BK Häcken is the current front-runner in the 2010 Allsvenskan.
By Chipp Reid
The team that has tongues wagging through Swedish football isn’t AIK or Göteborg, it’s BK Häcken.
The once-lowly Göteborg side is suddenly flying high as it sits atop the Allsvenskan with a perfect three wins in three matches. Häcken claimed its latest victory March 30 when it beat Trelleborg 4-2 at Rambergsvallen stadium. The match was Häcken’s home opener.
“Brilliant, just brilliant,” said Häcken head coach Peter Gerhardsson. “We played the way we want to play when the grass is in good condition.”
Gerhardsson and Häcken have opened more than a few eyes around the league. Gerhardsson brought in Brazilian playmaker Paulo Jose de Oliveira, aka Paulinho, and with a group of young players, has adopted an almost South American style of play. Häcken uses short passes to feet rather than the aerial style most Swedish teams employ.
Häcken also has Nigerian starlet John Chibuike, who is the subject of rampant transfer rumors. Chibuike had a hand in every goal for Häcken against Trelleborg and admitted after the game, “I would like to go a bigger league.”
Häcken Sporting Director Sonny Karlsson, however, wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye to his team’s rising star.
“The longer no one makes an offer right away, the better for us,” he said.
Chibuike scored the second goal of the match against Trelleborg and set up the other three with his slashing runs through the visitor’s defense. He said he isn’t really thinking too much right now about changing leagues.
“When it happens it happens. I am leaving all that up to my agent,” he said. “Right now I am just happy to be playing.
While Chibuike has helped Häcken get off to its best-ever start in the Allsvenskan, Karlsson said he believes the club set the tone for its quick start in the preseason.
“We have only had good training and we are fortunate not to have so many injuries,” he said. “It’s great fun that we have started so well. It is always valuable to take points. You cannot say anything else and we have nine points in the bank so far.”
Lurking just behind Häcken at 3-0 is Helsingborg, which beat IFK Göteborg 2-0 on March 30 at Olympia Stadium in Helsingborg. Malmö sits in third place at 2-1-0 along with surprising newcomers Mjällby.
Åtvidaberg, the other newcomer to the Allsvenskan, is having a much more difficult time as it remained winless after Round 3 following a 4-0 loss to Halmstad. Åtvidaberg also has yet to score a goal.
Djurgården, which completely rebuilt its team in the offseason, sits in second-to-last following a scoreless draw with Brommapojkarna.
Defending league champion AIK also remains winless, with two draws and loss after it fell 3-1 to GAIS on March 29.
Häcken 4, Trelleborg 2 GÖTEBORG—Häcken remained perfect at the start of the season, beating Trelleborg 4-2 on March 30 at Rambergsvallen. Jonas Bjuström and John Chibuike scored in a one-minute at the half-hour mark to give Häcken a 2-0 lead. Paulo Jose de Oliveira and Josef Karlsson scored second-half goals for Häcken. Andreas Drugge and Andreas Wihlborg scored second-half goals for Trelleborg.
Helsingborg 2, IFK Göteborg 0 HELSINGBORG—A pair of first-half goals gave Helsingborg a 2-0 win over IFK Göteborg March 29 at Olympia Stadium. Mattias Lindström fired HIF in front after 29 minutes. Markus Nilsson made it 2-0 at the 37-minute mark.
GAIS 3, AIK 1 GÖTEBORG—Wanderson do Carmo showed he can do more than score as he assisted on all three goals as GAIS beat AIK 3-1 at Gamla Ullevi. Joel Johansson benefitted twice from the Brazilian’s largess as he scored in the 43rd and 59th minutes. Björn Andersson scored in the 66th mninute for GAIS. Wallid Atta netted the lone goal for AIK, the first for the defending league champions this season.
Halmstad 4, Åtvidaberg 0 HALMSTAD—Four different players scored to lead Halmstad to its first win of the season, 4-0 over winless Åtvidaberg. Anel Raskaj scored in the seventh minute while Emil Salmonsson, Alexander Prent and Jonny Lundberg scored in the second half.
Malmö 3, Gefle 1 GÄVLE—Robert Åhman scored twice to lead Malmö to a 3-1 win over Gefle. Ahman struck on either side of half time. Daniel Andersson added the third for Malmö, which moved to a 2-1-0 record. Alexander Gerndt scored for Gefle.
Mjällby 2, Örebro 0 ÖREBRO—Markus Ekenberg scored his fourth goal of the season to lead Mjällby to a 2-0 win over Orebro. Ekenberg scored in the 15th minute and leads the league in goals. Mostafa El Kabir added an 80th-minute goal for Mjällby.
Kalmar 2, Elfsborg 2 KALMAR—Ricardo Santos scored twice to hand Kalmar a 2-2 draw. Santos fired Kalmar in front after just four minutes. Daniel Mobaeck and Daniel Nordmark scored to put Elfsborg up 2-1 but Santos hit his second of the game one minute from time to give Kalmar a share of the points.
Häcken striker Paulinho dives as he heads in a goal in BK's 4-2 win over Trelleborg. Bildbyran photo