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Nõmme Kalju vs. FC Levadia, derby preview

Angelo PalmeriComment

Another round, another Tallinn derby. The venue will be the same, Hiiu Stadium, as this time Nõmme Kalju will take on 2013 Champions FC Levadia for what will be the spotlight of matchday 5 in Premium Liiga


The last-second equalizer scored by Prosa was a setback for Kalju as admitted by Captain Bärengrub himself. However, it's in the difficulties that a team shapes. 

Nonetheless, the controversy risen in the post-match interviews might have brought a bit of debate within the changing room between the veterans and Igor Prins.

Prins preferred not to talk to the press at the end of the game.

His only words were released to ETV, the Premium Liiga official broadcaster.
Upon question whether Kalju's physical condition lowered in second half (hence, a need for earlier changes), Prins denied that this could have been the reason.

Words clashing with Bärengrub statement: 'we needed fresh forces'  pronounced while the 47-years-old coach observed the Captain being asked questions about the game.

The distant conflict of visions has certainly been discussed. Bärengrub is not anyone from the squad, he is the Captain, one of the oldest players in terms of age and the player with most appearances in Nõmme Kalju. His word in the changing room matters, also in front of the coach.

The game against Levadia will oblige Prins to introduce changes under that point of view.
Looking at the previous 4 games, most of the substitutions were made in the last 15 minutes of the game (6 out of 8 including Mööl replacing Prates last Saturday on 87' minutes). The 2 exceptions were made in the game against Paide when Kalju was already leading in first half.
The season will be long and logorating if we consider the European summer campaign that expects Kalju as protagonists after last season exploit.

On with 4-2-3-1 and a more offensive attitude

Facing Levadia, might push Prins for a more offensive game as in previous clashes, it was Levadia's trait to wait for Kalju to develop their game and then strike in counterattacks. A change of attitude that might bring back to the pitch either Toomet or Mööl with the latter in slight advantage after a goal scored with the double team in an Esiliiga-A tie against his former side FC Kuressaare.
If Prins will be more concerned about containing Omar El-Hussieny, he might resort once and again to use Prates on the right flank.

The remaining XI should not go under any change with same 4-2-3-1 formation.

Key-man: Allan Kimbaloula
If a more offensive attitude will be taken, he can certainly be more of a protagonist than he was last week. On his side Pavel Marin (not in his role as right flanker) might have a bit of problems. Last year he scored a goal in the last clash at Kadriorg for the Premium Liiga title.

Ken Kallaste should recover from the small injury suffered in the derby against Flora. He was hit on the same leg he suffered a long injury from during the pre-season, however it seems he shall make it for Saturday as the entity is quite little. Damiano Quintieri still on the mend, in a month time he shall be able to ponder whether he is ready to step back on the pitch or not. Probably some warm-up games with the lower tempo of the Esiliiga-A double team might help him regaining confidence.

Previous game on RdS
Kalju vs. Flora
Kalju vs. Infonet


Once the shocking start was absorbed, it looks like Levadia have got back into track.

If the 8-0 win against Kalev  accounts more for a training game than a real competitve match, the 2-0 win over Tartu Tammeka shall be the sign that the 2013 Champions are back in business.

However, don't get illuded. Marko Kristal was not too impressed with the display. Besides a tiny result with a drop zone club (Tammeka had lost 3-0 to Flora and Infonet in the previous two matchdays) achieved in first half, Kristal was quite critical at his side's attitude during all the game: ''this is not the level we are able to play'' cut it short in post-match interviews ''we didn't play our game and we suffered their tempo''

Kristal lamented his players were kind of choosy when coming to which game give their best and which not. A risk they shall not take against Kalju: the game is per se motivating to give the maximum possible. In fact, if Levadia's season has not taken off yet, this is the the great chance for doing it as both the Champions and the runners-up are levelled at 7 points, 3 short of Flora.

On with 4-4-2 after experimental 4-4-1-1 with Rättel left flanker
Kristal has done few changes to the initial XI that lost to Paide. The most notable is Pavel Marin having permanently replaced Igor Subbotin on the right flank over the past two games.
The Levadia nr.10 seems to have fallen once and again off the coach's grace as he was confined to the double team. Igor scored an hattrick in 6-2 win against Pärnu Linnameeskond in the last Esiliiga side.
Will this be enough to convince Kristal to bring him back into the XI? Marin has done well in adapting to the right flanker role (he is a central midfielder), however entrusting Subbotin of that side might give more sharpness against the Kimbaloula-Kallaste axis.
Vukobratovic has been entrusted the deep-lying midfielder role once belonging to Dmitrijev.
After being sidelined, Rättel has finally found his role back into the attack delivering already 4 goals (Levadia's topscorer) including the winning brace against Tammeka. With Teever alternating fortunes in the box, Artur can really deliver during this season. Artur himself recognized in an interview given to 'Jalka' that what he has lacked most in his career so far, it has been stability. It might be the good season considering Rimo Hunt left and he needs to feed his hopes to move abroad. Hopes that could have already concretized earlier hadn't he prolonged his contract with Levadia: ''he could have already brought me somewhere'' told Rättel to 'Jalka' speaking of his new agent, Jonne Lindblom, who's got under contract Siim Luts and Henrik Ojamaa ''but prolonging the contract was my choice. I was scared. I knew what happened before at Levadia with transfers and contracts prolongation. I felt that maybe that was not going to be good for me, I could mentally break down even more''.

