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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
Pages  
mgriffin2012, yeah I'm expecting the players to push on and improve on the standards set over the previous two years!
BeanyUnited, indeed there are a few quality youngsters coming through who I hope can become seasoned internationals in the future!
Justice's avatar Group Justice
2 yearsEdited

Schäfer: JJK Will Excite


Christian Schäfer Spoke Of His Confidence In JJK Jyväskylä's Upcoming Season

02/04/2026

With just over a week remaining until JJK Jyväskylä kick off their Veikkausliiga campaign against recently promoted RoPS, Christian Schäfer took time out to speak to the media about a number of topics regarding his club. The German-born manager was confident that JJK would continue to grow, and that Finnish football was on the way up.

Christian, what are your expectations for the season?

Christian Schäfer: "I don't think we can gauge our expectations for the season until we are a couple of months in. We had a fantastic season last year and while we are always looking to improve, unforeseen circumstances can always alter the ability to perform at the highest possible standard.

Without being too specific over what we would like to achieve, because we are not all too sure yet, we would like to be competitive in the Veikkausliiga again, and we would be absolutely delighted to win it again. But we do understand how strong the competition is, especially this year, and we know that it will be no easy ride. Hopefully we can put a good run together in the Suomen Cup to add to our impressive run to the semi finals of the Liigacup."


What's different about JJK Jyväskylä this year?

Christian Schäfer: "The club is now professional, which is a major step forward for everybody involved. It allows the club to make more progression towards our long term goals, and gives the club a very stable platform to work from. We are acquiring all the ingredients required to be a very competitive team in Finland for a very long time, and we are moving closer to becoming a club that can begin to be seriously competitive in Europe too. It really is an exciting time to be involved with the club.

On the pitch, we have added five quality players to the squad, including Jyri Haapala who we signed at the end of last season. They add pace and sharpness which we perhaps lacked at times last season. They give the team a new dimension, and we can now use pace in our attacking and defensive play. This gives us an edge in certain situations, and certainly adds to the overall competitiveness within the squad, as well are our ability to compete on any stage. We will certainly excite our fans with our performances on the pitch once more!"


Your player acquisitions included striker Daniel Norlund. How big a risk was it to bring him to the club?

Christian Schäfer: "I think everybody knows of the difficulties that Daniel has faced in his career so far. He has been accused by the media of being unambitious and ungrateful, and he has been labelled quickly by some very sceptical critics. People have been quick to forget that he scored thirteen goals in twenty-six appearances for Finland's U21 team.

I think he has a lot of ability, and I felt confident in what he could add to the team after speaking to him. He desperately wants to bring his game to where it should be, where he knows it should be, and he will work hard to make it happen. He knows he has the ability, but he also knows that he must sweat to make it work."


JJK recently sold Matias Kinnunen to Brentford, but has been loaned back for the season. How big a miss will he be to your team?

Christian Schäfer: "Matias is a player of tremendous ability and he will become one of Finland's top players, that I am certain of. At such a young age, he has contributed so much to our football club, and he will certainly be missed by the club. Any player of his quality would be missed, because he adds so much to the team.

We do look forward to having him on loan for this season and we know what we are going to get from him. We look forward to working with him on and off the pitch for one final year, and hopefully we can make him that bit better for when he does eventually depart for English football."


Is it a worry that other young stars, such as Jyri Haapala and Antti Punna, could be subject to interest from clubs of football's top nations?

Christian Schäfer: "No, it really isn't a worry for us. If clubs are showing interest in our players, that only means that they are performing well, and then we know we are doing something right! Nobody wants to buy a player who will not perform, so for somebody to have interest shown in him, as Matias Kinnunen has, he must be performing very well, and consistently too.

