Tuesday September 17 2013
Struggling Danes fear Juventus

Juventus will have nothing to fear when facing FC Copenhagen on Tuesday, writes Danish sports journalist and commentator Karsten Krogh

FC Copenhagen are nowhere near as strong as the team that made it to the last 16 of the Champions League two years ago. They’re currently 10th out of 12 sides in the Danish Superliga. However, they’re probably still favourites for the title as their squad remains the best in Denmark. And they have just signed their old Coach Ståle Solbakken, who led the team to its best season ever 24 months ago. That may be a game changer.

Two years ago FC Copenhagen sported probably the best Danish club outfit of all time. Led by former Chelsea star Jesper Groenkjaer, by a wide margin the best player ever in the Danish League, the team also had a great centre-forward in Dame N’Doye (now Lokomotiv Moscow), international midfielder William Kvist (now Stuttgart) and a rock solid defence – consisting of, among others, current Bologna defender Michael Antonsson. Swedish ‘keeper Johan Wiland is the only one left of that defence.

FCK won the Danish championship with 26 points to spare the season of 2011 – even if they were also playing European football at the same time. When the campaign ended, almost everyone left. Still, most people expected FCK to win the title easily the next season but they failed to do so. Minnows and neighbours FC Nordsjælland beat FCK by two points and drew Juventus, Chelsea and Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League. FC Nordsjælland were completely outclassed and basically humiliated, conceding a record 22 goals in the group stage alone.

Last season FCK took their title back, although not in a very convincing fashion, and they ended the term with a string of defeats and draws. The poor results continued at the start of this campaign and the club decided to fire Belgian Coach Ariel Jacobs when they had a chance to sign Staale Solbakken, the man who took FCK to their great Champions League season. Solbakken was part of the FCK exodus two years earlier when Bundesliga club FC Köln came knocking. However, Solbakken was a failure in Germany and his later stint at Championship side Wolves wasn’t a success either.

Now he’s back in FCK and his first two games in charge have brought optimism and four points to the title holders. However important Solbakken may be as a lightning rod and motivator, though, he can’t actually play the games for FCK, and it’s still a fact that FCK don’t have much of a team at the moment.

Their defence has conceded 12 goals in eight matches and have only managed to score 11 goals – with four of those coming against relegation favourites Viborg.

The team is struggling everywhere on the pitch. Brazilian midfielder Claudemir, excellent two seasons ago, is nowhere near the same player he was when playing with Kvist in central midfield.  Goalkeeper Wiland, excellent for two seasons, has shown signs of weakness lately, and the strikers, Santin and Vetokele, have never been Champions League standard. FCK have bought two new strikers, German Pourie, from Danish club Silkeborg, and 193cm, 22-year-old Nigerian Adi from Slovakian FK AS Trencin but they really shouldn’t be a problem for the likes of Giorgio Chiellini or Leonardi Bonucci.

Coach Solbakken recently stated that the Champions League could turn out to be a somewhat nasty experience for the troubled outfit and that seems to be an understatement. The truth is that this FCK is nowhere as strong as in the recent past and are probably expected to fetch maybe one point in their six games – their home game against Galatasaray. Anything more than that would be a big surprise.

Last season Juventus sensationally drew 1-1 against FC Nordsjælland at Parken in Copenhagen, the same pitch where they’ll be playing FCK on Tuesday. It would be a huge, huge upset if they do anything of that sort again. The likes of Juventus and Real Madrid really shouldn’t have any problems picking up six points against the current FCK

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Have your say...
Looks like Juve will have to turn once again to the market in search for a striker. Tevez is great. But not having signed Higuain to join him upfront is the classical Juve mistake, always one step short of reaching the Top when it comes to Europe. Knowing Juve, they will buy a top striker next year but forget to replace Pirlo and Buffon adequately.
on the 20th September, 2013 at 4:37pm
Hmm, very disappointed. I usually have very low expectations of Italian teams, but I did expect juve to win this game. Ah well, I will now assume juventus will lose both legs to real and gala to avoid getting hopes us. Juventus for the Europa league any1?
on the 18th September, 2013 at 3:51pm
I'm not sure how Juve failed to win that match last night. They do seem to struggle in this competition. I hope for Serie A they improve particularly before they play Real. Its up to all 3 teams to improve Serie A's standing but lets also not forget the Europa League sides who have been letting down Serie A for years now. Come on Serie A we can do it!
on the 18th September, 2013 at 8:34am
this is what happens when you pay 12 million for tevez rather than push the boat out for higuain juve strikers cant finish ,ogbonna looked decent but as per usual cheillini has at least two mistakes in him per game he is a travesty he really is ,i think peluso is better than asamoah who btw cant cross a ball to save hes life peluso distribution is much better.did loriente have a bad pre season i didnt see it but i cant see why he dont get a cjance even bendtner got a run out.
on the 18th September, 2013 at 12:30am
"Last season Juventus sensationally drew 1-1 against FC Nordsjælland at Parken in Copenhagen (...). It would be a huge, huge upset if they do anything of that sort again."

Guess what tonight's match ended? HAHA!
Don't be fooled by this result though. Unlike the losers of the match. the playing delivered by Copenhagen should not be enough to make it past any of the other teams in this group. But by the time of their next home game (against Gala Oct 10th) they might have turned their play around.
on the 17th September, 2013 at 10:03pm
You were saying?
on the 17th September, 2013 at 9:38pm
LoL at Juve signing Mata, the last thing they need is another Spanish flop warming the bench, Spaniards can't play in Serie A.

Juventus should see off Copenhagen in both legs but they should be weary of Gala who got some decent players & Madrid who is looking for a new lease of life after Mourinho...
on the 17th September, 2013 at 6:43pm
i don't know what matches against BM you were watching but against juve we were terribly outclassed and the scoreline in both matches was very flattering. we could've easily been on the receiving end of a terrible beating in munich if bayern had any sort of luck.
on the 17th September, 2013 at 3:33pm
Juve should get out of this group, but they need to remain focused. Also i'm happy to hear the rumours of Mata. In my opinion Juve need an alternative to Pirlo who will not play on for ever. If they brought in Mata they could keep the 3-5-2 formation, but adopt it in a slightly different fashion


Lich,Pogba,Vidal, Asamoah
on the 17th September, 2013 at 12:53pm
BOSS - Juve qualified top of their group last year. I think Juve will do better this season. Now they know a bit more about CL football. Plus, they have signed some decent players. Luck plays an important part. I thought they did very well last year. Just look at what BM did to Barca and Juve gave them a run for their money.
on the 17th September, 2013 at 11:35am
Juventus really need to make this count, I want them to qualify first this time, there is no reason why we shouldn't beat Madrid. They are good in attack but so what, juve shouldn't be fearful of Madrid, we have a great team also.
on the 17th September, 2013 at 9:28am
Another win for my beloved Roma last night. A great comeback. The spirit and quality of our team is so much better than last season. Now we must win the derby, defeat isn't an option. Juve should win well tonight, after last seasons result in Denmark they need to be on their game. Conte will have them well drilled. Hoping all Italian teams can do well this in Europe this year, we need it big time. I worry about Milan and Fiorentina with their injuries. They need these players back asap.
on the 17th September, 2013 at 9:06am

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