Key-man: Artur Rättel
Artur, with his speed and unpredictability, will certainly create trouble to Bärengrub&Co. The possibility to count on Teever as sparring partner, might open him inviting spaces. His constant movement along the forward line might compel full-backs (Śisov and/or Kallaste) to double teaming.

Levadia's infirmary is empty.

Previous game on RdS
Levadia vs. Tammeka
Kalev vs. Levadia
Levadia vs. Sillamäe
Levadia vs. Paide

Clashes in Premium Liiga:
Kalju's wins: 5
Levadia's wins: 11 
Draws: 8
Goals scored by Kalju: 22
Goals scored by Levadia: 41
Most prolific Premium Liiga scorer(s) in Kalju's rows: Tarmo Neemelo150 goals
Most prolific Premium Liiga scorer(s) in Levadia's rows: Ingemar Teever 117 goals

Kalju's and Levadia's topscorers of all times in Premium Liiga, Tarmo Neemelo and Ingemar Teever, were together at TVMK in 2005 (second row, first and second from left - outtake from 'Eesti Jalgpall 2005') - can you spot also Kalju's shot stopper Vitali Teleś?

Kalju's and Levadia's topscorers of all times in Premium Liiga, Tarmo Neemelo and Ingemar Teever, were together at TVMK in 2005 (second row, first and second from left - outtake from 'Eesti Jalgpall 2005') - can you spot also Kalju's shot stopper Vitali Teleś?



The game will be decided in the midfield
Those who will gain supremacy there, they will have the control of the game. Vukobratovic will go under the stress test of Estonian international Martin Vunk and the start-of-season revelation, Reginald. Additionally, Hidetoshi Wakui might be do the same 'dirty job' he did with Luigend last week: deep-lying when not in possession to take space away from the Croatian midfielder. In this sense Antonov mobility will be paramount to creat numerical superiority. 
The other neuralgic zone of the pitch will be Kalju's right side where Śiśov will have to face Omar El Hussieny supported by Artur Pikk. 
On the Levadia's right flank troubles might come from Kallaste and Kimbaloula overlapping each other, Pavel Marin might be caught in the middle and reveal inadequate to cover Podholjuzin. We would not be surprised if Kristal would copycat his friend Prins and rather place Anton Raudsepp there with more defensive tasks. If each defense are adequately ready to face the physical challenge posed by Neemelo on one side and Teever on the other, Artur Rättel could be the one creating several headaches.


The game will be officiated by Kristo Tohver. The Estonian international referee (he has whistled a game in Champions League preliminaries and and 4 games in Europa League) has been refereeing in Premium Liiga for five seasons collecting 88 matches altogether. He has shown the yellow card 315 times, meaning 3,5 times a game (32 red cards, a 0,36 per game average).

The first assistance will be Silver Kõiv and the second one Neeme Neemlaid.

Also for this derby, the penalty box referees have been assigned: Hannes Kaasik and Margus Kotter.
The 5th official will be Eiko Saar.

All is ready at Hiiu to stage the second derby clash in a row in Nõmme (Nõmme Kalju Facebook)

All is ready at Hiiu to stage the second derby clash in a row in Nõmme (Nõmme Kalju Facebook)


The game will be held at Hiiu Stadium, in Tallinn's district of Nõmme where the club is based. Last time it was in October 2011 and the game ended with a 1-1 draw (the opener by Jüri Jevdokimov, was levelled by Janar Toomet, then at Levadia).
Quite curiously, the referee back then was also Kristo Tohver.

Kick off at 16:00 EET.

The game will be available on live streaming at ETV here

After the 1,226-people crowd, Nõmme Kalju are aiming at bringing the same amount of audience if not more.

The facility would normally contain 300 people in the covered only stand, however the club has built an additional stand for 800 people that allows the capacity to go over a thousand.
The club is visiting Nõmme schools to give out passes to the game.

Ticket price at the entrance is 10€, 2,5€ if bought earlier via Piletilevi ticket system (here), 3,5€ if participating to the Facebook event .

Children up to 6 years get in for free accompained by adults.
2,5€ for pensioners and children between 7 and 14 years of age.

Nõmme Kalju are organizing entertainment at the game with two DJ's mixing (DJ Slam and DJ Rami), dance team performance and Eno Lints skilful free-style tekkers.

Entrance open at 15:00 EET.

Match report will be available here.

Statistical sources: and