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Christian Schäfer - Der Professor

Can the librarian from Dresden revolutionise football?
Started on 3 April 2016 by Justice / First Post
Latest Reply on 25 June 2018 by Justice / Last Post
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Justice's avatar Group Justice
2 yearsEdited

Schäfer: We Will Bring The Entertainment


Schäfer Expects His Side To Worry VfL Wolfsburg In Their Europa League Tie

29/07/2026

His side have overachieved in the UEFA Europa League qualifiers already, having knocked out both Heart of Midlothian and HNK Rijeka, but JJK Jyväskylä manager Christian Schäfer expects to give VfL Wolfsburg a real worry when the two sides meet for their first leg in Finland tomorrow. The German was proud of his team's accomplishments to date, but expected his players to rise to the occasion once more.

Christian, just how incredible was your side's last-minute victory over HNK Rijeka?

Christian Schäfer: "It was like something from a fairytale, I think it was magnificent. I enjoyed every second of the game, even when it looked like we could have been knocked out, because it was a fantastic game of football with much passion and skill on display, and it certainly did the occasion justice because the Europa League is a marvelous competition, and the game was one of the most exciting I have ever been involved in, if not the most exciting.

The players worked very hard throughout the game and they deserve to bask in the aftermath of the fixture. We saw a full-house of supporters at the game too and they were incredible. I have managed in the biggest stadia in the world in the biggest games of football, but nothing compared to the passion I saw by the JJK supporters. When Simon Thurling put the ball in the back of the net in the final minute to win the tie, everybody went crazy. A new-found passion and euphoria exploded from the supporters and from the players.

I think it gave JJK new meaning, and a new identity. This is not a club that goes down without a fight. Maybe we have some bad moments here and there, and maybe we do not win as many games as we should. But our passion and excitement for the game cannot be questioned. We earned the right to perform on the big stage, and we delivered at the vital moment. It was beautiful."


Next up for JJK in the Europa League is VfL Wolfsburg. How big a task will it be to progress to the next round?

Christian Schäfer: "Wolfsburg are, for sure, one of the big teams in Germany. Okay maybe the last ten or so seasons have not been so kind to them, but they have finished as the seventh best team in the Bundesliga for the last two seasons running. They have seen better days, but they are certainly a club to be respectful of.

In terms of playing talent, we know they are a very physical side. They have Daniel Amartey in the team, who can play in a defensive position and in midfield, and he is a very strong player. Up front they have a fantastic striker in the form of Marcus Vinícius, and they have Bora Jolovic on the left wing. We have to be wary of these players because they have immense ability, but there is no reason why we cannot outplay them on the day."


You'll be returning to Germany to play competitive football for the second leg. How excited are you to return to your home country?

Christian Schäfer: "For sure it is nice to be returning to Germany, where I was born and raised. It is a beautiful country with great traditions and a unique way of living. Germany has a great football history too, which is lovely to know about. I returned to play against a German side in the form of FC Bayern München twice when I was Real Madrid manager, in the group stage of the Champions League and then again in the semi final. Hopefully we will be as successful now as I was then."

How exciting will it be for the JJK fans to welcome VfL Wolsburg to the Harjun Stadion?

Christian Schäfer: "It is great for Finnish football to see a team of their caliber come to this country to compete in European competition. The fans have been tremendous for us so far, and their support has strengthened with every single game. They have helped be a part of some memorable European nights already, and they deserve to be a part of one of this magnitude."

What will be your game plan against Wolfsburg?

Christian Schäfer: "I thin we will have to be very clever against them. As I said before, they are a very physical side, so we will need to look to deal with this part of their game. We will try not to concede too many goal scoring opportunities to them, and so we will have to play with a great amount of caution. But football games are won by goals, so we will look to score our share too. Wolfsburg might bring the international stature, but we will bring the entertainment."



Previous Update: #103 - JJK Victorious In Extra Time Thriller
Next Update: #105 - July 2026
Oh you're going to worry them all right! Got to go out and put them to the sword now!
Now Wolfsburg is a huge match for you and if you can beat them, I'm as sure as anything that you can beat anybody in this competition!
Justice's avatar Group Justice
2 yearsEdited

July 2026


An Overview Of JJK Jyväskylä's Month In Football For July

01/08/2026

July brought the beginning of JJK Jyväskylä's UEFA Europa League adventure, and many exciting games followed. Were Christian Schäfer's side able to juggle the responsibilities of domestic football alongside European football?

