Many observers expect Rosenborg BK's 13-year grip on the Norwegian championship to end with the new season which begins on 10 April.
The last team to beat Rosenborg to the title were Viking FK in 1991, although Vålerenga IF came desperately close last term. Only a 90th-minute goal from Frode Johnsen against SFK Lyn Oslo on the final day secured the Trondheim side their crown on goal difference from Vålerenga, and the latter club have made a number of quality signings in their quest to go one better.
With SK Brann likely to challenge the top two, the upcoming campaign promises to be even more exciting. After last year's record attendances of more than 1.4m for Tippeligaen matches, the new term should see a higher figure still given the ever-burgeoning interest in the game.
In addition, the two promoted clubs, IK Start and Ålesunds FK, have strong and loyal fan bases which will push the numbers up. Aalesund are trying to ensure their move to a new stadium is completed before the big kick-off, and such is the interest from supporters that the club have had to stop selling season tickets.
The transfer market has been quiet ahead of the 31 March deadline, with a few notable exceptions. Vålerenga have recruited South African international defender Mbulelo Mabizela, recently released by English Premiership outfit Tottenham Hotspur FC, and Lyn have claimed the services of midfielder Jo Tessem from another Premiership side, Southampton FC. Tessem joins on loan with immediate effect, with the switch becoming permanent from 30 June.
New boys Start have also been active, acquiring former Everton FC midfielder Alex Nyarko until the end of the season. Nyarko needed two medicals before convincing his new employers to sign him.
Meanwhile, Molde FK are a club in crisis. Pre-season results have been poor, and a knee injury requiring two operations has forced unfortunate coach Reidar Vågnes out of his job. Molde are looking for a replacement, but so far their efforts to entice well-known names like Nils Johan Semb, Per-Mathias Høgmo and Tom Nordlie, have failed.
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