Crunch time in Denmark

MAY 16 2023: It almost summer in Copenhagen this weekend, with crowds flocking to see the Danish capital’s marathon and Brøndby playing FC København in the Superliga. The home side, from the west side of greater Copenhagen, are not in the running for the title, but FCK are battling it out with FC Nordsjaelland with Viborg hoping they will both slip-up. In a few days, the Danish Cup final will take place with Aalborg facing FCK.

FC Nordsjaelland are from Farum, a sleepy town of 20,000 people about half an hour from the city on the S-Tøg. They’ve been champions once, in 2012 and that earned them a Champions League campaign that saw them in the group stage and up against Chelsea and Juventus. Their Right to Dream stadium holds 10,000 people and has an artificial pitch.

By contrast, FC København play at Parken, the national stadium in Denmark in the well-heeled neighbourhood of Østerbro. Founded in 1992 from a merger of B1903 and KB, FCK are drawing some good crowds at the moment and their second stage games have attracted 90,000-plus. Interestingly, Parken also has one of those exceedingly expensive Nordic cuisine restaurants, Geranium, where lunch, called “Spring Universe” can cost you DKK 3,800 (around £450). Tickets for games at the ground are somewhat cheaper.

FCK beat Brøndby 3-1 with goals from leading scorer Viktor Claesson, Christian Sørensen and Claesson’s fellow Swede, Jordan Larsson. Later in the city centre, a few FCK shirts could be seen in Nyhavn, celebrating with probably the best lager in the world. FC Nordsjaelland drew 1-1 in Aarhus, and are one point behind FCK.

With UEFA introducing the Conference League, clubs from countries like Denmark can hold realistic hopes of a very decent European campaign. This season, Basel have demonstrated what can be done with focus and a little good fortune. Danish domestic football is still overlooked by many people, but a team like FCK should be able to hold its own in the Conference League. They may not be able to compete in the Champions League or Europa League, but the third tier should be far more comfortable for the best Danish teams.

Neil Fredrik Jensen

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