Goteborg vs Malmo by Sweem
Allsvenskan have the honor to present the most intense opening round that can possibily be offered, when the Swedish version of "el clasico" is on the premier menu between IFK Goteborg and Malmo FF - two giants in Swedish football. This is not only interesting due to the rivalry, but also because of the way their last match ended on this stadium last season - when Malmo were awarded a 0-3 victory due to the home supporters behaviour and attacking the visiting player, Tobias Sana (former Goteborg player) during warm up. As you can hear, this is more than a football match
For the first time in many seasons, Goteborg does not enter with huge expectations. The club has been known for their organized structure and defensive stability for many seasons, but this started to fade last year when Goteborg conceded 47 goals in total, despite finishing fourth. A relegated team conceded 52 in comparison, so the defense was a clear weakness. Goteborg have already gotten a taste of competitive matches due to their participation in the Swedish cup where they faced lower tier teams and progressed to the quarter finals where they were knocked out by Norrkoping at home. Once again, the defense suffered.
Goteborg have made changes in their squad, for example veteran goal keeper John Alvbage left the team. Instead, Pontus Dahlberg (born 1999) will likely be given the chance in goal this season. He is inexperienced but talented - it is therefore difficult to judge the stability at the back for the time being. Other significant new names in the squad includes both central midfielders Abdul Razak from AFC United and Max Diskerud from New York City on loan. Winger Henrik Bjordal is also new on loan from Brighton, and is seen as a replacement for previous winger Jakob Ankersen who went to Belgium, who was a vital piece for Goteborg last year. There are surely some questionable areas in Goteborg's coming season, where they are for once considered as dark horses for the title, and not a pre-assumed favorite.
Malmo have not lost against Goteborg (either home or away) in five years. These battles are always intense and tactical. Malmo have also undergone key changes, starting with the sacking of coach Allan Kuhn, who won the title last season but still did not get an extension. It clearly shows that there are super high demands in Malmo - a title is not enough - you must win in convincing fashion. Magnus Pehrsson is the new coach of Malmo and is coming from his previous job as Estonian national team coach. He is known to play with a high pressing style and have very intense practices, and focus a lot on what to do with the ball on the opposing half. Malmo have lacked the ability to score goals during pre season, but have created many chances.
Winger Jo-Inge Berget will miss the game for the visitors, while center back Rasmus Bengtsson is long term injured. The absence of Berget means that Malmo might lack in their pressing game, as he is known to be the hardest working player in the team.
In terms of new additions to the team, the Swedish champions only signed center back Lasse Nielsen from Gent. Other than that, the team is very much the same as last year which is good for consistency purposes. Usually many Swedish teams have an incredibly high player turnover and rarely get to play together for more than a season - Malmo will have an opportunity to build on their successful previous season.
This is a huge game, and the fact that it happens on Allsvenskans opening day is even bigger. Malmo have made no secret about their goals - win Allsvenskan and reach Champions League. Goteborg have openly said that they see themselves as underdogs this season without pressure, but undoubtely it is vital to not lose the opening game. Malmo with a positive record against Goteborg the last 5 years is likely to continue. It will be a battlefield, it will be nervous and low risk taking, but Malmo should be closer to the win. With that reasoning, Draw no Bet on the visitors will be the pick.