Monday, January 04, 2021
HJK Helsinki Season Preview
Happy New Year to all readers of this blog!! We here at Escape to Suomi are pleased to once again preview the twelve Veikkausliiga clubs for this season. The league sees the return of RoPS to the top division. As always we start with the previous seasons champions. So without further ado here is the 2021 Season Preview of HJK.
After a pretty successful 2020 season manager Kévin Gauthier and his Klubi are ready for the new season. The previous season was really successful as they would win their 31st Veikkausliiga title and 13th Suomen Cup. In the Liiga Cup they would make it to the semifinal before losing to Seinäjoen Jalkapallokerho. On the European front they had a great campaign before getting knocked out by French club Stade Rennais F.C. in the playoffs of the Europa League.
Once again the board is looking for Gauthier to have an excellent season as they will drive for their third league title in a row. Once again they should be able to run all domestic competitions by a wide margin. The board will be looking to Gauthier as several changes could be on the horizon personnel wise.
STATE OF THE CLUB:
Spirits are high for Klubi on the pitch as the 2021 season looks to be just as good. After pretty much sweeping the 2020 Veikkausliiga awards the players seem to be ready for a repeat. Despite the positive there are a few negatives that will possibly hurt the club.
Klubi will be experiencing some turnover in this season both player and finance wise. These could be the two most important keys to the season. With several players on the radar of major European clubs it will take a lot of resources to keep the players here. One such case is Juho Hiltunen who is rumored to be leaving the club sometime this season.
Hiltunen has been the subject of many rumors in the upcoming winter transfer window. The 21 year old has been attracting interest from clubs in Serie A and the Bundesliga. Should Hiltunen depart as he wishes Klubi will be looking for a really good bid. Despite his value of €144K he most likly be sold for over €2M.
Financially is where the club has the biggest question mark. According to their 2020 financial statement the club is having some money issues. Last season the club had a loss of €3,469,274 and barley avoiding tax hits and failing the Financial Fair play rules. It is projected by the end of 2023 the club will lose over €4M. Due to this we might see a ton of players being sold in this season.
WHAT ARE THEIR GOALS FOR THIS SEASON?
Like last season the goals remain the same. The biggest difference is that chairman Olli-Pekka Lyytikäinen has made Europe the top priority. Last season if you recall despite being handled some really tough teams Klubi were able to navigate through them. Their goal is to make one of the two group stages and if they do not there could be a possible coaching change on the way. There will be no excuses this season.
WHAT ARE THE CHANCES THEY'LL ACHIEVE THEM?
In theory they could achieve a domestic treble but as seen in years past it is always the Liigacup that gets in their way. It would be nice to see them achieve one for the first time in club history but the way history has been it is highly unlikely. In Europe they should be in the group stage of wither cup but things will have to be in their favor. If Klubi survives to transfer windows they can make a serious run.
WHAT DOES HJK NEED TO IMPROVE?
This season there is not much to improve as every position is being played by capable players and the depth is finally there.