NK Široki Brijeg have ended a successful year on a high, topping the Bosnia-Herzegovina Premier League at the halfway stage. Široki Brijeg were Bosnia-Herzegovina Cup finalists last season and are back in the semi-finals this time round. They also reached the first round of the UEFA Cup, before bowing out to Swiss champions FC Basel.
"At the beginning of the championship we didn't play well enough, because we were in the UEFA Cup, but we are in pole position at the finish," coach Ivica Barbarić said. Široki Brijeg's success has been thanks in large part to striker Domagoj Abramović who leads the league with ten goals.
FK Modrića are the surprise of the season so far, climbing to second despite relying on a very youthful squad. Modrića, FK Sarajevo, in third, and fourth-placed NK Zrinjski will provide Široki Brijeg's main challenge for the title. FK Slavija Sarajevo have also surpassed expectations. Coach Milomir Odović's side play attractive football which brought rewards with victories away to NK Čelik and FK Buducnost Banovici.
FK Željezničar have been hampered by injuries but coach Ratko Ninković's side have still had success to celebrate, notably victory against rivals Sarajevo in the quarter-finals of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Cup. Buducnost, FK Sloboda Tuzla and FK Radnik Bijeljina hold the middle ground – which will be considered a success for newcomers Radnik, but a disappointment for Sloboda who have so far failed to live up to expectations.
The same can be said of Čelik, who have already made three coaching changes. Esher Hadžiabdić is back in charge for the second time this season following unsuccessful stints for both Omer Kopić and the Brazilian Nelson Mourao. Former champions FK Leotar prop up the league and face a real challenge to stay in the top flight. NK Travnik, NK Jedinstvo, NK Žepče and NK Posušje also look vulnerable.
NK Orasje, Žepče and Željezničar are all through with Široki Brijeg to the cup semi-finals. Željezničar were awarded a 3-0 victory against Sarajevo in their fiercely contested derby after referee Dusko Pekija was assaulted by a Sarajevo player during the second leg, to which he retaliated. The second half of the season kicks off on 25 February with the semi-finals of the cup to be played over two legs on 19 April and 3 May.
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