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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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The lad looks absolutely fantastic for your level. A real signal of intent not only domestically, but continentally that you can have the freedom to spend a bit if you need to!
Jack, Indeed! While he did cost quite a bit of money, the fee represented the club's willingness to grow and to become a stronger side. Hopefully the club will have the opportunity to make more similar signings in the future!
Justice's avatar Group Justice
2 yearsEdited

JJK Suffer Late Heart Break In Cup Final


IFK Mariehamn Struck Twice In Final Minutes To Claim Suomen Cup

26/09/2026

It was a game of true emotional stress for JJK Jyväskylä fans which ended in heartbreak as they saw their side come back from losing positions on two occasions, only to lose 4-3 to IFK Mariehamn. IFK Mariehamn took the lead twice in the first half, but JJK scored twice in the second to lead 3-2, only for two goals in the final ten minutes for IFK Mariehamn to win the trophy right under Christian Schäfer's side's noses.

Suomen Cup


3-4 Loss vs IFK Mariehamn (N), Suomen Cup Final - 26/09/2026 Attendance: 3,505

Injuries to Simon Thurling and Mikael Luostarinen forced Christian Schäfer in to starting 36 year old Niko Markkula in an unfamiliar MR position, and 16 year old Antti Punna in MC. Having impressed in previous fixtures, Punna was set to perform on the big stage, in only his eighth senior appearance.

The game did not start brightly for Antti Punna and JJK, however, as they paid the price for failing to properly deal with IFK Mariehamn's pressure. Kenneth Koljander's long pass was latched on to by Marko Mattfolk, and Mariehamn's striker saw his shot spilled in to the back of the net by JJK's Tatu Österlund. Mariehamn had taken the lead in only the tenth minute of play.

JJK struck back fifteen minutes later. Antti Punna's corner delivery was spot on, as the unmarked Aleksis Lehtonen buried a header in to the top corner from the penalty spot to level the game. It was Punna's first real involvement in the game, as he grew more and more comfortable with the responsibility thrust on his shoulders.

Mariehamn regained their lead with just under ten minutes remaining in the first half. Left winger Per Ek wriggled away from Anselmi Nurmela and Niko Markkula before unleashing a low drive pass across goal. The ball reached the back post where Jonas Gunnarsson arrived from the right wing to finish with ease, restoring his side's advantage.


Jonas Gunnarsson Finished Off A Crisp Mariehamn Move To Regain The Lead

JJK's players received a dressing down from their manager during the half-time interval, and they came out for the second period reinvigorated and ready to take the game to their opponents. It was an uphill task for them, but not one they were about to back down to.

It took less than five minutes for JJK to equalise, and Antti Punna was at the heart of the goal scoring move once more. The youngster clipped a wonderful pass in to the feet of Aleksis Lehtonen just inside the box, and the latter squeezed the ball to strike partner Antto Hilska who finished with aplomb. It was game-on once more.

Ten minutes later, and Antti Punna had helped JJK to another goal. The teenage wonderkid picked up the ball from the right wing, before curling a very early cross in to the box. Aleksis Lehtonen had darted in front of his marked and he connected with Punna's cross to volley JJK's third of the afternoon, giving them the lead for the first time in the game.


JJK Took The Lead As Antti Punna Assisted Lehtonen To Score For The Second Time

IFK Mariehamn pushed desperately for an equaliser, and they got one with just ten minutes remaining. Per Ek had found himself in acres of space on the right wing, and his cross was met by the head of substitute Jani Ylitalo, who scored his effort to level the score once more.

Ylitalo was in the center of more action just minutes later as he was tripped in the penalty box by Joona Itkonen, and Mariehamn were awarded a late penalty. Kenneth Koljander stepped up to take the spot-kick, but Tatu Österlund made a heroic stop to keep the score at three goals apiece.

