Both teams have won their first seven games of the season. On Sunday, Vlerenga and Brann met for their first league game of the year, and league leaders Vlerenga gave Brann the favourite.
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Brann, then known as Sandviken, had a more or less perfect season last year. At Toppserien, they picked up 52 of 54 points on their way to the club’s first league gold.
City rivals Arna-Bjørnar at that time were the only team that managed to take points away from team Bergen, but in the cup final came the only defeat of the season, when they lost 1-2 against Vlerenga.
In that series, Vlerenga, who won the league in 2020, fought much harder and ended up in fourth place.
– Fire is a favourite. They were 17 points clear of Vlerenga last year, and have strengthened the team with more players this year. They are big gold favourites, Vlerenga coach Nils Lexerød told VG after they beat last weekend Avaldsnes 6-0 at home.
Brann coach Alexander Straus did not fully recognize the favourite.
– Hehe, no, I’m not really interested in such things, he said laughing a little, and continued:
– I think it doesn’t harmonize how they express themselves after that. They seem to have great confidence in themselves. “We are also very confident,” said Straus.
Coach Brann has been impressed by the performances of the Vålerenga team this season.
– They have lost some pretty good players from last year, but it looks like they can become a stronger team. They have changed the structure and the way they play a bit. They look really solid this year, and then maybe a bit like we had last year that they don’t fight in Europe to think about. They can focus on one thing and they may be a little hungrier, he says.
Vålerenga coach Nils Lexerød said after the Avaldsnes game that it was a match and a week to prove they are a reliable top team, having beaten Kolbotn 2-0, LSK Women 3-0 and Avaldsnes 6-0 in eight days.
– Now we can say that Vålerenga is a top team. And we intend to continue as well, is the decision of Lexerød.
– We have a hungry group, and who have set the goal of hunting Brann throughout the season and challenging them. We’re looking forward to them coming here, and then we’ll see how much of a fight we can give them.”
The two teams met again in early June, in a match where the Brann women’s team will play at the Brann Stadium for the first time.
Mette Hammersland, marketing and media manager for Brann Kvinner, stated that they had sold less than 1,500 tickets for the game in June.
Vlerenga had sold 1000 tickets as of Sunday morning, and Vlerenga’s marketing and media manager, Jens August Dalsegg, estimated that they would end up with around 1200 viewers.
– Everyone should know their visiting hours. One only needed to call friends and acquaintances and get everyone to fight. We need the support we can get. There is talk of a twelfth man, and that is underestimated, also in women’s football. “It’s important to have support from the stands,” said Vlerenga striker Elise Thorsnes.
Since Toppserien will be decided by playoffs, there will probably be at least four games between Brann and Vlerenga this year. The best four after the first 18 games at Toppserien met in the internal final match for the league title, where the team in first place after 18 games took six points, number two took four points, number three took two points and number four started without points.
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