Bnei Yehuda visits Malmo in Sweden for a first leg Playoff Round Europa League qualifier on Thursday night. In order to get to know the Scandinavian club a bit better, The Sports Rabbi was in touch with Mattias Larsson, a football columnist and reporter covering Malmö FF for Sweden’s largest sports daily Expressen.
Who are Malmo’s key players?
First and foremost is the captain Markus Rosenberg. At 37 years old he is in the final months of his career and at the end of the season he will retire. That being said, he is still performing at a very high level, perhaps not as high as when he led the team to the Champions League group stages in 2014 and 2015, but not that far behind. The former Swedish international has played in the European Championship and the World cup and for Ajax, Werder Bremen, Racing Santander and West Bromwich.
Rosenberg started playing for Malmö as a five year old which is also true of the second most important player, central defender Rasmus Bengtsson – previously at Hertha Berlin and Twente.
Iceland International Arnor Traustason who is just back from injury, and keeper Johan Dahlin are also critical players for Malmo.
What style of football does Malmo play?
Malmö plays 3-5-2 under coach Uwe Rösler, which is very unusual for a club which peaked in the mid 1970s when they reached the European Cup Final losing 1–0 to Nottingham in 1979 while playing 4–4–2.
Malmö loves being in possession, trying to go forward through the central midfielders than finding a wing back for a cross or directly reaching an attacker. On defense MFF is very offensive, playing what Rösler calls high energy football – trying to win the ball quick and as close to the opponents goal as possible.
About the coach:
Uwe Rösler grew up in East Germany and was schooled in sports by the State of DDR. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, he became a pro and had his best spell at Manchester City. His track record in Malmö is eminent. He was appointed last summer (mid season) and took Malmö from 12th to 3rd in the League.
He also reached the Europa League group stages finishing second behind Genk but ahead of Besiktas and Sarpsborg before being knocked out by Chelsea. Rösler is very committed, and sometimes pushes the team and the players very hard.
The club’s supporters:
The fans are very passionate – the north stand called Norra sings for 90 minutes every game and against Bnei Yehuda the Stadium will probably be at full capacity of 20,000 spectators. At big european games the atmosphere is crazy.
Ari Hütter, was the Red Bull Salzburg Coach when Malmö knocked them out of the 2014 Champions League playoffs and called the Stadium ”ein Hexenkessel” which has since become the Stadium’s nickname. Big teams – Salzburg, Celtic, Shakhtar Donetsk, Olympiacos – have come to Malmö over the last five years and lost. Since 2014 Malmö has played 14 qualification games at home and has never suffered a defeat.