Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Season 2: Klarpp's journey

After a successful first season at FC Nordsjælland what lay ahead in year two?

Two young stars with a view of playing at bigger clubs left for a combined £20m. Abu Francis o Borussia MG and Magnus Kofod Aston Villa.  The club didn't really need the money but didn't want fully committed players near the first team so with a reluctant heard Klopp let them go.

Although not at the same scale as the outgoings the new signings helped bulk out the squad for the long season ahead.  There was the potential for additional games (and revenue) if they passed the qualification stages of the Champions cup so they needed any additional support that was going.

3 new centre backs where brought in all for around the £1m mark, plus the renewed lown of Man City starlet Taylor-Harwood-Belis meant that there was plenty of protection at the back.

The season began with a 3-2 home win against OB, but quickly attentions were drawn to Champions League qualification.  They were drawn against Viktora Plzen of the Czech Republic, a win here would leave them a tie away from the Champions League proper.  A 2-1 loss in the first leg meant it was all to play for back at home and the home fans celebrated a resounding 4-0 win to pit the Danish second place side the dauting task of over turning the vastly superior Ajax.

Ajax were beaten 2-1 but with the away goal that Ajax scored in the last 5 minutes meant all was to play for in the return leg.  With the score at regulation full time equal at 3-3 the game entered extra time.  New signing Opoku was fouled in the box and young German midfielder Zaiser stepped up with the winning penalty.  Final score 4-3 to Nordsjælland.

The champions League draw saw Nordsjælland given the extremely difficult fixtures against Inter, Barcelona and toughest of all Bayern Munich.  It started poorly with a 1-0 loss to inter but was followed by a surprising 1-0 win at home against Barcelona.  That followed 2 heavy defeats by Bayern.

Odds were still against Nordsjælland but everything was to play for.  With Bayern seemily running away with the league a cheeky draw or two might be all that was needed.  Luck was with Nordsjælland who played an injury weakened Inter and came away with a well deserved 2-1 win at home.  Any result against Barcelona in the last game would see them through.  Nobody saw what came next.  Nordsjælland  won 4-1.  Finishing 2nd on 9 pts, 1 ahead of rivals Inter. The win gave Nordsjælland the joy of facing Italian Juventus in the first knock out round.

 And back to the league, with the new signings getting to grips with the style of the league quickly Nordsjælland got off to a blistering start and finished the preliminary phase with 52pts from 32 games, 2nd place was 8pts behind.  Key results were an extraordinary 6-4 win against OB and 5-1 with against Amager and Brondby.

Champions League progress was never likely to progress and the talented youthful side went out in the first round 5-1 against Ju ventus.

With no more Europe to play for Klarpp set his sights on the Danish cup and getting his hands on the coveted league trophy.  Despite a couple of bumps along the way Nordsjælland finished top with 77 pts from 32 games, and a total of only one loss.  GD of 38.  The team also beat Brondby 2-1 in the cup final.

Another successful season for Klarpp meant he managed to win both the German manager of the year the best manager of the year award in Denmark.  

Will Klarpp stay in Denmark to see his young stars flourish or will he set his sights higher and move abroad to a higher league???  Watch this space...




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