If bids do come in for our players, we will only agree to them if they suit all parties, including the players. We will not hold our players back from fulfilling their goals on a football pitch, but certainly not at serious expense to the football club. The finances were right for Kinnunen's departure, with us receiving a quarter of a million Euro. He has signed for a fantastic club in England who will take good care of him and match his ambitions. Their manager, Ian Cathro, has plenty of experience when it comes to working with young stars, and I am confident that he can help Kinnunen reach the standards of international stardom."


Will clubs of Finland ever reach a level where players dream about playing for them, just as they fantasise about playing in the Premier League?

Christian Schäfer: "I think that this is something which can happen, but it is not something that can happen overnight. For players to want to join a club or a league, they must be excited about what they could achieve, and how they could achieve it. For this to happen here, the clubs of Finland must produce on the big stage, where it matters. Our clubs must become competitive in Europe and produce moments of magic which make people think 'Wow, I would love to be a part of that!', and attracts positive attention from critics. We must produce performances in Europe as we did last season, and it will all pay off one day."

April Fixtures


JJK were to kick off their Veikkausliiga campaign with a trip to RoPS. Their month also included a sixth round tie in the Suomen Cup, and the month would end with the first Väli-Suomi derby between JJK and KuPS. Could JJK begin their title defence with a positive run of form?



Previous Update: #120 - Squad Overview 2027
Next Update: #122 - April 2027
Really great interview man and hopefully with your guidance the Finnish league will be able to attract the same type of interest as the PL!
Interesting interview and being professional will be a huge help this season. I expect a PSG-esque season for you this year
Very indepth interview mate love it as an update!
Justice's avatar Group Justice
2 yearsEdited

April 2027


An Overview Of JJK Jyväskylä's Month In Football For April 2027

01/05/2027

April brought the beginning of JJK Jyväskylä's Veikkausliiga title defence, as well as their first fixture in the Suomen Cup for the season. It was an exciting month for Jyri Haapala. The teenage sensation was set to make his league debut for JJK, and there were high expectations for the youngster.

Results


3-1 Win vs FC YPA Ylivieska (A), Friendly - 06/04/2027 Attendance: 228
Friendly. Not important.
Aleksis Lehtonen (JJK) - 8.7/10

1-0 Win vs RoPS (A), Friendly - 11/04/2027 Attendance: 1,693
Newly promoted RoPS were keen to make a good impression against the Veikkausliiga chances in their first league game of the season, and they pushed the visitors right to the edge. A goal from Jyri Haapala on his highly anticipated league debut for JJK gave the champions an opening day victory, but it was 16 year old midfielder Antti Punna who shone throughout the ninety minutes.
Antti Punna (JJK) - 7.8/10

1-0 Win vs FC Haka (H), Veikkausliiga - 18/04/2027 Attendance: 2,970
Prior to kick-off against FC Haka, JJK players paraded last season's Veikkausliiga trophy around the pitch as a bumper crowd turned up to witness what turned out to be a very tightly-contested game. Haka held firm in defence and it wasn't until the final minutes of the game when they slipped up. A careless handball inside the box saw JJK awarded a penalty, and captain Saku Leppänen converted from the spot to make it two wins from two for Ketut.
Mikko Järvenpää (JJK) - 8.2/10

5-0 Win vs FC Haka (A), Suomen Cup 6th Round - 21/04/2027 Attendance: 1,138
FC Haka's late defeat to JJK in the league seemed to crush their will, and they were humiliated three days later by the same opposition in the Suomen Cup. On-loan defender Matias Kinnunen opened the scoring with a header from a corner early on, as JJK scored four of their five goals from set-pieces. Lehtonen was next to score a header, on the half-hour mark, and Kinnunen added his second minutes later with a similar goal to his first. Daniel Norlund scored his first goal of the month with a low finish, before Kinnunen completed a marvelous hat-trick with yet another header from yet another set-piece. It was not too often that a central defender bagged a hat-trick, and Kinnunen certainly justified the €250,000 fee that Brentford paid to secure his services (before loaning him back to JJK).
Matias Kinnunen (JJK) - 9.8/10

