15 gru 2011

Ekstraklasa 2012 so far, round-up (2)

Second part of the round-up of the Ekstraklasa season so far. First one, about teams from places sixteenth to ninth, can be found here. Let’s see how the best Polish teams did in last months.

Korona Kielce (8, 6-7-4, 18-19) This is certainly the team that no one likes to play against and it’s mostly down to Leszek Ojrzyński’s tactics – to say that Korona is playing hard style… it’d be an understatement. There are no games in which they commit lower number of fouls that their rivals but they also suffered – due to financial problems Ojrzyński has short squad and suspensions hurt them eventually and despite promising start, his hard-men only finished mid-table. Which, on the other hand, is completely fair for them, even if some may say that their style is an ugly one, they made their specialty in making it the hardest possible for the others. They may not have enough class and quality, the same may be about the manager himself, but at least they know it and can adapt to the situation. That is something. Best player: Aleksandar Vuković

Widzew Łódź (7, 6-7-4, 14-12) Who would have thought that Widzew can be something more than just another relegations candidate? Especially when Czesław Michniewicz left and news were coming out about financial problems and laughable scouting section of the club? But Radosław Mroczkowski did very well, he has the youngest squad in the league and he made them solid at the back, having enough experience, while in attack, he counts on young and hard-working players. Of course, it doesn’t mean that this project is at finish, there is still a lot to improve and there may not be money to bring players that may improve Widzew’s status even further. Putting embarrassing derby defeat at home aside, this has been decent round for the club and the one thing they need right now is some stability. Best player: Jarosław Bieniuk

Wisła Krakow (6, 8-3-6, 16-13) Their goal record doesn’t show that champions have problems with defending but each of their problems this round was more or less coming from the back – especially poor home record should be a worry and when few players were sidelined by injuries (mostly Małecki and Melikson), they struggled up front with replacements playing averagely at best. Maaskant had to go after derby defeat and despite not much changed since Moskal took over, they are looking with more hope at this winter, especially since they progressed in Europa League. But there is a lot of space to improve, make their squad wider, more Polish and younger, as fans demand. This is not an easy challenge but even then probably harder than one waiting for them in Ekstraklasa, if there are willing to end at the top. Best player: Dudu Biton

Lech Poznań (5, 8-4-5, 29-12) Their goal record may look impressive but undoubtedly, you won’t find a happy Lech fan this season. They are fifth and there were games in which Kolejorz was a team simply unwatchable, despite the fact that Jose Mari Bakero still wants to copy at least part of what he learned at Barcelona to his team. But Spanish manager must be careful as he won’t find friends at the stands, he is not crowds’ favorite, and his project is way behind the schedule, while the main goal is far away from their reach. Yes, they have decent players and should be in competition for the title when May comes, but there is a feeling that Lech should be something better, something more. They are not looking to be it after seventeen games to be fair, which is frankly fault of all involved – fans who are boycotting the team, board for poor transfers and crowds, team for results and manager for his inability to change when there is a need of one. Best player: Artiom Rudnev

Ruch Chorzow (4, 9-2-6, 26-18) How good Waldemar Fornalik is, as their manager? In recent years they have been more of a feeder club for others, especially Polonia Warszawa, but they are competing with their limited resources as equals at the top. Fornalik not only can adapt to every conditions Ruch is in, and they have been through some really bad stuff recently, but also can take everything what is good out of his players and make them play enjoyable football. They are dangerous and hard-working, while there may not be any long-term plan for the club, Ruch seems to be enjoying there moment and giving the best they have each time. Sounds easy but I doubt that Waldemar Fornalik would agree with it. Best player: Marek Szyndrowski

Polonia Warszawa (3, 9-4-4, 19-15) It took them some time to get on the right track and of course standard talks of Jacek Zieliński’s departure started at one point, while the owner Józef Wojciechowski was apparently on his way to Gdansk but this is their best round in some time to be fair, while ending third is as much down to the team, as to the problems Wisła and Lech had. Zieliński should stay and probably will be supported by Wojciechowski this winter with few transfers to compete for the title, but vision of ending in top three is more real for Polonia. With fight at the top sometimes comes more pressure but in recent years we learned that Wojciechowski likes to do it the other way, and maybe with them finally competing for the championship, there may be some stability and comfort for the squad and Jacek Zieliński as well. Best player: Tomasz Jodłowiec

Legia Warszawa (2, 10-3-4, 29-10) Last few months were huge improvement to what Legia fans have seen last year and finally Maciej Skorża starts to be credited for that. Despite not having all of his wishes realized this summer, he made his team not only efficient but also attractive side, full of young players, hungry for success, with great technical ability. Their spine is also important and he has there very experienced and talented footballers from whom the younger ones can learn – Kuciak proved to be a steal of the round, Żewłakow gives them calm in defence, Vrdoljak works tirelessly, Radović enjoys best time of his career while Ljuboja is touch of class, something different to out league. Yes, Legia suffered to their Europa League distraction and wider squad is needed to build on the success from recent months but we haven’t seen as promising signs coming from Łazienkowska for a long time now. Best player: Miroslav Radović

Śląsk Wroclaw (1, 12-1-4, 31-13) Can they do it? Can they become champions? Won’t they suffer as the previous unexpected leaders after the winter break has ended? Orest Lenczyk and the team probably needs that success to be credited enough for the hard work they have put in building decent side, wide squad, with a lot of talent, that has not suffered despite longer than predicted adventure in Europe. Śląsk is enjoying the time of their lives and even with doubts over the long-term future of current squad, whether they can survive in one pack and still evolve, this is somewhat beautiful story. They are the most efficient squad in the league, adapting to conditions, doing their best each time, changing styles, tactics and that they can afford to play without any striker and still win games means very much in Ekstraklasa. Śląsk is probably the toughest side to play and even prepare to play against. Some think that only the hurricane inside the club can stop them on their road to the championship and they must be focused on their goal if they want to succeed. The title race is wide open and Orest Lenczyk knows it best how it feels to lose and the very end of it. Best player: Piotr Celeban

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