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Roger Ljung

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Roger Ljung
Personalia
Birthday 8. January 1966
Birthplace Lomma, Sweden
Size 188 cm
Position Left defender / Midfield
Juniors
Years Station
Lunds BK
Men
Years Station Games (goals)1
1983–1984 Lunds BK 47 0(9)
1985–1989 Malmö FF 53 0(4)
1989–1990 Young Boys Bern 29 0(4)
1990–1991 FC Zurich 33 0(0)
1991–1993 FC Admira Wacker 81 (26)
1993–1994 Galatasaray SK 25 0(2)
1994–1995 MSV Duisburg 13 0(0)
National team
Years Selection Games (goals)
1988–1995 Sweden 59 0(4)
1 Only league games are indicated.

Roger Ljung (born 8 January 1966 in Lomma, Sweden) is a former Swedish footballer. The midfielder participated with the Swedish national team in two World Cup and one European Championship finals. He won the Swedish and Turkish championship titles once each, and the Swedish national cup once.

Career

Career start and title wins in Sweden

Ljung started playing football at the age of six with Lunds BK, as the nearest club, GIF Nike, did not have a youth team of that age. Here he progressed through the various youth teams and made his debut for the club’s men’s team as a teenager. Playing alongside future international Leif Engqvist, he missed out on a place in the second division at the end of the 1984 season, finishing thirteenth in the table.

The duo had attracted attention at the top level, with Ljung joining the Allsvenskan shortly after Engqvist signed for Malmö FF. He came on as a substitute in the team coached by Roy Hodgson, which finished the 1985 season in first place in the regular league table before falling to IFK Gothenburg in the semi-finals of the championship final. The following season, he continued to make only sporadic contributions to winning the championship alongside Ingemar Erlandsson, Jan Möller and Jonas Thern. It was not until the 1987 season that Ljung made his breakthrough with Malmö FF. He benefited from the injury problems of Hans Borg and Magnus Andersson. As a regular player, he again took the team to the final of the Swedish championship. With top scorer Lasse Larsson, Stefan Schwarz and Joakim Nilsson, he missed out on the championship after a 1-0 defeat and a 2-1 home win on the away goals rule.

Nevertheless, Ljung had played his way into national coach Olle Nordin’s notebook. On 12 January 1988, in a four-nation tournament in the Canary Islands, he made his debut in the national jersey in a 4-1 win over the GDR national football team, as Jonas Thern, who scored twice, Peter Truedsson, Stefan Rehn and, on the opposite side, Andreas Thom got on the scoresheet. Three days later, he added a goal from Thern in a 1-0 win over Finland to win the tournament. He was also part of the winning side at the four-nation tournament held at Easter 1988, alongside Glenn Strömberg, Mats Gren and Robert Prytz. That summer he was also included in the squad that reached the quarter-finals of the 1988 Olympic Games under coach Benny Lennartsson.

After finishing first in the 1988 regular season with Malmö FF, he won the Von Rosens Cup for the national championship title for the first time with the club alongside Niclas Nylén, Jonas Thern or Martin Dahlin after victories over Örgryte IS and Djurgårdens IF. In the summer of that year, he celebrated his second title win with Malmö FF when they beat Djurgårdens IF in the final. Shortly afterwards he left the club and his home country.

Years abroad

Ljung moved to Switzerland in the summer of 1989 and signed a contract with BSC Young Boys. His compatriot Tord Grip, who was in charge of the Swiss club, had brought the midfielder to the Bernese club. After being replaced by Pál Csernai, he left the club after just one season. In the summer of 1990, was part of the squad of the Swedish selection at the World Cup finals in Italy. He was only on the pitch for the opening 2-1 defeat to Brazil, and was on the substitutes’ bench for the two defeats to Costa Rica and Scotland.

Ljung moved within Switzerland to FC Zurich, who had been promoted to the National League A. Alongside Beat Studer, Augustine Makalakalane, Christoph Gilli and Vincent Fournier, he was one of the club’s regulars who, after only three wins in the regular season, had to compete with the club in the promotion and relegation rounds. There, seven wins without defeat saw the club finish top of the table to stay in the division. Nevertheless, he moved on after one season and left Switzerland after two years.

Ljung moved to the neighbouring Alpine republic of Austria and joined FC Admira Wacker in the summer of 1991. With coach Sigfried Held, he played alongside Dietmar Kühbauer, Olaf Marschall, Wolfgang Knaller and Peter Artner in the final of the ÖFB Cup against FK Austria Wien. A goal from Valdas Ivanauskas just before the final whistle meant he and the club were beaten 1-0 by the champions, who went on to win the double. Before taking the club to the 1992/93 European Cup Winners’ Cup, he took part in the 1992 European Championship with the national team. There he surprised with the national team and reached the semi-finals alongside Tomas Brolin, Anders Limpar and Joachim Björklund. It was there that he made his tournament debut, deputising for the yellow-capped Patrik Andersson in the match against Germany. However, he could not prevent the 2:3 defeat against the eventual runners-up of the European Championship.

In the 1992/93 Austrian championship, Ljung finished third in the table with his club. The highlight of the season, however, was the clash against Belgian representatives Royal Antwerp in the second round of the European Cup. The Austrian club travelled to Antwerp with the burden of a 4-2 home defeat in the first leg and were already 2-0 down at the break. A sensational second half saw them score four goals away from home to force extra time. There they conceded the 3:4 and were eliminated from the competition despite a sacrificial fight.

Ljung had also made a name for himself outside the German-speaking world. In the summer of 1993, he moved to Turkish club Galatasaray Istanbul. At the reigning national champions, he successfully defended the title alongside Hakan Şükür, Falko Götz, Bülent Korkmaz, Reinhard Stumpf and Uğur Tütüneker. Following the season, he participated in his third tournament with the national team. As a regular player, he played in all seven games of the national team during the tournament. In the opening 2-2 draw against Cameroon, he scored the first goal for the northern Europeans when he scored to give them a 1-0 lead at the interval. After finishing third at the end of the tournament, he and the national team were awarded the Svenska Dagbladet gold medal.

Shortly before the start of the tournament, MSV Duisburg surprisingly announced the signing of Ljung. However, he hardly found his feet in the Bundesliga. He made just 13 appearances in the season alongside Stefan Böger, Joachim Hopp, Peter Közle, Rainer Schütterle and Oliver Westerbeek. At the end of the season, he and the club were relegated to the second division.

After the end of his career

After six years abroad, Ljung returned to Sweden. Although he had several offers to continue his career in the Allsvenskan, he ended his active career. He initially worked with Italian player consultant Vincenzo Morabito before setting up his own player agency in Landskrona under the name Roger Ljung Promotion AB.

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