1-0 Win vs SJK (H), Veikkausliiga - 25/04/2027 Attendance: 3,138
A return to league action brought a visit from fellow title contenders SJK. In what was a very physical affair, Daniel Norlund scored the only goal of the game to give JJK their third league win in a row.
Antti Järvinen (JJK) - 7.6/10

2-1 Win vs KuPS (H), Veikkausliiga - 29/04/2027 Attendance: 4,500
The first Väli-Suomi Derby brought a capacity crowd of 4,500 to the Harjun Stadion, and they witnessed a very exciting game. Daniel Norlund scored twice for JJK in the opening twenty minutes with two brilliant individual efforts. The game turned in the second half as JJK's Simon Thurling was sent off for a second bookable offence, and they faced a nervy final twenty minutes when Mikael Kauppinen halved their lead. JJK held on, however, and claimed bragging rights in the rivalry.
Daniel Norlund (JJK) - 8.8/10

Overall: It was a fantastic month on the pitch for JJK as they ended April with a 100% record. The hammering of FC Haka in the Suomen Cup gave the JJK players a great deal of confidence, and hard-fought wins in big league games against SJK and KuPS saw JJK move up a gear as the season truly got underway.

Player Of The Month


Antti Punna Began The Season With Style

Antti Punna was JJK's standout player of the month. The star of last year's youth intake turned 17 during April and was rewarded for his form with a new contract which would last until the end of 2029. Under Christian Schäfer, Punna found himself starting for the senior team in midfield, and he created more key passes (31) than anybody else for JJK in 2027, so far. His assist record was staggering, courtesy of his three assists against FC Haka in the Suomen Cup. He had a bright future ahead of him, and he began the season very strongly indeed.

Antti Punna's Season Stats:

Overview
Appearances: 11
Goals: 1 (879 minutes per goal)
Assists: 7 (126 minutes per assist)
MotM Awards: 3

Attacking Play
Shots On Target Ratio: 30.77% (4/13)
Dribbles Completed: 15 (1.36 per game)
Key Passes: 31 (2.82 per game)
Cross Completion Ratio: 29.73% (22/74)

Defensive Play
Key Tackles: 0
Tackles Won Ratio: 77.55% (38/49)
Interceptions: 89 (8.09 per game)
Mistakes: 16 (1.45 per game)
Disciplinary Record
Fouls Committed: 25 (2.27 per game)
Fouls Against: 5 (0.45 per game)
Yellow Cards: 2
Red Cards: 0

General Play
Pass Completion Ratio: 73.16% (447/611)
Headers Won: 62 (5.64 per game)
Distance Covered: 11.00km per game
Key Moments: 32 (2.91 per game)
Matches Won Ratio: 72.73% (8/11)
Average Rating: 7.64

Assistant Manager's Report
Current Ability:
Potential Ability:

Veikkausliiga


Unsurprisingly, four wins four did leave JJK in top spot after April. It was their defensive record which shone once more, as they conceded just once. IFK Mariehamn looked like putting up a fight for the league title, while FF Jaro were also in the top three. A disappointing start to the season for HJK saw them in 8th, while FC Haka and newly promoted RoPS found themselves in last and second-last respectively.




May Fixtures


Eight Veikkausliiga fixtures awaited JJK in May, including tough trips to HJK and FC Inter Turku at the beginning of the month. JJK would compete against KTP in the Suomen Cup Quarter Final in the middle of the month, as they looked to continue their positive run of form from April.



Previous Update: #121 - Schäfer: JJK Will Excite
Next Update: #123 - May 2027
What a great month both offensively and defensively!
Unreal month yet again!
Justice's avatar Group Justice
2 yearsEdited

May 2027


An Overview Of JJK Jyväskylä's Month In Football For May 2027

01/06/2027

Following an impressive start to their Veikkausliiga and Suomen Cup campaigns, JJK were looking to assert themselves further as they faced a hectic month of football in May. In Veikkausliiga action, JJK would play a hefty total of eight games, including trips to HJK and FC Inter Turku, while the middle of the month would bring a Suomen Cup quarter final tie against KTP.

