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Season review: Bosnia and Herzegovina

Published: Friday 4 June 2010, 10.35CET
Amir Osim's return to FK Željezničar brought dramatic results, as a tightly contested season ended with the Sarajevo side taking their first title in eight years and their fourth since independence.
Season review: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Midfielder Samir Bekrić leads Željezničar's title celebrations ©Fedja Krvavac
Published: Friday 4 June 2010, 10.35CET

Season review: Bosnia and Herzegovina

Amir Osim's return to FK Željezničar brought dramatic results, as a tightly contested season ended with the Sarajevo side taking their first title in eight years and their fourth since independence.

A thriller from start to finish, the 2009/10 season in Bosnia and Herzegovina saw FK Željezničar eventually outpace NK Široki Brijeg and FK Borac Banja Luka in the race for the title with a game to go, though Borac had already prevailed in the Bosnian Cup final.

Champions: FK Željezničar
The title returned to the Grbavica stadium after an eight-year absence as Željezničar's most successful coach, Amar Osim, came in from the cold. Osim won the 2001 and 2002 titles with Željo, as well as cups in 2001 and 2003, but left to join his father, trainer Ivica Osim, in Japan following his dismissal in 2003. Fifth at the end of the autumn campaign, a 2-0 win at Široki Brijeg in their second game of the spring ended their opponents' unbeaten home record and started 1971/72 Yugoslavian champions march to their fourth post-independence title.

Cup final: FK Borac Banja Luka 1-1, 2-2 FK Željezničar (agg: 3-3, Borac win on away goals)
Borac wilted at the last to drop to third in the table, but they had already secured their first cup success since beating FK Crvena Zvezda 1-0 in the 1987/88 Yugoslavian Cup final. In the first leg Borac led through a tenth-minute Ljubiša Vukelja goal only for Edin Višća to reply. At the Grbavica stadium, Miroslav Stevanović gave them a sixth-minute lead before Saša Kajkut made it 2-0 before the break. The scores were level within ten minutes of the restart as Višća (49) and Mirsad Bešlija (55) replied for the hosts, but Borac held on for an away-goals triumph, as the demons of their 2003/04 final shoot-out defeat by FK Modriča were exorcised.

European places*
Fk Željezničar – UEFA Champions League second qualifying round
FK Borac Banja Luka – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
NK Široki Brijeg – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round
NK Zrinjski – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round
*Subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the year: Samir Bekrić (FK Željezničar)
The official 2009 awards handed Bosnia and Herzegovina's best player prize to VfL Wolfsburg's Edin Džeko, while FK Velež midfielder Amir Osmanagić was the top star in the national league. The widespread choice to take the latter award at the end of this year is 26-year-old midfielder Bekrić, after playing in all 39 of his side's league and cup games, scoring 15, setting up 15 more and receiving just one booking in the process.

One to watch: Ibrahim Šehić (FK Željezničar)
The youngest captain in the league, as well as in the history of his club, 21-year-old Šehić conceded fewer goals than any regular goalkeeper in the league – 21 – and was the only locally-based player to be named in Safet Sušič's Bosnia and Herzegovina squad for the recent friendlies against Sweden and Germany. A favourite with Željezničar fans, he is also No1 for the national Under-21 selection.

Surprise package: FK Olimpik Sarajevo
Established in 1993, Olimpik are the top tier's youngest club, but after being relegated from the Premijer Liga twice, they came back with a bang this season, finishing in sixth place, despite playing their home games at Željezničar's Grbavica stadium and the capital's Asim Ferhatović Hase stadium while their home ground in Otoka is under reconstruction.

Leading scorer: Fedja Dudić, NK Travnik (16)

Relegated: FK Modriča, FK Laktaši

Promoted: FK Budućnost Banovići, FK Drina Zvornik

Number: 0
The lowest attendance for an FK Sarajevo v Željezničar game was set in the clubs' 95th derby was staged behind closed doors at the Asim Ferhatović Hase stadium this season; 55,000 showed up for the clubs' 44th meeting at the same ground on 10 March 1982, the fixture's highest recorded attendance.

Quote
"We have waited for a long time, a full eight years, to come back to the top and we expect to stay here for a long time. Željezničar will play a significant role in the Premijer Liga of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the coming seasons."
Željezničar coach Osim sends out a warning.

Last updated: 08/06/10 14.41CET

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