FC Malmö may have won back-to-back Damallsvenskan titles, but the team to beat when the new Swedish women's season kicks off today will be Tyresö FF.
The suburban Stockholm club have brought in an all-star cast of players, with Brazil's Marta topping the bill. "I'm very excited about the new season", said the five-time FIFA World Player of the Year.
Marta Vieira da Silva, the most celebrated name in women's football, is of course no stranger to Sweden. She joined northern club Umeå IK in 2004 aged just 18 and immediately helped them retain the UEFA Women's Cup, going on to win four league titles before moving to the United States.
After three successful years there, Marta is back at last season's fourth-placed club. Tyresö have also added Swedeish internationals Caroline Seger, Lisa Dahlkvist and Linda Sembrant as well as Spain striker Verónica Boquete, making up for Josefine Öqvist's absence on maternity leave. With such activity in the transfer market, it did not take long for footballing circles in Sweden to coin the nickname 'Real Tyresö'.
When the coaches of the 12 Damallsvenskan sides were asked to pick a league winner, nine of them opted for Tyresö. Therese Sjögran of reigning champions Malmö concurred. "They have an incredibly good team – but also all the pressure, and much to prove," she said.
Seger, who has won the league with former club Linköpings FC and was part of Sweden's bronze medal-winning team at the 2011 FIFA World Cup, stated that she had never before played for a team with the same amount of pressure to succeed. "You need to put a positive, fun spin to it," she said. "People will hate facing us, which I like a lot. It's a challenge."
Marta, on the other hand, said that she did not feel nervous with all the expectations. "No, I'm just very excited about the new season," the five-time FIFA Women's World Player of the Year said.
The main challengers to 'Real Tyresö' are likely be Malmö and Linköping. Aiming for a third straight title, Malmö – who like 2011 runners-up Göteborg FC departed the UEFA Women's Champions League in the quarter-finals but will represent Sweden again next year – have big-name attacking additions in Switzerland's Ramona Bachmann, from Umeå, and Germany's Anja Mittag, who won all there was to win at 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam.
Netherlands forward Manon Melis and Sweden midfielder Nilla Fischer have made the move from Malmö to Linköping, who ended Umeå's league dominance in 2009. Also new at Linköping is Australia's Lisa de Vanna, while Kosovare Asllani has left the club for Kristianstads DFF.
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