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Season review: Norway

Published: Thursday 25 November 2010, 22.53CET
Rosenborg BK went through the Norwegian league season undefeated to retain the title but suffered a shock cup exit to Follo FK, who were beaten by Strømsgodset IF in the final.
by Eivind Aarre
from Stavanger
Season review: Norway
The evergreen Steffen Iversen scored 14 league goals for Rosenborg ©Getty Images
Published: Thursday 25 November 2010, 22.53CET

Season review: Norway

Rosenborg BK went through the Norwegian league season undefeated to retain the title but suffered a shock cup exit to Follo FK, who were beaten by Strømsgodset IF in the final.

Rosenborg BK began 2010 as favourites to retain the Norwegian title – and they did not let anyone down. In fact, the only domestic game the Trondheim side lost was to minnows Follo FK in the Norwegian Cup semi-final, though Strømsgodset IF were to lift the trophy.

Champions: Rosenborg BK
Erik Hamrén took over as Rosenborg coach in the summer of 2008 and they returned to the unstoppable force that won 13 straight titles up to 2004. They took the championship with just one league defeat last year and this time went one better, not losing at all to secure a 22nd crown. They did not miss a beat when Hamrén departed for the Swedish national team in the summer as the mastermind of their previous glories, Nils Arne Eggen, proved a more-than-able caretaker, now giving way to Jan Jönsson. Martin Andresen's Vålerenga Fotball were Rosenborg's nearest challengers, finishing seven points behind with some fine football.

Cup final: Follo FK 0-2 Strømsgodset IF
Follo ended up relegated from the second-tier first division but that was in stark contrast to their cup form, reaching their first final with a sensational 3-2 extra-time defeat of Rosenborg, who had led twice. However, the final proved a step too far as headed goals by Ola Kamara and Glenn Andersen won Strømsgodset the cup for the fifth time. Coach Ronny Deila has a knack for developing young talent, and it is no wonder that foreign scouts have a special interest in the Strømsgodset side.

European places*
Rosenborg BK - UEFA Champions League qualifying
Vålerenga Fotball - UEFA Europa League qualifying
Tromsø IL - UEFA Europa League qualifying
Strømsgodset IF - UEFA Europa League qualifying

* Exact rounds and entry subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Surprise package: Tromsø IL
Per-Mathias Høgmo has been a success since he returned to Tromsø as coach. His side even challenged Rosenborg for first place during spring and early summer, but the sale of goalkeeper Sead Ramović to Sivasspor was one of the factors that derailed their title bid. Høgmo has created a steady side built around good organisation, but also with some attacking flair.

Player of the year: Brede Hangeland (Fulham FC)
The tall defender has had another good year for club and country. Norway's national team have made a great start to the UEFA EURO 2012 qualifiers, with Hangeland the rock in central defence. For Fulham, he was central in their run to the final of the UEFA Europa League last season and he received both the official Golden Ball from the Norwegian Football Federation (NFF) and the accolade of players' player of the year. "It is a great honour to receive this prize," Hangeland said. "I would like to share it with my team-mates. I feel like I am playing for the best club in the world."

One to watch: Serigne Modou Kara Mbodji (Tromsø IL)
The 21-year-old defensive midfielder was brought to Tromsø from the Senegalese football academy Diambars last winter, and proved to be an instant success. His powerful performances in the centre of midfield have made bigger clubs sit up and take notice, but for now the 1.92m-tall Kara is content to do his best for Tromsø.

Leading scorer: Baye Djiby Fall (Molde FK) 16
The Molde striker was no doubt helped in his quest for the top scorer's title by Vålerenga's sale of Mohammed Abdellaoue to Hannover 96 in August. Abdellaoue had 15 goals when he left, and Fall scored his 16th goal in the last round, having helped keep Molde up. Next season he could be scoring his goals higher up the table as optimism is high at Molde after the appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjær as coach, and the promise of transfer funds.

Relegated: Kongsvinger IL, Hønefoss BK, Sandefjord Fotball

Promoted: Sogndal IL, Sarpsborg 08 FF, Fredrikstad FK

Number: 6
The number of games Molde went unbeaten after former Manchester City FC striker Uwe Rösler took over as coach on 31 August. The former Lillestrøm SK and Viking FK coach steered Molde to safety, taking 14 out of 18 possible points.

Quote: "To win the league year after year is much more difficult than winning just the one season. I hope this is the start of a long run of championships."
Eggen hopes Rosenborg can enter another era of domination after securing the title again.

Last updated: 04/01/11 1.04CET