Sunday, 25 September 2011

HB Køge 0 v 2 Aarhus GF

Saturday 17th September 2011
Danish Superliga
Herfølge Stadion, Herfølge
Admission: 115 DKK
Programme: Free with admission
Attendance: 3003
Match Rating: 2

Having arrived in Copenhagen in the morning, after checking into my accommodation, I soon made my way south westwards for my first game during what would be a hectic week of groundhopping which would take in six games in five days, for a game between the two promoted sides into the Superliga this season, the top tier of Danish football.

The Herfølge Stadion is reached by taking the S-train from central Copenhagen to Køge, about a 40 minute journey, where one changes to a regional train for a further five minute journey to the small village of Herfølge, with the stadium about a five minute walk from the station. Tickets can be purchased from a booth outside the entrances, albeit with a 15DKK surcharge compared to if one had bought them on-line (although I tried, the website seemingly only accepts Danish credit cards). On entering the stadium itself, it is certainly unique, rather a mishmash of facilities. Behind the goal where one enters the ground is a modern all-seater stand, a more traditional all-seater stand spans the length on one side of the pitch, behind the other goal is a small bank of uncovered terracing where away fans are housed, whilst along the remaining length is terracing close to the pitch, whilst behind this terracing is the wall of a sports hall, executive boxes, and refreshments area. A four page, A3 colour glossy newspaper style programme was given away free at the turnstiles and appeared to have some interesting articles, and certainly had sufficient information for anyone who cannot understand Danish such as myself, with league table and squad lists.

In their first season back in the top flight, it was predicted by many that HB Køge would have a season of struggle to remain there come the end of the season, and so it is proving, as they found themselves bottom of the table, having won one and lost seven of their opening eight games, and in their last two games lost 0-5 at Brøndby and 1-4 at home to Aalborg. Aarhus have adapted much better to life back in the Superliga. After a fairly average start to the season, when they gained a win and three draws from their opening six games, they have won their previous three league and cup games, scoring twelved goals in the process, and found themselves in sixth place in the twelve team league, just three points adrift of second placed Aalborg but perhaps more importantly eight points clear of the relegation zone. Adam Eckersley, the former Manchester United youngster and Port Vale left back, lined up for Aarhus. Last season in the 1. Division, Aarhus finished 9 points clear of HB Køge, who finished 9 points clear of Vejle. HB Køge beat Aarhus at home on the final day of last season, whilst Aarhus won the other encounter earlier in the season.

Throughout this game, the visitors always looked the stronger and more composed side, with HB Køge looking very limited, relying on a "big lump" up front who possessed very little movement or subtlety, whilst at the back, the next calamity always looked on the cards. Aarhus opened the scoring on 11 minutes, when the ball was headed over the keeper who had rushed out into no-mans-land, and Peter Graulund headed home from close range to make sure. Aarhus doubled their advantage on 38 minutes, when a Køge defender had his header intercepted, allowing Aarhus to race on goal, with the ball passed across goal to give Graulund a simple tap in. This killed the game as a contest, as Aarhus seemed to be happy with what they had, as they spent long periods playing dull possession football. In the second half, Køge tried to do most of the attacking, the best chance being when a well struck shot hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced close to the line, but one always had the impression that Aarhus were in control of the game and had the home team scored, they would have been able to step up a gear, and they comfortably saw the game out for the win.

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