SønderjyskE means Son of Thor. Legend has it that the Nordic God conceived his youngest son born whilst on a looting rampage through the lowlands of bottom of Jutland peninsula before smiting Zeus, his arch rival from Greece, in a God vs God cage match held in Hamburg.
This is – evidently – not true. The truth is far more prosaic. SønderjyskE is a contraction of Sønderjysk Elitesport meaning Southern Jutland Elite Sport. SønderjyskE are based in the town of Haderslev in the deep South. In fact, until 1 January 2001 they were called Haderslev FK, which made far less scope for ridiculous opening paragraphs. However, how many people have heard of the town of some 25,000 people is an entirely different matter. The people now know. The people should also know I am watching Brøndby against SønderjyskE.
SønderjyskE had their best ever season last time out finishing runner’s up by nine points to the evil empire from Parken. In turn, the club has been storming through the early rounds of the Europa League defeating the likes of Strømsgodset and Zagłębie Lubin and now face the recognizable name of Sparta Prague in a few days’ time. Their league form has suffered picking up only two points from four games.
Brøndby need less introduction. Probably because I have already done it here and here. Perhaps I should add that Brøndby have started their league season well taking eight points from the four games and sitting just two points behind the evil empire from Parken.
If anyone wants to see a confusing league system, they should check out the Danish Superliga for 16/17. I have no idea how to possibly describe. There is the standard split in to Champions and Relegation Groups, but the Relegation Group is split into two where the top two of each Relegation Group qualify for a European play-off along with the team third in the Champions Group and CABOW. I believe it is copied from the Belgians, a country well known for its efficient structural design.
So off I go again to Brøndby. And once again I am in the away end. To be honest, it has become a habit. I should have gone in the excellent Sydsiden, but with the wasps becoming docile and loving a sting around about now, dressing up as a giant (yet attractive) flower may not be the best idea. So for today, I am Haderslevian. I hope I am not alone.
Is it a car park?
The journey was long because I got incredibly lost in Hvidovre and ended up being spat out somewhere near Brøndby Strand (beach), which is not that close to Brøndby Stadion. What was supposed to be a leisurely 40 minute bike ride with a beer stop turned into a 1 hour 10 minute time trial. Needless to say my back was sweaty upon arrival. I bought a beer. I hate those ‘You know when you have lived in [Country], when you…” things that pop up on social media. However, as I carried my beer up into the away end, it dawned on me that I had just paid DKK 65 (GBP 7.55) for a Carlsberg without batting an eye. It was a large one (650ml), but still GBP 7.55. The ticket only cost DKK 115!
Us Southern Jutlanders were stuck near the corner flag on a pretty shoddy terrace. This was closed for the European matches because UEFA, umm, why do they ban it?. The stadium smelt of burning paper. Disconcertingly I feared that my ferocious pedaling may have started a fire due to some sort of static buildup in my coat. After ten minutes of frantic sniffing, I focused on the game. I may watch quite a lot of football, but I am a terrible football analyst. I tried to see if I could work out which formation each team was playing. Sønderjyske seemed to be 4-4-2 with Brøndby playing a 4-5-1 with the anchor man dropping into centre defence to release the fullbacks. I think. IF you told me otherwise I would not put up an argument. I struggle to work out where a game is won and lost.
Brøndby players gather to discuss excellent geomtry of groundsman.
This game was won and lost between 31 and 33 minutes. Up until that point, the game was relatively even although Brøndby looked like the home side (so to speak). On 31 minutes, the Sønderjyske keeper seemed to claim and then spill a shot to his left to allow Finalnd’s fox in the box Teemu Pukki to crash home. The second goal came shortly later with Hermannsson finding himself unmarked at the far post to head in from a yard or two out. And with that, it became an exercise of damage limitation. How much they succeeed is open to debate. Another two goals in the second half for the team in yellow including another for Teemu (5 goals in 3 games I have seen him – pay me to be your lucky charm, Teemu!) meant a very comfortable 4-0. I think it was a little harsh on Sønderjyske, but perhaps they did not quite do themselves justice.
My journey home was far quicker and as the sun set on Copenhagen, the tinge of regret that always creeps shortly before you leave a country seeped into my thoughts. But then it started raining. Again.
Previous – Slots are everywhere
Next – Vi Älskar Trelleborg?