The first big derby game of the season Stadin Derby is played tonight in the Veikkausliiga. Here is the match preview and betting pics for HJK vs HIFK
HJK vs HIFK 18:30 Telia 5G Arena, Helsinki
Bethard odds: 2.50 – 3.00 – 3.00
It is a shame that the biggest match in Finnish football, “Stadin Derby” between the two Helsinki teams HJK and HIFK is played during the week. Still both teams have waited for this match for over a year as HIFK had to earn promotion back to the Veikkausliiga for this to happen. HJK is the favourite to win the title but they have started their season shakily with problems scoring goals. HIFK on the other hand has changed a lot and is considered as the main favourite for relegation. Since 2015, the teams have met 14 times in different competitions with HJK winning 7 times, 6 matches have ended in a draw and HIFK has only managed to beat their neighbours once. The teams met in the Finnish Cup group stage this season with HJK winning 1-0.
HJK team news
HJK won both of their home games against FC Inter and IFK Mariehamn 2-1, but in both cases they left it very late to win the games. They dominate the ball control, but they are not able to break down their opponents defenses. In both of their away games, they drew 0-0 with KuPS and SJK and in both they only got the point thanks to their goalkeeper Rudakov. Without him they would have lost both of those games. They are still far from a dominant force in the league. This derby match could spark their season. It will be the first game with a full crowd at the Telia 5G Arena and that is something that can make the players play better.
HJK will miss Riku Riski and Jonas Vahtera from this match.
HIFK team news
HIFK is no longer the same HIFK that played in the Veikkausliiga the last time. The team has changed completely and from the old guard, only three players are left (Halme, Hänninen and Bäckman). The team tries to be more professional but so far it is more like a foreign legion. They have tons of new players and a new head coach so it is no wonder that they have lost both of their opening games to SJK and FC Lahti 0-1. Their defense is quite organised but offensively they lack a clear plan and it is mainly due to individual talent that they create any chances at all.
This game is all about if HJK can break down the HIFK defense. They have struggled offensively in the earlier games so most likely not. HIFK +2 handi cap is our main pick. Bethard having 1.83 odds for this. HIFK is lacking some of that old HIFK fighting spirit but they should still be able to defend well.