Results


2-2 Draw vs Hearts (A), Europa League 1st Qual Rnd - 02/07/2026 Attendance: 16,726
Heart of Midlothian may have had home advantage and a superior line-up, on paper, on their side, but it was JJK who struck first through Genc Kovaqi. Aleksis Lehtonen wriggled his way in to the box before teeing up his strike partner to break the deadlock before two minutes had even been played. The latter added his name to the score sheet later on in the first half when he got on the end of Mikael Luostarinen's deep cross to double JJK's lead. Célestin Djim scored two powerful finishes just before half-time to level the score on the day, but the home side failed to break through JJK's resilient defence in the second half as Christian Schäfer's team left Scotland with a draw and two away goals.
Célestin Djim (Heart of Midlothian) - 8.8/10

2-1 Win vs FC Inter Turku (H), Veikkausliiga - 02/07/2026 Attendance: 2,172
A return to domestic football saw the two main title challengers face off. JJK's Matias Kinnunen powered a header in to the back of the net just before half-time to give the home side the lead, and Mikko Ala-Porkkunen doubled the advantage in the second half. Aki Haapala halved the deficit with just over ten minutes remaining, but JJK held out for a priceless victory.
Matias Kinnunen (JJK) - 8.3/10

0-0 Draw vs Hearts (H), Europa League 1st Qual Rnd - 09/07/2026 Attendance: 2,100
Seated attendance capacity restricted the number of supporters at the game to a mere 2,100, although no goals were missed as JJK set out, and achieved, a complete shut down of the game. The Finnish side conceded no clear cut chances to a frustrated opposition, and the game, and round, ended with JJK advancing on away goals.
Joona Itkonen (JJK) - 8.0/10

1-1 Draw vs KuPS (A), Veikkausliiga - 13/07/2026 Attendance: 2,522
JJK were celebrating progression in the Europa League, but were focused for another clash against rivals KuPS. Antto Hilska broke the deadlock with an excellent long-range effort, but Ansu Sherrif scooped his finish in to the back of the net to level for KuPS. Neither side could find a way through after this goal, and the game finished as a draw.
Antto Hilska (JJK) - 8.2/10

1-0 Win vs HNK Rijeka (A), Europa League 2nd Qual Rnd - 16/07/2026 Attendance: 5,590
It was a game of true defensive resilience for JJK. HNK put the pressure on from the very first minute, and pressed JJK back in to their own box for the majority of the game. JJK ground down the time and late on in the second half, they were the team celebrating a goal. HNK had tired and their players grew frustrated as JJK held on to the ball cautiously and intelligently. Simon Thurling lead a rare foray forward for the Finnish side, and Anselmi Nurmela's cross was met by the head of lone striker Aleksis Lehtonen, resulting in the ball nestling in the back of HNK's net. JJK's players celebrated ecstatically and showed great composure to see out the rest of the game, earning a valuable away goal without conceding any.
Anselmi Nurmela (JJK) - 8.4/10

1-1 Draw vs HJK (H), Veikkausliiga - 19/07/2026 Attendance: 2,199
Up next for JJK was a visit from HJK, who proved to be tough opposition. Niko Markkula gave JJK the lead just before half-time from the penalty spot, but Eero Salminen rescued a point for HJK in the second half.
Carlos Fernández (HJK) - 7.5/10

2-2 Draw AET vs HNK Rijeka (H), Europa League 2nd Qual Rnd - 23/07/2026 Attendance: 2,100
JJK knew to expect a high amount of pressure from the visitors in this tie, and the Croatians put JJK's defence to the test. From a free-kick, Dario Canadjija evaded his marked before unleashing the most spectacular of overhead kicks to level the game, sending it to extra time. The game blew up in extra time, and JJK found the back of the net as Aleksis Lehtonen poked home Mikael Luostarinen's pinpoint cross, sending JJK's fans in to ecstasy. Despite JJK's best attempts, however, HNK struck back once more. Dario Canadjija, the scorer of the overhead kick, pounced on a rebound in the box, following another clever set-piece routine, to score once more. With one last throw of the dice, JJK threw every man forward on a counter attack which culminated with Simon Thurling poking home the eventual winner of the tie in the very last minute of the game.
Dario Canadjija (HNK Rijeka) - 9.2/10

