Mikael Forssell

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Mikael Forssell
Forssell signs autographs Weiden.jpg
During Birmingham City's pre-season tour, 2004
Personal information
Full name Mikael Kaj Forssell
Date of birth (1981-03-15) 15 March 1981 (age 33)
Place of birth Steinfurt, West Germany
Height 1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current club HJK
Number 9
Youth career
1994–1997 HJK
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1997–1998 HJK 17 (1)
1998–2005 Chelsea 33 (5)
2000 Crystal Palace (loan) 13 (3)
2000–2001 Crystal Palace (loan) 39 (13)
2003 Borussia Mönchengladbach (loan) 12 (7)
2003–2004 Birmingham City (loan) 32 (17)
2004–2005 Birmingham City (loan) 4 (0)
2005–2008 Birmingham City 65 (13)
2008–2011 Hannover 96 44 (7)
2011–2012 Leeds United 15 (0)
2012– HJK 29 (15)
National team
1999– Finland 86 (29)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 12 April 2014.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 09:08, 12 June 2013 (UTC)

Mikael Kaj Forssell (born 15 March 1981) is a Finnish footballer who plays as a striker[1] and for the Finnish national team.[2] He is currently playing for HJK.

Forssell began his professional career in 1997 for HJK, having progressed through the team's youth teams, but he only remained at the club for a single season, making 17 league appearances, before he moved to England to join Chelsea in 1998. He never broke into the Chelsea team (making 33 league appearances in seven years), and spent two loan spells at Crystal Palace, one at Borussia Mönchengladbach, and two at Birmingham City. He switched permanently to the latter club in 2005, but injury problems restricted him to 65 league appearances in three seasons. He joined German side Hannover 96 in July 2008 on a free transfer, but once again struggled with form and injury problems, and he left the club in 2011, having made 44 league appearances. This was followed by an unsuccessful season back in England, this time with Leeds United; 15 league games failed to yield a single goal. Forssell returned to current club HJK in October 2012.

Forssell made his full international debut for Finland in 1999, and has been a regular player for his country in almost every year since; the one exception being 2012, where he didn't make a single appearance. He has 86 caps for his country, and has scored 29 goals; making him the sixth most capped Finnish player, and his country's second highest goalscorer.

Club career[edit]

Born in Steinfurt,[3] Germany, and considered one of the most talented Finnish footballers of all time, Forssell made his Veikkausliiga debut for HJK at the age of just 16.[2]

Chelsea[edit]

His goal-scoring form for Finland's youth teams made him a target for a host of Europe's top clubs, and in 1998, the 17-year-old striker was snapped up by Chelsea[4] who at the time were managed by Gianluca Vialli. He made his debut as a substitute against Arsenal[5] and then three days later, Forssell made his start for the club when he scored two goals against Oxford United.[6] His first league goal came three weeks later, when he scored against Nottingham Forest.[7] However, when Chelsea signed Chris Sutton for £10 million, Forssell was loaned out twice to Crystal Palace[8] of the then First Division, scoring 16 league goals in just over 50 appearances.[9]

Forssell found it hard to find a place in the Chelsea first team with Gianfranco Zola, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Tore Andre Flo and Eidur Gudjohnson, who were all ahead of him in the pecking order.[7] After initially impressing new manager Claudio Ranieri scoring in four consecutive games,[10] he was sent out on loan again and had spells at Borussia Mönchengladbach[11] of the German Bundesliga and twice to Birmingham City of the Premier League. Forssell scored seven Bundesliga goals for Mönchengladbach in the spring of 2003 and then 17 Premier League goals for Birmingham in the 2003–04 season (more league goals than any other Chelsea player), during which he was the division's joint fourth highest goalscorer. He was named Premier League Player of the Month for March 2004,[12] a month in which he scored twice in a 4–1 win against Leeds United.[13] He finished the season with 17 Premier League goals for Birmingham.[14]

