Two of Sweden’s oldest rivals go head-to-head when Malmo host Helisngborg on Wednesday at 6:00 PM.
Jon Dahl Tomasson has re-adjusted well to life back in the dugout since taking charge of Malmo in his first senior managerial role since 2014. They have lost just one of their 12 Allsvenskan games so far this season to leave Di Blåe top of the table and one point ahead of Norrköping, who have a game in hand.
Helsingborg, now under the tutelage of former Aston Villa and Juventus defender Olof Mellberg, haven’t found things quite as simple, however, winning just once in the league this season. As a result, the Allsvenskan’s fifth-most successful club are currently languishing second-from-bottom in the table with just 10 points from 12 games.
To make things worse, Helsingborg have lost five of their last six meetings with Malmo and haven’t fared so well against their local rivals in recent years. But, as we know, form can go out of the window in a derby, so don’t write off Di Röe just yet.
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Malmo & Helsingborg’s previous line-ups:
- Malmo (vs Goteborg): Dahlin; Larsson, Ahmedhodzic, Brorsson; Sarr, Rakip, Christiansen, Bachirou, Knudsen; Molins, Traustason
- Helsingborgs (vs Hammarby): Lindegaard; Randrup, Diskerud, Olsson, Eriksson; Jonsson, Olsen, Abubakari, Svensson; Andersson, Van den Hurk.
Rasmus Bengtsson is still sidelined for Malmo with a knee injury.
Andreas Granqvist is closing in on a return from a groin injury for Helsinborgs but won’t be back in time to face Malmo. Andreas Landgren is back in training following his recovery from a knee problem.
Olof Mellberg’s tough assignment
During his playing days, Mellberg was best known for being a no-nonsense, tough defender and became a stalwart of the Aston Villa side that consistently pushed for European football just over a decade ago. However, his transition to life in the dugout has been quite different.
🗣 | Huvudtränare Olof Mellberg delar med sig av sina tankar om vilodagarna, försvars- och anfallsspelet, morgondagens motstånd och det ljusnande skadeläget i truppen:
— Helsingborgs IF (@HelsingborgsIF) August 1, 2020
Mellberg’s first managerial role saw his Brommapojkarna side score 140 goals in 67 games, focusing almost exclusively on their offensive qualities and winning back-to-back promotions from the third tier to the Allsvenskan before the former centre-back decided against renewing his contract. Since then, it’s been something of a struggle.
The 42-year-old had a brief stint at Danish lower league side, Fremad Amager before leaving after just eight games (and three wins) in charge to join Helsingborg. Back in Sweden, Mellberg has been unable to find defensive cohesion despite having the experience of Anders Lindegaard, Andreas Granqvist, Mix Diskerud and Martin Olsson to call upon.
Di Röe have conceded 14 goals in Mellberg’s nine games in charge so far and lie just one point off the bottom of the table. The bottom two teams are relegated from the Allsvenskan so if one of Sweden’s most successful clubs are to avoid being cast out to the Superettan, Mellberg is going to have to work quickly to form an understanding between this experienced band of defenders.
Scoreline prediction: Malmo 3-1 Helsingborg
Allsvenskan 2019/20 recent form:
- Malmo: WWDLW
- Helsingborg: DDDDD