Källqvist: Häcken can finish the job

At BK Häcken since boyhood, goalkeeper Christoffer Källqvist is relishing life in the UEFA Europa League and urged his side to "finish the job" against AC Sparta Praha.

Christoffer Källqvist in training with Häcken on Wednesday
Christoffer Källqvist in training with Häcken on Wednesday ©Sportsfile

A 2-2 draw at AC Sparta Praha in their UEFA Europa League second qualifying round first leg has left Sweden's BK Häcken excellently placed to cause an upset in Gothenburg on Thursday.

Taking part in the competition for the third time, Peter Gerhardsson's side have been one of the country's most improved teams of recent years, banishing the yo-yo seasons of bouncing between the Swedish first and second tiers to become Allsvenskan mainstays. Such progress culminated in last term's best-ever finish of second spot, though mixed results in 2013 currently have them in tenth.

A key figure is goalkeeper Christoffer Källqvist, who has been with the club since childhood. Buoyed by their comeback from two down in Prague last week thanks to goals from Nasiru Mohammed and René Makondele, the 29-year-old is confident Häcken can "finish the job" against their Czech opponents.

UEFA.com: How do you sum up your season so far?

Christoffer Källqvist: It has been very inconsistent in terms of results. In many matches, we have played well without getting the points I feel we deserved. Last year, when we came second in the league, we had a way of killing off even matches. But we will keep working to our philosophy and hopefully the results will start coming again.

UEFA.com: How would you describe Häcken's philosophy?

Källqvist: We are a team that like to play along the ground. When we perform at our best we can play great football, with a solid defensive system that starts with our forwards so we can win the ball high up the pitch.

UEFA.com: What were your impressions of Sparta Praha in the first match?

Källqvist: They are an excellent footballing team, it did not take us long to notice that. They are dangerous every time they go forward.

UEFA.com: You still managed to come away with a 2-2 draw. How will you approach the return leg?

Källqvist: We need to go out and try to play our natural game. We cannot just aim for a result, like 0-0 or 1-1, for 90 minutes. We know we were able to cause them trouble in Prague. There is every chance we could do it at home too.

UEFA.com: You have played for Häcken from boyhood. When did it begin to seem realistic you would be taking part in European competitions?

Källqvist: I started at the age of four. I have lived on Hisingen [the Gothenburg island on which Häcken are based] my whole life. This is actually our third run in Europe. The first two times we got in because of fair play but this time we earned our place with results on the pitch. We have proven we are worthy of being here.

UEFA.com: How would you describe the mood in the squad ahead of Thursday's match?

Källqvist: It is positive. After the first game, we all know what we can expect from them. We definitely have a team capable of finishing the job.