He returned to Birmingham on loan for the 2004–05 season,[15] but suffered the second serious knee injury of his career.[16] He returned to Chelsea to recuperate, and made occasional appearances for Chelsea that season,[17] playing against Bayern Munich in the Champions League[18] and in the last home match, against Charlton Athletic, as Chelsea celebrated winning their first top-flight title for 50 years.[19]

Birmingham City[edit]

In the summer of 2005, Forssell joined Birmingham on a three-year deal for a fee of £3 million, after Chelsea decided that he did not figure in their long term plans. He struggled in the 2005–06 season, not having found his best form after his injury, and could not save Birmingham from relegation. Forssell suffered another cruel injury blow to his other knee during training in October 2006. This left him on the sidelines until he returned to training in February 2007 after undergoing operations on both knees. He remained at Birmingham to have another go at resurrecting his career.

His 2007–08 pre-season performances were good, he scored five goals in five games. His manager, Steve Bruce, was enthusiastic about his return to form. He continued his good form into the start of the season, scoring the opening goal of the match against Chelsea and consolidating his good form with two assists in the next three matches. He scored his first hat-trick at club level on 1 March 2008, in the 4–1 win over Tottenham Hotspur, a so-called "perfect hat-trick" – one goal scored with the left foot, one with the right, and one with the head.[20] In his final season at Birmingham, he finished the season as their top scorer with nine goals as the club were relegated from the Premier League.[21]

Hannover 96[edit]

In May 2008, following the club's relegation from Premier League, Forssell signed a pre-contract agreement to join Hannover 96 on a free transfer when his Birmingham contract expired at the end of June. His contract with Hannover ran out at the end of the 2010–11 season.[22][23]

On his pre-season debut for Hannover, he scored 10 goals including an eight-minute hat-trick in one friendly game against amateurs FC Boffzen. The game ended up as a 23–0 win.[24]

Leeds United[edit]

After leaving Hannover when his contract expired at the end of the 2010–11 season, Forssell had trials with clubs including West Ham United[25] and Leeds United[26] of the English Football League Championship (second tier). On 8 September he returned from international duty with Finland to sign a contract with Leeds until the end of the 2011–12 season.[1] Forssell was handed the number 18 shirt and took his place on the bench two days later against his former club Crystal Palace. He came on as a second-half substitute to make his Leeds debut and assisted Ross McCormack for their winning goal in a 3–2 victory.[27] He came on as a substitute against fierce rivals Manchester United in a 3–0 League Cup defeat.[28]

After mainly being used as a substitute and failing to score a single goal for Leeds, Forssell was told by Neil Warnock that his one-year contract wouldn't be renewed at the end of the 2011–12 season and that he would be released from the club at the expiry of his contract.[29]

Return to HJK[edit]

On 29 October 2012, it was announced that Forssell would be returning to Finland after spending 14 years abroad, signing a two-year contract with his former club HJK.[30] On 22 April 2013, Forssell opened the scoring by a header, in a 2−0 away win over rivals Honka. He finished the season with 14 league goals, being the clubs best goalscorer as HJK won their fifth consecutive championship.

International career[edit]

Forssell has been a regular for the Finnish national team for most of the 2000s. He played his first match for Finland on 9 June 1999 against Moldova, and scored his first goal on 28 February 2001 against Luxembourg. He has often partnered Jari Litmanen.[31] Forssell also played for Finland in the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship.

Forssell has scored two hat-tricks for Finland. On 7 September 2005, in Tampere, he scored three goals against FYR Macedonia in qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. On 17 November 2010, Forssell scored three of Finland's eight goals against San Marino in the Euro 2012 qualifying.[32]

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

HJK Helsinki

Career statistics[edit]

International goals[edit]

Finland's score given first. As of 26 March 2013.[2]

International[edit]

As of 17 June 2013[9]
Finland national team
Year Apps Goals
1999 1 0
2000 7 0
2001 9 6
2002 2 1
2003 9 4
2004 3 1
2005 7 3
2006 6 1
2007 7 1
2008 8 1
2009 6 1
2010 7 5
2011 9 2
2012 0 0
2013 5 3
Total 86 29