1-2 Loss vs FF Jaro (H), Veikkausliiga - 26/07/2026 Attendance: 2,126
Exhausted from their European efforts, JJK may have been excused for performing poorly against FF Jaro, as they did. Adrian Elk gave the away side the lead in the first half and Pauli Lindqvist added their second in the second half. Anselmi Nurmela scored late on for JJK, but it was too little too late as they succumbed to defeat.
Guayre Pérez (FF Jaro) - 7.7/10

1-3 Loss vs VfL Wolfsburg (H), Europa League 3rd Qual Rnd - 30/07/2026 Attendance: 2,100
JJK were up against all the odds against the German side, and the visitors duly took the lead in the opening minutes as Marcus Vinícius powered a header in to the back of the net. Saku Leppänen gave the home fans reason to celebrate when he volleyed home Aleksis Lehtonen's cross to equalise in the seventeenth minute. However, the opposition proved too much for JJK and Marcus Vinícius completed his hat-trick with goals on either side of half-time. JJK may have lost, but they certainly impressed in doing so.
Marcus Vinícius (VfL Wolfsburg) - 9.5/10

Player Of The Month


Aleksis Lehtonen was consistently among the goals during JJK's European fixtures, and was certainly their key player in progressing to the third qualifying round of the Europa League. Three goals and two assists in five games in Europe certainly gave him right to be named as JJK's best player in July.

Aleksis Lehtonen's Season Stats:

Overview
Appearances: 31
Goals: 13 (178 minutes per goal
Assists: 7 (330 minutes per assist)
MotM Awards: 0

Attacking Play
Shots On Target Ratio: 42.67% (32/75)
Dribbles Completed: 21 (0.66 per game)
Key Passes: 88 (2.75 per game)
Cross Completion Ratio: 15.79% (3/19)

Defensive Play
Key Tackles: 0
Tackles Won Ratio: 58.06% (36/62)
Interceptions: 13 (0.41 per game)
Mistakes: 23 (0.72 per game)
Disciplinary Record
Fouls Committed: 18 (0.56 per game)
Fouls Against: 38 (1.19 per game)
Yellow Cards: 0
Red Cards: 0

General Play
Pass Completion Ratio: 76.20% (618/916)
Headers Won: 93 (2.91 per game)
Distance Covered: 8.78km per game
Key Moments: 101 (3.16 per game)
Matches Won Ratio: 51.61% (16/31)
Average Rating: 7.07

Assistant Manager's Report
Current Ability:
Potential Ability:

Veikkausliiga


European football meant JJK rotated a lot throughout July, and saw results faltered. As a result, JJK dropped to second in the league, one point behind FC Inter Turku. However, with two games in hand, the title was still very much within JJK's grasps, and a more consistent end to the season promised to earn the title. As ever JJK's defensive record shone, and was the main reason for their high league position.




August Fixtures


JJK would compete in the second leg of their UEFA Europa League third qualifying round tie against VfL Wolfsburg in August. As well as this much-anticipated fixture, JJK also faced a Suomen Cup semi final against HIFK Fotboll, and six tough Veikkausliiga fixtures, including a top of the table clash against FC Inter Turku. Could JJK miraculously progress in Europe? Could JJK all-but secure the Veikkausliiga title? Could JJK claim victory in the Suomen Cup semi final?



Previous Update: #104 - Schäfer: We Will Bring The Entertainment
Next Update: #106 - JJK Crash Out Of Europe
Being second and making that amount of progress in the Europa League is still a tremendous achievement man!
It's a shame that some of those draws weren't converted into wins! Still going strong nevertheless, just hoping that you miraculously turn over that Wolfsburg score!
Justice's avatar Group Justice
2 yearsEdited

JJK Crash Out Of Europe


Wolfsburg Ended JJK's European Dream With Wins In Both Legs Of Qualifier

06/08/2026

JJK Jyväskylä's European adventure came to a halt as they lost out to VfL Wolfsburg in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League. The German side secured a 3-1 victory in Finland before grinding out a 2-1 win in the return leg to secure a 5-2 aggregate victory. Despite being considered major underdogs, JJK push Wolfsburg to the limit in each game and certainly earned respect for two very admirable performances.

