Goteborg vs Helsingborg by Sweem
Allsvenskan hereby enters the last third of the season and for a few teams, this means the most crucial part of the season. The most interesting question in this match is whether the hosts Goteborg can switch focus from their most imortant game in recent club history, back to battle in Allsvenskan for not very ambitous positions. For the hosts, the season is more or less over, apart from the European places. For Helsingborg, survival is at mind.
The hosts Goteborg have just arrived back from the battle in Baku where they recently faced Qarabag in a 3-0 let down, which also eliminated the Swedes from entering the group stages of Europa League despite arriving to Azerbaijan with one foot in the competition. For Goteborg and their players, and for the whole organization, it was more than only a loss. It was a loss of hope, and not least the financial aspect suffered the most. The club has struggled financially for a long time and a group stage in Europe would save much of those head aches. Moreover, the players themselves missed out on personal bonuses and obviously that is a psychological part. They were severely outplayed and it was no doubt that Qarabag were the better team, but now it's another game of importance - and the key is really only the focus and motivation
The hosts did not only lose on the field in Azerbaijan, but they also made the squad situation worse. The midfield engine Sebastian Eriksson (19/0) is serving suspension, and on top of that, striker Mikael Boman (15/4) picked up an injury. His natural replacement, striker Gustav Engvall (16/3) is also out. Important winger Soren Rieks (14/2) left the pitch injured and was expected to be out for three weeks, but did participate in the training and is available in the squad, but his status is questionable.
The visitors, Helsingborg are three points under the surface and are therefore currently not on safe ground. Each point is worth the price of diamond for coach Henrik Larsson and his side. Henrik Larsson, the great player himself says the following about the match with Goteborg
- We are in a situation that we don't enjoy, and need to battle hard. It's a new game and new opportunities. More players are returning from injuries so we have had a good week
His team did have a good match in the Swedish Cup, where they defeated Gnosjo which is a low division team, but still offered confidence and goal scoring ahead of this more important clash.
For Helsingborg, defender Frederik Helstrup (17/1) is out, which is the same for midfielder Carl Wede (7/0), striker Mikael Dahlberg (6/3) and defender Carl Johansson (6/2)
Noticeably regarding Helsingborg, they have very similar record as a visting team as being a host, so their way of play is not much different at home compared to away. Henrik Larsson likes to see his team work hard, making runs and hit the defensive strategy to perfection. It becomes a good team for counter attacking football with the current material, and given the situation (desperation) at the moment, this will become more offensive by default which can take opponent by surprise.
The main question to address is if Helsingborg can take advantage of Goteborg's tight schedule, long trip, and their physical and psychological let down. This match will not be decided based on the skill on the pitch for the hosts - the match will be decided based on the Goteborg players heads, only. I personally like the spot Helsingborg are in, they are gritty and threat more than the odds suggest in this desperate situation against a team who have just had their boat rocked.