Little Mermaid – F.C. København vs. Brøndby





One of Europe’s newest derby games has also become one of its loudest and most colorful.

Copenhagen, the large urban Danish capital, is known for its wonderful sights and an association with the great Hans Christian Andersen. This is the city where the author now rests since his death in 1875.  

His body now lies in the Assistens Kirkegård near the area of Nørrebro not too distant from the location of today’s Derby match.

If Andersen was Denmark’s international treasure so the Copenhagen derby match between FCK and Brøndby has become the key treasure in Denmark’s football calendar.

The roots of the rivalry sit in FCK’s foundation in 1992.

With its emergence as the dominant club in Denmark so a fierce rival for the once powerful Brøndby was born.  However, FC Copenhagen are far from a wholly new institution with the club having roots in two earlier Danish clubs Kjøbenhavns Boldklub and Boldklubben 1903.

FC Copenhagen are then a sort of amalgamation of these historical Danish domestic clubs.

The Telia Parken originally named just Parken, was built on the site of former Denmark national stadium the Idrætsparken. FCK now own the stadium and it is where the Danish national team play matches.  

In the Parken FCK have a modern home fit for top class football.

Roots of the Rivalry

A growing sense of bitterness has emerged between the two clubs. This game has become known for a backdrop of constant bickering between fans in the run up to matches as much as for its explosive atmosphere.

For FCK fans Brondby are the club from the unfashionable Copenhagen suburbs.

Brøndby fans meanwhile counteract this jibe with accusations that FCK themselves have roots in the suburbs of the city. They have a point as both Boldklubben 1903 and BK Boldklub originated in the outer municipal areas of Copenhagen.

Boldklubben 1903 for example played regularly in the Glentofte commune.

KB one of the forefathers of FCK, were once Denmark’s most successful and titled club.  

Despite the success attendances were low at the club with barely 1,500 regularly attending even for derby matches against Lyngby, Brøndby and BK 1903. The attendances at club matches were in complete contrast to the matches of the Danish national team which enjoyed an incredible run of success from the 1980’s onwards attracting huge numbers of fans.

The home of the Danish team was the Idrætsparken or as it is known today the ‘Parken’.  At this stadium the likes of Preben Elkjaer, Allan Simonsen and Michael Laudrup brought Danish football into the modern era culminating in the national team being crowned UEFA European championship winners in 1992.

By 1990 plans had been afoot for a remodelling of the Idrætsparken.

In September 1992 the newly crowned UEFA European Champions welcomed Germany to the new stadium for an international challenge match which they would lose 1-2.

In 1994 the Parken was the venue for the UEFA European Cup Winners Cup final between Arsenal and Parma.  Six years later Arsenal played Galatasaray in the same stadium losing on penalties in a game remembered for off the field violence.

The story of Brøndby IF started in 1964 but it was not until 1985 that they would appear in UEFA competition.  

A period of great success followed with the club dominating the Danish Super league never finishing lower than second up to 1992. During this time success was built around key members of the 1992 European Championship winning side amongst them Kim Vilfort, John ‘Faxe’ Jensen and Peter Schmeichel.

After the highs of its first 40 years so the period since the inception of FCK has been somewhat traumatic for Brøndby. The club have repeatedly came close to going bankrupt and performances on the field have been poor.  As if that was not enough to deal with so other sides like AaB Aalborg, Odense, Nordsjaelland and FC Midtjylland have growth in esteem.

The New Firm of Danish Football

The Copenhagen derby is now Danish football’s top grudge game with the fixture witnessing a number of flashpoints come matchday.  Despite the trouble around the stadium in recent years things proved to be calm on this occasion and only 2,500 Brondby fans are expected to be inside the stadium come kick off.  

An organized choreographed march of visiting fans from the center of the capital is outlawed by the police and a local council due to fears of trouble.

As it turned out the start of the match was delayed by 8 minutes as a huge stream of multi coloured smoke emerged from amongst the FC Copenhagen fans.  A succession of blue, black and white smoke bombs in conjunction to flares meant that the players and a live television audience were made to wait before play could commence.

The occasion was added to by the color that came from the visiting end with Brondby flags and streamers being released alongside the use of flares, smoke-bombs and drums.

So before a ball had even been kicked both sides of the Copenhagen divide had been eager to out do each other inside the stadium. These were multi-layered no expense spared tifo displays with flags, smoke bombs and flares.

It ensured that the pre-match display was one of huge entertainment and value to the occasion.

When play did commence the Superliga clash did not disappoint for sheer intensity and drama.

The home side took the lead just before half time thanks to a super finish from Daniel Amartey.  

The real noise though came when Brondby IF equalized just after the break and this unleashed an outpouring of tensions in the visiting end. Such was the surge forward the netting behind the goal was torn down and the electronic advertising boards knocked over by fans.  Some fans ran onto the field of play before order was restored.

The excitement did not last long with FCK retaking the lead through Nicolai Jorgensen and captain Thomas Delaney sealed the win with a late turn and finish.  Stale Solbakken’s team with this win managed to keep pace with runaway Danish league leaders Midtjylland,

It ended 3-1 for the home side.

This was an occasion fit for any stadium full of vivid color and unending passion and noise. A large number of pyrotechnics were set off and from the word go it was noise and chaos amongst both sets of fans. 

The goals scored were met with an outpouring of passion and celebration.

Yet, despite all the dire warnings beforehand, it’s hard to detect that there was much hatred in the air more just new modern footballing rivalry no different to what you may find anywhere. Despite having very little history compared to Europe’s better known derby matches it is impossible not to recommend this game as one of European football’s most unique football occasions.

See some photos from the derby here.

This first appeared in March 2015 @