As promised, in the week before 1st League (2nd division) starts, I will introduce You to teams, describe their best players, and what goals they have for this season. In first part, You can meet the teams battling for survivor in the league, tomorrow there will be clubs from middle of the table, and on Friday, those tipped for promotion. But maybe about league itself for start.
It's poor league. In terms of football, attendance, money the gap between Ekstraklasa and 1st League is still growing. Clubs made deals for around 100,000 euro which is less than Lech, Polonia, Legia, Śląsk and half other Ekstraklasa teams spend for one of their new players. After Górnik Zabrze and Widzew Łódź got promoted, only few clubs with bigger fan base and aspirations left: ŁKS Łódź, Pogoń Szczecin, maybe Sandecja Nowy Sącz and Górnik Łęczna. New clubs however, Kolejorz Stróże, Bruk-Bet Nieciecza, Górnik Polkowice and Ruch Rzadzionków are relatively small teams (Nieciecza is village with 800 people living there), and will hope for safe survival during this season. So as You see, less money, less class, less fans and less history. Could it still be interesting?
Yes, it can. There are five clubs from Silesia region, rich in history but poor in financial sense. Teams that have been promoted to 1st League are stronger that those who were relegated and probably will make their mark during the season. It will be very tight league, apart from one clear leader there are teams with ambitions, interesting squads but not voicing their aim to get promoted. With so many equal teams, there will be interesting battles, possibly great relegation battle and maybe good competition for the second place in the table.
So here it is, 1st League 2010/2011, teams battling to survive.
Team: Dolcan Ząbki
About: team from small town near Warsaw once again will fight to stay in the league but made some wise deals and had good preseason. Watch out for four attacking minded players: Koziara, Kosiorowski, Kubicki and Zapasnik.
Best player: Michał Zapasnik - they will count on their main striker to help them securing place in 1st League.
The weakest link: hard to call but they have only one good striker which may prove decisive.
Team: Kolejarz Stróże
About: Newly promoted tried to strength their squad but it was not that easy and will have problems to stay in the league. Wanted to make better deals and concentrated on signing players with experience.
Best player: Adrian Basta - young full back, interesting to see him not in Ekstraklasa.
The weakest link: midfield - without any really good and experienced player, they may struggle against better teams
Team: Bruk Bet Nieciecza
About: from small town, but made some good deals and maybe I underrate them tipping Nieciecza for relegation battle... They will count on three players: Cios, Piątek and Kwiek.
Best player: Karol Piątek, bought from Lechia Gdańsk will give them much needed quality in second line.
The weakest link: keepers. Not that level, unfortunately.
Team: Odra Wodzisław
About: Relegated from Ekstraklasa, made radical changes to their squad, releasing 18 players, leaving just 2 and counting on youngsters. Quite low budget too but keeping Bueno may prove useful.
Best player: Jan Wos, good technique, experienced and soul of the club.
The weakest link: new team, build in last weeks, will struggle in few first rounds, will it be too late?
Team: Warta Poznań
About: poor 'brother' of Lech Poznań will play on their new and big stadium but is still too poor to build proper squad around Piotr Reiss and Zbigniew Zakrzewski.
Best player: Piotr Reiss. He's like wine, the older he gets, the more goals he scores. Don't care if it's in 1st League.
The weakest link: defence. Not much to tell about, that's how poor this line is.
Team: Ruch Radzionków
About: Another team promoted, counting on their first line with even four players hoping to get to the squad. Wise coach as well may be their advantage.
Best player: Martin Matus - did quite well in previous clubs, helped in promotion.
The weakest link: defence is very young, build around Jacek Wisniewski, one of more likeable players in Poland.
Team: Górnik Polkowice
About: promoted, have interesting squad, coach Nowak tried to build equal squad in every line. Back to 1st League after being relegated for corruption.
Best player: Zbigniew Grzybowski, again, it's older player, but still influential and capable of making the difference.
The weakest link: defence, Nowak may be caught short in numbers in this line.
Team: GKP Gorzów Wielkopolski
About: I found it strange that they survived last season and one of my favorites to go down this year. Short squad, although has some quality, may be not enough to stay up.
Best player: Emil Drozdowicz, good striker, could've been playing in Ekstraklasa but his club made problems and his back in Gorzów. A lot depends on him.
The weakest link: Short bench, although they will count on last call transfers.
So, first part over, comeback tomorrow for teams from middle of the table. Will be interesting as well.