Focus On: Stjarnan FC (and their celebrations)
Stjarnan FC is an Icelandic football Club based in Garðabær (13.872 inhabitants), a Municipality in the area of Reykjavík.
The Club was founded in 1960 and had spent the majority of his existence in Icelandic lower divisions or in the lower part of the top tier: anyway in 2008 they gained promotion to Úrvalsdeild, the Icelandic top division, and not only they haven’t been relegated again since then, but they have been in the high part of the table for few years. They halso have a women’s team, that has won two Championships so far.
Their home stadium is Stjörnuvöllur, that is situated in Garðabær and can hold 1.000 people for European matches and 1.400 for domestic League matches, thanks to additional standing terraces, while the average home attendance in usually around 1.000.
Few years ago Stjarnan (male team) became famous because of their very funny celebrations (such as the fisherman, the toilet, the bicycle and many more) which spread all over the world via YouTube, and you can find all of them in this video:
Anyway Stjarnan hasn’t created any new celebration recently, but they have become a quite solid team, because they have always ended in the top five teams of the Championsip since 2011, and both in 2012 and in 2013 played, and lost, the Icelandic Cup Final: in 2013 they ended Úrvalsdeild in third position and so qualified for 2014/15 UEFA Europa League.
They started 2014 Season quite well, and, after first half of the matches has already been played, they’re currently second placed, and are fighting to win their first Championship with FH and KR: in Europe their season is being quite positive as well, because, despite being unseeded, they defeated Bangor City FC from Wales (4-0 both away and at home, anyway it wasn’t a surprise at all) in the First Qualifying Round, and Motherwell FC from Scotland (that was much more difficult to predict) drawing 2-2 away and winning 3-2 at home after extra times (they scored the 2-2 goal at 85′, while the winning goal at 114′): it must be said that in this tie they were awarded three penalty kicks in two games, after three fouls from the same defender, and they scored all of them.
In Third Qualifying Round things look even more complicated, because Stjarnan FC will have to face the Polish giant KKS Lech Poznan: the team from Poland, that played a couple of EL Group Stages in the recent years, looks favorite, anyway last year was kicked out from Europa League by a Lithuanian side, and in the last Round of this Edition was defeated 1-0 away by Nomme Kalju FC from Estonia, before winning 3-0 at home: so Stjarnan FC could still have few slight chances to qualify.
If the Icelandic Club defeated the Polish one, it would be a big unexpected upset, otherwise the first European experience of Stjarnan would be very positive anyway.
The most famous player are Veigar Páll Gunnarsson (34, former striker of Stromgodset, Stabaek, Nancy and Valerenga, and former Icelandic International) and Gardar Jóhannsson (34, former Fredrikstad FK, Hansa Rostock and Stromgodset striker, and former Icelandic International), while other key element are Martin Rauschenberg (Danish central back), Daniel Laxdal (central back) Niclas Vemmelund (Danish full-back) Jóhann Laxdal (full-back, Icelandic International), the Captain Michael Praest (Danish midfielder), Pablo Punyed (American/Spanish offensive midfielder), Ólafur Karl Finsen (winger) and Rolf Toft (former AaB Danish striker).