Coach Stuart Baxter says Helsingborgs IF have done "extremely well" to reach the last 32 of the UEFA Cup but warns they may be without two star players in 2008.
Thursday's 3-0 win at home to FK Austria Wien took their Group H tally to seven points from three games, meaning they have nothing at stake except their current first place when they travel to FC Girondins de Bordeaux on 6 December. "The boys have done extremely well, and today they were fantastic," said Baxter. "It's been a difficult season where we've never really settled, at least not until now."
Hugs all round
The Englishman hugged every player in his team as they came off the Olympia Stadium pitch, with UEFA Cup success having helped to exorcise their miserable eighth-placed finish in the 14-club Swedish Allsvenskan. Ólafur Ingi Skúlason scored the 47th-minute opener against Austria before Razak Omotoyossi struck twice to displace team-mate Henrik Larsson at the top of the UEFA Cup scoring chart with six goals since the first round. "We were a bit too cautious in the first half, but Skúlason's goal helped us and then Omotoyossi scored two great goals," said Larsson.
Larsson's future is the big concern for most Helsingborg fans, with the 36-year-old still to decide whether he will retire when his contract expires at the end of 2007. "It feels great to go through, but I've been here before and I'm happier for many of my team-mates," said Larsson. "I've not yet decided what will happen after this season. I'm going to make my decision in the coming days and I'll let everyone know as soon as possible."
Defensive midfielder Andreas Jakobsson has already made his choice, with the 35-year-old former Swedish international due to hang up his boots after the Bordeaux match. He will assume a coaching role at lower-league Svalövs BK. But could he be persuaded to stay on a while longer. "There's one game to go and that's all I'm thinking about right now," he said. "I'm focused on Svalöv after this season, but who knows?"
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