By Bulldog Drummond
Before we get too carried away with thinking that this is going to be a walkover match against Bodo/Glimt, (“Glimt” means “Flash”) on the grounds that they are Norwegian and have a funny name, we might remember that they are actually top of our group at the moment, having played two, won one game and drawn the other. Four points: three goals scored and one conceded,
Indeed they are not newcomers to the European competitions, having been playing in Europe since 1976. In fact in 2021, they made their debut UEFA Champions League, and although eliminated early on they did well enough to make it into the Europa League and went on to the group stages where they beat AS Roma 6-1 having drawn 2-2 away.
And in case you think that is a misprint, it really was 8-3. They then went on to beat Celtic 5-1 on aggregate.
Before entering Europa League this season their record in this competition was played 15, won seven, drawn two and lost six. 28 goals scored and 24 conceded. Not the record of a hopeless bunch of minnows. Indeed even against the tougher competition to be found in the Champions League they have a record of four wins, one draw and four defeats and a goal difference of +11.
However, they have not been having everything their way this season as the league table for Norway (a summer league of course, given the country’s climate) shows…
The home and away record is interesting too. Bodo/Glimt have five home wins, six draws and one defeat at home, but away they have eight wins and four defeats with no draws. But there’s a downside.
If you are a regular reader here you will know that in the last few years we have become rather interested in the concept of taking the most recent part of a season as a way of helping predict outcomes. Thus while the media in England got fixated on Arsenal’s first three games last time around we got quite interested in the last 35 as a way of predicting where the club was going.
Using the same approach with Fotballklubben Bodø/Glimt we find the last six matches give a league table, not with Glimt heading for second but a long way off the leaders, but rather right down in eighth with just two wins in the last six.
Bodø/Glimt’s success has been a recent affair, for although they were runners-up in the league four times between 1977 and 2019, their only successes in the league as champions have come in 2020 and 2021 – the highest point in their history.
This is also the team whose supporters are known to carry very large very yellow toothbrushes to matches, although whether the stricter entry requirements at the Arsenal stadium will allow such objects into the ground will be seen at the match.
An interesting insight into the discriminatory views held within Norwegian football can be found in the history of this club in that it, and the other northern clubs, were not allowed into the league until 1972 due to the belief that it was quite impossible for teams from the north to be able to compete at the same level as teams from the south.
Even when the northern teams were allowed in, their journey to the top division was tougher than for southern teams. While the winners of the two southern divisions got promotion to the national league, the top northern team had to go through playoffs against southern teams before being allowed in. The playoff requirement was not dropped until the late 1970s.
Last season in Europe Glimt lost to Legia Warszawa, in the Champions League qualifying round and went into the Conference League which is where they defeated AS Roma 6-1 at home. (You might recall that Tottenham H also played in the Conference but got kicked out of the competition after refusing to play a match).
Glimt however played all their games without defeat and gained second place in the group stage They then defeated Celtic in the playoffs and then after AZ in the “16”, lost to Roma in the quarter-finals.
So it could be a tougher game than that which we saw last weekend against Tottenham.
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