Portugal the Cup

The Cup final was Lisbon derby – Benfica vs Sporting. Of course, Sporting wanted to beat the arch-enemy, but Benfica prevailed 2-1.
Too bad Sporting ended the season without a trophy, but it was quite fair to see them lose: at least the objective strength was preserved: Sporting was not as good as Benfica and FC Porto.
Benfica won the Cup for a third year in a row. The whole total was 21 Cups and 27 titles – fantastic record of success and also it was a double, so it was nice – from Benfica’s point of view – to best so categorically the team which conquered Europe.

Portugal I Division

First Division. No matter how good generation Portugal had – or did not have – the championship was always a matter of 2-3 teams competing at the top, leaving all others far behind. Nothing new this season…
O Elvas – hopeless outsiders and last with 14 points. But lucky – the decision to increase the league saved them well deserved relegation.
Farense – 15th with 21 points. Also saved from relegation because of the enlargement of the league.
Salgueiros – 14th with 24 points. In the relegation zone as well and also saved from going down.
Rio Ave – 13th with 25 points, but in danger of relegation. Under normal circumstances, they should have been in danger – going to the promotion/relegation tournament with the 3 second-place teams in the Second Division zones. But those weaker than Rio Ave and normally directly relegated were saved and Rio Ave was not. Weird and unfair – luckily, Rio Ave managed to win the promotion/relegation tournament and stay in the league.
Maritimo (Funchal) – 12th with 25 points. Rules were entirely against poor Rio Ave this season: Maritimo took the safe 12th position not even on better goal-difference – their record was worse than Rio Ave’s. But rules stipulated head-to-head record to be considered first in case of teams with same points. And Maritimo escaped trouble.

Portimonense – 11th with 26 points.
Academica (Coimbra) – 10th with 26 points.
Sporting (Braga) – 9th with 26 points.
Boavista – 8th with 27 points.
Varzim – 7th with 29 points. Strong season for them, even unusually strong season.

Belenenses – 6th with 30 points. A good chance for revival, if possible – because of the strong Portuguese international record Belenenses got a UEFA Cup spot.
Chaves – 5th with 33 points. Going to play in the UEFA Cup as well.
Sporting (Lisbon) – 4th with 38 points. Stronger than most of the league, but no match to the leading teams. Standing from left: Venâncio, Oceano, Duílio, Gabriel, Meade, Damas.
First row: Fernando Mendes, Zinho, Manuel Fernandes (cap), Negrete, Mário.
Vitoria (Guimaraes) – 3rd with 41 points. Battling with Sporting only, but bronze medals were great. Also UEFA Cup participant.
FC Porto – excellent season, as the title of the poster shows. May be the European campaign took its toll on the boys and they failed to win the championship. 2nd with 46 points. They had the best goal-difference: +45 and also scored most goals and shared the best defensive record: 67-22.
Benfica won yet another title. They had strong opponent, but luck had little to do with their victory: 20 wins, 9 ties, only 1 lost match (FC Porto lost 3), 51-23 goal-difference, 49 points.

