Season 2020: Season Review
A Review Of FC Honka Espoo In Season 2020
Following a triumphant first season in Veikkauliiga, which saw us win the league title, we were looking forward to UEFA Champions League football. We were already set to compete in the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League this season, and qualification for the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Champions League in July was something to look forward to.
Honka Smashed Their Transfer Record On Bringing In Bjarne Hilska
Major Transfers In
(Name - Age - Position - Fee - Signed From)
Marlon Ritter - 25 (15/10/1994) - AMC/AML - €0 - Free Transfer
Ritter was an exciting transfer which was certainly approved by the fans. Ritter spent his youth career at RW Essen and Gladbach of Germany, before moving to Fortuna Dusseldorf. However, he spent most of his time with the B team, making only sixteen league appearances for the first team. He was released midway through the 2019/2020 season, and was available on a free transfer for Honka to sign. Despite not being the most athletic, his technical ability was superior to almost every other player in Veikkausliiga.
Farzad Mahmoudi - 17 (22/05/2002) - DC - €275,000 - HJK
Mahmoudi was one of the brightest prospects in Finnish football, and it took a relatively large bid to secure his services from HJK, our biggest rivals. The teenage defender was expected to become a rock in the national team's defence in the future, having already made fourteen senior appearances for his former club before the move.
Abdou Aziz Thiam - 22 (15/01/1997) - DM/MC - €200,000 - FC Inter Turku
With Tammilehto and Perovuo coming towards the end of their careers, a holding midfielder was required to bolster their squad.The Frenchman was a youth product of AS Monaco, but moved to FC Inter two years ago, where he made a total of thirty-one appearances. He was noted for his high standard of athleticism and his incredible tackling technique.
Lázaro - 29 (28/06/1990) - DC - €0 - Free Transfer
With Champions League football on the horizon, experience was required. Lázaro had played for a vast number of clubs in Brazil, Holland and Malaysia. The Brazilian defender was expected to become a key figure of the squad during the peak of his playing career.
Jere Karlsson - 18 (03/09/2001) - MC/AMC - €575 - Turun Palloseura
It was an objective of the club to add young Finnish players to the squad to build for the future, and Karlsson fit the bill. The enthusiastic midfielder was seen as capable of playing as a playmaker, as a box-to-box midfielder, and as a ball winner. Jere already had thirty-four senior appearances to his name before joining Honka, and was expected to become an important player for Finland in the future.
Christ Koffi - 19 (10/06/2001) - ST - €575,000 - ASEC Mimosas
This signing was seen as a risk, with not much known about Koffi. However, the young Ivorian striker had already recorded an incredible goal tally for his former club ASEC. Thirty-seven goals in sixty-four appearances, at just nineteen years of age, was a tally which had clubs all over Europe vying for his signature. Honka were lucky enough to sign him, but unfortunately with a €675,000 release clause.
Bjarne Hilska - 17 (30/12/2002) - AMC - €2,000,000 (€2,600,000) - HJK
This was the signing of the year. Bjarne Hilska was Finland's greatest talent since Sami Hyypiä and Jari Litmanen. The signing of Hilska required a record-smashing fee, as HJK were determined not to sell their greatest talent to their rivals. Hilska was certainly a similar style of player to Litmanen, and the attacking midfielder had already played twenty-six times for HJK, at just seventeen years old.
Jani Roschier - 17 (30/07/2002) - ST - €200,000 - HJK
With Hilska and Mahmoudi already joining from Honka's rivals HJK, Roschier completed the set of talented youngsters joining. HJK had been looking to bring in high quality Brazilian players, and so were happy to sell their youngsters, at a high price. Roschier was renowned as a talented goal scorer at youth level, and was expected to become a key figure for Honka and Finland in the future.
Kristján Sverrisson - 18 (04/02/2002) - ST - €28,000 - Leiknir Reykjavik
Sverrisson was a superb addition from Leiknir of Iceland. The young striker had already scored twenty-one goals in forty-five appearances for his former club, and was touted to be a future international striker. He would be loaned out to IFK Mariehamn straight away, due to the number of strikers already in Honka's squad.
Andrea Punzi - 23 (02/03/1997) - DC - €0 - Free Transfer
Despite Honka already possessing a number of central defenders, Punzi was a player who could not be turned down. The former Palermo youth player was available on a free transfer, and was more than happy to come to Honka in an attempt to reignite his career. He was extremely intelligent, and a superb defender with good leadership qualities.
Major Transfers Out
(Name - Age - Position - Fee - Signed For)
Carljohan Eriksson - 25 (25/04/1995) - GK - €140,000 - Blackburn Rovers
With the arrival of Virtanen, a slight upgrade, and the emergence of the very special Thomas Axberg from our youth academy, Eriksson would have been pushed back to being third choice goalkeeper. As a result, he was sold on to the English leagues, where had an opportunity to earn more money, by sitting on the bench every week.
Fredrik Lassas - 23 (01/10/1996) - MC - €1,500,000 - Amkar Perm
It was a big money deal which allowed us to fund a number of signings. Lassas had played incredibly for us, but the offer was too good to turn down.
Other signings included the likes of left winger Billy Ions and full back Roni Peiponen. Burkinabe right winger Yaya also joined the club to add pace and flair to the attack. Mathias Pogba and Borjas were among the departures from the club, having dropped down the pecking order.
Honka Remained Unbeaten Throughout The Entire Veikkausliiga Campaign
What a season! It started incredibly well with five straight wins, while high-scoring victories over FC Ilves, FC Haka and IFK Mariehamn set the tone for the season. A 6-1 victory over FC Ilves was the biggest win of the season, while a thrilling 3-3 draw against FF Jaro was certainly one way to end the season.
