Malmö FF, historical club back in the best European party

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Malmo FF is back in the Champions League and their progress into the group stages of this tournament is in itself a fairy story as the club did defeat Rangers on their way to this stage. They will be in a dream group with fantastic opponents in Chelsea, Juventus and Zenit. Of course difficult but also a massive challenge to play against these giants.

Their final hurdle was Ludogoretz, defeated over two games 3-2. Norwegian international Jo Inge Berget is one of their key players, scoring a vital goal in that first leg and in his second period with MFF. The 30 year old attacker has to date played 139 league games and scored 35 goals during his time, first from 2015 to 2017 with a year playing for New York City and then returning in 2019 and since been influential for his team.

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Jon Dahl Tomasson is a familier name in football and the previous Denmark assistant manager and now in charge of MFF has a grand life in football being a proven goalscorer in many European League’s and with a previous life at clubs such as Newcastle, Feyenoord, AC Milan, Stuttgart and Villareal.

Tomasson must have been delighted after the wins against Rangers and Steven Gerrard, which might have been the key game to get into the group stages as they were probably the favorites to go through.

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MFF are currently second in the Swedish top division, Allsvenskan, with just one point away from the top position with current leaders being Djurgarden. Their team is a good mix with mostly Scandinavian born players.

They have qualified to the group stages of the Champions Leauge before and the last time was in 2015/16 prior to the year before 2014/15 when they also did go through. Of course with previous managers at the helm, but indeed getting vital experience from such a tournament.

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The club was founded in 1910, and has to date won their home league 21 times. In the early days IFK Malmo was seen as a top rival, but that football club has not been in the top flight since the 60’s, so today mainly Helsingborg and IFK Gothenburg are seen as the main rivals and enemies.

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A great number of good players has of course played for MFF. We can start with the two Olympic gold medal winners from 1948, Kjell Rosèn and Erik Nilsson. Rosèn later played professionally in Italy with Turin and Novara, while Nilsson stayed on and played a total of 354 league games in a career lasting from 1934 to 1952.

When Sweden at home did reach the World Cup final in 1958 MFF had players in the squad. The goalkeeper Tore Svensson and central defender Pravitz Öberg were selected.

Going forward and into the 70’s Malmo FF was a pivotal club and one player to mention in that era was their elegant midfielder Bo “Bosse” Larsson. He played a vital part in three World Cup’s for Sweden, being selected for Mexico (70), West Germany (74) and Argentina (78). Larsson played for Sweden in two periods, also representing Stuttgart from 1966 to 1969. Their steady goalkeeper Jan Möller would probably have reached 100 caps for Sweden, but stopped at 17, with the former Bristol City and Toronto Blizzard shotstopper being held on the bench by the legend Ronny Hellström.

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When MFF did reach the final of the European Cup in 1979, under the guidence of Bob Houghton coming up against Nottingham Forest legends Brian Clough, their manager, and Trevor Francis, their goal scorer of the evening, made it all special as the two teams played in this type of final for the first time. Larsson was not in the team, but you had a number of other well known players. Staffan Tapper, their captain, had a previous life as a full international and still a great performer. There were of course many great players, but one to mention was 19 year old midfielder Robert Prytz, later becoming one of Sweden’s most known players with a career at Rangers, Verona and Atalanta, also adding up 56 caps for Sweden in the years to come.

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Robert Prytz did move back to Scotland later in life and played for a number of clubs on his last path in football, representing, Kilmarnock, Dumbarton, East Fife, Pollock, Cowdenbeath and Hamilton with short stays playing until his early 40’s, finally hanging up his boots in 2001.

MFF did also play their part in the 1994 World Cup heroics as Sweden did win the bronze medal. Jonas Thern, the captain, Stefan Schwarz, Patrick Andersson and Roger Ljung all had a past at this football club, but had left for professional adventures.

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Former England boss Roy Hodgson also had a number of years in charge at MFF, using this club as a great stepping stone towards his stardom in football. During Hodgson’s years from 85 to 89 MFF won the Allsvenskan in all of his five seasons. There are several other known faces that has taken charge of MFF, to mention Aage Hareide and Uwe Rossler, both known as players and managers of different clubs and Hareide being both the national coach of Norway and Denmark during his time in football management.

The team from the Scania capital will again be back in the best party with a bit to prove, but of course we believe it will probably be a great experience and hopefully a chance to qualify for more fighting with Zenit for that 3rd position, with Chelsea and Juventus looking too strong.

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