Europa League Conference: the formidable epic of Bodø/Glimt, the northern star

Little thumb at the stage of the quarter-finals of the Europa League Conference, the Norwegian club Bodø / Glimt surprises. Atomizing AS Roma a few months ago, Kjetil Knutsen’s team finds the Romans this Thursday with the desire to create a new exploit.

A magnificent surprise from northern Norway, the Bodø/Glimt club has become a national reference for many months. Unexpected champion in 2020, the yellow and black formation shook AC Milan with a great Jens Petter Hauge a few months earlier, which earned the young winger the transfer to Lombardy. Continuing on his merry way Bodø/Glimt won the championship title also in 2021 and intends to continue his hegemony with his coach Kjetil Knutsen. Revealing in recent years players like Patrick Berg (RC Lens) or Erik Botheim (ex Krasnodar), the Norwegian club currently relies on Ola Solbakken (23 years old), Ulrik Saltnes (29 years old), Hugo Vetlesen (22 years old) or the recent recruit Amahl Pellegrino (31 years old) to achieve his goals.

Bringing out many players, some of whom joined the Norwegian selection, the Bodø/Glimt club, which relies on a good training center and clever recruitment, is writing a story in gold. “You have to understand the cultural affiliation and the importance of Bodø/Glimt as a club for everyone north of the polar circle. We are kind of “separate” spirits in the North. And this title for Glimt made us full of pride and joy. It’s hard to find the words to describe it, but it’s the biggest thing that’s happened in northern Norway since we expelled the Germans from our land in 1945.”explained to us the journalist of TV2 Per Angell Berntsen a little over a year ago when the Bodø/Glimt phenomenon had just taken the national crown. From now on, “The super team” (Superlaget in Norwegian, editor’s note) has set off to attack Europe.

A real epic

Yet quickly eliminated from the Champions League after two losses against Legia Warsaw (3-2 and 2-0) in the first qualifying round, Bodø / Glimt rebounded in the Europa League Conference with qualifications against Valur Reykjavik (Iceland, 6- 0 on aggregate), FC Pristina (Kosovo, 3-2 on aggregate) and Žalgiris Vilnius (Lithuania, 3-2 on aggregate) to reach the group stage. Second in a pool made up of AS Roma (Italy), Zorya Luhansk (Ukraine) and CSKA Sofia (Bulgaria), the Norwegians remained undefeated with three wins and three draws including a huge feat against AS Roma with a 6-1 success that embittered José Mourinho: “Bodø/Glimt are the third hat team in our group. I overrated the quality of mine because I thought they could play a different game. Their centre-forward appeared to drive a motorbike and ours a bicycle. (…) I spoke to the players and I was honest with them. I have never hidden that we are a team with a lot of limits, there are the 12-13 players (whom he uses regularly) and the others.

Despite a lively winter transfer window – in Norway, the season takes place over the calendar year – Bodø / Glimt did not collapse afterwards and offered Celtic Glasgow (5-1 on aggregate) and AZ Alkmaar (4-3 on aggregate). Dominating two clubs accustomed to European games, Bodø / Glimt will once again have to cross swords against AS Roma to continue their epic. A dream draw for goalkeeper Nikita Haikin who showed himself to be carefree and ambitious like his team in an interview for Corriere dello Sport : “I think it’s a big draw. We know them, they know us. Although they added new players. We lost Botheim and Berg, but there are no irreplaceable players and our DNA has remained the same. More suspicious, coach Kjetil Knutsen expects to see a more suspicious AS Roma team that will not look down on Bodø / Glimt.

“I think Mourinho is taking the game more seriously. Now it’s a quarter-final, and there’s more at stake than a regular group stage game. We are aware that Roma will give everything, but we will too, said the player from Glimt» he mentioned at a press conference. A great lover of Liverpool and inspired by the work of Jürgen Klopp, Kjetil Knutsen has made Bodø/Glimt a local and national giant that has asserted itself on the continental level. All without ever betraying its DNA. “This team is the strongest in the history of Norwegian football. I think they look like Liverpool. And Kjetil Knutsen’s favorite team is… Yes, Liverpool. And he told me once that he felt like they looked like them when they were playing at their best.”Per Angell Berntsen explained to us in December 2020. Faced with a new milestone in its history, Bodø/Glimt wants to continue writing its magnificent adventure in letters of gold.

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