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Villa draw Fimleikafélag Hafnarfjarðar


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In today's UEFA Cup draw Villa drew the Icelandic mouthful that is Fimleikafélag Hafnarfjarðar. Or Hafnarfjordur for 'short'.

On paper they were the 4th weakest team we could have drawn, although they have already hammered Luxembourg side Grevenmacher 8-3 on aggregate. However, in theory we should be quite happy with this draw.

They do have relatively recent history against British opposition in Europe when they dumped Scottish side Dunfermline out of the UEFA Cup 3-2 on aggregate in 2004. So they might be 'minnows' but they're no certainly no mugs.

Hafnarfjarðar won the Icelandic league for 3 years on the trot from 2004 thru 2006 and are currently top of the league this season too, 13 games in (they beat 3rd place 4-0 in their last league match). The reason they are in the UEFA Cup and not the Champions League qualifiers is because last season was an uncharacteristic blip. They only finished 2nd behind Valur of Reykjavik albeit by a solitary point.

Their main striker is Tryggvi Guðmundsson once of Stoke City and now 34 years of age. He scored 2 of the 5 in the 2nd leg against Grevenmacher and has 41 international caps. He has scored prolifically wherever he has been (except actually in Stoke) and has better than 1 in 2 for Hafnarfjarðar. Other prominent players in the team include Atli Björnsson a striker/winger and Guðmundsson's strike partner the 31 year old Atli Guðnason who also seems to score more than his fair share (he got 2 in the same game). In fact, looking at it, aswell as their 8 goals against Grevenmacher, Hafnarfjarðar seem to be very heavy scorers in general.

They hail from the town of Hafnarfjörður (notice the subtly different spelling :)) on the Southwest coast of Iceland and the town has a population of just over 25,000. From googling it on the net, the away fans are in for a spectacular looking place when they get there.

You would have to be confident of progressing into the 1st round proper, all things considered. The draw could have been much tougher on us. Some media outlets are suggesting the draw was also kind on Manchester City despite City actually drawing one of the toughest teams they could have got. If I had to guess I'd say it's because some people just hadn't heard of Midtjylland before.

Anyway, the first leg of our tie is currently** in Villa Park on Thursday, August the 14th with the away leg 2 weeks later.

** Both Aston Villa and Hafnarfjarðar have requested that the venues be switched for these legs meaning Villa would travel to Iceland first. They are both asking their respective FA's and a decision will be made asap. Story here

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