Vikingur Reykjavik – an ambitious project in its early stages, already showing results

Lech Poznań has the obligation to eliminate Vikingur Reykjavik – there is no discussion about this. The “Kolejorz” cannot ignore the Icelanders. Aside from the events of eight years ago, which do not give him the right to ignore anyone from this country, one should be aware that Vikingur has a higher difficulty than KR Reykjavik, which allowed Pogoń Szczecin to lose the rematch anyway.

To support this statement, it is enough to look at the table.

Defending the league title, Vikingur in fourteen league games of the 2022 season scored 29 points and is the runner-up. KR has only 21 points after fifteen appearances and is in sixth place, last in the championship group. The recent opponent of “Portowców” only broke his powerlessness in the competition on Tuesday, scoring the first victory in six rounds. Along the way he lost 0:3 with Vikingur and 0:4 with the leading Breidablik.

Vikingur Reykjavik – features of Lech Pozna’s rival

“Vikes” are definitely a stronger rival than KR. First of all, it is a more interesting team in terms of staff and the idea of ​​the club and management. KR was weakened by injuries, the bad atmosphere in the locker room and the stands turning away from the team, and the Icelandic champions are quite the opposite. And while they are aware that they currently have a stronger rival in the domestic backyard in the form of Breidablik, they place a lot of emphasis on their own – the battle for the leader before the division of the competition into groups and the best result in European cups to get the club money and piss off “Blikar” who speak boldly and openly about their willingness to promote to the Conference League group stage – confirms us Piotr Giedyk, an expert on Icelandic football.

To watch the “Vikings” without an exaggerated sense of superiority, it is enough to see how they do in the cups this summer. We are talking about historical things, because it was the first time they won in the international arena. To reach the 1st round of the Champions League qualifying rounds, they first had to jettison the Estonian Levadia (6:1) and the Andorran Inter Club d’Escaldes (1:0). The sensation was not successful with Malmoe, although there was plenty of it. They lost only 2:3 on the road despite playing in the ten from the 39th minute as equalizer author Kristall Mani Ingason unsportsmanlikely celebrated his performance and saw the second yellow card. In the second leg, the Swedes led 3:1, but the ambitious hosts managed to equalize. One goal separated them from extra time. Malmoe is currently not making it – in the next round they lost twice to Żalgiris Vilnius, who scored 0:5 against Bodo/Glimt yesterday – but for Icelanders it is a big deal to scare a club like this.

Vikingur came to the qualifying round of the Conference League. In the second round he sent The New Saints from Welsh. In front of his home crowd he won 2-0 on two penalties, bringing a goalless draw from the rematch. On the one hand there is nothing to be impressed with, on the other it was an undisputed promotion.

A strong second line

By Icelandic standards, there are many interesting characters in the ranks of this team. – It is controlled by Arnar Gunnlaugsson, who prefers a fairly modern ball. He’s focused on offense, ground passes and a little faster play – leaving power football to the defense. I would like to highlight a few players. Looking from goal, we have Ingvar Jonsson – the same keeper who kept Lech in Stjarnan’s colors eight years ago and returned to the Icelandic capital after his wanderings in Scandinavia. There is Logi Tomasson in defence, who is regarded as one of the best young defensive players in the country, with the prospect of playing regularly for the national team. On the right is running very fast Karl Fridleifur, who also has representative potential. Captain Julius Magnusson is great at helping. Having recently made his national team debut, he can afford to play in a much better league. Viktor Orlygur and Erlingur Agnarsson are other helpers who deserve attention. The icing on the cake of the second line is Pablo Punyed. The Salvadoran representative will put his foot where he has to and will play with the greatest risk in the right situation. A guest might as well interrupt a key action for a red card, or rush the ball forward to score a goal worth its weight in gold. Attack? Lech can take a breath, because Kristall Mani Ingason has just left for Rosenborg, but that doesn’t mean there’s no one left to be afraid of. Nikolaj Hansen is last season’s top scorer, he managed to keep him at the club. This year he is a little weaker, maybe the lack of the biggest competitor will help him get off to a good start. 19-year-old Ari Sigurpalsson, who returned from Primavera Bologna and has already scored in the league, remains in reserve – describes Piotr Giedyk.

And adds:- The main battles take place in the middle of the field. Vikingur has gifted midfielders, both defensively and offensively. On paper, the defense is arguably the weakest point, though her stance has been improving for a while.

The king of archers with Polish roots

Interesting is the story of the aforementioned Hansen, who has Polish roots. He was “discovered” by Arkadiusz Stelmach, currently the youth scouting director of Wisła Płock, a hobby that scours the world for players with a Polish past.

On the mother’s side, almost the entire family lives in Poland. Except my grandmother and uncle who are in Denmark. My mother moved with them when she was 17. He is from Pabianice, most of the family still lives near this town. I used to go there on vacation in the summer – Hansen explained to Przegląd Sportowy last year, adding that he does not speak Polish except individual words.

Nikolaj is a player who makes the difference, although compared to last season he is still not satisfied and much more is expected of him. He is a striker who would be in the top teams of any Scandinavian league and likely to become a key link there too. Maybe he’ll get along for good by shooting Lech. It would actually be his style – convinces Giedyk.

We wish him all the best, but only after the matches with Lech.

Brave the youth

“Vikings” come to their knees after many lean years. The title won last year was two decades away from the previous one, but it looks like they will now hold the lead for longer.

A few years ago I would have said they are Reykjavik’s neighborhood club, but it’s currently the top 3 in the capital. Their prestige grows every month across the country. Financially, FH Hafnarfjordur, Valur and Breidablik are higher, but in Vikingur they boldly focused on the development of young people. The future Icelandic players interning in Belgium, the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries are eager to return to this club. And it’s not too bad with the finances, as Hansen was retired after being awarded the sniper crown. The club employed many people from the Euro 2016 and 2018 World Cup representation facilities, as well as the team’s veterans who ended their careers and switched to the other side. In my opinion, this is a project that is still in its early stages and is already producing good results – explains Piotr Giedyk.

Nevertheless, while Lech is not in optimal form – and he is certainly not in it at the moment – and with staff problems in defence, he has to deal with the Icelanders, reckoning with the past at the same time. John van den Brom, who speaks of 60 to 40 chances in favor of “Kolejorz”, pays close attention. If only no one in Pozna thought of treating one of the matches as an extension of the preparation period …

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