Results


1-3 Loss vs VfL Wolfsburg (H), Europa League 3rd Qual Rnd - 30/07/2026 Attendance: 2,100
JJK were up against all the odds against the German side, and the visitors duly took the lead in the opening minutes as Marcus Vinícius powered a header in to the back of the net. Saku Leppänen gave the home fans reason to celebrate when he volleyed home Aleksis Lehtonen's cross to equalise in the seventeenth minute. However, the opposition proved too much for JJK and Marcus Vinícius completed his hat-trick with goals on either side of half-time. JJK may have lost, but they certainly impressed in doing so.
Marcus Vinícius (VfL Wolfsburg) - 9.5/10

1-2 Loss vs VfL Wolfsburg (A), Europa League 3rd Qual Rnd - 06/08/2026 Attendance: 18,126
JJK came out of the blocks in an attacking frame of mind as they harried Wolfsburg in an attempt to find the back of the net as many times as possible. Wolfsburg stood firm, however, and eventually took the lead through Marcus Vinícius, who looped a wonderful header in to the back of the net just minutes before half-time. The goal did not change JJK's game plan for the second half, they still required three goals to have a chance of progressing. Their efforts were rewarded in the end as Genc Kovaqi latched on to Joona Itkonen's diagonal ball and finished coolly beyond the Wolfsburg goalkeeper to set up a nervy end to the game. Despite JJK's best attempts, they could not find a second goal, and Wolfsburg substitute Munir sealed JJK's exit from the competition with a goal in the second last minute.
Diogo Gonçalves (VfL Wolfsburg) - 9.0/10

JJK Jyväskylä News


JJK's progress in the Europa League rewarded the club with a generous signing-off package. As well is receiving this prize money, the club also received another appearance fee of €100k, which certainly helped to boost the club's finances.


Christian Schäfer:
"It is never a nice moment to be knocked out of a competition, especially one which we are enjoying as much as the Europa League. We might have seen our adventure in Europe end for this year, but our heads are not done. We did our fans proud with some terrific performances and we went toe-to-toe with some of Europe's finest clubs. Hopefully we can come back to this stage again next year and be a part of some more memorable European nights."




Previous Update: #105 - July 2026
Next Update: #107 - Youth Intake 2026
Unlucky mate! You had the chance to make people dream and you definitely did!
Meh, this is just the start for your men. That cash bonus should help you out a little bit too! :)
mgriffin2012, indeed! It was great to see a reasonable boost in attendances around the time that European football was being played, which showed an increased amount of supporters!

Jack, yeah the cash coming in to the club will help JJK move one step closer to becoming professional. Hopefully it'll happen after this season!
Justice's avatar Group Justice
2 yearsEdited

Youth Intake 2026


A Look At The Stars Of JJK Jyväskylä's Class Of 2026

13/08/2026

A part of Christian Schäfer's proposed philosophy was to blend young players in to the senior squad, which was evident in the form of 17 year old Matias Kinnunen's key role in the starting line-up throughout the season, while 19 year old Tuomas Järvinen was a regular in JJK's back line too. JJK's youth intake gave them the opportunity to develop youngsters from in and around Jyväskylä, and this year's intake proved to be a promising one.

Antti Punna - DC/DM/MC


Name: Antti Punna
Age: 16 (13/04/2010)
Nationality: Finnish
Place Of Birth: Jyväskylä (Finland)
Position: DC/DM/MC
Current Ability:
Potential Ability:

Antti Punna was the most exciting player to come through JJK's youth in take of 2026. The 187cm youngster was a natural in both the center of defence, as well as in defensive midfield, but it was in central midfield where Christian Schäfer saw the starlet's future, due to the current host of talent in JJK's senior defence. Punna was a very determined individual with fantastic decision-making abilities, and his general fitness was outstanding for a youngster. Punna's overall general play was fantastic, and he was a set-piece expert as well, offering JJK an alternative to current dead-ball specialist Mikael Luostarinen. Punna was expected to become a recognised international footballer for Finland, and JJK was certainly the best place for him to hone his skills in the early part of his career.