Portugal II Division

Portugal – ranked 9th. One of the greatest seasons on international club level, but domestically perhaps the messy increase of the top league was the most intriguing event. The championship was dominated by two teams and behind them another two were stronger than the rest of the league. In view of that, making the top division larger hardly made any sense. However, it was going to be 20-team strong in the next season and seemingly the decision for that was taken quite late – normally, the last three teams were relegated directly to second level and the 13th went to promotion/relegation tournament with the 3 second-placed teams from the Second Division groups and the winner in it was going to play top-league football. The 13th went to this tournament, but those at the last three positions stayed in the league – in order of increasing the First Division to 20 teams, there was no relegation. Thus, weirdly, the team above direct relegation zone was the only one in danger of going down this season.
Second Division. The usual 3 groups, winners promoted, second-place teams going to promotion/relegation tournament.
Zona Norte. The usual mix of former top-league members and little known teams.
Freamunde – one of the clubs never going higher then second level. 8th with 30 points.
Gil Vicente – 3rd with 34 points. Unable to return to top league football.
Penafiel – 2nd with 37 points and going to promotion/relegation tournament.
SC Espinho – won the group with 40 points and directly promoted. 16 wins, 8 ties, 6 losses, 52-20 goal-difference.
Zona Centro.
Est. Portalegre – 13th with 27 points.
AC Marinhense – 7th with 31 points.
Feirense – 2nd and going to promotion/relegation tournament with 37 points.
Sporting Covilha – had no rivals and won the group with 45 points. 18 wins, 9 ties, 3 lost games, 40-17 goal-difference. This was great season for Covliha – not only promoted up, but champions of Second Division too – they won the tournament of the group champions after the season.
Zona Sul. The leaders were hardly challenged in any group, but here the top team was most dominant.
Uniao Madeira – 8th with 30 points.
Olhanense – 5th with 34 points.
Estrella Amadora – 2nd with 39 points and going to the promotion/relegation tournament.
Vitoria Setubal – very strong and winning the group with 48 points. 21 wins, 6 ties, 3 losses, 57-16 goal-difference. Return to First Division was the aim and was achieved. Vitoria – by name and regular season performance – should have been the champion of Second Division and they tried, but in the mini-tournament of zonal champions they lost to Sporting Covilha – on worse head-to-head results.
The tournament of champions: Espinho took the last place with 2 points: 1 win, 3 losses, 6-8. Vitoria Setubal had the best numbers, but if goal-difference counted: 2 wins, 1 tie, 1 loss, 10-8, 5 points.
Same points for Sporting Covilha – 2 wins, 1 tie, 1 loss, 5-5 goal-difference, but better head-to-head record against Vitoria made the Second Division champions.
With zonal champions going up, the promotion/relegation tournament was slightly revised in order of completing the new 20-team First Division: the top 2 teams in it were going to play top league.
Estrella Amadora (Zona Sul) was the weakest now – last with 2 points. 1 win, 5 losses, 5-9.
Feirense (Zona Centro) ended 3rd with 4 points – 1 win, 2 ties, 3 losses, 4-9.
Penafiel (Zona Norte) won 3 games, tied 1 and lost 2. 7-7 goal-difference and 7 points. Unable to win the tournament, but strong second and thus promoted. Mission accomplished – back to First Division.
Rio Ave (13th in First Division) was way too strong for second-level clubs – they won 5 games and tied 1. 11-2 goal-difference and 11 points. Frankly, it was only fair – Rio Ave was the only top-league team in danger of relegation and they finished above direct relegation zone. If the weakest were saved by fiat, why Rio Ave should go down? But they strong enough and avoided the risk.
So: going to play in the 20-team First Division – Sporting Covilha, Vitoria Setubal, SC Espinho, and Penafiel.

Austria the Cup

The Cup. Good luck and bad luck… Austria did not reach the final, but Rapid did. The other finalist was Swarovski Tirol. Rapid was stronger – they won the home leg 2-0 and managed a 2-2 tie in Innsbruck.
FC Swarovski-Tirol (Innsbruck) simply confirmed that they were 3rd and only 3rd… It may be picky, but their squad reveals the whole difference: the great West German Hansi Muller joined them in 1985, but he was now 30-years old and his game was going downhill after 1982. The other 2 foreigners were good Yugoslavs – the goalkeeper Tomislav Ivkovic (27) and Ivica Kalinic (31) – good, but not first class. Add the Austrian national team striker Peter Pacult and stop… that was all. Not enough to compete with Rapid and Austria. Not enough to win a trophy.
Rapid had it relatively easier this time, but still they were running more on good luck than anything. Lucky or not, they won a double – which was great! 28th title and 13th Cup.