Despite JJK's best efforts, it was not meant to be. Mariehamn had won a corner in the final few minutes of the game, and Jonas Gunnarsson's delivery was met by the head of the unmarked Jani Ylitalo who scored his second goal of the game since coming off the bench. The Suomen Cup went to Mariehamn, who had completed an impressive late comeback to steal the trophy from then-reigning champions JJK. A day to remember for Mariehamn, heart-break for JJK.


Jani Ylitalo Came Off The Bench To Score Twice To Win The Suomen Cup For Mariehamn

Christian Schäfer:
"It is a moment of sadness for the football club. The players had worked incredibly hard to reach this stage and performed fantastically to come from behind and take the lead in the second half. Unfortunately for us, Mariehamn played the best game of their history and scored very late on to win the game. It is a disappointing moment in a fantastic season for JJK, but we will learn from this game and perform better in the future."







Previous Update: #109 - JJK Spend Record Fee On Finnish Wonderkid
Next Update: #111 - September 2026
The amount of times there's been games like that taken away from me due to late goals :(( Unlucky mate, hopefully it doesn't knock the confidence of the lads too much
Justice's avatar Group Justice
2 yearsEdited

September 2026


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

01/09/2026

Having been knocked out of Europe by VfL Wolfsburg in August, JJK Jyväskylä had only domestic football to focus on in the month of August. Four Veikkausliiga games, including a showdown against rivals KuPS, opened the month for Christian Schäfer's side, before the highly anticipated Suomen Cup final against IFK Mariehamn.

Results


2-1 Win vs KTP (H), Veikkausliiga - 10/09/2026 Attendance: 1,750
Genc Kovaqi and Antto Hilska linked up to provide the first goal for JJK, with the latter finding the back of the net. Robert Länsitalo leveled the scoreline two minutes later, but Joona Itkonen's headed goal before half-time sealed the victory for JJK.
Joona Itkonen (JJK) - 7.8/10

0-1 Loss vs KTP (A), Veikkausliiga - 13/09/2026 Attendance: 1,873
Days after defeating KTP at home, JJK were on the receiving end of a loss against the same opponents on their ground. JJK's Matias Kinnunen was sent off for a second bookable offence in the second half and KTP scored the only goal of the game through Matias Ojala.
Marcus Lehtola (KTP) - 8.0/10

2-1 Win vs TPS (A), Veikkausliiga - 17/09/2026 Attendance: 1,159
Genc Kovaqi and Antto Hilska linked up to provide the first goal for JJK, with the latter finding the back of the net. Robert Länsitalo leveled the scoreline two minutes later, but Joona Itkonen's headed goal before half-time sealed the victory for JJK.
Anselmi Nurmela (JJK) - 8.7/10

1-2 Loss vs KuPS (H), Veikkausliiga - 21/09/2026 Attendance: 1,873
The final Väli-Suomi derby of 2026 started brightly for JJK as seventeen year old striker Jami Turunen scored his first goal for the senior team with an exquisite finish from the edge of the area. KuPS fought back in the second half, however, and a brilliant brace from Ansu Sherrif broke JJK hearts, as KuPS took all three points and bragging rights.
Ansu Sherrif (KuPS) - 8.8/10

3-4 Loss vs IFK Mariehamn (N), Suomen Cup Final - 26/09/2026 Attendance: 3,505
JJK's second Suomen Cup final in two seasons did not start brightly for Christian Schäfer's side, as Mariehamn took an early lead through Marko Mattfolk. Aleksis Lehtonen scored a powerful header to level the game just fifteen minutes later, but Jonas Gunnarsson restored Mariehamn's lead before half-time. The game exploded in the second half as Antto Hilska leveled the game, before Aleksis Lehtonen's second goal of the afternoon gave JJK the lead. Mariehamn struck back through substitute Jani Ylitalo to level the game once more. A missed Mariehamn penalty late on seemed to be the end of the action, but Ylitalo scored once more, with four minutes remaining, to crush JJK's dreams of winning the final for a second consecutive season.
Aleksis Lehtonen (JJK) - 8.8/10

Player Of The Month


Antti Punna was the best performer in a very mixed month of football for JJK. The sixteen year old came through JJK's youth intake in August, but quickly became a regular in the senior side, and contributed two assists for Aleksis Lehtonen in the Suomen Cup final of September. Punna has comfortably fitted in to MC for JJK, and performed fantastically in his debut season in senior football, so far.

