The two offensive players were crucial for Kjetil Knutsen to win Glimt their third Norwegian Eliteserien championship in the space of four years.
It has been another great season for Bodø/Glimt who have won their third Norwegian Eliteserien championship in the space of four years. This is a team expertly coached and who have developed a brilliant transfer strategy of selling and then replacing players at the ideal time. Their squad is excellent and quite rightly star man Amahl Pellegrino grabs all the plaudits. The veteran attacker scored 23 goals and provided 14 assists, but it’s worth looking at two other players who have made a significant contribution: Faris Moumbagna & Albert Gronbaek.
The striker position has changed hands in recent years for Glimt. Erike Botheim led their line so well in 2021 but a combination of Victor Boniface and Runar Espejord wasn’t quite good enough last year. Boniface was eventually sold, and it was clear that Glimt were in search of a power-horse physical forward who could lead the line for them this year. The surprising answer was to take a player from relegated club Kristiansund to do the job!
There was nothing remarkable about Faris Moumbagna’s metrics or stats last year to suggest that he could help propel the team from the Arctic Circle to another Eliteserien crown. Just 5 goals in 14 appearances for Kristiansund in the previous campaign was hardly remarkable, albeit in a poor team that got automatically relegated. The physical side of Moumbagna is impressive. He’s 185cm tall and has a beast of a frame, strong and hard to fend off. Now at 23 years old, he is at the stage of his career where he develops quickly, and he has been in the perfect environment to thrive.
His role in this Bodø/Glimt 4-3-3 system has been to lead the line in central areas, avoid going wide and simply score goals. Sometimes operating as a poacher, his frame and dynamics are different from most other players in the team. He brings a more brutal and bullish element to the side. Moumbagna averaged 2.20 shots per 90 mins but had an xG per shot of 0.25 which was the highest of anyone in his position playing significant minutes. In the last calendar year, he has scored 100% of his goals inside the penalty area and has an overall shot accuracy of 45% which is quite strong. He has ultimately done the job he was brought in to do, and that is to score regular goals.
The other player who has played a big part in the success of Bodø/Glimt this season is attacking midfielder Albert Gronbaek. He has always been a higher-profile player for Glimt. Signed in the summer transfer window of 2022 from Danish club Aarhus, he cost them a sizable £3.20m which is a significant sum of money for any Norwegian club to pay. His appearances for the remainder of last season were more impressive in European competitions but he has seriously stepped up in this title-winning campaign.
Gronbaek has been a dual threat for both goals and assists. By netting 9 times and supplying 6 goals AND having the xG and xA metrics to back this up suggests he’s been one of the key players in the whole league for 2023. His numbers have been excellent and Gronbaek ranks in the top twenty for shots, shot assists, crosses, offensive duels, dribbles and progressive runs for players operating in a similar position. He has been an all-round metrics monster and established himself as one of the greats in this Glimt team.
Operating as one of the two attacking midfielders in the Glimt 4-3-3 system, Gronbaek has been fielded slightly on the left-hand side and can regularly be seen cutting inside on his strong right foot. 116 out of the 125 shots registers in the last calendar year have come from his right boot so he has a clear preference in this category. Gronbaek’s biggest threat is scoring goals and getting into a position to fire in attempts. His 2.40 shots per 90 mins average is greater than a lot of strikers and opponents must be wary of his ability to find the back of the net.
With a 40% accuracy ratio, he can be extremely dangerous, especially as he will often take on lower xG opportunities. He possesses excellent technical and individual skills to strike a ball sweetly. From outside the penalty area, 25% of his attempts tested the goalkeeper.
Gronbaek is also known for his fantastic dribbling skills. With a 61.6% success rate in the final third over the last calendar year he was one of the best and notable at this in the Eliteserien for 2023. With nearly a 70% success rate against fellow central midfielders, this was clearly an area in which he had a significant edge.
The future looks extremely bright for a player who is only 22 years old. He has a lot of strings to his bow, for example ranking 5th best for deep completions out of all midfielders in the Eliteserien this season. He looks like the next potential cab off the rank in this Glimt conveyor belt of talent. They should make a good profit on him should the offers come in because all eyes will be on this player come the January transfer window.