Preview: Kristiansund vs. Fredrikstad

Kristiansund are set to host Fredrikstad at Aker Stadion in Norway’s Eliteserien on Monday, and the result could significantly impact the relegation battle, the chase for European football, and the title race.

The home side are ninth in the table with 14 points and are one above 14th-placed Tromso, who occupy the division’s relegation playoff spot, while the visitors are fourth with 22 points and are eight from first-placed Bodo/Glimt with a game in hand.

Match preview

Although the hosts could be relegated at the end of the season given they are only four points clear of 15th-placed Sarpsborg 08, who are second last and in the automatic relegation zone, this is their first season back in the top flight.

As such, the fact they have a realistic chance of survival will no doubt please manager Amund Skiri.

Skiri has coached Kristiansund since August 2023, and this term his side have scored 18 goals and conceded 21, the sixth-best offensive and 11th best defensive records in the league respectively.

Kristiansund’s overall form has been poor considering they have won just once in their last nine league matches and have conceded 16 goals in this period.

As for their home form, they did win 3-1 last time out at Aker Stadion against Sarpsborg 08 on June 2, but this is only their second Eliteserien victory at home in their six games so far.

To Kristiansund’s credit, they have also only lost once in the league at home, which was against reigning champions and current leaders Bodo/Glimt on May 12.

Meanwhile, opponents Fredrikstad have been excellent away from home and have in fact collected 14 out of a possible 21 points on the road, which is the division’s second-best record behind Bodo/Glimt.

However, it should be noted that they did draw their last away league game 1-1 against Rosenborg on June 2 after having lost their prior away game 3-0 to Tromso on May 29.

To add to this, they have failed to win any of their last three matches in the top flight, though they did win the previous five.

Having said that, manager Mikkjal Thomassen will be delighted with his Fredrikstad side considering this is their first season in the top flight since 2012.

Additionally, he will be thrilled with the fact his team currently occupy the division’s final Europa Conference League playoff spot, and that they have two games in hand on second-placed Brann and one game in hand on first-placed Bodo/Glimt, who have 28 and 30 points respectively.

With that being said, Fredrikstad are only ahead of fifth-placed Viking FK due to goal difference.

This season, Fredrikstad have scored 20 goals and conceded 11 times, the league’s fifth best and second best records.

Team News

The hosts will be without centre-back Max Normann Williamsen for the remainder of the season after he suffered a cruciate ligament injury in late April.

Kristiansund will also have to contend with the absence of fellow centre-back Marius Berntsen Olsen due to an ankle injury, but he could return sometime later this month.

As for opponents Fredrikstad, midfielders Filip Stensland and Jeppe Kjaer are both expected to be out until mid-July.

Forward Joannes Bjartalid and Mai Traore are also injured, and much like their midfield counterparts, they are also not expected back until mid-July.

Centre-back Sigurd Kvile has not appeared since June 2, and he is a doubt for Monday’s game.

Kristiansund possible starting lineup:
Lansing; Sjatil, Jarl, Hopmark, Rakneberg; Sivertsen, Isaksen, Bruseth, Alte, Gueye; Mikaelsson

Fredrikstad possible starting lineup:
Fischer; Skaret, Aukland, Woledzi; Metcalfe, Magnusson, Segberg, Rafn; Bjorlo, Sorlokk, Olsen

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