Antti Punna's Season Stats:

Overview
Appearances: 8
Goals: 0
Assists: 2 (337 minutes per assist)
MotM Awards: 0

Attacking Play
Shots On Target Ratio: 00.00% (0/1)
Dribbles Completed: 6 (0.75 per game)
Key Passes: 23 (2.88 per game)
Cross Completion Ratio: 38.89% (7/18)

Defensive Play
Key Tackles: 0
Tackles Won Ratio: 76.67% (23/30)
Interceptions: 53 (6.63 per game)
Mistakes: 16 (2.00 per game)
Disciplinary Record
Fouls Committed: 18 (2.25 per game)
Fouls Against: 4 (0.50 per game)
Yellow Cards: 3
Red Cards: 0

General Play
Pass Completion Ratio: 74.76% (385/515)
Headers Won: 40 (5.00 per game)
Distance Covered: 11.25km per game
Key Moments: 23 (2.88 per game)
Matches Won Ratio: 37.50% (3/8)
Average Rating: 7.26

Assistant Manager's Report
Current Ability:
Potential Ability:

Veikkausliiga


JJK looked set to win the league title, as they lead by three points with just two games remaining. Pundits had predicted JJK to finish in 11th, just narrowly avoiding relegation, but Christian Schäfer side has marched to the very top and exceeded all expectations. FC Lahti had their relegation from the Veikkausliiga confirmed, as they sat some thirteen points behind 11th place KTP, and 38 points behind JJK.




October Fixtures


JJK faced a relatively large break from action before their final Veikkausliiga fixtures, and so a friendly against Härmä was arranged with the purpose of keeping the players match fit ahead of two very important league games. JJK needed four points to guarantee title victory, and they could not have asked for more difficult fixtures than trips to IFK Mariehamn and HJK. The league's third and fourth placed teams were looking to crush JJK's title hopes, and JJK would have to play out of their skins to earn the points required for league success.



Previous Update: #110 - JJK Suffer Late Heartbreak In Cup Final
Next Update: #112 - October 2026
Unfortunate defeat in the cup final mate hopefully you can make amends by winning the title!
Justice's avatar Group Justice
2 yearsEdited

October 2026


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

01/11/2026

It was JJK Jyväskylä's final month of football for the 2026 season, and the Veikkausliiga title race was hotting up for a dramatic finish. With just two games remaining, and three points separating JJK from second place FC Inter Turku, Christian Schäfer's side expected a whole new level of pressure as they faced stern opposition in their final two tests of the season.

Results


1-0 Win vs Härmä (H), Friendly - 10/10/2026 Attendance: 57
Not important. Only used to keep match fitness up.
Iiro Järvinen (JJK) - 8.5/10

1-1 Draw vs IFK Mariehamn (A), Veikkausliiga - 18/09/2026 Attendance: 1,726
It was a game of true grit for JJK as they faced their toughest challenge of the season, in the form of IFK Mariehamn. The home side had scored a late winner against JJK in the Suomen Cup final just three weeks previously, and they were looking to knock JJK out of the title race. JJK battled valiantly, and got their just-rewards in the second half as Simon Thurling's long range effort clattered off the post, before bouncing off of Mariehamn's keeper and in to the goal. JJK thought the goal was enough to win the game, but Mariehamn came back to haunt them as Per Ek equalised in stoppage time, piling the pressure on to JJK's men ahead of the final game of the season.
Simon Thurling (JJK) - 9.0/10

1-1 Draw vs HJK (A), Veikkausliiga - 25/09/2026 Attendance: 4,877
The pressure was all on JJK, with only a win being enough to guarantee title victory. Captain Saku Leppänen scored the opening goal of the game early in the second half as he pounced on a loose ball in the box to volley in what seemed to be the title winning goal. Yet, despite JJK's best efforts, HJK equalised with a very late goal as Patrik Lundberg's effort left JJK feeling uneasy and under immense pressure. Their result, on its own accord, had not guaranteed league title victory.
Patrik Lundberg (HJK) - 8.0/10

Player Of The Month


Simon Thurling produced two outstanding performances to help JJK stay unbeaten against two very tough opponents. His passing range, in particular, allowed the team to be more adventurous in possession.

