Just before the start of the spring campaign, FK Željezničar coach Amar Osim told UEFA.com that his side would play a significant role in the title race in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It looks like he was right.
While the Sarajevo club went in at the winter break fifth in the table, and seven points adrift of leaders NK Široki Brijeg, they are now up into second. Having won 2-0 at Široki Brijeg on 7 March – beating them at their Pecara stadium for the first time in a decade – they are now second, with FK Borac Banja Luka three points above.
That victory at Široki Brijeg was crucial in terms of giving fans the belief that a first title since 2001/02 – and a record-breaking fourth in total – was not beyond the former railway workers' team. They will doubtless know their destiny a little better when Osim's men meet Banja Luka on 17 April.
For now, Samir Bekrić – who is second to only Alen Mešanović in the team's top-scorer rankings for the season – is feeling optimistic. "We are playing well and closed the gap on the leading teams quite fast," he said. "The most important thing is that we brought the fans back to the Grbavica stadium but there is a difficult fight ahead if we want to see our dream made reality."
Željezničar could yet be eyeing up a double, having beaten NK Zrinjski 3-1 at home in the first leg of the Bosnian Cup semi-finals, while Borac look the favourites to meet them, having come from 2-0 down at FK Slavija Sarajevo to earn a 2-2 draw in the other last-four duel. The deciders are scheduled for 14 April.
In the meantime, the pressure is on at the bottom with a new coach, Dragoslav Stjepanović, having helped bottom side FK Laktaši pick up some good results. Five defeats in a row have seen FK Modriča fall to within three points of the back markers, prompting coach Marko Stojić's resignation.
FK Rudar Prijedor boss Darko Nestorović has also stepped down after four years in charge following some mixed results, with his replacement Boris Gavran leading them out of the relegation zone for the time being with a 2-0 win against Zrinjski. FK Sarajevo also have a new coach, with former assistant Almir Turković stepping up to replace Mehmed Janjoš after a run of three 1-0 away defeats.
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