The most successful clubs in Sweden
For decades, Sweden has been the powerhouse of Scandinavian football. Constantly producing stars like Henrik Larsson and Zlatan Ibrahimović, you will always see the familiar yellow and blue kit at every major international tournament. For them to reach that stage though, they need a strong domestic scene to harbor and nurture future talent before moving overseas. Whilst on first look, the Swedish Allsvenskan may not seem all-conquering but it is a competitive league that has never truly been dominated by one club for decades on hand. With that in mind, just who are the most successful clubs in Sweden?
Orgryte (12 titles)
Historically, Orgryte were the first true powerhouse in Swedish football. This can be seen in just how many trophies they won in the pre-World War era. When the Swedish league was first founded as the Svenska Masterskapet (Swedish Masters Cup) in 1896, it was the Gothenburg-based side that won the first 4 editions of the tournament. Despite slight setbacks in 1900 and 1901, Orgryte owned the next decade winning 7 titles between 1902 and 1913. With an amazing record of 11 titles up until the start of World War 1, the club would fail to follow up on that success after such turbulent years. In fact, they have only won 1 top flight title since then – wining the 1985 Allsvenskan title memorably beating cross-town rivals IFK Gothenburg 6-5 on aggregate. With the club now sitting in the second tier Superettan, Orgryte have some work to do to reclaim the buzz of yesteryear.
Djurgardens (12 titles)
The oldest team in Stockholm, Djurgardens have enjoyed several distinct waves of success down the years. In fact, Djurgardens’ main success can be broken down into three main eras. Their first bolt of success came in the 1910s where they won the 4 times between 1912-1920 as the country avoided the worst of World War I. It would be after World War II where they would enjoy their best run of form during the 1950s and 1960s winning 4 league titles during this golden era. This boom came with much of the squad heavily featuring in the Sweden side that shone in the World Cup including on home soil in 1958. After clinching their eight title in 1966, they would not win another league trophy until the 21st century. However, Djurgardens were the team to beat in the 2000s winning the Allsvenskan in 2002,2003 and 2005. After their latest success in 2019, it shows that DIF are still going strong to this present day.
AIK (12 titles)
For AIK fans, success is often not far out of the reach of the club. The Stockholm-based side were hugely successful in the first half of the 20th century as they alternated winning titles with cross-town rivals Djurgardens throughout the 1910s. After amassing 6 titles in this era, they would go onto to enjoy more success in the 1930s winning the league title in both 1932 and 1937. They would go on a lean spell for decades until the club re-emerged as a dominant force in the 1990s. This included narrow league victories in 1992 and 1998 to move them into double figures for trophies. The story was far from over though as AIK continued to push forward and would claim two more titles in the 21st century winning the Allsvenskan in 2009 and 2018. Tied level with their arch-rivals Djurgardens on league titles, the drive for more success looks set to drive this rivalry forward throughout the coming years.
IFK Norrkoping (13 titles)
Sometimes, smaller teams prove that you don’t need endless resources to win silverware. A great example of this is IFK Norrkoping. Based in the small city of Norrkoping, VitaBla emerged from the post-war years as the hottest side in the country. They proved this in a golden run from the 1940s through to the 1960s where they won 11 titles in this period. This included a stunning 4-year title haul from 1945-1948 before adding another back-to-back defence in 1956 and 1957. Despite some lean years, the club have still shown they can occasionally outshine the bigger clubs. This included a big league win in 1989 before they repeated the feat in 2015 outlasting bigger rivals such as AIK and IFK Goteborg. It’s proof that smaller sides can take it to bigger teams when everything lines up in their favour.
IFK Goteborg (18 titles)
Arguably the most famous side in Sweden, IFK Goteborg have got a rich trophy collection to show off to their fans. Having won a few league titles in the early and mid-20th century, Gothenburg’s main side are still known for their exploits throughout the 1980s and 1990s. During the 1980s, IFK Goteborg were one of the top sides throughout Europe. They won 4 titles in the 1980s including three straight wins from 1982 and 1984. This was backed up by Blavitt also winning two UEFA Cup trophies at the time too – in 1982 and 1987 – becoming the only Nordic side to lift a European trophy. This success overflowed into the 1990s where they won four titles from 1991-1995. The 21st century hasn’t been as kind to Goteborg who have failed to win the Allsvenskan since 2007 but it always feels like a trophy is never too far away at the Gamla Ullevi.
Malmo FF (22 titles)
For all the success other sides have found in Sweden, no one has done this as consistently as what Malmo FF has. Malmo has always found ways to reinvent themselves and find success no matter what decade they were in. They proved this in the 1940s and 1950 winning 5 titles from 1944-1953 but their best form was to come later. Firstly, there were almost untouchable in the 1970s winning five titles that decade including successful defences in 1970-1971 and then 1974-75. They would also own the modern-day game as well picking up multiple trophies in recent years. This included 4 titles in 5 years from 2013-2017 before making successful defences in 2020 and 2021. That recent haul has made Malmo the most successful side in Swedish history and it’s a trend that look set to continue for the foreseeable future.