Results


0-0 Draw vs HJK (A), Veikkausliiga - 02/05/2027 Attendance: 4,903
HJK dominated the game from beginning to end but failed to convert any of the goal scoring chances presented to them. JJK looked weak and struggled to cope with the pace of the game, but held on for a valuable point and a clean sheet.
Carlos Fernández (HJK) - 8.3/10

2-2 Draw vs FC Inter Turku (A), Veikkausliiga - 06/05/2027 Attendance: 2,711
JJK followed their last result up with another away draw. Aki Haapala scored twice in the first half for the hosts but a headed goal from Aleksis Lehtonen and a superb volleyed goal from Antti Punna leveled the score, and gave JJK another precious point.
Aki Haapala (FC Inter Turku) - 8.8/10

2-1 Win vs TPS (H), Veikkausliiga - 09/05/2027 Attendance: 3,125
Jyri Haapala was up against his old team in the form of TPS, and he gave his former employers a mighty headache as he scored twice in the second half to give JJK a commanding lead. TPS earned a consolation goal in stoppage time through Hannu Ruuth, but they were unable to rescue a point.
Jyri Haapala (JJK) - 8.8/10

2-0 Win vs IFK Mariehamn (H), Veikkausliiga - 13/05/2027 Attendance: 2,932
It was a clash between two title contenders and JJK came out on top as Antti Pietilä and Genc Kovaqi scored in the final twenty minutes to continue JJK's staggering run of form.
Reza Heidari (JJK) - 8.3/10

2-0 Win vs KTP (A), Suomen Cup Quarter Final - 17/05/2027 Attendance: 936
Antti Pietilä was once again on the score sheet for JJK as his first half goal gave the visitors the lead. KTP struggled to keep possession of the ball against JJK's efficient pressing game, and an Aleksis Lehtonen stoppage time penalty secured JJK's passage to the Suomen Cup semi finals.
Antti Pietilä (JJK) - 8.4/10

3-0 Win vs HIFK Fotboll (A), Veikkausliiga - 20/05/2027 Attendance: 1,407
Daniel Norlund finally opened his account for the month, and he did it in style, as he scored two fantastic goals. His first goal was a delicate chip over the opposition goalkeeper from within the box, and he rounded the goalkeeper to tap in his second. Antti Punna was once again on the scoresheet, and his arrowing first-time shot was too powerful to save, as he put the icing on the cake for JJK in a resounding victory.
Daniel Norlund (JJK) - 9.0/10

2-0 Win vs FF Jaro (H), Veikkausliiga - 23/05/2027 Attendance: 2,936
Daniel Norlund made it three goals in two games as he finished a brilliant passing move to open the scoring. Jyri Haapala scored a potential goal of the season as he dribbled through the entire Jaro defence before calmly placing the ball in to the far corner.
Jyri Haapala (JJK) - 8.3/10

1-0 Win vs RoPS (H), Veikkausliiga - 27/05/2027 Attendance: 2,943
Once again, it was Daniel Norlund who inspired JJK to a win, and he scored the only goal of the game to give JJK their second win over RoPS in the season.
Daniel Norlund (JJK) - 8.2/10

1-0 Win vs FC Haka (A), Veikkausliiga - 30/05/2027 Attendance: 1,657
FC Haka held firm against JJK pressure but eventually they did give in. Antti Järvinen's back post cross was tapped in by the onrushing Antti Pietilä to give JJK a late winner, and secured their seventh win of the month.
Antti Pietilä (JJK) - 8.4/10

Overall: It was a sensational month for JJK as they completed May with a 7-2-0 record. Seven clean sheets and just three goals conceded gave manager Christian Schäfer plenty to be pleased about, while Daniel Norlund continued to score goals. The unbeaten month was sure to see player confidence inflate, with a number of big months coming up for JJK.