Austria – ranked 10th. The eternal question – how objective is the objective? Looking at the ranking now, one can think Austrian football was in good shape. Ranked well above France and Holland. Ranked above recently exciting Romanians. Ranked that high by UEFA, using the most objective criteria – results. But results are often chancy… you have good luck with a draw and go ahead; mighty teams meet each other meantime and one is eliminated. Cold results of 5-year span are both objective and frivolous even for clubs like Real Madrid and Bayern. Behind the cold results there was also objective reality: Austrian football was rather going down. The great generation of Krankl, Pezzey, and Prohaska aged and going into retirement. The new generation was not similarly talented. Clubs were not in good financial health for a long time already and apart from Austria and Rapid generally struggled – amalgamation, relocation, renaming happened frequently. The efforts of the Federation were more desperate than anything: restructuring of the championship formula and shrinking of the top league aimed at financial stability and keeping competitive edge, but it was a clear sigh of crisis – football was not the most popular sport in Austria and the whole football culture was not as fanatical as elsewhere, so nobody cared all that much to pour his money in it. Gates were low, sponsorship may have been a little forced. Top talent preferred to play abroad for higher pay and in more exciting teams and championships. Meantime Europe was changing rapidly and Austrian clubs had difficulty hiring even relatively cheap East European imports – Greece and Turkey were paying more. Even Rapid and Austria were having difficulty making and keeping strong squads and smaller clubs more likely only tried to keep themselves alive – from this side of the game, it was ironic to see Austria ranked higher than France, Holland, Romania, even Sweden. But results spoke differently even when Austrian clubs were not winning any international trophies, very rarely, if at all, were reaching European finals. The reality now was that: the top league had 12 teams, but only 8 played to the end. After the regular season the lowest 4 went to promotion/relegation stage, joined by the top 4 in the regular season of Second Division. Nothing to be done about it… even small league was not competitive enough and second level was even worse… Names constantly confirmed exactly the convulsive struggles for mere existence: not only Austrian clubs were written under the name of the sponsor, but sponsors were reluctant to stay – Wacker (Innsbruck) was the name in 1985-86, but Swarovski – Tirol in 1986-87. First Vienna – Emco played in 1986-87, but became First Vienna – Rank Xerox for the next season. In 1984-85 they were First Vienna – Portas… VOEST (Linz) finished 1986-87 and became Salesianar Miettex VOEST. Practically only Rapid (Vienna) managed to keep its club name – even their rivals Austria were Austria-Memphis since 1977 (and Austria-WAC between 1973 and 1977). The old Viennese clubs Admira and Wacker were hard to remember now – they amalgamated into Admira-Wacker and did not even represent Vienna anymore, but the suburb Maria Enzersdorf. This relocation was not forever either… Troubles and more troubles, that was Austrian football for very long time already – may be starting in 1966-67, when the first sponsor name was incorporated into club’s name (ESV Admira – NO Energie). This is practical confusion for anybody trying to follow Austrian football, for different sources name teams differently at the same time – some list just club names, some just sponsor names, some mix… club names, full legal names, sponsor names, just city names… a nightmare, generally boiling down to permanent crisis and not at all suggesting high-ranking championship.
This moment of the match between LASK (striped jerseys) and First Vienna perhaps tells best the troubles of Austrian football: the absurd usage of every possible part of the kit for adds.
On the pitch Rapid and Austria dominated and battled between themselves. Behind them the primary aim was to make the top 8 in the fall part of the season so not to worry about possible relegation and failing that – to try to overcome the best 4 teams from Second Division in the spring and remain in the top league. That was all… SK Austria (Klagenfurt) was absolute outsider in the fall part of the season, played as standard championship: in 22 games they won only once. Grazer AK took 11th place, SC Eisenstadt was 10th and First Vienna FC – 9th. They went to promotion/relegation spring season againt the top 4 from the fall season of Second Division: VfB Modling, SK Vorwaerts (Steyr), SV Austria (Salzburg), and DSV Alpine (Leoben).
Now, who else played in the Second Division before the final phase? Who cares…
Teams like UVB Vocklamarkt.
Even the best of the Second Division were no match to the worst of the top league: after 14 games only VfB Modling – or VfB Union (Modling) was OK.

