Superliga season going down to the wire

With six games to go, perennial powerhouse FC Copenhagen are only six points clear with a potential title decider coming up in a week’s time

On 10 June 2001, Sibusiso Zuma chested a football into the air and rose majestically into the blue summer sky to acrobatically overhead kick it over a disbelieving Mogens Krogh and into the far side of the net. The crowd went ballistic, some of the players fell to their knees in awe, and commentator Carsten Werge might even have crapped his pants a bit. 

Zuma won the league for FCK that day with arguably the most spectacular goal in Danish history against arch nemesis Brøndby with one game to go. Surely it couldn’t get better than that. It didn’t. This time last season, FC Copenhagen had already won the league. They ended up winning it by a whopping 26 points. 

In fact, not since the 2003-04 season has any team won the league by less than five points. That year FCK nipped arch-rivals Brøndby by a single point. The lack of an exciting finish has plagued the Superliga ever since, and although FCK maintain a six-point advantage over this year’s surprise package FC Nordsjælland, a loss away to FCN next week on Wednesday could see the advantage cut to three points. 

The remaining schedule is relatively easy for both teams (see factfile). FCK have a tough game away at FC Midtjylland while FCN’s biggest test may be an away fixture at Brøndby in the same week. 

As for key injuries, FCN will probably be without Mikkel Beckman, who is nursing a heel injury, but perhaps their biggest loss may be their young national team defender Andreas Bjelland, who is highly doubtful due to a hamstring injury.

FCK just lost solid Lars Jakobsen for a week, so he is doubtful for the FCN clash, as is Thomas Kristensen, while Thomas Delaney and Peter Larsson are out for the season. They do, however, have young Zanka Jørgensen back from a long-term knee injury and it should be pointed out that the FCK squad is far deeper than FCN’s. 

One final consideration would be that although FCN have home advantage, their supporter numbers are notoriously low. In contrast, FCK fans travel well and could be vocal enough to make the atmosphere rabidly FCK friendly.

Could there be an exciting finish on the horizon perhaps? Let’s hope so, because the closest thing to excitement recently has been the odd relegation battle. But still, HB Køge versus Lyngby just doesn’t inspire much when it comes to the ‘crapping of the pants’ scenario.

The last time a side outside the New Firm won the league was in the 2007-08 season when Aalborg BK stunned the Danish football community and bested traditional bigwigs FCK and Brøndby. Since then FCK have won three titles on the trot and are eyeing a fourth, despite losing nearly half their team last year to transfers and retirements. 

And let’s not forget that this is the most lucrative Superliga title … ever. The winners will automatically qualify for the Champions League group stage, forgoing the qualification process – the first time a Danish club has been afforded this luxury. For FCK to miss out on this bounty – particularly after earning the bulk of the UEFA coefficients that have made this possible – would be a difficult pill to swallow. 

FCK owes much of its recent success to the CL. The financial windfall that it provides is invaluable, and every time FCK do well – last season they made it past the group stage and qualified for the knockout phase for the first time ever – their Superliga opponents have more reason to worry.  

Should FCK win the Superliga this year, they will only further solidify their dominance. Good news for FCK perhaps, but bad news for the rest as their dominance will only produce a boring league. So while it’s true FCN might have poor home attendances, next Wednesday their support is likely to be national.