When Malmö FF sold Iceland striker Vidar Orn Kjartansson to Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv, team captain Markus Rosenberg blasted his own board, questioning why it would sell the team- and league-leading scorer in the middle of the season and put money over a potential return to the lucrative Champions League. Just a week later, Rosenberg’s warning that Malmö would miss the 14-goal scorer came true as MFF traveled to Stockholm Sept. 18 to face Djurgården and came away with a 3-1 loss.
"It is definitely not good, not good at all,” Rosenberg said after the match. "There is no way we can be anything but upset with this result.”
Defending champions IFK Norrköping took advantage of the result, beating Helsingborg 2-1 and taking a two-point lead in the standings over Malmö. Peking tops the table with 50 points while Malmö has 48. AIK is a somewhat distant third with 43 points.
"It is going to be tight right until the end,” Rosenberg said of the championship race. “We made three mistakes and we lost.”
Two of the three goals Malmö goalkeeper Johan Wiland allowed were own goals as Anton Tinnerholm and Kari Arnasson both deflected shots into their own net.
"We were careless,” Rosenberg said. "We had not lost since May. It happens. Now we have to turn around quickly and get ready to play again.”
The fallout from the sale of Kjartansson was clear to see against Djurgården as Malmö lacked quality in the final third of the field. Newly acquired Alexander Jeremejeff, the 22-yeard-old striker Malmö bought from BK Häcken in August, again started alongside Rosenberg but the starlet looked lost at times as MFF controlled the flow of play. Rosenberg raised the question of whether Malmö sold Kjartansson to make room from Jeremejeff, whom many football pundits believe will develop into a major star.
At the other end of the table, Falkenberg all but booked its passage back to the Superettan following a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Elfsborg. Falkenberg has just 9 points in 22 matches. Gefle is likely to join Falkenberg in the second flight after a 1-0 loss in Solna to AIK. Gefle has 14 points. Helsingborg, following its loss to Norrköping, has 19 points and sits in the relegation playoff spot.

European misadventures
When Malmö FF announced its record earnings and claimed the crown as the richest sports club in Sweden, it made its money the old-fashioned, Viking way — raiding Europe. The Sky Blues didn’t need to burn villages or pillage towns. It simply had to reach the Group Stage of the ultra-lucrative UEFA Champions League, which it did two years running. That run ended, however, when Malmö finished in fourth place in 2015, failing to gain a spot in European play.
Instead, IFK Norrköping went into the Champions League qualifiers and failed to advance out of the second round. IFK Göteborg, AIK and BK Häcken went into the UEFA Europa League with Häcken lasting one round while Göteborg and AIK managed to get into the third round of qualifiers before crashing out.
The lackluster results mean Sweden will not receive an additional berth in qualifiers in either tournament, something which Malmö general manager Niclas Carlnén told Nordstjernan in a January interview he wanted his club to accomplish.
"There has been talk but the other Swedish clubs must also do well,” Carlnén said. "I would like Malmö to be the team that helps the other Swedish clubs to get more recognition, more places, in Europe, but to do that, you must have success when you play in the Champions League or the Europa League.”
Swedish clubs were not the only busts in Europe as only one Scandinavian side managed to reach the group stage in either European tournament. Danish side FC Copenhagen reached the group stage in the Champions League and is the only Nordic side left in European competition. Danish clubs Brondby, Midtjylland and SonderjyskE lost in the playoffs of the Europa League. Finnish sides HJK Helsinki, RoPS, Norwegian sides Odd and Stromsgodset and Breidabilik of Iceland all crashed out of the Europa League as well. Norwegian champions Rosenborg failed to advance from the Champions League playoffs while Iceland champions FH Halnarfjordur and Finnish champions Senajoki could not advance from the qualifiers.