Simon Thurling's Season Stats:

Overview
Appearances: 44
Goals: 3 (1,148 minutes per goal)
Assists: 8 (430 minutes per assist)
MotM Awards: 5

Attacking Play
Shots On Target Ratio: 46.67% (14/30)
Dribbles Completed: 38 (0.86 per game)
Key Passes: 167 (3.79 per game)
Cross Completion Ratio: 11.76% (2/17)

Defensive Play
Key Tackles: 5 (0.11 per game)
Tackles Won Ratio: 65.15% (129/198)
Interceptions: 192 (4.36 per game)
Mistakes: 71 (1.61 per game)
Disciplinary Record
Fouls Committed: 59 (1.34 per game)
Fouls Against: 30 (0.68 per game)
Yellow Cards: 7
Red Cards: 0

General Play
Pass Completion Ratio: 78.58% (1,856/2,362)
Headers Won: 139 (3.16 per game)
Distance Covered: 11.41km per game
Key Moments: 175 (3.98 per game)
Matches Won Ratio: 47.73% (21/44)
Average Rating: 7.42

Assistant Manager's Report
Current Ability:
Potential Ability:

Veikkausliiga


Despite JJK only picking up two points from their final two games, it was enough for them to secure the league title! FC Inter Turku won their penultimate fixture, but they were crushed by FF Jaro on the final day to give Christian Schäfer's team the Veikkausliiga title. FC Inter Turku and HJK earned UEFA Europa League qualification through league places, while IFK Mariehamn claimed the 4th European qualification spot through winning the Suomen Cup.






Previous Update: #111 - September 2026
Next Update: #113 - Season 2026 Review
Justice's avatar Group Justice
2 yearsEdited

Season 2026 Review


An Overview Of JJK Jyväskylä's Season In Football For 2026

01/11/2026

2026 promised to be an exciting season for JJK Jyväskylä, having been promoted to the Veikkausliiga as well as having qualifier for the UEFA Europa League qualifying rounds through Suomen Cup title victory. There were many memorable fixtures in 2026, with many ups and downs, with Christian Schäfer right in the thick of everything.

Transfers


A number of players left the club following the expiration of their contracts at the end of the 2025 season, while youngster Tom Tuominen left to KTP in search of first-team football for a generous fee of €3.3K. A number of defenders joined JJK as Schäfer looked to bolster his side ahead of the Veikkausliiga season, and the arrivals included sixteen year old central defender Matias Kinnunen who slotted straight in to the starting eleven. Eighteen year old right winger Juha Nykänen joined for free from KTP in August, and club record signing Jyri Haapala joined in September for a whopping €220K. Haapala returned to TPS on loan for the remainder of the season, and the seventeen year old was expected to become a key figure for JJK over future seasons.

Veikkausliiga


JJK began their league campaign very strongly, and only suffered one defeat in their first twenty fixtures. However, fatigue induced by the workload of juggling domestic football with continental football saw performances understandably decline, and JJK dropped a lot of points towards the end of the season.

League Table

Despite JJK's crawl through the finish line of the league campaign, they topped the Veikkausliiga by two points. Having just been promoted from Liga Ykkönen, this was certainly an achievement to be proud of. Claiming the Veikkausliiga title also, more importantly, gave JJK passage to the UEFA Champions League qualifiers, for the first time in the club's history.


