(Photo of Albion Ademi courtesy of Suomen Palloliitto)
With two tough games coming up against Wales and Ireland and the cloud of Corona obscuring the view, we’ve put together a quick view on whether these Huuhkajat are coming in hot or cold, for the upcoming fixtures.
Lukas Hradecky, Bayer 04 Leverkusen – Returning from lockdown Bayern Leverkusen reached the German Cup final and Europa League semi-final, being knocked out by Bayern and Inter respectively. Lukas played every BundesLiga game last season for Bayer: ever-present.
Jesse Joronen, Brescia Calcio – Jesse was one of the few highlights in Brescia’s relegation season. Jesse starts this campaign as one of the favorites in Serie B, and with three seasons of 30 plus games behind him.
Anssi Jaakkola, Bristol Rovers FC – Injured in a 3-0 defeat to MK Dons, Anssi is fit again after a long lay-off. League One was abandoned due to Covid with Bristol in mid-table. Prior to his injury Anssi had become a mainstay between the sticks at Memorial stadium.
Paulus Arajuuri, Pafos FC – Pulled our due to injury (though in decent form before that).
Leo Väisänen, IF Elfsborg – After moving from Den Bosch to Elfsborg in January Leo has held down a starting place at his new club. The Swedish reaction to Covid also means Leo’s been playing regularly since June, his in-form Elfsborg currently 3rd in Allsvenskan.
Juhani Ojala, Vejle Boldklub – After falling out of favor at BK Häcken, Ojala moved to Danish first division outfit Vejle Boldklub. After romping you the title easily Juhani will be a Danish SuperLiga player when the league kicks off in mid-September meaning Juhani is deep into pre-season training.
Sauli Väisänen, AC Chievo Verona – Only table-topping Benevento conceded fewer goals than Chievo last season, largely thanks to Sauli’s early season form. Unfortunately, Sauli hasn’t played competitively since February while Chievo were knocked out of the play-offs by Spezia.
Daniel O’Shaughnessy, HJK – Has started 10 of HJK’s 13 Veikkausliiga games this season and been brought on for the other 3. Those performances plus the Suomen Cup means he’s been playing (and winning) regularly since early June.
Albin Granlund, Örebro SK – A regular starter for Örebro who have been fighting in the lower half of the Allsvenskan this term.
Jere Uronen, KRC Genk – After winning the league in 2019 and struggling to match European and domestic commitments last season, Genk have started this campaign with one win from four. Jere ever-present throughout.
Nicholas Hämäläinen, Queen’s Park Rangers FC – Niko is back in London after playing 30 games for Kilmarnock last term. The Killies finished 8th last after the Scottish season was ended in March and didn’t resume after lockdown.
Nikolai Alho, HJK – also played in 10 of 13 Veikkausliiga games for Klubi, Nikolai returns to the Finland squad after a long absence or since turning into a right back.
Tim Sparv, AEL Larissa – Tim recently completed a move to Cyprus with AE Larissa, though yet to make his debut, he did pick up a league winners medal from Midtjylland’s season, having last played in July.
Glen Kamara, Rangers FC – Currently top of the pile in Scotland Glen’s consistent form has been further fueling rumors of a move to south of the border.
Joni Kauko, Esbjerg fB – Joni scored 3 in the final 6 games of last season, but it wasn’t enough to save Esbjerg from relegation. The first division season kicks off in mid-September.
Thomas Lam, PEC Zwolle – Last season was mainly defined by a metatarsal injury for Lam, though a return to fitness saw him play for two months before Corona hit. The Dutch league was canceled, the new season starts September 12th.
Pyry Soiri, Esbjerg fB – Part of the same relegation as Joni Kauko, Soiri struggled for minutes during the relegation run in, mainly coming off the bench.
Ilmari Niskanen, KuPS – a first call up for Niskanen who was a first team regular during last season’s title winning campaign. This season the midfielder has played 11 of 13 for KuPS, scoring 6 including an absolute worldy (or cross) against HJK.
Santeri Hostikka, Pogon Szczecin – Last season Santeri evolved into a good squad player in the Polish top flight, starting 16 coming off the bench 11 times. After two rounds this season he has one 89th minute cameo so far.
Robert Taylor, SK Brann – Following last season’s relegation with Tromso Taylor moved on to SK Brann. The Norwegian Eliteserien is well under way, Taylor has 3 goals from 16 games.
Teemu Pukki, Norwich City FC – An awful return from lockdown saw Norwich give up the ghost in premier league survival. Teemu’s 11 top flight goals were a decent return, but he’s not found the net competitively since January. He had been scoring in preseason against Dresden and Darmstadt, the Championship kicks off mid- September.
Jasse Tuominen, BK Häcken – The 24 year old moved from Belarus to Sweden in January, although Allsvenskan didn’t kick off till June. So far he’s been playing off and on from midfield and is yet to score in 12 outings.
Joel Pohjanpalo, Bayer 04 Leverkusen – After recovering from injury Jolle spent the end of last season on loan at Hamburg where he knocked in 9 goals in 14 appearances.
Rasmus Karjalainen, Örebro SK – Rasmus came off the bench for his Örebro debut last week, after a disappointing season with Fortuna Sittard. Last season he netted once in 15 appearances in the Dutch second tier.
Fredrik Jensen, FC Augsburg – Last season may be one to forget for young Fredde, 1 goal in 10 appearances from a campaign dogged with injury. Pre-season well underway at Augsburg after two false starts he’ll be hoping this is the year.
Albion Ademi, IFK Marienhamn – another first senior call up who has represented Finland at u17, u19 and u21, but who has also sat on the bench for the Albanian national side. The former PS Kemi, FC Inter and TPS winger has however bagged 10 goals in the opening 13 Veikkausliiga games, he’s on fire.