Player Of The Month


Antti Pietilä was JJK's standout player of the month. In his first few months at the club, since arriving from FC Jazz, Pietilä had cemented his place in the starting line-up with a consistent number of performances. His pace made him a fantastic outlet on the left wing, and he was involved in the goals for JJK as they completed a very impressive month.

Antti Pietilä's Season Stats:

Overview
Appearances: 14
Goals: 3 (394 minutes per goal)
Assists: 3 (394 minutes per assist)
MotM Awards: 3

Attacking Play
Shots On Target Ratio: 69.23% (9/13)
Dribbles Completed: 26 (1.86 per game)
Key Passes: 49 (3.50 per game)
Cross Completion Ratio: 17.65% (24/136)

Defensive Play
Key Tackles: 0
Tackles Won Ratio: 51.52% (17/33)
Interceptions: 34 (2.43 per game)
Mistakes: 18 (1.29 per game)
Disciplinary Record
Fouls Committed: 7 (0.50 per game)
Fouls Against: 21 (1.50 per game)
Yellow Cards: 1
Red Cards: 0

General Play
Pass Completion Ratio: 74.76% (447/611)
Headers Won: 35 (2.5 per game)
Distance Covered: 12.14km per game
Key Moments: 52 (3.71 per game)
Matches Won Ratio: 71.43% (10/14)
Average Rating: 7.37

Assistant Manager's Report
Current Ability:
Potential Ability:

Veikkausliiga


JJK's outstanding performances in May put them eight points clear at the top of the table, just over a third of the way through the season. With European football due to arrive in July, and the extra stress placed on the squad by the travelling and extra fixtures, Christian Schäfer was to keen to extend JJK's lead over the other title contenders in the early stages of the campaign.




June Fixtures


A friendly against the club's B team, Villiketut, allowed players to regain any match fitness lost before a double header against KTP in the league. A trip to SJK and a home game against HJK rounded up the June fixtures for JJK, and they were looking to continue their rich vein of form all the way through. Matias Kinnunen.and Jyri Haapala had impressed enough to earn their first call ups to the Finnish senior squad for a double header against Albania in the UEFA Euro 2028 qualifying rounds, and JJK fans were hoping their players would represent their country at some stage.



Previous Update: #122 - April 2027
Next Update: #124 - June 2027
Still absolutely storming it in the league mate!
Justice's avatar Group Justice
2 yearsEdited

June 2027


An Overview Of JJK Jyväskylä's Month In Football For June 2027
01/07/2027

JJK Jyväskylä were looking to continue their unbeaten run in the Veikkausliiga when they began the month of June. Big clashes against SJK and HJK awaited them in the league, while the club would also discover their opponents for July's UEFA Champions League Champions Second Qualifying Round fixtures, with Celtic, Legia Warsawa, Ludogorets Razgrad, F.C. København, APOEL FC and other top teams all potential opponents for Christian Schäfer's squad.

Results


JJK Won All But One Game In Another Impressive Month Of Football

3-0 Win vs Villiketut (H), Friendly - 10/06/2027 Attendance: 0
A friendly against the B team behind closed doors in order to maintain match fitness. Not important.
Aleksis Lehtonen (JJK) - 8.8/10

2-1 Win vs KTP (A), Veikkausliiga - 17/06/2027 Attendance: 1,941
JJK came out of the blocks with an aggressive game plan and they were rewarded with two goals in the opening ten minutes. Daniel Norlund and Antti Pietilä were the ones who got on the score sheet, but they could not convert any more chances throughout the remainder of the game. KTP scored a consolation goal in the ninetieth minute through Lasse Rantanen, but JJK's emphatic opening ten minutes earned them all three points.
Lasse Rantanen (KTP) - 8.2/10