UEFA Europa League


JJK were expected to be defeated by Heart of Midlothian in the first round of qualifiers, but they stood firm to battle their way through. Up next was HNK Rijeka, an even tougher challenge, but late drama in Finland saw JJK progress to the next round. JJK had it all to do against VfL Wolfsburg, and battled bravely in defeat. It was a campaign to be proud of for the unfancied Finnish minnows.

Suomen Cup


If ever there was too much late action, it was in JJK's Suomen Cup fixtures. It took extra time for the then-holders to defeat KuPS, before Christian Schäfer's side squeezed past HJK on penalties. If one penalty shoot-out wasn't bad enough, JJK had another in the semi finals against HIFK Fotboll, and were successful once more. However, JJK were unable to retain the Suomen Cup, as two late goals for IFK Mariehamn saw Christian Schäfer's side crash out in the dying moments of the competition.

Liigacup


The Liigacup was contested from January to April, and JJK won three of four group fixtures to qualify for the knockout stages. IFK Mariehamn were unable to stop Christian Schäfer's army, and JJK rode their luck in a penalty shoot-out against HJK to reach the final. FC Inter Turku were expected to win comfortably, but were demolished by JJK as they claimed their first piece of silverware for the season.

JJK Jyväskylä News


The club saw their balance skyrocket from their involvement in the UEFA Europa League and while the transfer fee of Jyri Haapala took a large chunk of their profit, the club was in a much healthier position than they were twelve months previously. With UEFA Champions League qualifiers on the horizon, the club was expected to continue to grow economically.

Christian Schäfer:
"I would like to thank the fans for being a part of a fantastic season of football for JJK Jyväskylä. The club certainly bettered media expectations in the Veikkausliiga, and our success in this competition will live long in our hearts. We faced disappointment and heartbreak in the Suomen Cup, but we did bring a cup home this season in the form of the Liigacup.

This season will become more famous for the club's European exploits, rather than our domestic triumphs. Against all the odds we joined forces together and, as a great unit, we defeated mighty opponents in the form of Heart of Midlothian and HNK Rijeka. Sadly, our UEFA Europa League journey came to an end against VfL Wolfsburg, but it was a fantastic opportunity for a growing club, like ours, to contest European qualification with one of Europe's top clubs.

We have many fond memories of this season and we look forward to seeing you next season at the Harjun Stadion. We look forward to playing in the UEFA Champions League, and we hope to bring just as much excitement next year as we did this year, if not more! From the bottom of my heart, I give a big thank you to the supporters of this wonderful football club for making the club what it now is; a center of passion, excitement and togetherness. The club will be announcing two major decisions in the near future, so keep your ears wide open. Once again, thank you. Come on you Ketut (Foxes)!"




Previous Update: #112 - October 2026
Next Update: #114 - Schäfer Extends Deal As JJK Turn Pro
What. A. Season!
mgriffin2012, yeah it was certainly more than I could have possibly asked for! It gave a lot of food for thought as well, and showed that the club needs more squad depth for the future, due to the high congestion of games at times.
Justice's avatar Group Justice
2 yearsEdited

Schäfer Extends Deal As JJK Turn Pro


Christian Schäfer Announced The Club's Decision To Turn Professional

01/11/2026

Seven months after signing a contract extension which would see him stay at JJK Jyväskylä until 2028, Christian Schäfer announced that the club had made the jump to becoming professional, and that the German had signed on for an extra year, until 2029, on a full-time contract. The news comes after a very successful season for JJK, where they lifted the Veikkausliiga and Liigacup trophies, against all the odds, while also reaching the final of the Suomen Cup and the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League.


The German manager joined the club in December 2024 and his first season in charge (2025) resulted in Liga Ykkönen victory, as well as an unexpected Suomen Cup triumph. After his second season at the club, he has now lifted four different trophies, and has brought many memorable fixtures to the club. With the club turning professional, Schäfer expected to see even more progress over the coming seasons, including more memorable European campaigns. His new three year deal, worth an estimated €800 per week, meant that he would be in the thick of the action.


