The official website for European football

Pedigree HJK tipped to be best in show

Published: Friday 12 April 2013, 10.09CET
HJK Helsinki have a new coach in Sixten Boström, but with their winter recruits boasting over 200 Finland caps, his side are tipped to win a fifth successive title this season.
by Mikael Erävouri
from Helsinki
Pedigree HJK tipped to be best in show
Mikael Forssell is back at HJK for the first time since 1998 ©Getty Images
Published: Friday 12 April 2013, 10.09CET

Pedigree HJK tipped to be best in show

HJK Helsinki have a new coach in Sixten Boström, but with their winter recruits boasting over 200 Finland caps, his side are tipped to win a fifth successive title this season.

The 2013 Finnish First Division gets under way this weekend, with HJK Helsinki in the hunt for a fifth successive title under a new coach, Sixten Boström.

Antti Muurinen had marshalled the capital club towards four straight crowns from 2009–12, but made way for former Örebro SK coach Boström in the close season. The one-time HJK and Finland midfielder has brought in new ideas as well as some new players.

HJK's signings boast over 200 Finland caps between them. Mika Väyrynen (59 caps) arrived on a short-term contract last season and has now sealed an extension; fellow midfielder Teemu Tainio (56) has returned home from New York Red Bulls after 15 years abroad; and striker Mikael Forssell (85) is back at HJK for the first time since 1998.

With the addition of centre-back Tapio Heikkilä from local rivals FC Honka Espoo – and no significant losses – HJK have every reason to be confident of another championship. "We have made progress during pre-season," Boström said. "We have played plenty of international friendlies and those games reveal clearly not only the mistakes and things we could do better, but also the positives."

Last term's runners-up FC Inter Turku have not enjoyed such a serene winter. "It has been the most difficult pre-season in my time here," sighed long-serving coach Job Dragtsma. "We have had to start from square one in a number of respects as a lot of players left after last season." Captain Henri Lehtonen added: "It has not been easy but we try to remain positive. It will be a tough season. Several teams can compete at the top."

FC Lahti are undoubtedly one of those sides, having won the traditional pre-season League Cup. "Obviously, it gives us a boost for the league campaign," said Lahti coach Tommi Kautonen. "Still, it is dangerous to rest on your laurels, there is always room for improvement."

Respect, meanwhile, will be the theme of the 2013 campaign, with the Veikkausliiga's managing director explaining: "Football is not just about winning games. Respect is an extremely important part of it and we as the top league have a great responsibility in showing respect for everyone connected with the game and leading the way."

Last updated: 12/04/13 11.47CET

Related information

Team profiles

http://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/association=fin/news/newsid=1940819.html#pedigree+hjk+tipped+best+show

  • © 1998-2014 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The UEFA word, the UEFA logo and all marks related to UEFA competitions, are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks. Use of UEFA.com signifies your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.