Honka Finished The Season With A Twenty Point Margin Of Victory
Nobody came close to us! We kept the joint-best defensive record, alongside HJK, while an eighty goal haul was more than enough to completely destroy the opposition.
Honka Stormed To Suomen Cup Glory With A 6-2 Final Victory
Despite drawing our opening group game against HJK, we powered our way through to top the group. Filip Hlupik came in to his own in this tournament, as he scored a total of eleven goals. The Czech attacker helped us to victories over FC Ilves and SJK on the way to the final. A 6-2 victory over IFK Mariehamn showed our domestic dominance over the season, as Hlupik scored an incredible hat trick.
UEFA Europa League 2019/2020 Latter Rounds
Athletic Bilbao Dispatched Of Honka In The Last 32
This game was probably just a step too far for our squad, which was not yet at the quality required to compete in Europe. We were still very inexperienced, but showed tremendous quality to keep the score tight against Athletic Bilbao. The Spanish side deserved to go through, and we can count ourselves unlucky that we drew such a high quality opposition.
UEFA Champions League 2020/2021 Earlier Rounds
Honka Stormed To The Group Stages Where They Faced Top Opposition
Our first taste of UEFA Champions League qualifiers saw us pitted against the likes of Shkendija, RB Salzburg, FC Midtjylland and Celtic. However, we proved to be too much for our opposition as we stormed to the group stages. Filip Hlupik and Christ Koffi proved to add the attacking quality required to make it to the group stage.
The group stage saw us drawn against AS Monaco, Napoli and FC Porto. A crushing opening game defeat against AS Monaco showed a difference in class, but surprising victories against FC Porto and Napoli put us in a strong position. We lost two of our remaining three games, but a victory over AS Monaco helped us to finish third place in the group, securing our progress to the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League.
FC Honka Team Of The Season
Filip Hlupik Scored 37 Goals In An Incredible Season
GK: Carljohan Eriksson - 7.10
(35 Appearances - 15 Clean Sheets - 33 Goals Conceded - 0 Player of the Match)
Despite leaving in the latter part of the season, Eriksson was our standout goalkeeper for the most part. His performances didn't match those of the previous season, but he still conceded less than a goal per game, and a total of fifteen clean sheets was impressive.
DR: Jatuli Laevuo (C) - 7.09
(31 Appearances - 0 Goals - 3 Assists - 2 Player of the Match)
In the absence of Perovuo from the starting lineup, Laevuo was the stand-in captain. The full back produced another consistent season. Playing in Europe was a new challenge for many of the players, and Laevuo stepped up when it counted.
DCR: Jorge Cano - 7.09
(42 Appearances - 0 Goals - 1 Assist - 1 Player of the Match)
While Cano still proved to be a regular in the starting lineup, he played with a number of different partners. This may have seen his performances dip slightly, but he still produced quite a consistent season.
DCL: Lázaro - 7.24
(39 Appearances - 2 Goals - 1 Assist - 3 Player of the Match)
The experienced Brazilian defender came to the club and was our best defender during 2020. He performed extremely well in Europe, and even scored twice during the year.
DL: Tatu Varmanen - 7.22
(27 Appearances - 0 Goals - 1 Assist - 0 Player of the match)
Varmanen's role in the team was still a rotational one, but he was the one who played the most at left back for us. He played well, and his defensive skills came to the fore in crunch European matches.
MCR: Jere Karlsson - 7.20
(43 Appearances - 4 Goals - 4 Assists - 3 Player of the Match)
The teenage midfielder made a superb impact when he joined the club, fitting straight in to the starting eleven. Karlsson's all-action performances endeared him to the fans as he gave fantastic balance to the midfield.
MCL: Fredrik Lassas - 7.50
(29 Appearances - 5 Goals - 5 Assists - 1 Player of the Match)
Despite leaving in the latter part of the season in a seven figure deal, Lassas was absolutely outstanding for us. Playing as a ball winning midfielder, Lassas also produced ten goal contributions, which included five goals.
AMR: Filip Hlupik - 7.65
(48 Appearances - 37 Goals - 12 Assists - 10 Player of the Match)
What.A.Season. Thirty-seven goals in all competitions, and twelve assists, showed Hlupik's quality. The Czech inside forward scored eleven goals in the Suomen Cup as Honka won the competition, and his goal contributions in the league and in Europe made him a vital player.
AMC: Rafael Gava - 7.32
(47 Appearances - 6 Goals - 10 Assists - 5 Player of the Match)
Gava went from strength to strength with another superb season. The Brazilian playmaker assisted ten goals, and scored six himself, as he helped keep the attack moving fluently. He was becoming a real cult hero at Honka.
AML: Marlon Ritter - 7.29
(44 Appearances - 12 Goals - 16 Assists - 5 Player of the Match)
The German magician arrived at Honka with a bang, producing twenty-eight direct goal contributions, scoring twelve. His set-piece ability was note-worthy, as he scored and created from dead-ball situations regularly.
ST: Christ Koffi - 7.64
(18 Appearances - 15 Goals - 5 Assists - 3 Player of the match)
He only played eighteen games, but what an eighteen games they were! Fifteen goals and five assists were enough to make him our best striker of the season, as he proved he could become the next Samuel Eto'o, as expected.
France Became European Champions With Victory Over Germany
It was a year to remember for France as they ran to victory. Victories over Holland, Serbia, Belgium and Germany in the knockout stages got the French fans off their feet as they saw their team become European champions.
Lionel Messi, once again, won the Ballon d'Or, pipping Cristiano Ronaldo and Juan Mata to the title. It was title number eight for Messi as he furthered his claim to be the greatest player of all time.
, I'm glad you're enjoying it, and I'll make sure to sign as many complicated names as possible
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