Jaakko Korhonen - MC/MR


Name: Jaakko Korhonen
Age: 16 (15/07/2010)
Nationality: Finnish
Place Of Birth: Jyväskylä (Finland)
Position: MC/MR
Current Ability:
Potential Ability:

Alongside Punna, Jaakko Korhonen was certainly expected to break in to the senior team over the next couple of years. The young midfielder demonstrated a splendid range of passing, and was a true leader on the pitch. His determination and willingness to work for his team mates made him a respectable figure in the dressing room, and he was certainly a player who would not be fazed by a challenge.

Jussi Saarikoski - GK


Name: Jussi Saarikoski
Age: 16 (17/09/2009)
Nationality: Finnish
Place Of Birth: Jyväskylä (Finland)
Position: GK
Current Ability:
Potential Ability:

Juusi Saarikoski was the third star player of JJK's youth intake of 2026. The young goalkeeper was truly a brave shot-stopper, and showed a great aptitude for rushing out of his goal to close down opposition attackers. He had many flaws in his game, such as his ability to save one-on-ones, but Schäfer believed he was a rough diamond who could potentially play a role in the senior team in the future.



Previous Update: #106 - JJK Crash Out Of Europe
Next Update: #108 - August 2026
Justice's avatar Group Justice
2 yearsEdited

August 2026


An Overview Of JJK Jyväskylä's Month In Football For August

01/08/2026

August brought along JJK's second leg of their Europa League 3rd Qualifying Round against VfL Wolfsburg, as well as their Suomen Cup semi final clash against HIFK Fotboll, and important league games against FC Inter Turku and IFK Mariehamn. As well as on the pitch, there was action off the pitch as JJK announced a new intake of youth players, and there was also a signing from another club.

New Signing


Name: Juha Nykänen
Age: 18 (01/05/2008)
Nationality: Finnish
Place Of Birth: Kotka (Finland)
Position: MR/AMR
Fee: €0
Signed From: KTP (Finland)
Current Ability:
Potential Ability:

Juha Nykänen was not signed to immediately join the first team, but instead joined the B team, Villiketut, where he would begin his career at JJK. Christian Schäfer was excited by the young winger's potential, and especially his ability to produce something from nothing. The youngster's flair, combined with his pace and his willingness to work hard, made him an exciting player for the future.

Results


1-2 Loss vs SJK (A), Veikkausliiga - 02/08/2026 Attendance: 1,888
JJK's month did not start off too well as they suffered defeat at the hands of SJK. The home side deservedly took the lead just before half-time through Justus Kauppinen. Genc Kovaqi equalised in the second half, as he got on the end of a smart passing move, but SJK's Tommi Räisänen gave the home side all three points with a deft finish inside the box.
Justus Kauppinen (SJK) - 7.3/10

1-2 Loss vs VfL Wolfsburg (A), Europa League 3rd Qual Rnd - 06/08/2026 Attendance: 18,126
JJK came out of the blocks in an attacking frame of mind as they harried Wolfsburg in an attempt to find the back of the net as many times as possible. Wolfsburg stood firm, however, and eventually took the lead through Marcus Vinícius, who looped a wonderful header in to the back of the net just minutes before half-time. The goal did not change JJK's game plan for the second half, they still required three goals to have a chance of progressing. Their efforts were rewarded in the end as Genc Kovaqi latched on to Joona Itkonen's diagonal ball and finished coolly beyond the Wolfsburg goalkeeper to set up a nervy end to the game. Despite JJK's best attempts, they could not find a second goal, and Wolfsburg substitute Munir sealed JJK's exit from the competition with a goal in the second last minute.
Diogo Gonçalves (VfL Wolfsburg) - 9.0/10

4-1 Win vs HIFK Fotboll (H), Veikkausliiga - 09/08/2026 Attendance: 2,725
Following their Europa League heartbreak, JJK may have been excused of performing poorly in their return to Veikkausliiga action, but they showed no mercy as they crushed their opponents. Antto Hilska opened the scoring in the first half and Jonne Porkka added two of his own goals before half-time. Kristian Jørgensen got one back for the visitors, but Mikko Ala-Porkkunen put the nail in the coffin with his side's fourth goal of the afternoon.
Jonne Porkka (JJK) - 9.1/10