3-2 Win vs KTP (H), Veikkausliiga - 20/06/2027 Attendance: 2,872
The return fixture was very similar to that of the previous one, as JJK began the game in the ascendancy. Captain Saku Leppänen opened the scoring, and goals from Tuomas Järvinen and Simon Thurling gave JJK an emphatic half-time lead. Lasse Rantanen, once again, fought back, but his late brace was not enough to salvage anything from the game for KTP.
Lasse Rantanen (KTP) - 8.8/10

1-0 Win vs SJK (A), Veikkausliiga - 24/06/2027 Attendance: 2,095
Despite JJK's best efforts, they could not break down the hosts in the opening 45 minutes. A Simon Thurling goal secured all three points, but it should have been by an even bigger scoreline as Daniel Norlund & Co. were complacent in front of goal.
Simon Thurling (JJK) - 8.7/10

1-2 Loss vs HJK (H), Veikkausliiga - 27/06/2027 Attendance: 2,970
Antti Pietilä's goal gave JJK a half-time lead, and it looked like it would have been enough to secure all three points, until Eero Salminen and Daniel Sosa both scored in the final ten minutes of the game to snatch a precious victory for the visitors, HJK.
Alexandre Bamba (HJK) - 9.0/10

Overall: It was a reasonably solid month for JJK as they won three games out of four. Christian Schäfer would have definitely been disappointed with their late collapse against HJK, but it was their first defeat in the league in 2027, and he was confident that it would not turn their season on its head.

Player Of The Month


Antti Pietilä Was A Constant Threat On The Left Wing

Antti Pietilä was, once again, JJK's standout player of the month. In his first few months at the club, since arriving from FC Jazz, Pietilä had cemented his place in the starting line-up with a consistent number of performances. His pace made him a fantastic outlet on the left wing, and he was involved in the goals for JJK as they completed a rather impressive month.

Antti Pietilä's Season Stats:

Overview
Appearances: 18
Goals: 5 (303 minutes per goal)
Assists: 3 (506 minutes per assist)
MotM Awards: 3

Attacking Play
Shots On Target Ratio: 72.22% (13/18)
Dribbles Completed: 39 (2.17 per game)
Key Passes: 56 (3.11 per game)
Cross Completion Ratio: 15.72% (25/159)

Defensive Play
Key Tackles: 0
Tackles Won Ratio: 48.78% (20/41)
Interceptions: 46 (2.56 per game)
Mistakes: 22 (1.22 per game)
Disciplinary Record
Fouls Committed: 8 (0.44 per game)
Fouls Against: 29 (1.61 per game)
Yellow Cards: 1
Red Cards: 0

General Play
Pass Completion Ratio: 74.38% (479/640)
Headers Won: 40 (2.22 per game)
Distance Covered: 12.11km per game
Key Moments: 61 (3.39 per game)
Matches Won Ratio: 72.22% (13/18)
Average Rating: 7.32

Assistant Manager's Report
Current Ability:
Potential Ability:

Veikkausliiga


JJK's Defeat To HJK Did Not Lose Them Their Position On Top Of The League

JJK's lead on top of the Veikkausliiga was a staggering ten points, by the end of June. IFK Mariehamn, HJK and HIFK Fotboll were the only teams even remotely capable of catching the reigning champions, but it certainly looked like Christian Schäfer team would run away with the league.




JJK Jyväskylä News


Eintracht Frankfurt Became JJK Jyväskylä's Parent Club

Without consulting Christian Schäfer, JJK's chairman decided to agree an affiliation with Eintracht Frankfurt, allowing the German club first choice on JJK's players. Schäfer was unhappy with the decision to make this affiliation, but JJK's chairman was ignorant to his pleas.