They won the promotion/relegation phase and were promoted.
Second was First Vienna FC – or First Vienna Football Club-Emco, 3rd – Grazer AK – or GAK-Ring-Shuh (Graz), 4th – SK Austria (Klagenfurt). Those three preserved First Division places for the next season.
SC Eisenstadt (Eisenstadt) was the only relegated team from top flight.
In the spring the top 8 continued between themselves the final part of the championship, playing twice against each other, but the fall and spring records were combined for the final table. Now the leaders really stepped in: the third best team in the fall quickly fell way behind and Austria and Rapid pushed as much as they could, which benefited Rapid – they were 2nd in the fall, 3 points behind Austria, but managed to overcome the difference and the season had dramatic finish.
SK VOEST – or SK Salesianer Miettex VOEST (Linz) – more or less ended the championship in the fall, when they were 5th. With guaranteed stay in the league, they seemingly did not care much anymore – 8th in the final table with 29 points (22 of them earned in the fall).
Sturm – or SK Raika-Sturm (Graz) – ended 7th with 30 points.
Wiener Sport Club (Vienna) – 6th with 32 points.
FC Admira-Wacker (Maria Enzersdorf) – 5th with 33 points.
LASK (Linz) – 4th with 40 points. They pushed hard in the spring, adding 18 points, but were really not a match for the best three teams.
FC Swarovski-Tirol (Innsbruck) was the third strongest Austrian team at the moment, but inferior to the two leading clubs: 3rd with 45 points.
Rapid and Austria made the championship exciting – the old rivals finished with equal points and goal-difference decided the champion.
Austria – or FK Austria-Memphis (Vienna) won the fall part of the season, leading by 3 points, but in the spring their enemies were stronger and both teams ended with 52 points. Austria had 86-40 goal-difference and +46 was not enough… 2nd at the end.
To row from left: Gerald Glatzmayer, Josef Degeorgi, Robert Frind, Ewald Turner, Anton Pfeffer, Tino Jessenitschnig, Ferry Janotka – assistant coach.
Middle row: Georg Schreitl – masseur, Thomas Parits – coach, Erich Obermayer, Ernst Baumeister, Herbert Prohaska, Toni Polster, Tibor Nyilasi, Hans-Peter Fruhwirth, Ahmed Barakat – masseur, Hans Holdhaus.
Sitting: Alfred Drabits, Johann Dihanich, Ossi Steiger, Vladimir Borovicka, Franz Wohlfahrt, Harald Fischer, Ernst Mader, Gerd Steinkogler, Andreas Ogris.
Well.. here was another fair sample of the troubles: of course, Austria had a good number of national team players and some of the new talent was theirs as well – particularly Toni Polster, who was the top scorer of the season with 39 goals, but the squad was not as well rounded as it was in the 1970s. It was certain that Polster will go abroad. Prohaska and Hungarian star Nyilasi were already 32 years old. The new goalkeeper – Vladimir Borovicka, 33 years old – has been a champion of Czechoslovakia with his former club Bohemians (Prague), but played only a few games for the national team: certainly not a big star. Taker away the movers and shakers – Prohaska, Nyilasi, and Polster – and there was not much left… Ogris, Degeorgi, Dihanich, Drabits… that was it.
SK Rapid (Vienna) was lucky winner: 22 wins, 8 ties, 6 lost games, 94-43 goal-difference, 52 points, like Austria. They had particularly strong spring, but their scoring really won the title. 94 goals – impressive on its own number, but that made a record of +51, beating Austria by 5 goals. Which was quite amazing, because Toni Polster scored fantastic 39 goals for Austria and Rapid did not have a man among the top three scorers in the championship. May be lucky at the end, but Rapid had arguably the best coach in Austria at this time – the Yugoslav Otto Baric – and strong Yugoslav connection as a whole: their 3 foreign players were Yugoslavs as well: strikers Zlatko Kranjcar (31 years old) and Sulejman Halilovic (32), and midfielder Petar Brucic (34). There were also one or two more with Yugoslav (Croatian, more precisely) roots in the team – a good amalgam of coach and players having the same football philosophy. Yet, Rapid was quite similar to Austria – with dangerously aging stars and newer talent slightly less impressive.

