The club has emerged from the shadows of its city rivals IFK Göteborg to become the number one club in both Gothenburg and Sweden.

Last season in Sweden we saw a new name enter the history books. For the first time in their 83-year history, BK Häcken won the Allsvenskan league title - Swedish football’s biggest prize.

They did it in sumptuous style, too. The club has emerged from the shadows of its city rivals IFK Göteborg, Gothenburg’s true powerhouse, as well as other historically big clubs in the city such as Orgryte IS and GAIS, both of whom have fallen on hard times, to emerge as the number one club in both their city and Sweden more widely.

Häcken’s title was sealed in perfect style. They traveled across town to destroy rivals IFK Göteborg 4-0 in their own backyard like David striding into the mighty Goliath’s lair and striking him down with a fatal blow. There is no better way to win a championship.

Häcken have been recently involved in UEFA Champions League qualifiers. They had the chance to enter the Champions League group stages for the first time ever, although they failed to prevail on the surprising Faroese side KÍ Klaksvik. They recently completed the sale of their best forward for a club record fee to Premier League club Sheffield United. And they have done it all by playing a high-energy, exciting brand of attacking football masterminded by their manager Per Mathias Høgmo.

This is the rise of BK Häcken and a look at some of the stars and the statistics behind their climb to the top.

A simple look at Wyscout data from last season and we can see the team’s strengths. Häcken’s success was based on a fast-paced, attractive style of play that focused on scoring goals, goals, goals.

Manager Høgmo took over the club in June 2021. At the time, Häcken had become a struggling outfit looking unexpectedly down at the relegation zone after a poor year. Høgmo came in, and just over a year later made them champions for the first time ever.

Scoring 69 goals in 30 games, Häcken boasted by far the league’s best goalscoring record and expected goals (65.54).

BK Hacken's xG data from the 2022 season

They were not necessarily a possession-dominant side, averaging 53.3% possession (5th highest). But their strength was in fast-paced attacking football, both in transitions and counter-attacks. This offensive style showed by the fact they topped Allsvenskan for total dribbles and take-ons per 90 with a stunning 26.6 1v1s per 90 minutes.

BK Hacken's dribbles data from the 2022 season

A look on Wyscout shows what Häcken did best: over the course of the season they restricted their opponents to a reasonably low xG whilst overwhelming them at the other end of the field with an average of 15.67 shots per game.

BK Hacken's data from the 2022 season

Høgmo’s title-winning team are one that play in phases. They are comfortable territorially, keeping the football with their high-quality possession-happy midfield players. But they can also allow you the ball, press high and transition rapidly through their dazzling wide players and forwards.

An example of this came in Häcken’s championship-clinching performance against rivals IFK Göteborg: you can see from the graphic below how their possession varied at different times of the game yet they kept scoring goals no matter the possession state, happy to press and catch opponents off guard or keep the ball themselves and create.

BK Hacken's possession vs IFK Goteborg - 2022 season

This ability to play almost any style of play is one of Häcken’s key strengths.

Carrying this skill on into this season, we saw another remarkable example of their resilience in and out of possession this past weekend in a huge top-of-the-table clash against Elfsborg. Despite going down to ten men before halftime due to a straight red card, Häcken dusted themselves down, switched to a 5-3-1 formation that involved as low as 28% possession at one point - and still scored three goals to win the match 3-1.

BK Hacken's possession vs Elfsborg - 2023 season

The team is composed of a solid goalkeeper (Peter Abrahamsson) and two strong center-backs (Even Hovland and Simon Sandberg/Tomas Totland/Johan Hammar), full-backs (Kristoffer Lund and Valgeir Fridriksson) who can attack, overlap and get crosses into the box, a dominant midfield trio of the Gustafson twins, Simon and Samuel - a rarity in football seeing two brothers in the same team - and Mikkel Rygaard, all three of them key players.

In attack, a devastating mixture of speed, strength, pace, trickery and goalscoring prowess has come in the form of a core of about five players over the past two seasons - Alexander Jeremejeff the team’s top scorer in the championship season (22 goals), Ibrahim Sadiq, Lars Olden Larsen and Benie Traore.

BK Hacken's ideal lineup from last season

It almost feels like a trick of the mind to look back in hindsight and see that Benie Traore was not at all involved in Häcken’s title-winning season. A leg break meant the exciting Ivorian talent missed the entire 2022 season, and his explosive return in 2023 almost makes Häcken’s 2022 title win even more impressive, knowing that they did it without such a quality player.

Since returning to fitness Traore has hit 12 goals in 14 games this season to earn a move to Sheffield United, who are now back in the Premier League. His dynamism, energy, speed, dribbling, and sharp finishing skills are all attributes that led the newly-promoted Blades to pay roughly £4M plus add-ons for the young Ivorian’s services. “A historic sale” as Häcken’s sporting director Martin Ericsson described it.

Traore's shot data from Wyscout Player Report

Traore averaged 2.54 shots per 90, 4.46 touches in the box per 90, 2.95 dribbles per 90 and a remarkable 0.82 goals per 90 in 2023 - comfortably the best in the league. It’s a blow for Häcken to lose him but the fact they can attract a record fee from a Premier League club tells you everything you need to know about the rise of Hisingen - and currently Sweden’s - finest, BK Häcken.

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