fIf Nanne Bergstrand were not so softly-spoken, he would have plenty to brag about. The 54-year-old's Helsingborgs IF side eliminated FC Internazionale Milano to qualify for the 2000/01 UEFA Champions League group stage, while his success in giving Kalmar FF their first Swedish league title in 2008 will soon see him have a street in the Swedish city named in his honour.
For now, though, his attentions are firmly fixed on a UEFA Europa League second qualifying round date with FC Dacia Chişinău. "In Europe you face different types of football, which makes it a bigger tactical challenge," Bergstrand told UEFA.com. "A new experience for us, a Moldovan side, but we've scouted them and seen they have several good players."
The longest-serving coach in the Swedish First Division, having returned to Kalmar in 2003 following a two-season stint at the helm in the late 1990s, Bergstrand has stabilised the club during his second spell in charge. "Since 2004 we haven't finished below fifth place," he added. "Before, Kalmar used to get relegated as soon as they got up."
Their consistency in the league means Kalmar have been making frequent excursions into Europe in recent seasons, losing to Feyenoord in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup first round and succumbing to Debreceni VSC in last term's UEFA Champions League second qualifying round. "We've got more experience now," said Bergstrand. "Several of the players were involved in both of those European campaigns. We all feel that we've learned from that experience."
While his players may be gradually finding their feet in Europe, Bergstrand's experience stretches back far further; in 2000 he took Helsinborg into the UEFA Champions League group stage after a 1-0 third qualifying round win against Inter.
The soon-to-be-opened 'Nanne Bergstrand Street' will be adjacent to the club's new stadium, due for completion next year, but its namesake is keen to brush off such recognition and focus on the task at hand. "That's something I won't really come to terms with until long after I've quit football," he said. "Streets are not normally named after living people. It's an honour, but at the same time I know you're only as good as your last match."
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