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Season review: Poland

Published: Thursday 24 May 2012, 13.15CET
A four-way final-day tussle for the title, spilt champagne and a goalscoring 37-year-old featured in the 2011/12 Polish First Division, with WKS Śląsk Wrocław eventually prevailing.
by Piotr Koźmiński
Season review: Poland
Śląsk celebrate their title triumph ©Cyfrasport
Published: Thursday 24 May 2012, 13.15CET

Season review: Poland

A four-way final-day tussle for the title, spilt champagne and a goalscoring 37-year-old featured in the 2011/12 Polish First Division, with WKS Śląsk Wrocław eventually prevailing.

The race for the Polish First Division title was alive until the final day of the season, when four teams remained in contention to finish top of the pile. WKS Śląsk Wroclaw held their nerve, however, defeating 2011 champions Wisła Kraków to hold off the chasing pack. Ruch Chorzów, meanwhile, enjoyed a fine season to come second, with Legia Warszawa and KKS Lech Poznań also looking forward to European football next term after finishing third and fourth respectively.

Champions: WKS Śląsk Wrocław
Śląsk secured only their second ever title – and first in 35 years – the hard way. Orest Lenczyk's team only usurped Legia at the summit on the penultimate matchday, and even then still had to win at title holders Wisła in their last game of the campaign. The chasing trio still believed, though, and Ruch were in pole position when they raced into a 2-0 lead against KS Lechia Gdańsk. But Śląsk did what they needed in Krakow thanks to Rok Elsner's second-half strike and finished a point clear at the head of the standings.

Cup final: Legia Warszawa 3-0 Ruch Chorzów
Legia's 15th cup triumph rarely looked in doubt from the moment they opened the scoring through Danijel Ljuboja after just eight minutes. Maciej Skorża's team dominated the whole game and successfully defended the trophy thanks to further strikes by Miroslav Radović (41) and Michał Żyro (56).

*European places
WKS Śląsk Wroclaw – UEFA Champions League second qualifying round
Ruch Chorzów – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
Legia Warszawa – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
KKS Lech Poznań – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round

*Subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the Year: Sebastian Mila (WKS Śląsk Wrocław)
Mila was the undoubted architect of much of Śląsk's success, contributing 12 assists during the course of the season and, notably, four in the final two games against Jagiellonia Białystok and Wisła. "In recent games I couldn't complaint about my form," said the Polish international. "The most important thing is the success of the team. Now it's time for celebrations but then we will have to start thinking about the Champions League."

One to watch: Rafał Wolski (Legia Warszawa)
The 19-year-old may not have made his first-team debut until March last year, but this season he enjoyed a swift rise to become a key figure for Legia. He made 21 league appearances in 2011/12, scoring eight goals, and subsequently earned a call-up to Poland's preliminary UEFA EURO 2012 squad, making his senior international debut in the 1-0 friendly win against Latvia on 23 May.

Surprise package: Ruch Chorzów
Prior to the start of the season, Ruch were not considered likely title contenders. However, guided by talented coach Waldemar Fornalik and spearheaded by strikers Arkadiusz Piech and Maciej Jankowski, they were in the hunt until the final throes, eventually securing a hugely impressive second-placed finish.

Leading scorer: Artjoms Rudņevs, KKS Lech Poznań (22)

Relegated: MKS Cracovia Kraków, ŁKS Łódź

Promoted: Piast Gliwice, Pogoń Szczecin

Number: 37
At the age of 37, Jagiellonia's Tomasz Frankowski is one of the oldest players in the Ekstraklasa but nevertheless finished as second top scorer in the first tier with 15 goals. He is fourth on the all-time list having scored a total of 162 Polish top-flight goals.

Quote
"Actually I didn't drink the champagne. The bottle was so big, and the pressure inside was so high that I poured out more on my shirt than I managed to drink."
Śląsk coach Orest Lenczyk after his team's title celebrations in Wroclaw.

Last updated: 10/07/12 14.04CET

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