Åtvidaberg and GIF Sundsvall finished in the top two spots of the Superettan to return to the top flight of Swedish football.
A pair of familiar names raced through the 2011 Superettan to return to the top flight of Swedish football. Åtvidaberg and Sundsvall booked their passages to the Allsvenskan after finishing one-two in the Superettan. Åtvidaberg pipped Sundsvall in the final match of the season for the top spot.
"We have a sense of security and continuity in our game,” said manager Andreas Thomsson. "The goal was to take four points from the last two games and advance. We would have been happy with one point here in Sundsvall.”
Åtvidaberg won what came down the Superettan final Oct. 17 when it beat Sundsvall 1-0 on a goal from former IFK Göteborg striker Oscar Möller. Sundsvall had several chances late in the match to tie the game, including a last second shot team Åtvidaberg captain Christian Bergström cleared off the goal line.
"It takes luck..." “Sometimes it was more luck than skill that we have not conceded a goal when there was confusion in the penalty area,” Bergström said. “But there is that old saying that it takes luck to win sometimes.”
Åtvidaberg won 18 of its 30 matches, racing out to a 18-3-9 record for 57 points. The title sent ÅFF to the Allsvenskan for the 17th time. Sundsvall finished second with 55 points on a 16-7-7 record. Ängelholm earned the promotion playoff spot after finishing third with a 15-8-7 record, good for 53 points.
The top two Superettan teams automatically earn promotion to the Allsvenskan. Ängelholm faces Syrianska in a home-and-home series to see which team takes that spot in the Allsvenskan.
While Åtvidaberg and Sundsvall raced through the season, some other former Allsvenskan sides had slightly tougher times. Former champions Hammarby beat Ängelholm 1-0 on the final day of the season to escape the disaster of having to play the Division I South runner-up for the right to remain in the second flight.
Landskrona BoIS, under head coach Henrik Larsson, once more finished toward the bottom of the table in the 16-team Superettan. Landskrona played to a 3-3 draw with relegation-bound Västerås in their final match of the season.
At the bottom of the table, Västerås and Qviding return to Division I. IK Brage and IFK Värnamo face playoffs against the runners-up from Division I South and North to remain in the Superettan.
by Chipp Reid
Players from Åtvidaberg don jerseys with the message "We're back" after they won promotion to the Allsvenskan. Bildbyrån photo