Champions League 2015/16 profiles: Malmo
Swedish champions Malmo enter the Champions League group stage for the first time in their history and they are set for a tough test in a challenging Group A against Shakhtar Donetsk, PSG and Real Madrid, making them 12/1 with Coral to progress.
Domestic league: Allsvenskan
How they qualified: Malmo lifted their 18th domestic league crown last season, a successful defence of the Allsvenskan crown they secured in 2013 and came through the qualifying rounds, toppling Celtic to get to this point.
Best Champions League era performance: The Swedish champions are making their debut in the group stage, having previously only contested in the Europa League and old UEFA Cup. They did once contest the old European Cup final, back in 1979, but lost to Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest thanks to a Trevor Francis goal on the stroke of half-time.
Coach: Age Hareide, a former Norwich City and Manchester City player in the 1980s, guided Malmo to the league title last term and will hope to enjoy some shock results in a daunting Group A.
The 61-year-old has won league crowns in all three Scandinavian countries and was previously in charge of the Norwegian national side from 2003 to 2008, but failed to qualify for any major tournaments.
Ins and outs: Swedish centre back Rasmus Bengtsson arrived for the reasonable sum of £77k from Dutch side FC Twente, while left winger Tobias Sana also joined from Eredivisie giants Ajax on a free transfer.
Familiar faces: There are a few names that fans in England will recognise, including former Rotherham utility man Kari Arnason and previous Cardiff City forward-thinking midfield duo Joe Inge Berget and Magnus Wolffe Eikrem.
Skipper and striker Marcus Rosenburg spent time in the Bundesliga, Eredivisie and La Liga, as well as a stuttering spell with West Bromwich Albion.
Key player: Rosenberg may have flopped with the Baggies but, as captain of Malmo, the attacker is a vital component of the side, constantly chipping in with league goals, and his domestic efforts will need to emulated in Europe for them to stand a chance.
One to watch: Pawel Cibicki is always a threat, with this 21-year-old midfielder possibly set to cause problems in Group A.
Emerging talent: Zlatan Ibrahimovic has pledged to make a homecoming to this club one day, having began his career here, but another emerging starlet for now is 20-year-old midfield maestro Erik Granat. Probably not set to be in the same bracket as PSG’s mighty marksman, but packed full of potential nevertheless.
CL group and fixtures:
v PSG (Away), September 15th
v Real Madrid (Home), September 30th
v Shakhtar (Home), October 21st
v Shakhtar (Away), November 3rd
v PSG (Home), November 25th
v Real Madrid (Away), December 8th