Captains and coaches are tipping last term's cup winners FH Hafnarfjördur to take the Icelandic title, one of the last 2011 seasons to get under way, but champions Breidablik have hope.
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FH Hafnarfjördur coach Heimir Gudmundsson did his best to play down his team's chances after they emerged as clear favourites to win the title in the 2011 Icelandic campaign, which begins on Sunday.
The traditional pre-season poll of top-flight players, coaches and officials backed last season's Icelandic Cup winners to prevail, but Gudmundsson said: "These kind of predictions never helped any team − this is, after all, only a forecast − but obviously some have faith in our team and that must be a positive."
FH topped the rankings ahead of KR Reykjavík and champions Breidablik, but the 12-team league may end up being a close contest. "The division will be more equal than in the past, so it will be an exciting summer," explained Gudmundsson. "We can see that from the pre-season games; there are well-organised teams with good players.
"It is always FH's goal to go for every title and stay in one of the top places," he added. "We came close last season and I think our team is better prepared than ever before. We have not changed much but we [have] signed some good players and also lost some good players. This forecast does not put pressure on us − we have our goal for the season."
Breidablik were 2010's surprise package, landing the title for the first time, and coach Ólafur Kristjánsson said the club's youth programme may blossom again, explaining: "Playing in UEFA club competition will be very positive for us, just like last year, when a tight schedule kept us focused on football."
Forward Alfred Finnbogason's departure for Belgian outfit KSC Lokeren OV has left a gap in the Breidablik squad, but it is one Kristjánsson feels can be filled. "I have loads of promising youth-team players and now have four in our squad who have not played a game in the top division," he said. "First we will look for players in our own ranks, then start looking elsewhere."
1) FH Hafnarfjördur
2) KR Reykjavík
3) Breidablik (2010 champions)
4) Valur Reykjavík
5) ÍBV Vestmannaeyjar
6) Fram Reykjavík
11) Víkingur Reykjavík (promoted)
12) Thór Akureyri (promoted)