1-0 Win vs IFK Mariehamn (H), Veikkausliiga - 13/08/2026 Attendance: 1,833
With injuries to two of JJK's three strikers, 17 year old Jami Turunen made his debut for the club in this intense league match. The youngster was involved in the thick of the action too, and proved to be the difference as he teed up Iiro Järvinen to score the only goal of the game.
Iiro Järvinen (JJK) - 8.6/10

1-1 (5-4 Penalty) Win vs HIFK Fotboll (H), Suomen Cup Semi Final - 16/08/2026 Attendance: 1,925
JJK never liked doing things the easy way, and this semi final proved just that. Nnaemeka Anyamele gave the visitors the lead with a minute to go in the first half, but Genc Kovaqi immediately equalised for the hosts. The game ground out through the second half as neither side proved capable of finding a winner, and not even extra time could separate the sides. JJK's impressive penalty shoot-out record continued as they emerged 5-4 victors, earning a place in the Suomen Cup final for the second year in a row.
Simon Thurling (JJK) - 9.0/10

0-1 Loss vs FC Haka (H), Veikkausliiga - 20/08/2026 Attendance: 1,698
The Suomen Cup semi final took a lot out of the JJK players' stamina, and the following game showed that. FC Haka scored early on from a well-executed corner routine, and JJK were unable to get back in to the game as they conceded all three points to the visitors.
Jens Carlsson (FC Haka) - 7.7/10

3-1 Win vs FC Inter Turku (A), Veikkausliiga - 23/08/2026 Attendance: 2,064
Up next was a trip to fellow title contenders FC Inter Turku, and JJK were looking to make a real statement in the league. Seppe Deman gave the home side the lead halfway through the first half, and JJK had to wait until the 60th minute for a response. Genc Kovaqi equalised with a powerful header, before Matias Kinnunen gave JJK the lead and then Genc Kovaqi added his second, completely a spell of 22 minutes which brought three JJK goals.
Genc Kovaqi (JJK) - 9.0/10

1-1 Draw vs FC Lahti (H), Veikkausliiga - 27/08/2026 Attendance: 1,879
Genc Kovaqi's early goal looked to have earned all three points for JJK, until Markus Saarinen produced a very late equaliser for FC Lahti. The result denied JJK a victorious end to October, and kept the pressure on Christian Schäfer team in the title chase.
Jarmo Riikonen (FC Lahti) - 8.0/10

Player Of The Month


Genc Kovaqi's six goal haul was enough for him to be crowned as JJK's player of the month for August. The 29 year old striker had faced stern competition for a starting position in the team but injuries to Aleksis Lehtonen and Antto Hilska gave him the opportunity to impress, and he certainly made the most of his chances.

Genc Kovaqi's Season Stats:

Overview
Appearances: 36
Goals: 16 (170 minutes per goal
Assists: 4 (681 minutes per assist)
MotM Awards: 5

Attacking Play
Shots On Target Ratio: 40.91% (36/88)
Dribbles Completed: 21 (0.58 per game)
Key Passes: 99 (2.75 per game)
Cross Completion Ratio: 9.30% (4/43)

Defensive Play
Key Tackles: 0
Tackles Won Ratio: 50.00% (27/54)
Interceptions: 21 (0.58 per game)
Mistakes: 19 (0.53 per game)
Disciplinary Record
Fouls Committed: 13 (0.36 per game)
Fouls Against: 41 (1.14 per game)
Yellow Cards: 2
Red Cards: 0

General Play
Pass Completion Ratio: 73.72% (777/1,054)
Headers Won: 134 (3.72 per game)
Distance Covered: 8.97km per game
Key Moments: 115 (3.19 per game)
Matches Won Ratio: 50.00% (18/36)
Average Rating: 7.13

Assistant Manager's Report
Current Ability:
Potential Ability:

Veikkausliiga


After August, JJK found themselves one point clear of FC Inter Turku at the top of the Veikkausliiga. JJK had two games in hand over their title rivals, and would look to make them count in search of their first Veikkausliiga title in the club's history.




September Fixtures


A double-header against KTP in the Veikkausliiga would kick off JJK's month of football in September, before a trip to TPS. JJK's last game of the season against KuPS would be played, to be viewed on national television, just five days before JJK's Suomen Cup final against IFK Mariehamn. JJK were hoping to increase that gap at the top of the table, as well as claim their second consecutive Suomen Cup. Would September bring silverware back to Jyväskylä?



