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Premium Liiga - 2014 calendar

Angelo PalmeriComment

The waiting time is over.

Well, we still have one month and a half ahead of the kick-off day (1st of March) however we already have something to wonder about: the calendar.

The Premium Liiga official website has published already the schedule for the upcoming season. RdS offers a brief analysis of the calendar.


Matchday 1 - soft start for the big ones except Kalju

Aleksandr Puśtov, coach at FC Infonet, has declared that they are not going to be the tourist of the winter indoor tournament. Certainly they are not going to be anything like that in the upcoming season.
The Leshkin's club plans are ambitious: a new sporting director employed with the likes of Dmitri Skiperski, several interesting trials, Tanel Melts from Kalju just signed yesterday.

Altosar has not been falsely modest: they want to be protagonist and they see an opportunity for a European place in the Estonian Cup.


The start for the 2013 surprise package will be 2012 Champions and 2013 runners-up Nõmme Kalju FC (as according to the renewed name).

Handicap or advantage?

Certainly Tanel Melts himself will have a lot of open accounts to close with his former club even though he declared that he just wishes them luck and it was what it was. A gentleman behaviour, however we are sure he will not make any discount to his former teammates once on the pitch. 1st of March is already flagged in his calendar.

Kalju will arrive at the kick-off time with a team undergone a bit of a makeover. The midfield will be completely new as both Eino Puri and Yankuba Ceesay are gone. Hidetoshi Wakui is also very likely to have concluded his stint at Kalju last season.
Considering last year start, having to deal with an ambitious side as Infonet was not the best of the draws possible.

The Estonian Champions of Levadia will instead take on Paide Linnameeskond.
Maximum respect for the Central Estonia side, however Rooba's squad has completely changed following several players departing (some moved to Australia - among those one of the most positive of 2013, Lauri Varendi - some retired - captain Carl Tubarik).
Facing a solid side like Levadia, it will be a huge task for 'Paidelona'.
With the transfer window still open (15 days to go) everything can happen at Levadia: if Artjunin is more likely to stay, Dmitrijev and Kruglov might have still the opportunity to relocate abroad. More delicate the situation of Rimo Hunt: during a trial in Germany, he picked up an injury which might compromise his season preparation besides any chance of moving elsewhere.

If Levadia will arrive to the 1st of March with the same squad as 2013, the start should be quite soft for Kristal's side.

Another easy task it is the one waiting Sillamäe Kalev at home against Kalev Tallinn.
The situation at the 'Kalevlased' (the Tallinn ones) is quite known: most players of last season have departed, some loans could be confirmed (Kukebal) and the main asset, Tarmo Rüütli, is there. However the first friendly game turned into a loss with relegated FC Kuressaare.
A lot of work ahead for the former Estonian national team coach. Trying to make points in Sillamäe will be quite hard. Sillamäe are only getting stronger after signing goalkeeper Lavrentjev from Paide and they are determined to be protagonist. Good luck with that.

Away trip for another Tallinn side, Flora.
They will baptize Lokomotiv Jõhvi debut in the Premium Liiga.
Unless the young side coached by Hurt will complicate their life in Eastern Estonia, it should be an interesting game with Flora overlapping the newly promoted side coached by Viktors Nesterenko.

Tammeka vs. Narva Trans it has been moved to May due to weather conditions: snow has fallebnalready and temperatures dropped below zero over the past day. In Tartu there are no artificial turf pitches to use for the initial part of the season.

Obviously it is not only the weather the main issue in Tartu as the financial part of the club is on the mend and many players from last year (Tenno, Tiirik and some youngsters on trial in Germany) are due to leave. Some fans have been fearing that the club might not have the chance to start the season; the Estonian FA have warned the club to proceed to a rebalancing; the property has claimed that they will be ready for the kick-off.

Tammeka debut is delayed to a week later in Tallinn, at Sportland Arena against FC Infonet, an arduous task.
Narva Trans will also debut in Tallinn, same venue, against Kalev Tallinn: the game will tell if the Eastern Estonia side has recoved from illness and can stably be in the top 5 for next season.

 

Tallinn's derbies

The spiciest part of the meal is when one of the three bigs from Tallinn (Levadia, Kalju and Flora) square up for city challenges with the others.

The very first confrontation will be on Matchday 4 when Nõmme Kalju will host (at Hiiu Staadion?) Flora. It will be the 22nd of March, a day after spring official start.
Do not get carried away as temperatures will still be frosty.


A week later, 29th of March, Kalju will host Levadia for the first seasonal challenge.
Last time it was 2-1 win for Kristal's men in Kadriorg. The Kruglov late goal gave the 'Levadiakad' the title. A chance for claiming revenge for the 'pink panthers'

As it happened last season, the mini-tournament of derbies will close with Levadia vs. Flora on the 5th of April.  Flora have never won last season with Levadia and, unless they will managed to in the Supercup game (end of February, date to be defined), they will try to seek points with the eternal rivals and break 2013 Premium Liiga spell (4 games 4 losses against the 'greens')
 

Sillamäe, the loose canon

After last season's third place, Ratnikov has been clear: we will compete for the title.
The ambition has been shown on the transfer window and the squad can count on last season's solid results. It will not be easy for anyone to face Sillamäe this season.
Levadia will have to deal with them immediately on Matchday 2 when the 'longshoremen' will travel to Tallinn, troubles on sight.
In the last two matchdays of the first round (8th  and 9th) they will first pay a visit to Kalju and then they will receive Flora (end of April). They will certainly try to travel back with some points in their tally.

Celebrating the title away (again)?

Unless Sillamäe will confirm the ambitions, the winner should come out of one of the big three from Tallinn (in order of best chances to win): Levadia, Kalju and (a while after) Flora.
Quite curiously, all of them will play the last matchday (36) away from the capital: Flora to Sillamäe, Kalju to Tammeka like last season (in Elva? In Valga?) and Levadia to Narva.

Midweek matchdays and breaks

Once into May, the calendar will get very tight.
First midweek matchday will be 23rd-24th of May (14) giving us an enthusing Levadia-Kalju at Kadriorg.
The start of June will feature a break for the international duties.
Premium Liiga will resume on the 7th of June with Ida-Virumaa derby, Narva-Sillamäe.
It is just the prologue of Matchday 15 stretched out until the 10th of June when Flora-Kalju will take place in A.LeCoq Arena.

Only two matchdays (16th and 17th) before Jaanipäev (Midsummer) break.

The resume will be on the 5th of July when the clubs busy in Europe (Levadia, Kalju, Sillamäe and another one to be defined) will already know their opponents for Champions and Europa League ties starting on the same month.

Other midweek matchdays: 25 (mostly on Monday the 19th) 29 (on Tuesday the 16th of September) .

Other breaks: first week of September, second week of October as Estonia will start the Euro2016 qualification campaigna (draw of the group in February).

RdS will follow all the season, stay with us!

Pictures from: kristianroos.blogspot.com, Delfi.ee, Soccernet, FC Infonet and FC Kuressaare.