First Division. The championship continued to be 2-phased – first the regular season, after which the last 2 were relegated and the top 4 proceeded to championship play-offs with direct elimination. The formula had a suspect element, of course: a strong, but scheming team could only play enough to qualify to the play-offs and then step on full speed and win. But it was still exciting formula, aiming to boost interest from start to end.
IF Elfsborg – last and relegated with 10 points.
Halmstads BK – down on their luck: 11th with 17 points. Relegated on worse goal-difference. Top row from left: Anton Kacuk, Ingemar Svensson, Per Olsson, Mats Jingblad, Anders Johansson, Jan Jönsson, Magnus Peterson, Mikael Martinsson, Svante Lönngren.
Middle row: Lennart Karlsson, Sven-Åke Sjögren, Sven-Åke Landgren, Ulf Sjölin, Lars-Magnus Nilsson, Björn Nordberg, Thomas Lansing, Tommy Andersson, Peter Henricsson, Roger Johansson, Stig Nilsson.
Front row: Uno Andersson, Stefan Lindqvist, Per-Åke Johnsson, Kenneth Rosén, Rolf Andersson, Tommy Frejdh, Ulf Jönsson, Ola Svensson.
GIF Sundsvall – lucky boys: safely 10th with 17 points tnaks to better goal-difference.
AIK – 9th with 20 points.
Örgryte IS – 8th with 20 points.
Västra Frölunda – 7th with 21 points.
Hammarby IF – 6th with 22 points.
IK Brage – 5th with 24 points.
Östers IF – 4th with 24 points and going to the play-offs. Thanks to better goal-difference, though which was -1. IK Brage missed the play-offs with -2.
IFK Göteborg – 3rd with 26 points.
IFK Norrköping – 2nd with 29 points.
Malmö FF – strong and dominant in the regular season: 14 wins, 6 ties, only 2 lost games, 50-21 goal-difference, 34 points – first and leading by 5 points. But that was nothing… play-offs followed.
The championship play-offs opposed teams by their final standings in the regular season.
Östers FF vs Malmö FF: 1-2 and 1-2.
The end of the road for Östers FF – may be they even overperformed a bit. Top row from left: Peo Bild, Bo Johansson, Magnus Henriksson, Christer Frisk, Tommy Berggren, Andreas Ravelli, Lino Boriero, Magnus Jonsson.
Middle row: Göran Mårtensson, Tommy Westerlund, Roger Johansson, Per Lindblad, Anders Brink, Ronny Persson, Jari Europaeus, Tommy Westring.
First row: Peter Truedsson, Urban Pettersson, Erkka Petäjä, Karl-Håkan Rubin, Thomas Ravelli, Morgan Hansson, Patrik Isaksson, Ulrik Jansson, Nicklas Persson.
IFK Göteborg vs IFK Norrköping 3-0 and 2-2.
IFK Norrköping had strong regular season, but they faced a team at top form in the semi-finals and that was it.
So, the final opposed the strongest teams of Sweden – IFK Göteborg vs Malmö FF. One with fantastic European run, the other with very confident refular season at home. Really, no favourite… IFK won 1-0 at home. Then Malmo won at home, but unfortunate 2-1. They lost on away goal…
Malmö FF lost after wonderful season. Was it fair? After all, they won the regular season with great lead, lost only twice, scored a lot… may be they should have been more parsimonious with their play, saving strength for the decisive phase. So unfortunate loss.
Top row from left: Roland Nilsson – assistant coach,Caspar Pauckstadt, Niclas Larsson, Peter Jonsson, Jonnie Fedel, P. O. Nilsson, Martin Dahlin, Joakim Nilsson, Anders Lewicki,Jonsson.
Middle row: Harry Jonsson – assistant coach, Per Agren, Hakan Lindman, Hasse Borg, Jan Moller, M. Magnusson, K. Jonsson, Torbjorn Persson, Roger Ljung, Roy Hodgson – coach.
Sitting: Mats Arvidsson, Lars Larsson, Anders Palmer, Ingemar Erlandsson, Magnus Andersson, Leif Engqvist, Jonas Thern, Deval Eminovski.
May be a bit lucky, but let face it – on one hand, IFK Goteborg had too many things to handle – European campaign plus domestic season. Bigger clubs have difficulties playing strong football on many fronts at the same time. May be IFK did not give their best during the regular season, but they saved some strength, came in top from when mattered most – the rules allowed it: allowed to finish lower in the first phase and still win the title; allowed to be tied with an opponent and still be the winner. Away goal was the key to their 11th title.