We all like a fairy story; it appeals to the child in all of us, and long may it remain so. Regular readers of the modest and occasional archaic ramblings of this correspondent will be aware that he and The Local recently “adopted” the fortunes of the English football manager Graham Potter and his Swedish football “minnows” Ostersunds FK in the Europa League. In previous posts this writer highlighted the work done in Sweden by arguably England’s most successful managerial export of recent years. The story and the magic continue for Graham Potter and his team. As was mentioned previously, Ostersunds FK have come a long way in a short time.
Ostersunds FKsuffered their first loss in this year’s competition. After a credible 2-2 draw two weeks ago in Sweden against the Spanish giants, Athletico Bilbao, they travelled to Spain for the return fixture. However, an Aritz Aduriz strike gave Athletic Bilbao a 1-0 victory over Ostersunds despite the sending-off of Unai Nunez. Nothing less than a win would have been good enough for the La Liga team. While Hertha Berlin beat Zorya 2-0 with a Davie Seike double. Ostersunds still lead the group but Bilbao are now just two points behind. This is the closest group in the competition going into the final two games. And any of the four teams could go through.
P W L D GD Pts
Ostersunds FK 4 2 1 1 2 7
Zorya Luhansk 3 2 1 0 -2 6
Ath. Bilbao 3 0 1 2 -0 5
Hertha BSC 3 0 2 1 -0 4
In the next game Ostersunds FK, on 23 November will host Zorya Luhansk. The Swedish team, in the opening group game, won in the Ukraine and nothing less than a victory will suffice before the last game in Berlin against Hertha. Graham Potter is astute enough to know that his team will face a daunting final test in the remaining two games to secure their entry into the knockout stages.
There is no doubt that whatever the future holds for Potter and his charges it’s been a wonderful ride thus far for his team. Another win for Ostersunds FK would be a wonderful achievement; however, the challenge is great. Whatever the outcome, we at The Local will continue to follow this great fairy story. We intend to continue and show the Ostersunds FK games in the Europa League. Where else could you enjoy lunch on a Thursday afternoon but at The Local?