Time: 6:00 PM
Venue: Gamla Ullevi (Göteborg)
Draw specialists IFK Goteborg welcome high-flying Elfsborg to the Ullevi on Monday, as they seek to kick-start their Allsvenskan campaign after the summer break. Having drawn six of their first eight games before the league was paused in May, the hosts will have their work cut out against last year’s runners-up.
2020 cup winners IFK Goteborg have been busy in the transfer market during the recent interval in Allsvenskan action, losing high-profile signing Marek Hamsik to Trabzonspor but also bringing veterans Marcus Berg and Oscar Wendt back home after a long careers in Germany and beyond.
They have some ground to make up, though, as before the break, the Blavitt only won once in eight fixtures to sit 10th in the 16-team league.
Finishing 12th last season was a major disappointment for the well-supported club, so manager Mikael Stahre will be keen for his men to hit the ground running against Elfsborg this week.
Stahre recently replaced former Sheffield Wednesday defender Roland Nilsson as head coach and oversaw last week’s 2-1 friendly defeat to Danish club Brondby.
After six games without a league win – a drought which stretches back to April – IFK will need all of Sweden international Berg’s nous and experience to inspire an attack which mustered just eight goals in the opening phase of the season, and fans will hope that he has returned from the Euros with plenty of gas left in the tank.
Elfsborg, meanwhile, were the 2020 season’s surprise package – finishing second behind champions and current leaders Malmo – and have started this year’s campaign in similar fashion.
The six-times Swedish champions have not won the title since 2012 and are not fancied to do so this term, but nonetheless were disappointed to slip off the early-season pace with two defeats from their last three outings before the break.
In preparation for this week’s resumption, Di Gule have lost both of their warm-up friendlies – against Malmo, who also beat them in the league in May, and Varbergs – so will want to avoid another setback in Gothenburg if they are to avoid squandering momentum gained in the past year.
Manager Jimmy Thelin can rely on talents as diverse as former Brondby defender Johan Larsson – who has enjoyed a successful return to the club; being perhaps the league’s best right-back last term – and exciting teenage forward Ahmed Qasem, who is yet to become a regular but has featured from the bench.
On Monday, Thelin and company will meet opponents who they have narrowly edged in recent times, having won 1-0 in last season’s equivalent fixture at the Ullevi, before being held to a goalless draw at home last September.
- Goteborg’s form in last 5 matches: LDDDD.
- Elfsborg’s form in last 5 matches: LLWLL