Oscar Friberg has enjoyed eight seasons with Ostersund and has enjoyed many successes along the way. His side first won the Allsvenskan in 2021 and went on to claim their second Swedish Cup (and first under Friberg) in 2023. Ostersund have also made great strides in European football, reaching multiple Europa League knockout stages.
In this post, we will review what was possibly Friberg’s greatest season so far with Ostersund. After last seasons second place finish behind Malmo, Ostersund would enter into the Champions League qualifying rounds once more. Could Friberg finally achieve qualification to the group stages of the competition?
Our Best Season Yet | Ostersund #8
Europa League 2023/24
After beating Dutch side Utrecht in the 1st knockout round, we were drawn to play Tottenham. It was here that I thought our journey would end. Yet a brilliant set of draws, 2-2 away and 1-1 at home, saw us progress through to the Quarter Final.
We were drawn against Krasnodar and to be honest I thought we would breeze through after beating Tottenham. Perhaps the players should have warned me about complacency. Krasnodar beat us 4-3 to progress to the semis to face Dynamo Kyiv, another side we would fancy beating. A big disappointment.
Nonetheless, our recent performances in European competition, as well as our continued presence near the top of the Allsvenskan, have helped us reach number 1 spot among Swedish teams. A great achievement for Oscar Friberg and his Ostersund squad.
Swedish Cup 2024
After finally winning the Swedish Cup last year at the fourth time of asking, Ostersund were expecting to win it again. We did reach the final and for once we didn’t meet Norrkoping. Last seasons champions Malmo were the team we would meet.
4 goals in 5 minutes late on created a dramatic and tense finish that led to extra time, but sadly Malmo were the team to score a winner. That’s now four cup final defeats in five seasons for Ostersund. A great shame!
First Half of Allsvenskan
I think it is fair to say that things were going completely to plan for Friberg as Ostersund reached the halfway point in the season. 15 games played, 11 wins and 4 draws. No losses. This impressive start saw Ostersund lead the Allsvenskan at the halfway mark, could they see it through in the second half of the year?
Around July is the time for Champions League football – Ostersund would enter in the Best Placed 3rd Qualifying Round. Here they were drawn against German team Koln.
We dispatched them easily enough, winning 9-2 on aggregate. Next we faced a sterner challenge in Zenit. Luckily for us the away goal rule again fell in our favour as we progressed through to the group stage for the first time in the clubs history.
Second Half of Allsvenskan
It would be Norrkoping to end our unbeaten run, wouldn’t it? They have been nothing short of a nuisance in this save and they continued to be so in the second half of our league season. Yet they were the only side we lost to in the 2024 Allsvenskan season.
This brilliant season saw us lift our second league title after a two-year wait.
If I am being super critical, I would have preferred fewer draws, but this can be something to work on next season. For now, let’s enjoy the feeling of regaining our Swedish title!
Champions League Group Stage
So, we have won the Swedish league before and we lost the Cup final. What makes this season or best season yet?
In reaching the Champions League group stage, I am sure even the most optimistic of fans couldn’t have predicted anything other than a 3rd or 4th place finish in the group, especially considering they were drawn alongside Atletico Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Dynamo Kyiv.
We could realistically target four points against the Ukrainians, but anything against Atletico or PSG would be miraculous.
We started the group poorly and were 4-0 down to Spanish giants Atletico within 30 minutes. Yet we fought back to lost by just 2 goals and followed this up with a crucial victory against Kyiv. What came next was entirely unexpected and goes towards the title of this post.
When you see the scoreline, 1-0, you automatically assume that PSG have been FM’ed. I’d have expected that too. Yet Ostersund actually had the better of the game and could have won by more. We restricted PSG to just 3 shots on target and had 6 ourselves.
Here’s the line-up PSG put out as they lost to new Swedish champions.
We followed this brilliant win up with another great performance against the French champions. We lost 2-1 away from home (this will be a significant result in our group).
We drew the next match against Atletico 0-0, highlighting how well we have adapted to the strength of the European elite. In our final match we played Dynamo Kyiv and won 3-2 thanks to a late goal from Englishman Rhian Brewster.
For the third time in this post, Ostersund have benefitted from the away goal rule. The Champions League groups are sorted by results between teams instead of goal difference. As a result of this, despite having a clearly better goal difference, PSG drew 2-2 with Ostersund in their two matches but failed to score an away goal.
Ostersund progress through to the Champions League knockout rounds where they have been drawn against Inter Milan.
A successful season!
Wow. Oscar Friberg has had an incredible season with Ostersund and it is probably safe to say that it is his best season yet. But, there is still work to do.
I want to really make a push to win the Champions League in this save. I never thought this would be my goal, but to have come so far it seems only right that Europe’s top competition should be the goal.
Oscar Friberg is proving to be a huge success with this Ostersund side and displays impressive stats after eight seasons in charge. Can he continue to improve?
The next post in this series will be after season nine. Can we push forward from this successful season? Or will we falter as we did two years ago after our first title?
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Thank you very much for reading another instalment of our Football Manager 2018 story here on VivaLaVidaFM. It’s great to have added a second title to our accolades with Ostersund. Let’s hope we can make it three next season! What do you think of this post? Let me know in the comments.
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