In the Veikkausliiga, a fiery local match will be played on Sunday, when HJK and HIFK will meet for the second time this season.

HJK has certainly been left in the tooth hole from the previous time, as in September HIFK won 4–3. Eero-Matti Auvinen scored in the 89th minute.

– Of course, the last Derby defeat felt bad. The picture of the game is likely to be similar. This time, we need to be the most careful in the moments we have to defend. Should also be more effective in the opponent’s box, HJK’s head coach Toni Koskela line.

HJK is currently chilling at the top of the series, and HIFK is seventh. HJK is on a par with KuPS, but holds the top spot with a better goal difference.

– It will be possible to go back many years when the last two teams have scored more than two points on the match average and are fighting at the top of the series. That’s a good sign, Koskela praises.

KuPS and HJK have faced twice this season. The first fight ended in a 2–2 draw, the second in a 3–0 victory for the Helsinki club.

HJK has been left with a tie in the tooth cavity. Daniel O’Shaughnessy hit the ball with an extra corner kick for the goal, but the hit was dismissed.

– In the first game, the winning goal was taken, it was by no means an offside, Koskela recalls.

– We gained self-confidence from the matches, as we were clearly ahead in both games.

A must enjoy

Koskela, 37, became HJK’s head coach in May 2019. In the previous season, he raised RoPS to second in the series and to qualify for the Europa League.

At HJK, the setups are different, as the team is the most successful football club in Finland in terms of championships. The expectations are huge.

– Of course, everyone knows that only and only profits are expected from HJK. I think more about building expectations for what the game looks like, Koskela says.

– I think it is a privilege to be washed, which many others would like. Here are certain kinds of expectations that you need to know how to enjoy. If you couldn’t enjoy it, this would be heavy.

Instead of external expectations, Koskela focuses on what the club offers players. The team has a lot of experienced players who have played the Veikkausliiga in bigger leagues.

– Experienced players have seen a lot in their careers and young people are of course on the way forward. How is everyday life structured in such a way that everyone is good to be and everyone feels that it is worth being here?

– This is a relevant environment and it is worth committing to the team, because it also takes you towards your own dreams. That’s where I take the biggest pressure.

Excerpt from KuPS

HJK won the Finnish Championship in 2018 and grabbed the Finnish Cup this summer. KuPS celebrated the league championship last year. So the comparison is hot.

According to Koskela, KuPS is a large team whose strengths are in special situations. The Kuopio club has several high-quality players who can solve games.

He considers versatility to be the strength of his own team.

– We are able to create goals by attacking quickly and with slower attacks against organized defense as well as counter-attacks. It says that gaming is in a relatively good balance.

– We are also able to defend at different heights, although we need to be able to defend the goal more stably.

The Veikkausliiga Regular Series ends on October 29. After that, championship and challenger series are played, each with six teams.

In the championship series, the six teams meet each other only once, after which the winner is determined.

– Each game is unique and other teams will certainly have a desire to join the championship battle. Against KuPS, of course, we have two good performances on the ground from which to draw for the next encounter.

– We will definitely have some sort of advantage when we meet KuPS for the last time in the final series, Koskela refers to the teams’ earliest encounters.