Odense BK began 2008/09 as many people's favourites for the Danish title but in the end had to struggle to beat Brøndby IF on the final day just to end in second. This season, though, they are living up to their promise.
What cost OB last term was drawing four of their last seven games, usually after dominating, leaving them five points adrift of FC København, who Lars Olsen's side beat to close the gap to three points with as many matches remaining. This time around OB are top, and while they have drawn five out of 15 games, they have won nine to lead Esbjerg fB by a point, with FCK and Brøndby IF four and five adrift respectively.
Olsen, captain of the EURO '92-winning squad, has been at the OB helm since a switch from Randers FC in 2007 and has taken much of the credit for their success. "He never jumps to conclusions, and I do not think that he lets outside factors influence his decisions," captain Chris Sørensen said. "He does not change the things he believes in, and that has brought us good results so far. He has created a strong team." Indeed, many pundits have suggested that he could replace namesake Morten Olsen if the national coach does not extend his contract after the FIFA World Cup.
Whatever the reason for OB's success, they are proving a magnet for players. Indeed, former Manchester United FC midfielder Eric Djemba-Djemba, who was expected to leave for a higher-profile European club in the summer, instead opted to extend his contract for three years. However, the coach admits to concern about the approaching January transfer window. "Foreign clubs with offers of €4m or €5m might be able to take players such as Peter Utaka and Eric Djemba-Djemba away from us, and we cannot be sure if Johan Absalonsen will choose to leave us when his contract expires in the new year."
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