UA-52481335-1 HJK Helsinki - Football Finland

HJK Helsinki

Full Name: Helsingin Jalkapallo Klubi
Nicknames: Klubi (The Club)
Founded: 1907
Stadium: Telia 5G Stadium (10,770) Artificial turf (formerly Sonera Stadium)
Manager: Mika Lehkosuo
Chairman: Olli-Pekka Lyytikäinen
Last season: 2nd / qualified to Europe

Honours:
Titles: 27 (Last 2014)
Cup: 12 (2014)

Europe:
European Cup: Best Second round (74-75, Åtvidabergs 0-4) and (82-83, Liverpool 1-5)
Cup Winners Cup: Best Second round (85-86 Dynamo Dresden 3-7) and (94-95 Besiktas 1-3)
UEFA Cup: Best First Round 2001-02 Parma 0-3
Europa League: Best Group stages 2014-2015, 3rd in a group with Torino, Club Brugge and FC Copenhagen
Champions League: Best Gropu stages 1997-98, 4th in a group with PSV, Kaiserslautern and Benfica

HJK finished 2nd last season, they were the runners-up in the Finnish Cup and they got knocked out of the Europa League by IFK Göteborg despite winning the 1st leg in Sweden 1-2. They also failed to win the league the previous season so they are now desperate for the title. In order to do this, they have done 3 big decisions.

First of all they allowed their manager Mika Lehkosuo to continue. This was a big decision for a club that has not won the title in the past 2 seasons. Most of the fans wanted him out and it looked like they were already searching for a new manager but in the end, he continues.

The second big decision was that they decided to buy their top scorer Alfredo Morelos from his club Medellin in Columbia. The cost has been estimated as 500k + his salary which should be big by finnish standards, so this is a huge investment for the club. He is only 20 years old and will move on soon to bigger leagues but HJK saw it as an investment and despite speculations, he seems to stay at HJK at least until the summer. He is a player who can decide matches by himself and those type of players are hard to find.

The third big decision that HJK made was to allow Jose Riveiro to plan and organise all the training. Lehkosuo can focus on the games themselves and does not have to worry about creating the different training schedules and activities. The players have taken this as a very positive thing and all the practises are now more exciting and that motivates the players. Also the pre-season results show that they have gotten them right.

Last season HJK got themselves into trouble after key players started getting injured. Especially when Atomu Tanaka got injured in the Göteborg match, HJK´s form started to go down. They just could not replace him which affected their offense. For this season, they seem to have learned and have gotten more players to provide competition and rotation to the squad. Also the youth players from last year are 1-year older and better suited to play in the Veikkausliiga.

One of the best signings could be Mostagh Yaghoubi. The Finland U-21 international was excellent with RoPS the year before and he has creativity so Tanaka wont have to be the only creative player on the pitch. Yaghoubi can play below Tanaka and provide another threat to their offense.

Key arrivals:
Faith Obilor CB (Inter Turku), Hannu Patronen CB/RB (Sogndal, NOR), Demba Savage RW (Häcken, SWE), Mostagh Yaghoubi CM (Spartaks, LAT)

Key departures:
Taye Taiwo LB (Lausanne, SUI), Sebastian Sorsa (KuPS), Nikolai Alho (Halmstads, SWE), Nnmadi Oduamadi RW (Loan return to AC Milan), Ivan Tatomirovic CB (Free agent), Lum Rexhepi CB (Free agent)

What you can expect from HJK this season is that they will try to play more like a “Big club” should play. They will be more aggressive in their pressing and will try to get the ball back immediately. They have also focused a lot on their offense trying give more variations for them to play. They will no longer control the ball in their own half but also push and control the game on the opponents half. HJK will dominate more games this season and they will score more goals.

HJK will also be more solid in defense. They will force their opponents to play long ball and now they will have better defenders to cope with these. Last season when a ball came to defense, it almost caused a panic. HJK will have a lot more clean sheets this season.

Pre-season:
HJK 3-2 Esport Honka Cup
Gnistan 0-4 HJK Cup
Hammarby 2-3 HJK Friendly
Norrköping 4-3 HJK Friendly
HJK 4-0 FC KTP Cup
GrIFK 0-3 HJK Cup
HJK 4-0 HIFK Cup
HJK 1-2 Rosenborg Friendly
Mariehamn 0-3 HJK Cup
Ilves 0-1 HJK Cup

Squad:
Goalkeepers:
T. Dähne GER
M. Uusitalo FIN
J. Koivistoinen FIN

Defenders:
H. Patronen FIN
Rafinha BRA
V. Jalasto FIN
A. Halme FIN
F. Obilor NGA
H. Ölander FIN
J. Pirinen FIN
R. Peiponen FIN
V. Vesiaho fIN

Midfielders:
O. Malolo FIN
M. Yaghoubi FIN
A. Tanaka JPN
S. Dahlström FIN
L. Lingman FIN
V. Onovo NGA
A. Annan GHA
E. Vertainen FIN

Forwards:
D. Savage GAM
A. Morelos COL
O. Jallow GAM
A. Pelvas FIN
L. Lappalainen FIN
E. Mensah GHA

Our Ranking:
A lot of things have to go wrong if HJK does not win the title. Clear Champions!