Romania the Cup

The Cup – a replay of the battle of the strongest both on the field and in the political shadowy realm. The Bucharest bitter derby Steaua vs Dinamo. Ladislau Boloni scored the only goal of the final in the 25th minute. And since Boloni played for Steaua… it did not matter than his given name is sometimes Ladislau, sometimes Lazslo.
Dinamo (Bucharest) lost both the championship and the cup this season – a bitter pill to swallow for their numerous fans. Perhaps even bitterer pill for Securitate. In football terms, though… Dinamo had great squad at the time, excellent coach too, but they were somewhat shallower team than their rivals, who were at their peak. Objectively speaking, Dinamo was weaker and it was fair to lose.
Steaua won a double this season. In total, their 12th title and 15th Cup. One may argue this was their best season ever and the squad was at its peak – but such things are relative. One may also argue that the son of Ceausescu was simply too much to oppose behind the scene, but that would not explain the international success of his pet project. Unfortunately, the unhealthy political intrigues were giving food for rumours lasting for years: the hero of the European Champions Cup final of 1986, Helmut Ducadam, was missing. That was noticed, of course, and persisting rumour was born: that he rebelled against Ceausescu’s son and was punished right away. Erased. Once rumour starts circulating details can be added at will… seemingly, the boasting of Ducadam after the final against Barcelona that he is the best Romanian goalkeeper brought the wrath of younger Ceausescu and Dukadam was banished from playing football at all or even jailed, or worse… So was the evil power of Communist rule… so was the suppression of minorities under Communist rule (Hungarians – Boloni would not be written under his real name – and Germans – such was presumably Ducadam)… So was the brutality of Communist rule that even when they aimed at concurred the world, they were ready to jeopardize conquest in order of suppressing independence, however minor – what was the point of weakening the team by banishing their great goalkeeper, if not the iron rule of suppression? Well, Steaua could afford it – they had Stingaciu, a long time national team member, to play between the goalposts. Years later it was uncovered that Ducadam was out because of injury, but suspicion never disappeared: he simply disappeared, practically never played football again, and so trivial matter as injury was revealed only years after Communism went down the drain. All that had nothing to do with Steaua’s play and achievements, but political games were part of it, a norm at the time, casting dark shadow on otherwise great period of Romanian football – and rightly so, since few years later UEFA will cancel the Golden Boot award largely because of Romanian schemes for winning it. And Belodedici will run away and ask political asylum in Yugoslavia… It is not fair to this great squad of Steaua, but the dark side cannot be dismissed.

Romania I Division

First Division. No big drama – three teams were outsiders, so relegation was decided early, and one team was so dominant, that there was no battle for the title. No battle for second position either.
Chimia (Ramnicu Valcea) – last with 20 points. They have been kind of Cinderella story, staying in the top division pretty much against the odds for many years – but good times eventually end.
Gloria (Buzau) – 17th with 25 points and out.
Jiul (Petrosani) – usually better, but this season they were weak. 16th with 27 points and relegated.
Flacara (Moreni) was 15th, but with 32 points they lost fear of relegation many rounds before the end of the season.

