The goalkeeper of the Russian national team has problems in Europe. The champion team is crumbling

Anatoly Romanov

Anatoly Romanov

How does Nikita Khaikin play in Bodø-Glimt?

Khaikin’s statistics in Bodø-Glimt sank significantly. But it’s not his fault.

The Norwegian “Bodø-Glimt” became, perhaps, the main sensation of the last European season. This team, which is played by Russian goalkeeper Nikita Khaikin, was talked about after she defeated Roma in the group stage of the Conference League – 6:1. In the playoffs, Bodø-Glimt continued to surprise: first knocked out Celtic, and then AZ from Alkmaar. In the quarter-finals of the LC, the Norwegians again got to Roma and in the first meeting on their field they again outplayed the star company of Jose Mourinho (2: 1). By mid-April, the unbeaten streak of Kjetil Knutsen’s team in all tournaments was 35 (!) Matches. And it was interrupted only in the return game in Rome: Bodø-Glimt was defeated with a score of 0:4.

Cherchesov is one step away from relegation from the Champions League.  The Russians outwitted the former coach of “Saturn”
Cherchesov is one step away from relegation from the Champions League. The Russians outwitted the former coach of “Saturn”

At the end of 2021, Bodø-Glimt won the championship gold for the second consecutive season. In May 2022, Khaikin could replenish his collection of trophies with the Norwegian Cup – the “yellow horde” reached the final, where they met with their main competitor Molde. But no luck here. Bodø-Glimt lost 0-1, conceding the only goal from the penalty spot. The club has not won a cup competition since 1993.

By this point, Knutsen’s team had already begun to lose something in their game. Between the losses to Roma and Molde, the first defeat in the new championship happened – from Viking (0:2). And today it is not the only one in the league. “Bodø-Glimt” lost on the road to the same “Molde” (1:3) and “Odd” (2:3). Now, after 14 rounds, the current champion is only in fourth place, eight points behind the duo of leaders, however, when playing in reserve.

Three defeats and 18 goals conceded in one round is too much, because last season Bodø-Glimt had the same three defeats and 25 goals in the whole championship. Accordingly, Khaikin’s reliability index also dropped sharply. If last season the candidate for the Russian national team beat off, according to InStat, 80% of the blows, then this season – only 72%. Obviously, the problem is by no means only in the decline of Nikita. The whole team began to defend worse, so the goalkeeper had a big load.

At the same time, it cannot be argued that Bodø-Glimt was dismantled into parts. In winter, striker Eric Botheim left, who never made his debut in Krasnodar, and a couple of valuable players. The rest are in place, the coach too. In general, there were no bright stars in the composition of the Norwegian champions, but the team took its own due to collective actions. According to Transfermarkt, Haykin is the second most valuable football player of Bodø-Glimt (the Russian goalkeeper is estimated at € 1.5 million). Only Ola Solbakken (€ 2 million) is more expensive than him.

Nikita Khaikin in the match against Roma

Nikita Khaikin in the match against Roma


Not in the best condition, Bodø-Glimt approached the start of the Champions League qualification. However, in the first qualifying round, Knutsen’s team got caught, it would seem, by a passing opponent – KI Klaksvik (Faroe Islands). At home, the Norwegian champions calmly confirmed the status of the pair’s favorite, winning big – 3:0. But the return match unexpectedly turned into a nightmare for Bodø-Glimt. Already by the 20th minute KI Klaksvik was winning with a score of 2:0! In the episode with the first missed ball, Khaykin was not to blame, as the opponent was given a free shot. In the episode with the second, Nikita, perhaps, could have played better on the exit, but he remained in a half position. After that, the Norwegians woke up, scored from the penalty spot. But 10 minutes before the end, the hosts put the third ball into the gates of the Russian goalkeeper. When serving a corner, Nikita was distracted by one player and did not react in time to the movement of another. As a result, he did not have time to close the near corner, where the opponent broke through.

Having somehow passed the Klaksvik CI, Bodø-Glimt got to Linfield (Northern Ireland). And this team is far from Roma, Celtic or AZ. Nevertheless, on Tuesday, July 19, the Norwegians lost in the first match in Linfield – 0:1. The goal was scored at the end. The Bodø-Glimt defender made a mistake under pressure, after which the Linfield player went one on one and threw the ball over Khaikin. There are no complaints about Nikita, but it’s a shame that, according to statistics, the Russian in games with the Faroese and Northern Irish conceded four goals after four shots on target. Haikin has zero saves in this Champions League.

“You can talk a lot about what our team did last season in Europe. But we are not so big and scary after that game in the Faroe Islands. We have to be humble, ready for anything and have a clear identity,” admits Knutsen. “Bodø-Glimt” fell down and is now on the verge of relegation from the Champions League.

Done by Henri!  Teammate of our Khaikin gave the assist of the season.  Video
Done by Henri! Teammate of our Khaikin gave the assist of the season. Video

In the summer transfer window, there were rumors about interest in Khaikin from Zenit. Maybe a candidate for the Russian national team should have changed the Norwegian championship to the RPL in order to play at a higher level. At Bodø-Glimt, he stopped progressing.

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