Every football fan in Finland actively follows the Veikkausliiga, where all the best teams in Finland meet. The 2024 games have already started and most of the games are still ahead. Of course, Tampereen Ilves and HIFK are included, but new teams have also reached the series. What can you expect from the 2022 Veikkausliiga season?
Veikkausliiga has a long history in Finland
The Veikkausliiga started in 1990 based on the Championship Series and has been providing entertainment for football fans for several decades. Some of the teams have dropped out along the way and a few have joined. On the other hand, for example, the Helsinki Football Club, or HJK, dazzles with its results. The team has won the Finnish championship 15 times in the Veikkausliiga, which is a superior result compared to other Finnish football teams. That is almost half of all Finnish football championships. HJK also won the championship in 2021 and has jumped into the new season with full force.
Only those teams that have reached the top of the league table can play in the Veikkausliiga. Only 12 teams participate in the Veikkausliiga each year and 132 matches are accumulated in one season today. The team that wins the Veikkausliiga has won the Finnish championship. In addition to this, the Finnish champion automatically gets a qualifying spot in the European Champions League. The second-placed team also gets to play in the conference league. The teams that finish in 4-7 places get to compete in one of the UECL league spots.
The team that finished last in the league falls back to the Ykkös series, which is the next highest football league after the Veikkausliiga. This way, every year we can bring in a new team that can put themselves in the league in challenging games.
Veikkausliiga season 2024
The season to be played in 2024 is the 33rd season in the Veikkausliiga. The first matches were already played on April 2, but luckily the most important games are still ahead. Veikkausliiga matches are played from spring to autumn until October. So right now is the right time to jump on board if you want to be informed about the success of the teams in Finland’s highest football league.
The 2022 season will be played according to the series system published in 2019. The 12 participating teams are divided into two regular seasons based on match success, from which the teams move on to the finals. The six best teams get to play in the championship series and the six worst teams go on to the challenger series. From each game, the teams collect points that determine their progress in the Veikkausliiga. The last games are played in September-October.
What’s new to see at the start of the 2024 season?
Finnish football is exciting to watch, because every year something surprising happens in the Veikkausliiga. Those who know about football probably already know what the starting situation is in the 2024 Veikkausliiga season. First of all, FC KTP, who finished last last season, was relegated to the First Division as per tradition. Vaasan Palloseura (VPS), which reached the third place in the 1st division in 2021, can play instead of this team.
For example, the change of coaching of the HIFK team has been seen in the news just now. Many football fans have wondered how the new coach could affect the team’s success. At the moment, HIFK’s situation is a bit confused, as the former head coach Bernardo Tavares announced that he will resign from the coaching role very unexpectedly due to family reasons. The lack of a competent head coach has affected the team’s success at the beginning of the Veikkausliiga.
What really creates Veikkausliiga teams is the player. Every season, new faces appear ready to surprise the Finnish football audience. For example, Tim Sparv, Filip Valenčič and Daniel O’Shaughnessy have left the 2023 champion team. Accordingly, familiar players from the Finnish national football team have joined the lineup. Joona Toivio, Pyry Soiri and Jukka Raitala bring more strength to HJK’s game with Takuu.
HIFK again included Eero Markkanen in the team, who had been able to practice playing in the American Football League. SJK, on the other hand, had to say goodbye to their best scorer, Ariel Nguekami, who will be missed in Takuu’s attacking game. However, an interesting player trade has just happened between HJK and SJK, when Pyry Hannola moved from HJK to SJK’s ranks. Such player trades between teams are quite rare, at least in Finland, but Hannola had already played for SJK before. It remains to be seen whether Hannola will succeed in patching up the team’s offensive game.
Kei Kamara, who was one of the team’s best players, has left HIFK again. Therefore, HIFK’s season does not start well both in terms of coaching and the team composition.
What influences which of the teams will be successful in the Veikkausliiga?
Soccer is a very fast-paced sport, where the series situation can change suddenly due to even a small variable. In team games, especially coaching and team composition matter to how the teams will succeed in the overall picture. For example, it will be interesting to see how SJK will fare this season when one of the team’s best players has left.
The placement of the matches is also of great importance to the success of the teams. Especially around the time of the final matches, there may be several games in a row, when the team’s players are simply tired. Partly the success of the game also depends on luck, and whether the players have time to rest between games.
The reason why HJK has managed to win the championship so many times is because HJK has more resources. In this way, the club has been able to invest more in both professional coaching and the acquisition of skilled players. Because the team has been successful at the Finnish level, national team players have often played in its ranks. They have both experience and skill, which has led HJK to victory on several occasions.
Who are the rising teams in the 2024 season?
At the beginning of every season, there are certain predictions about which teams are likely to be successful. It is certain that HJK has a good chance of winning this season as well, as the team has an advantage compared to other Veikkausliiga teams. HJK’s biggest rival in the Veikkausliiga is KuPS, or Kuopio Palloseura. In recent years, the team has reached medal positions many times. With good luck, the team may be able to defeat HJK. However, KuPS will probably have to settle for a silver medal, which is also a really good achievement. Other successful teams this season will certainly be SJK, FC Honka and FC Inter.
Veikkausliiga’s new team VPS was included in the league due to recent success. However, it is very rare that a team promoted from the First League to the Veikkausliiga would succeed in rising to the top positions right away. It is more likely that VPS will be relegated from the league at the end of the season, so Vaasa football fans should not get too excited.
Where can you watch Veikkausliiga games?
Veikkausliiga games can be watched both on site next to the playing field or through a streaming service. Especially watching the Veikkausliiga final matches live can be very exciting. However, you should buy tickets for the match in time, because they are often sold out quickly. The teams of the championship series and the challenger series will only be revealed when the standings in the regular table have been determined.
Every football fan also has his own favorite team, the success of which he likes to follow match after match. The Veikkausliiga matches are held all over Finland, so make sure you have a match venue in advance.
Since 2019, it has been possible to watch Veikkausliiga games via Ruutu+ live stream. To the chagrin of football fans, the service is paid, but it is many times cheaper than many other sports streaming services. If you don’t mind the ads, the Ruutu+ service costs only €6.95/month. In addition to Veikkausliiga, you can also watch other international leagues. Of course, some of the more important matches are also shown on the Jim channel or Nelose without payment.
Stay involved in Veikkausliiga activities
If you are a die-hard football fan, you have probably followed Veikkausliiga’s activities for a long time. Here was an overview of the 2022 season and it looks like there are some interesting games to come. Some of the teams may have to settle for a lower ranking. On the other hand, tough teams such as HJK and KuPS will probably aim for the top of the medals this year as well.