Helsingborgs IF have won their seventh Swedish title and a first since 1999 with three matches still to play this season.
The southern side needed to win at GAIS Göteborg and hope AIK Solna then failed to beat Malmö FF to seal their crown this weekend, and they fulfilled their part of the bargain with a 3-1 victory in Gothenburg. Conny Karlsson's charges were then able to listen to the unfolding drama on their team bus, with Mathias Ranégie sealing a 1-1 draw for Malmö in added time after Niklas Backman had given AIK an 84th-minute lead. "We've never cheered so much for a Malmö goal," jubilant Helsingborg goalkeeper Pär Hansson said soon afterwards.
With 27 matches played, Helsingborg now boast an unassailable 61 points, ten more than AIK and IF Elfsborg, who were surprisingly beaten 2-1 by Mjällby AIF on Saturday. Unbeaten at home, the champions have lost just twice so far this season – their closest rivals inflicting those defeats – and can now look forward to entering the UEFA Champions League in the second qualifying round next term.
Helsingborg's achievement is all the more impressive given that they lost three key players mid-season. Defender Marcus Nilsson and Sweden international Alexander Gerndt joined FC Utrecht in the summer, while Gerndt's strike partner Rasmus Jönsson moved to VfL Wolfsburg.
With the championship decided, the focus for the rest of the season will now fall on the race for UEFA Europa League places and the struggle to avoid relegation. At present, AIK and Elfsborg hold the European spots, while bottom club Halmstads BK are certain to go down.
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