Football Two games and more than 5,500 kilometers of travel in less than 90 hours – HJK arriving in Baku can’t easily get in the middle of a match

HJK will be a guest of Azerbaijani champion Neftç on Tuesday night.

Saturday In the league match in Töölö, the Helsinki Football Club, which faced SJK, will have to take action again on Tuesday night – almost 3,000 kilometers from home.

On Monday afternoon, HJK flew to the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku, where it will face local main series champion Neftç in the third qualifying round of the Europa League.

In the match pair, the place is a place in the playoff round of the Europa League qualifiers, which would at the same time mean a secure group stage place, at least in the new Conference League.

Read more: The last lottery of HJK’s euro qualifiers has been thrown, the victory leads to Töölö Fenerbahçe and Mesut Özil

Finland the weather of recent weeks has served as an exercise in the heat that greeted HJK in Baku. During the day, the temperature in the city on the shores of the Caspian Sea has risen to about 34 degrees Celsius in recent days.

Fortunately, HJK’s match on Tuesday will not start until nine o’clock local time, ie at 20:00 Finnish time. At that time, the thermometer readings should already fall well below 30 degrees.

The match will be played on natural grass at the approximately 11,000-seat Bakcell Arena, which HJK got to see about a day before the match.

“In these matches, we try to train during the match so that we get used to the evening kick-off and the temperature during the game in the evening,” says HJK’s physics coach Niklas Virtanen To HS from Baku by phone.

“It’s good that the sun has time to set here, when the temperature drops quite a bit.”

“The private plane allows for such schedules as well as more supportive travel.”

On the current, head coach Toni in Koskela and the rest of the coaching team has had something to do lately to keep the player load from getting too high.

Virtanen says that individuals who play a lot go at least one day to recover after the games and one to prepare before the games.

“Then it can be calculated that if there are only two or three days between games, nothing else can be done terribly,” Virtanen says.

“Players like this. They do this to play, and are the highlight of the season when you play a lot. But after all these tough periods, we have Europels four weeks behind and another four weeks ahead. ”

After the game in Baku, the team will dine and fly to Helsinki immediately at night so that the preparation for Saturday’s KTP away game does not suffer.

“A private plane enables such schedules as well as travel that better supports recovery,” says Virtanen.

HJK suffered at least two setbacks last week after both Atomu Tanaka that Markus Halsti injured and are on the sidelines for a long time. SJK in the match preview HJK said Tanaka is on the sidelines for the rest of the season.

Virtanen says that the injuries of both were due to tackling. He emphasizes that for three months the team did not have any muscle injuries, but the injuries have been due to contact situations.

As a counterweight to the ranks, players are also returning soon. Head coach Koskela said during the SJK game that Janne Saksela is close to fitness, Kevin Kouassivi-Benissan is recovering from the effects of the corona and also Santeri Väänänen has gotten to practice.

On Tuesday, Saksela is available. At the beginning of the SJK game, his route was knocked out Valtteri Morenin According to Virtanen, the fight is against time, and his fitness only becomes clear on the day of the game.

HJK’s supporters are already waiting for the patrol on the field Tim Sparvia. The captain’s contract with HJK was announced in the second week, and at that time Sparvin was estimated to be a few weeks away from play.

“The hard wish and goal is that we get Tim on the field in a HJK shirt as soon as possible,” Virtanen is content to say.

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