.

Leading scorer: Dame N'Doye, FC København (18)

Relegated: Lyngby BK, HB Køge

Promoted: Esbjerg fB, Randers FC

Number: 68
Nordsjælland's points' total – their highest haul ever.

Quote:
"I have the hardest working and most dedicated squad a coach could dream of. We have not played brilliantly all the time, but we have done things our own way, and we have been trying to improve all the time." Kasper Hjulmand revels in Nordsjælland's success.

Last updated: 10/07/12 14.09CET

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