Christian Schäfer:
"It is great for me to have extended my contract here for another year, on top of the two remaining years I had here. The last season has been my most enjoyable one as manager for all the emotions I have felt in charge of a team. We performed against all the odds and always chased lost causes, to great success.

We are now the champions of Finland, which is exactly what we want to be. It took a lot less time than we perhaps thought it would, which only shows how much work we have put in to improving our stature in the game. We now carry this status as the champions of Finland in to next season where we will represent this wonderful country in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers.

Our European experiences this season have been truly unforgettable. I am certain that Simon Thurling's last minute winner over HNK Rijeka will live long in the minds of everybody associated with the club. While this club is not as big as the likes of VfL Wolfsburg, who defeated us in the Europa League, we have shown that we are not afraid to challenge the top teams, and that we are more than capable of putting them under great duress.

The club is now professional, which is nothing but good for the players, staff and supporters. This allows the players to train more frequently, and with better results, and will attract high-caliber stars to the club. Economically, we feel we have the standing required to become a real force, not just in Finland but in Europe as well. For the fans, it can only mean that they will have exciting times ahead of them to enjoy. We hope to be able to provide them with more success to savour in the next few years!"




Previous Update: #113 - Season 2026 Review
Next Update: #115 - Isco Earns FIFA Ballon d'Or Crown
Well done on the new contract! More than deserved and turning professional will do wonders for the club!
Justice's avatar Group Justice
2 yearsEdited

Isco Earns FIFA Ballon d'Or Crown


Isco Was Crowned The King Of Football For 2026

01/01/2027

Real Madrid captain Isco got his hands on the FIFA Ballon d'Or award for the first time in his distinguished career for an outstanding year in football in 2026. The thirty-four year old midfielder became the first Spaniard to win the award since José Gayà in 2022, and only the third Spaniard in history to be crowned as the world's finest footballer, with Luis Suárez (1960) also in that category.

While his favoured position over the years has been in attacking midfield, and he even featured as a False 9 under Christian Schäfer in Real Madrid's 2024 UEFA Champions League final victory, Isco featured on either flank, and in central midfield, for Real Madrid in 2026. The versatile midfielder was a key part in Real Madrid's Liga BBVA and Copa del Ray double victory in 2026, and joined Real Madrid's prestigious Hall of Fame as a club legend.

Since joining in 2013, Isco has gone on to make almost 650 appearances in all competitions for the Spainsh giants, and he was handed the captaincy in 2024, following the retirement of Cristiano Ronaldo. Over the years, Real Madrid fans have been a witness to Isco's phenomenal ball control skills and fantastic creativity. Isco's greatest game in a Real Madrid shirt came in 2024, when he scored a brace to secure to the UEFA Champions League title for Real Madrid at Wembley.

Last year's winner Tanzer Çiçek was runner-up to Isco in the Ballon d'Or proceedings. The Dutch wide player produced a jaw-dropping year of performances as he helped Arsenal to the Barclays Premier League title, and played a key role in his country's progress to the semi finals of the FIFA World Cup.

Manchester City's José Ramón García was third place in the award. The twenty-six year old Spanish striker scored thirty goals in forty-three appearances as he pushed for contention for the award. The 2022 World Cup winner moved to Manchester City for €88M in January 2022, and has been a prolific goalscorer in the Premier League since.

The same three players claimed the same three places in the World Player Of The Year award, and were included in a FIFA World Team Of The Year which included five Premier League players in the starting eleven (Tanzer Çiçek, José Ramón García, Raheem Sterling, Eden Hazard & John Stones) and three more on the bench (Breel Embolo, Nathan McDaid & Memphis Depay).

Belgian midfielder Arne Callens won the European Golden Boy award, and the twenty year old Marseille star was set for a very bright future in football.







Previous Update: #114 - Schäfer Extends Deal As JJK Turn Pro
Next Update: #116 - Liigacup 2027 Preview
Great job winning the league and unlucky in the cup, you can get your revenge next year. And good luck in the Champions League
ninjaskill, thanks! Hopefully we can get our hands on the cup next season :P

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