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Leeds United sign striker Mikael Forssell for the season". BBC Sport. 8 September 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "Mikael Forssell" (in Finnish). Suomen Palloliitto (Football Association of Finland). Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  3. ^ Von Holthaus, Marius (12 August 2008). "Mikael Forssell, der Fußballstar aus Steinfurt" (in German). Münstersche Zeitung. Retrieved 30 May 2011. 
  4. ^ "Chelsea FC squad 1998–1999". en.eufo.de. Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  5. ^ "FACTFILE: Mikael Forssell, striker". Helsingin Sanomat. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  6. ^ Tongue, Steve (4 February 1999). "Football: Oxford buried by Forssell". The Independent. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Barker, Kelvin. "Mikael Forssell: Biography (part 1)". Football Heroes. Sporting Heroes Collection Ltd. Retrieved 23 September 2011. 
  8. ^ "Mikael Forssell". Hannoverscher Sportverein von 1896 e.V. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Mikael Forssell at National-Football-Teams.com
  10. ^ White, Clive (16 February 2002). "Forssell is hungry for action". The Telegraph. Retrieved 31 January 2013. 
  11. ^ "Forssell joins Mönchengladbach fight". UEFA. 30 January 2003. Retrieved 26 March 2013. 
  12. ^ Luckings, Steve (2 April 2004). "Forssell scoops player award". Sky Sports. Retrieved 17 October 2008. 
  13. ^ "Birmingham 4–1 Leeds". BBC Sport. 27 March 2004. Retrieved 23 September 2011. 
  14. ^ "Mikael Forssell joins Birmingham City on three-year contract". HELSINGIN SANOMAT. 13 June 2005. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  15. ^ "Crocked Forssell eyes Birmingham return". Daily Mail. 29 September 2004. Retrieved 23 June 2013. 
  16. ^ "Knee injury to keep Forssell out of football for six months". HELSINGIN SANOMAT. 23 September 2004. Retrieved 30 August 2013. 
  17. ^ "Summary of Season 2004-05". bounder.friardale.co.uk. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  18. ^ "Chelsea 4-2 Bayern Munich". BBC SPORT. 6 April 2005. Retrieved 16 October 2013. 
  19. ^ Barker, Kelvin. "Mikael Forssell: Biography (part 2)". Football Heroes. Sporting Heroes Collection Ltd. Retrieved 23 September 2011. 
  20. ^ "Mikael Forssell routs Spurs". The Sunday Times. 2 March 2008. Retrieved 2 March 2008. 
  21. ^ Tattum, Colin (16 May 2008). "Birmingham City begin contract talks with Mikael Forssell". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 23 September 2011. 
  22. ^ "Alex wishes Forss well". Birmingham City F.C. 2 June 2008. Retrieved 2 June 2008. 
  23. ^ "Forssell completes Hannover deal". BBC Sport. 30 May 2008. Retrieved 30 May 2008. 
  24. ^ "Forssell scores 10 goals on Hannover debut.". ESPN Soccernet. 12 July 2008. Retrieved 30 May 2010. 
  25. ^ "Sam ready for Saturday". West Ham United F.C. 29 July 2011. Retrieved 30 July 2011. 
  26. ^ "Forssell has his trial extended by Grayson". Yorkshire Evening Post. 19 August 2011. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  27. ^ "McCormack seals United victory". Leeds United A.F.C. 10 September 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2011. 
  28. ^ "United slip out of Cup". Leeds United A.F.C. 20 September 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2011. 
  29. ^ "ELEVEN TOLD THEY CAN GO". LUFC. 2 May 2012. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  30. ^ "Forssell palaa vahvistamaan mestaria" (in Finnish). HJK. 29 October 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  31. ^ "Kun Jari Litmanen ja Mikael Forssell tulivat vaihtoon, Suomi joutui vaikeuksiin" (in Finnish). Urheiluviikko. 22 February 2009. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  32. ^ "Euro 2012 Qualifier: Finland 8–0 San Marino: Hat-Trick Hero Mikael Forssell Fires Hosts To Emphatic Win". Goal.com. 17 November 2010. Retrieved 29 February 2012. 

External links[edit]