Previous Update: #107 - Youth Intake 2026
Next Update: #109 - JJK Spend Record Fee On Finnish Wonderkid
Another cup final and another month where you're top of the table! That result against Inter Turku puts you in the driving seat mate so go and do what you do best!
Kovaqi is looking very sharp this month in front of goal which is always a positive sign. A great month which sees you top the table and a cup final next month! Could life be any better?!
Justice's avatar Group Justice
2 yearsEdited

JJK Spend Record Fee On Wonderkid


JJK Spent €220K To Secure 17 Year Old Jyri Haapala's Signature

02/09/2026

During his time as Real Madrid manager, Christian Schäfer was no stranger to spending big, as he spent almost €300M on new signings in his maiden season at the club. Schäfer's purchases as JJK Jyväskylä manager, to date, had all been including no transfer fee. JJK Jyväskylä's latest acquisition, however, smashed their record transfer fee by some way, as the club departed with €220k to agree the purchase of Turun Palloseura's (TPS') 17 year old wonderkid Jyri Haapala. The teenage starlet would be loaned back to TPS for the remainder of the season, before joining up with his new teammates at JJK in December. The transfer fee comprised of an initial €100k, with the remainder to be paid over 12 months.

Jyri Haapala - MC/MR/AMC/AMR


Jyri Haapala Cost JJK A Club Record €220k

Name: Jyri Haapala
Age: 17 (07/12/2008)
Nationality: Finnish
Place Of Birth: Turku (Finland)
Position: MC/MR/AMC/AMR
Fee: €220k
Signed From: TPS (Finland)
Current Ability:
Potential Ability:

Jyri Haapala joined TPS' U19s side in 2025, having impressed in their other youth teams. The youngster soon showed his talent in training and was swiftly moved to the senior team. He made his senior debut, age 17, in the current season (2026), and has since made a total of 30 senior appearances for TPS, scoring three goals and assisting four more.

Haapala's form has seen him earn international recognition, and he made his debut for Finland's U21s earlier in the year. At the young age of 17, Haapala has been touted as one of Finland's future international stars, and the prospect of working with two-time UEFA Champions League wining manager Christian Schäfer enticed the youngster to join JJK.

Jyri Haapala:
"Signing for JJK Jyväskylä is a fantastic moment for me in my career. This is a club with fantastic ambitions, and a clear and exciting project. They have brought excitement to the Veikkausliiga with their delightful style of play, and their fans have shown a passion which has revived Finnish football. The club proved their value in European football this season, and I hope to be a part of some very memorable European nights with JJK in the future.

When Christian Schäfer rang me to ask if I would be interested in joining his team, I was over the moon. He is a manager with a terrific pedigree and title-winning experience all over the world. He worked wonders with a declining Brazil side in the Copa América, and he brought Dynamo Dresden from the German third tier to becoming champions of Europe. I know that he will make me a better player, and I cannot wait to work with him.

I will remain at TPS for the remainder of the season, and it is important for me to hold my focus and to continue performing for my club. I have been a TPS player for all my life and I am happy that the club has benefited from a generous transfer fee. Hopefully I can do well for my hometown club before I depart, as I will leave with some very fond memories."

JJK Jyväskylä News


While the chairman opted against turning the club professional, despite the incredible amount of prize money earned from European football, he did decide to invest heavily in to the youth facilities of the club. It was decided that the youth facilities would have almost one million Euro invested in to it in order to strengthen the production of young talent at the club.

Christian Schäfer:
"For the time being, the club will remain semi-professional. This decision came after much consideration from the chairman, Markus Knuutinen. However, the club will be investing almost one million Euro in to redeveloping our youth facilities. We feel that it is important to be the best place for Finnish youngsters to train and to develop their skills, and we look forward to many bright years of football.

As for the signing of Jyri Haapala, he has already proven to be a top player. Even though he is still a teenager, he has already emerged as one of the Veikkausliiga's top performers. He has a very bright future ahead of him, and we are delighted to be able to welcome him to the club. Matias Kinnunen has been a key member of our squad since the age of sixteen, when he joined, and Antti Punna has already had a lot of involvement in senior football in the last month, at the age of sixteen. We have some fantastic young players in our senior team, and we know that Haapala will add to the talent in our dressing room."




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