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Premium Liiga 2015 guide: FC Flora

Deni DelevComment

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Story and facts in brief

It's the most-titled club in the history of Estonian football after regained independence. In the past, it constituted the feeder of the national team. The president of the club is Aivar Pohlak, Estonian FA chairman. After one year break, they are back to European competition and will play in the qualification rounds of Europa League. They have never been relegated and they have competed in all the seasons of Meistriliiga-Premium Liiga since 1992. 
Notable former players are Martin Reim, Mart Poom, Marko Kristal, Raio Piiroja, Indrek Zelinski, Andres Oper and Henri Anier.

FC Flora are celebrating their 25th birthday and have so far won 9 titles.

The green-whites from Tallinn have the most loyal fan group and the greatest support when playing in front of their home crowd (in 2014 they had total of 13 453 visitors or an average of 747 visitors per game).

Transfers (full stories here)

Even Mart Poom has been included in the 25 years celebrations during an event held in January

Even Mart Poom has been included in the 25 years celebrations during an event held in January

ARRIVALS
Mihkel Ainsalu (EST - CMF, Nõmme Kalju)
Richard Aland (EST - GK, Nõmme Kalju)
Gert Kams (EST - RB, SJK, FIN)
Madis Vihmann (EST - CD, FC Levadia)
Sakari Tukiainen (FIN - FW, Atlantis FC, FIN)
Enar Jääger (EST - RB/CB, free agent)


DEPARTURES
Karol Mets (EST - CD, FK Viking Stavanger, NOR)
Stanislav Prins (EST - GK, suspended for matchfixing until 5.12.2018)
Sander Post (EST - FWD, Viljandi Tulevik)
Erkki Junolainen (EST - LB, free agent)

Gerdo Juhkam (EST - CB, Viljandi Tulevik)
Ragnar Piir (EST - CB, on loan to Viljandi Tulevik)
Karl-Ivar Maar (EST - AMF, on loan to Viljandi Tulevik)
Erkki Kubber (EST - AMF, on loan to Viljandi Tulevik)
Taavi Rähn (EST - CD, FC Levadia)

Coach: Norbert Hurt (confirmed)

Registered players on Premium Liiga website

Double Team

Realistic target for 2015

Enar Jääger is Flora's top signing for season 2015 (Janek Eslon / FC Flora Facebook)

Enar Jääger is Flora's top signing for season 2015 (Janek Eslon / FC Flora Facebook)

After leading for a big part of the season, finishing third left a bitter taste in the mouths of Flora’s players and staff. That is why they took their job seriously and tried to fill in the gaps as early as possible.

Karol Mets left and it definitely is a big minus for Norbert Hurt, but Ainsalu, Kams and Vihmann were brought in and they can all be potential replacements for the Estonian international. Sakari Tukiainen, top scorer in Finnish third tier, was brought in to bring alternatives in the front line and Richard Aland was 'hijacked' from Kalju and is expected to be the first choice for Hurt in the upcoming season for the goalkeeping position.

The usual suspects, Logua and Alliku are expected to take most of the workload this season, but the captain Andre Frolov, who had excellent preseason, should definitely not be forgotten, as well as the old/new signing Gert Kams.

It is clear that Flora are always aiming high and that surely will be the case this season as well. Seven wins in seven games in the preseason preparations might not mean anything if they don’t manage to transfer that form in the competitive games, but their dedication so far shows that they can expect big things this season and serious push for the title.

Rising stars

Joseph Saliste enjoyed a successful season with Flora II, can he emulate that form with the first team? (foto: FC Flora FB)

Joseph Saliste enjoyed a successful season with Flora II, can he emulate that form with the first team? (foto: FC Flora FB)

It will definitely be difficult to find someone to fill Mets’ place, but as mentioned before, Hurt didn’t waste time and brought in replacements. Madis Vihmann might be expected to take on the central back position. The 19-year old played 31 games for Levadia II last season and 2 games for the first team of the Estonian champions before making transfer to Flora.

Another player who could expect more minutes and bigger impact is Joseph Saliste. The 19-year old midfielder was standard in the double team of Flora, scoring a total of 10 goals during the campaign.

Joosep Juha is the last player that could expect more chances in the new season. The robust central defender even played two games for the first team last season (against Kalju and Tammeka) and proved that he is ready to make the next step.

The Finnish goal scoring machine will try to prove his worth and bring the title back to the A. Le Coq Arena (foto: fcflora.ee)

The Finnish goal scoring machine will try to prove his worth and bring the title back to the A. Le Coq Arena (foto: fcflora.ee)

Added value

The name of Sakari Tukiainen should be seen on the scoring lists more often than not. The Finnish 23-year old set an all-time record with 40 goals in 27 games during last season for Atlantis FC (Kakkonen, Finnish third tier) and showed good connections with the other Flora forwards during the New Year’s tournament. His physical presence will cause trouble in the opponent’s box and if he manages to bring the goal scoring form from Finland, he could prove to be the signing of the season.

by Deni Delev