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Toppserien: A beginner’s guide

Bangers all damn day in Norge.

LSK Kvinner v Trondheims-Orn - Norwegian Cup Final Photo by Trond Tandberg/Getty Images

Norway’s Toppserien (the top series) is back this weekend. It returns a week later than Damallsvenskan and in many ways is very similar to the Swedish league, so here’s a quick beginner’s guide to the league.

Four years older than Damallsvenskan, Toppserien has been around since the mid-80s but through a combination of apathy and apathy from other people, has been left to stagnate a little. However, a recent partnership with OBOS has seen some much needed love relished upon the league with more money funnelled in for clubs as well as grassroots.

Of the 12 teams in the league, none operate on a “full time” basis but with the sponsorship, each can have one “full time day” a week which is a considerable step forward. However, LSK and Vålerenga have kept themselves a nose ahead; Vålerenga notably have a strong partnership with their male counterparts.

Much like the Swedish league, Toppserien has a strong history of attracting players from around the world but, very much serves as a home for Norwegian players and contributes heavily to the national team. Unlike their Swedish neighbours, the league doesn’t have a streaming service available for those outside of the region and has in recent seasons moved from YouTube to Direct Sport - however, you need a Nordic phone number to sign up. Some matches are shown on NRK (and the NRK website), and all highlights are swiftly uploaded to the Toppfotball Kvinner channel.

The league is very southern-heavy and can easily be spit between the Oslo side of the country, with seven teams (if you include league newcomers, Fart) and the Bergen side (four) with Trondheims-Ørn left floating off north of everyone. Only three teams have been in Toppserien for all 33 seasons, T-Ø, Klepp and LSK (who have undergone more than one name/ownership/location change).

Although it’s one of the more underloved leagues in western Europe, the standard is still good (though not exceptional), there exists a huge amount of talent, and holy hell, do you get some ridiculously good goals week in, week out. If there was ever a league worth watching for the bangers alone, it’s Toppserien.