Rapid (Bucharest) – 14th with 32 points. Not concerned with relegation, but not the strong club they were years earlier.
Goal-difference determined final position for 6 clubs finishing with 32 points: FCM Brasov was 13th, SC Bacau – 12th,
Otelul (Galati) – 11th, and
Universitatea (Cluj) – 10th. Corvinul (Hunedoara) was 9th with 33 points. Petrolul (Ploasti) – 9th with 34 points. Olt (Scornicesti) – 8th with 35 points, because they had the worst goal-difference of 4 teams with the same points. Arges (Pitesti) was a place above Olt.
Universitatea (Craiova) – 5th, and
Sportul Studentesc (Bucharest), without Hagi now, but still running strong enough – 4th with 35 points, thanks to superior goal-difference.
Take it as you like – Victoria (Bucharest), only 2 years ago the second team of Dinamo (Bucharest) and now acting as independent club finished 3rd with 38 points. On the surface, it was great achievement of a club coming out of the blue. Looking deeper… were they independent club, or just barely disguised? UEFA had no objection to their participation in the UEFA Cup. Domestically, perhaps even Steaua could not object. Let say the boys did well.
Dinamo (Bucharest) was 2nd. And alone – they were too strong for the rest of the league, leaving Victoria 6 points behind. But Dinamo was also far behind Steaua – 15 points behind. They finished with 44 points, lost 7 games. Given their squad, coach, and the mighty power of Secret Police, not an impressive season.
No matter how intriguing battles went behind the scene between Securitate, backing Dinamo, and the son of Ceausescu and the Army, backing Steaua, the team was at its peak and had fantastic season: they did not lose even once! 25 wins and 9 ties. 87-17 goal-difference – which is incredible +70! 59 points at the end, but the title was won long time before the final rounds of the championship. Looking at the squad – no wonder. That was the reigning holder of the European Champions Cup, made even stronger by the recent addition of Gheorghe Hagi. More than 11 players also played for the national team of Romania – Steaua had more talent than Dinamo, deeper squad, and the best Romania player. Non-playing help behind the scene also counted, but even without it the team was just too good to lose. And they did not at all.

Romania II Division

Romania – ranked 11th. The peak of Steaua – in a nut shell, that was essence of the season.
Second Division – the usual 3 groups of 18 teams each, which winners were promoted to top flight.
Serie I. Apart from Pokitehnica (Iassi), quite unknown clubs played in it.
Teams like Steaua (Mizil) – which finished 5th with 38 points. Top row from left: Costel Lazăr, Nicolae Ruse, Viorel Goia, Ion Cojocaru, Aret Ene, Ion Grigore, Gheorghe Simaciu.
Middle row: Constantin Moldoveanu (coach), Dănuţ Matei, Gheorghe Greaca, Haralambie, Gheorghe Mîrzea, Vasile Cosarek, Constantin Galeş.
Sitting: Sorin Mihalache, Nicolae Vraciu, Ion Trache, Dumitru Drîndea, Marian Stanciu, Viorel Drăgan, Alexandru Drăgan.

CSM Suceava was the best team this season and won the championship with 49 points: 21 wins, 7 ties, 6 losses, 62-22. Promotion was great success for them.
Serie II. Two stronger than the rest teams.
Inter (Sibiu) was 10th with 33 points.
Progresul Vulcan (Bucharest) eventually lost the battle for top position – 2nd with 43 points.
ASA (Targu Mures) won the division with 47 points from 19 wins, 9 ties, 6 losses and 70-31 goal-difference. Happy return to First Division for them.
Serie III. The most exciting battle at the top happened in it – three teams, head and shoulders above the rest of the league, competed and at the end the winner was not the winner, strictly speaking.
Bihor (Oradea) should have been number one – they earned 49 points. But 3 points were deducted from their record for some violation of the rules and they ended 3rd with 46 points.
Maramures (Baia Mare) also finished with 46 points and took 2nd place on better goal-difference.
Politehnica (Timisoara) clinched first place with 48 points – 19 wins, 10 ties, 5 losses, 80-40 goal-difference. They were the highest scoring team in the whole Second Division this season, but were lucky to win – if Bihor was not penalized, Politehnica would have been 2nd and not promoted. But up they went.

Sweden the Cup

The Cup. Amazing final – both teams came from Second Division and from the same group on top of it. One of them was aiming at promotion this season; the other – desperately trying to avoid relegation. One can bet on GAIS – they were at the top of the table and eventually won the championship and got promoted to First Division. Kalmar FF was just the opposite – at the bottom of the table and at the end relegated to Third Division. But football knows no logic… Kalmar FF won the final 2-0!
Too bad GAIS lost, but it was bigger fun to see them lose in the long run: after all, they won the championship and got promoted.
Kalmar FF won its 2nd Cup, so this season was one of their most successful. But what irony – they were also relegated to Third Division in the same time. Success and failure at the same time – that is rare, bur what is rarer was a final between 2 Second Division teams and victory of relegated to third level team.

Sweden I Division

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.