July Fixtures


July Promised To Be Exciting With The Beginning Of JJK's European Campaign

The month of July would start big, with a highly-anticipated Väli-Suomi Derby between JJK and KuPS. The real excitement, however, would come in Europe, as JJK would kick off their UEFA Champions League qualifying campaign against Danish giants FC København. JJK's opponents had won each of the last twelve Danish league titles, and were strong favourites to progress all the way to the group stages. Could JJK upset the odds?



Previous Update: #123 - May 2027
Next Update: #125 - Schäfer: Home Leg Important
Difficult fixtures against Kobenhavn but can only be a positive announcing that link with Frankfurt!
mgriffin2012, drawing Kobenhavn was certainly the worst possible outcome of the draw, luck was not with us :))
Justice's avatar Group Justice
2 yearsEdited

Schäfer: Home Leg Important


JJK Face A Daunting Trip To Telia Parken To Face FC København

12/07/2027

Ahead of his side's UEFA Champions League Champions Second Qualifying Round tie against FC København, JJK Jyäskylä manager Christian Schäfer spoke of his team's chances, and his excitement to be competing in Europe's elite competition once more.

Christian, how exciting is it to finally get underway in the UEFA Champions League?

Christian Schäfer: "Everybody knows that this is the most exciting club competition in the world, and it is certainly an absolute honour to be participating in it. This is the first time in the club's history that JJK are competing in the Champions League, and we look forward to playing against a top football club.

I have some fantastic memories of the Champions League with Dynamo Dresden and Real Madrid, and I hope to have some more here during my time with JJK. It is Europe's elite competition, and it is a place for champions. We are champions of Finland, so we deserve to be here."


Your team faces a sizable task against FC København of Denmark. What do you make of your team's chances?

Christian Schäfer: "They are a top European team with an incredible history and a wonderful fan base. Last season they reached the Champions League group stage, and finished third. They went on to reach the last 16 of the Europa League, which is a very impressive accomplishment. They have many internationals in their squad and I expect them to be tough opposition.

We know of their strengths, but I am certain that they will be very wary of us too. We proved last season in the Europa League that we can compete against some of Europe's bigger teams, and we will not be easy to defeat. We have a strong defensive resilience, and we are even stronger now than we were one year ago."


Where do you think your team can win the tie, if at all?

Christian Schäfer: "On home soil, at the Harjun Stadion. Okay, it is not a very big stadium, and we will only have a capacity of 2,100 supporters due to seating restrictions, but it is a place where our passionate fans drive on our team. They may be small in numbers, but they are vocal, they are encouraging, and they are very much an important part of the club. The first leg of the tie will be played at the Harjun Stadion and if we can clinch victory there, I believe we have a good chance of winning the tie and progressing to the next round."

Jyri Haapala and Genc Kovaqi picked up injuries last month. Will they be participating in the tie?

Christian Schäfer: "No, and it is not good news at all for us. Haapala has been one of our top performers since joining the club and it is very unfortunate that he got injured while making his debut for the Finnish senior team last month. He strained the ligaments in his knee and I do not expect him to return until mid-August.

Genc may be sidelined for much longer. As you know, he broke his ankle at the beginning of last month and I believe it would be a miracle if he were to return before September. He has been a very important player in the squad throughout his entire career, and he will certainly be a big miss on the pitch, and in the dressing room."


Do you have any other team news?

Christian Schäfer: "Haapala's injury left us with Mikael Luostarinen as our only fit senior right winger. We brought Rami Korhonen in to the senior squad to be able to make up the numbers, but Rami strained some muscles in his stomach during training and will be unavailable to play until August. As a result, we brought Pyry Priha from the youth team in to the senior squad. Unfortunately, he too picked up an injury, and will be absent until August also. This leaves Luostarinen as our only fit right winger, but I think we will be fine."



Previous Update: #124 - June 2027
Next Update: #126 - Home Leg Heroics See JJK Progress
As always loving the in depth interviews dude, best of luck in the first leg!

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