Danish Superliga Stadiums & Stats

Denmark Football Flag
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The Danish Superliga, or Superligaen to give it its native title, is the top-flight division in the Danish football league system. It is also one of the youngest leagues in Europe, being formed officially in 1991 as a replacement for the old Danish First Division. Fourteen teams compete to become the champions of Denmark, with two teams suffering relegation at the end of the season and being replaced by two teams from the second-tier.

As is the case with the likes of the Polish league and the Bulgarian league, the structure of the league in Denmark isn’t all that easy to understand. Thankfully we’re here to take the stress out of it for you, so you can just read our explanation and pretend you’re an expert. We’ll also give you some information on the history of the league itself and how it came to be. First, though, we’ll tell you about the sort of stadia you can expect to encounter if you go to watch live football in Denmark.

Buckle up.

Stadium Stats

Stadium Year Opened Capacity Ave Attendance Record Attendance Record Attendance Match
Parken Stadium
FC Copenhagen / Denmark
1992 38,065 14,523 42,083 Denmark v Sweden (2007)

Team Stats

Team Year Founded Nickname Team Owner
FC Copenhagen 1992 Byens Hold (The Team of the City), Løverne (The Lions) "Byens Drenge" (The Boys of the City) Parken Sport & Entertainment

Danish Superliga Stadiums

Denmark’s population is around 5.6 million. That means that, despite football being the national sport, the stadiums you’ll find in the country aren’t exactly huge. In fact, the largest ground in the country by some distance is Telia Parken, where both the national side and FC Copenhagen play their games. The capacity there is a little over 38,000, which gives you some idea of what we’re talking about.

Telia Parken Netherlands FC Copenhagen
Thue C. Leibrandt [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

When it comes to the Superliga, there two teams that are considered to be the most popular in the country; the aforementioned FC Copenhagen and their main rivals Brondby IF. Unsurprisingly these two teams have the largest grounds, with Brondby’s stadium capable of welcoming just shy of 30,000 supporters on match day. The majority of the rest of the stadiums in the top-flight can host about half of that, with AGF Aarhus’ Ceres Park the next largest with a capacity of 20,032, to be precise.

In terms of style Danish stadia tend to be an interesting mix. They mostly favour function over form, with a good number of them opting for the ‘English Style’ of having separate stands in line with each side of the pitch. Some follow the more typically ‘European Style’ of having continuous seats running all the way around the perimeter of the playing surface, whilst others go for a halfway house of individual stands with seats filled in in the corners.

About The League

The Danish Superliga sits at the top of the pyramid and has a system of promotion and relegation in place with the 1st Division, which contains twelve teams. Together with the third level of the Danish football league system, the 2nd Division, which is made up of three leagues with eight clubs in each, these three divisions are known as the Danmarksturneringen, or Denmark Tournament. The fourth-tier is called the Danmarksserie, or Denmark Series. This consists of a pool of three different leagues made up of fourteen clubs in each. Below that is what is imaginatively known as the Lower Divisions, with hundreds of clubs making up the numbers.

Top clubs in Denmark tend to have a second team. These are able to enter into the Danish football league system but are generally unable to advance past the Denmark Series. There are exceptions, however, with eight second squads from the Superliga allowed to go into the 2nd Division. Interestingly, if the first team squad is relegated from the Superliga then the second squad gets knocked out of the 2nd Division, irrelevant of how well it has done in the season. Should the second squad win the league but not be able to be promoted, the next placed team that is eligible will go up a league instead. That means the same team can win the Denmark Series and the 2nd Division numerous times in a row.

Exhasperated Footballers Denmark
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The Superliga used to be nice and simple to understand, with the twelve clubs playing each other three times to decide who would win the championship and be crowned the overall winners. For the 2016-2017 season, the league was expanded to include fourteen teams and the format has quickly gone bonkers. Now each team plays each other once at home and once away in a standard league format. At the end of the normal season the top six teams enter a championship play-off, playing each other twice more. The team that finishes top after that is the Danish champion and enters the UEFA Champions League competition in the second qualifying round. Second place goes into the Europa League in the first qualifying round, whilst the third place team enters a play-off for another Europa League spot.

The remaining eight teams in the league enter a qualifying play-off. That is split into another two groups. One group contains the teams that finished 7th, 10th, 11, and 14th and the other has the 8th, 9th, 12th and 12th placed teams. They play a home and an away match against the other teams in their group and the top two teams from each group go into a knockout tournament against each other with two-legged matches. The winner of that mini-tournament plays the third-placed side from the top group to decide about that remaining Europa League spot we mentioned. The bottom two teams from each of the groups enter an even more confusing play-off for relegation. Honestly, it’s absolutely insane and too complicated to explain here. Put it this way, at the end of the season there are still fourteen teams left in the Superliga.

Danish Superliga History

From 1945 until 1991 the top-flight of Danish football was the 1st Division. Then, at the start of the 1990s, the Superliga was formed and the 1st Division suddenly became the second highest league in the country. Whilst the Superliga is made up entirely of professional clubs, the 1st Division is a mix of both 100% professional teams and some semi-professional ones.

When the new league was formed in 1991 it had just ten teams competing in it. To begin with it was a nice simple league where everyone played everyone else twice and the winners won the title. Then it was decided to stretch the league out over two years and introduced a convoluted system that saw some teams cut out of the division at the halfway stage, points tallies cut in half and a 32 game season resulting for the rest of the teams still in the running. Thankfully this was abandoned ahead of the 1995-1996 season and the league was increased to twelve teams who played each other three times.

The new look league lasted twenty years, with each team playing three times and the winners becoming champions. The bottom two teams were relegated and everyone understood what was going on at all times. The change to the insane system introduced for the 2016-2017 season is yet to be completely taken on board by all concerned. The most successful team in the Superliga at the time of writing is FC Copenhagen who have won the league twelve times.