Season review: Sweden

Helsingborgs IF completed a glittering season in style by lifting the Swedish Cup, having already won the Super Cup and claimed their fifth Allsvenskan title with three rounds to go.

Helsingborg's May Mahlangu was a worthy winner of the player of the year award
Helsingborg's May Mahlangu was a worthy winner of the player of the year award ©Getty Images

Helsingborgs IF completed a glittering season in style by lifting the Swedish Cup earlier this month. Having already taken possession of the Super Cup and the Allsvenskan, the showpiece victory meant the southern team became the first to win the three Swedish trophies in the same year.

The champions: Helsingborgs IF
Just like the previous season, Conny Karlsson's charges made the early running in the Allsvenskan, winning their first four matches. Unlike the previous year, however, Helsingborg maintained their furious pace and kept the chasing pack at bay until the end. Their achievement was all the more impressive for the succession of injuries midway through the campaign that might have undermined their title tilt. Forwards Rasmus Jönsson and Alexander Gerndt also left for VfL Wolfsburg and FC Utrecht respectively, while centre-back Markus Holgersson also joined Gerndt at the Eredivisie club.

The cup final: Helsingborgs IF 3-1 Kalmar FF
This was without doubt Helsingborg's year. After cruising to the league title, the Swedish Cup was also lifted to complete a clean sweep of domestic titles. "We've won everything that you can win in Sweden in a season," said Karlsson, whose team kicked off the campaign by obtaining the Super Cup. "Of course, you can match it, but you can't do any better."

The European places
Helsingborgs IF – UEFA Champions League qualifying
AIK Solna – UEFA Europa League qualifying
IF Elfsborg – UEFA Europa League qualifying

The surprise package: AIK Solna
After winning the title in 2009, AIK fell apart the following year. Out of the rubble, new coach Andreas Alm rebuilt AIK into a working unit. Sierra Leonean strike duo Mohamed and Ibrahim Teteh Bangura played a key role in the club's runners-up finish, terrorising opposing defences before moving on to Celtic FC and Bursaspor respectively.

The player of the year: May Mahlangu (Helsingborgs IF)
The 22-year old showed plenty of promise in 2010 after moving to Helsingborg from his native South Africa and this year he delivered handsomely. The midfielder's tireless running and cunning footballing brain drew comparisons with Jonas Thern, Sweden's midfield general of the 1990s. Unsurprisingly, Mahlangu received the award for Allsenskan player of the year.

The one to watch: Mervan Celik (GAIS Göteborg)
Though still only 21, Celik completed his fourth Allsvenskan season with GAIS this year and his progress in 2011 was impressive. The wide attacking midfielder found the net 14 times and made his debut for Sweden's Under-21 side, scoring twice in a 4-1 defeat of Norway.

The leading scorer: Mathias Ranégie (BK Häcken/Malmö FF) 21

The Ups and downs:
Promoted: Åtvidabergs FF and GIF Sundsvall
Relegated: Halmstads BK and Trelleborgs FF

The number: 22
Defeats suffered by Halmstads in 30 league matches, leaving them bottom of the table from start to finish.

The quote:
"We're not up to Allsvenskan standard. As things are, we might manage to secure a spot in the relegation play-offs."
Helsingborg veteran Erik Edman, in January, 2011