Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass has put his squad on red alert about the attacking threat of Euro opponents BK Hacken.
The Swedish top flight side continued a recent revival under new manager Per-Mathias Hogmo with a second straight Allsvenskan victory.
In Hogmo’s first competitive match in charge, the Gothenburg outfit beat AIK to move off the foot of the table.
They followed that victory up with a 3-2 away defeat of Kalmar FF on Monday night to to leap frog further up the Allsvenskan to 10th spot.
Glass has closely studied both matches as he prepares for the Uefa Europa Conference League clash at Pittodrie on Thursday July 22.
He has isolated the attacking threat, particularly on the break, of a BK Hacken side packed with internationals.
Young wide attackers Ali Youseff, 20, on the left and Patrik Walemark, 19, on the right have been particularly potent in the back-to-back victories.
Despite BK Hacken’s threat, Glass is confident the Dons will be strong enough to keep them at bay while bringing their own attacking edge in the second qualifying round clash.
Glass said: “Despite being a possession-based team, Hacken have got pace so are dangerous on the counter-attack.
‘If they’re defending, they’re pretty quick on the break.
“If they are attacking they have handy players who can use the ball.
“So they’ll pose us a threat, but we’ll see where that threat comes from. We have to handle it.
“We’ve strengthened at both ends of the pitch and in the middle of the pitch, so I think we have enough to handle it.”
— discovery+ sport 🇸🇪 (@dplus_sportSE) July 12, 2021
BK Hacken packed with internationals
BK Hacken had seven internationals in the starting XI against Kalmar FF with two rising U21 internationals also starting.
The seven capped at senior international level were:
- Peter Abrahamsson (Sweden)
- Martin Olsson (Sweden)
- Gustav Bergrren (Sweden)
- Erik Friberg (Sweden)
- Alexander Jeremejeff Sweden)
- Joona Toivio (Finland)
- Ali Youssef (Tunisia)
Central midfielder Tobias Heintz (Norway) and Patrik Waalemark (Sweden) have recently been capped at U21 level.
New manager Hogmo this week completed the signing of former Torino midfielder Samuel Gustafson from Italian side Cremonese to strengthen for their Euro clash with Aberdeen.
Gustafson was not in the squad to face Kalmar FF as his international clearance will not be through until tomorrow.
— BK Häcken (@bkhackenofcl) July 9, 2021
The central midfielder will make his debut against IFK Norkopping on Sunday – just four days before facing the Dons in the Granite City.
Glass said: “The three games they play before the European match will back us up in our belief in how Hacken play.
“Then it’s up to us.”
4-2-3-1 formation for BK Hacken
BK Hacken have adopted a 4-2-3-1 in the two games under Hogmo.
In Monday’s win at Kalmar FF, Hogmo set up with Martin Olsson left-back, Goodwill Ekpolo right-back, with centre-back berths occupied by Johann Hammar (right) and Joona Toivio (left).
Toivio has been capped 76 times by Finland and started all three Group B games against Denmark (1-0 win), Russia (1-0 loss) and Belgium (2-0 loss) at Euro 2020.
Gustav Berggren and Erik Friberg were the defensive midfield two for Hacken.
— discovery+ sport 🇸🇪 (@dplus_sportSE) July 12, 2021
An attacking line of three had Ali Youssef on the left with highly-rated teenager Patrik Walemark, 19, on the right and Tobias Heintz in the middle.
Swedish international striker Alexander Jeremejeff was in front of the three, having returned from suspension.
Youssef had led the attack in Jeremjeff’s absence against AIK and scored. He moved out wide against Kalmar FF – and, again, scored.
Former Blackburn Rovers and Norwich City full-back Olsson netted the opener at Kalmar FF with a free-kick that underlined BK Hacken’s threat at dead balls.
Wide stars Youssef and Waalemark netted in the second half.
Glass said: “Hacken have not changed a huge amount with the new coach coming in.
“They’ve got some really experienced players in there, one who was playing at the Euros for Finland
“They’ve got a good group of players who play in a certain way.
“And his way of working is very similar, if you look at his history, which is something I’ve done.
“So I don’t see much changing, which is a good thing.”
BK Hacken’s inspirational captain Rasmus Lindgren, the former Sweden international and Ajax defender, faces a battle to be fit to face Aberdeen.
The 36-year-old centre-back has returned to training after injury, but was not in the squad to face Kalmar FF.
Swedish international winger Delaho Irandust has also returned to training after injury and faces a race to face the Dons.
Glass glad BK Hacken have moved off the foot of the Allsvenskan
One thing that has changed since Aberdeen were drawn against BK Hacken is the Swedish side’s position in the Allsvenskan table.
When the teams were drawn together BK Hacken were rock-bottom of the top flight with just one win in nine and undergoing transition during the summer break under a new manager.
They are now building momentum under Hogmo with two straight wins and a key signing to bolster the midfield ahead of the Euro tie with Aberdeen.
— BK Häcken (@bkhackenofcl) July 7, 2021
Glass is glad BK Hacken have moved off the foot of the table because it could have produced an unrealistic perception among the Red Army that it was an easy tie had the Swedes remained in that lowly position.
Subconsciously, it could also have seeped into the squad.
— Allsvenskan (@AllsvenskanSE) July 13, 2021
Glass said: “We’re not underestimating Hacken just because, until last weekend, they were bottom of the league.
“I’m quite glad they won and got off the bottom because people might have wrongly judged them.
“Even the players in here, you see a team at the bottom of the league, does that lead to a softness about ourselves?
“We’ll be well aware of their threat.”
⚽️🔴 Who should be the Aberdeen captain when the new season begins?
— P&J Sport (@PandJSport) July 13, 2021