As folks who follow Spanish football will know, the COVID-19 restrictions of various countries has caused European football ties to get shifted around all over the place. Spanish teams have been finding neutral venues for their ties against English opposition, as restrictions on travel from the UK are still in place, and apparently Norway also has restrictions on who can enter their country, resulting in Molde and Hoffenheim playing what is supposed to be Molde’s home fixture in Spain at La Ceramica.
No word yet on whether the cardboard cutouts will be in attendance, but I certainly hope they are. Even they deserve to see someone win on that pitch every now and again.
Hoffenheim are currently struggling a bit in balancing multiple competitions. They sit 12th in the always competitive Bundesliga, only five points clear of a relegation playoff spot. They are out of the DFP Pokal so unless they win the Europa League there will be no European football for them next season. Andrei Kramaric is far and away their danger man, with his 13 league goals being 9 more than anyone else in the side. This is the fifth consecutive season he’s finished double digit league goals. Hoffenheim won their Europa group with 16 points out of 18.
From what I can tell (and my apologies but I really knew nothing about Norwegian football before today) Molde’s 2021 league season has not begun. They run a summer schedule that starts in May and ends in November, which, considering at least one of the teams is situated in a town north of the arctic circle, that checks out to me. Last season, Molde finished second behind FK Bodø/Glimt, Their leading scorers last season, Leke James and Ohi Omoijuanfo, were within one goal of each other and Magnus Wolff Eikrem was the creator with 11 league assists. Molde finished second in their Europa League group to Arsenal. Molde of course is where Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was managing when he got the caretaker position at Man United (it was during Molde’s offseason). I seem to remember Molde posting something on social media about how United should take good care of him because they wanted him back or something... and then Ole got offered the full time United job and well... I don’t blame him for not moving back.
In case you’re wondering, yes, I’m anticipating a bit of a slow news day, which is why I more or less tripled my knowledge of Norwegian football this morning. What I’m interested in seeing in the comments is how many Norwegian athletes could you see a picture of and immediately know who they are. Mine looks like: Martin Ødegaard, Erling Haaland, Joshua King, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, Magnus Carleson, Torgeir Bryn, and John Carew.