The traditional pre-season poll of captains and coaches ahead of the new term in Iceland suggests FH Hafnarfjördur will be the team to beat when the campaign starts on Sunday.
With pre-season friendlies inconclusive, the only result anyone had to go on when making predictions for the season was that of the 'Champion of Champions' match, where 2014 league title winners Stjarnan beat cup holders KR Rejkjavík, 19-year-old Thórhallur Knútsson scoring the late winner.
FH have finished first or second in the table for the past 12 years, but have won nothing in the last two campaigns. However, the signings of ÍBV Vestmannæyjar's Thórarinn Valdimarsson, Bjarni Vidarsson – back from Silkeborg IF in Denmark – and defender Gudmann Thórisson, late of Swedish side Mjällby AIK, have convinced many they have the makings of a championship-winning side.
"This forecast is only for fun but we are not surprised to be top of it," FH coach Heimir Gudjónsson said. "FH always aim for first place and there is no need for any further incentive – we take care of that. Even though we have not won a title in two years we have been doing good things. We lost some good players and got some other strong ones instead, but we realise that with so many changes it may take time to get us playing smoothly."
Stjarnan caught the imagination by reaching the UEFA Europa League play-offs last August, losing to FC Internazionale Milano, and have been rated the second-most-likely team to take the title. "We hope we will peak at the right time, but we just have to see how we get on in the first game," said coach Rúnar Sigmundsson. "A lot of teams will have a shot at the title because the division is closer than ever; Breidablik, Valur, Víkingur and Leiknir could all spring a surprise."
Stjarnan's star player last term, goalkeeper Ingvar Jónsson, has left for Norway's IK Start, with team-mates Martin Rauschenberg, Rolf Toft and Niclas Vemmelund also departing, but Halldór Björnsson – back from Sweden – and former Motherwell FC custodian Gunnar Nielsen have filled in some key gaps.
Cup winners KR came third in the pre-season poll, with 2014 surprise package Valur fourth. In the past eight campaigns, five different clubs have won the league. Who will do it this time remains anyone's guess.
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