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Season review: Bosnia-Herzegovina

Published: Monday 8 June 2009, 14.06CET
NK Zrinjski took their second title four years after their maiden success, while FK Sloboda Tuzla were denied in the Bosnia-Herzegovnian Cup final for the second time in as many seasons, this time by FK Slavija Sarajevo.
Season review: Bosnia-Herzegovina
Zrinjski celebrate winning their second title ©Fedja Krvavac
Published: Monday 8 June 2009, 14.06CET

Season review: Bosnia-Herzegovina

NK Zrinjski took their second title four years after their maiden success, while FK Sloboda Tuzla were denied in the Bosnia-Herzegovnian Cup final for the second time in as many seasons, this time by FK Slavija Sarajevo.

NK Zrinjski took their second title four years after their maiden success, while FK Sloboda Tuzla were denied in the Bosnia-Herzegovnian Cup final just as they were last term, this time by FK Slavija Sarajevo. NK Orašje and NK Posušje were both relegated, with FK Olimpik Sarajevo and FK Rudar Prijedor replacing them for next season.

Champions: NK Zrinjski
Six points clear of second-placed Slavija at the winter break, consistency and tremendous home form – they dropped just one point at their Bijeli Brijeg home all season – propelled Zrinjski to glory, claiming the title with two games to spare. The Mostar-based side's Dragan Jović was named as Coach of the Season in Bosnia-Herzegovina and will look to cement his burgeoning reputation by leading his side to glory in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers.

Cup final: FK Slavija Sarajevo 2-2 FK Sloboda (agg: Slavija win 4-3 on penalties)
Runners-up in the league, Slavija – who celebrated their 100th anniversary last season – took the cup, prevailing on penalties in Sarajevo after overturning a 2-0 deficit from the first leg of their tie against luckless Sloboda, who also lost on spot-kicks in last season's final, against Zrinjski. To make matters worse, Sloboda will also miss out on Europe after failing to secure the necessary licence.

European places
Zrinjski – UEFA Champions League second qualifying round
Slavija – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
FK Sarajevo – UEFA Europe League second qualifying round
NK Široki Brijeg – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round

Player of the Year: Dalibor Šilić (NK Široki Brijeg)
Although Široki Brijeg had an off season, their 30-year-old captain was at his very best. Missing only one of his side's 30 league games, Šilić was his team's top scorer with nine goals, taking his total to 46 in 158 league games for the club. He now looks set to improve on his Premijer Liga record of 27 UEFA club competition appearances as his side head into the UEFA Europa League qualifiers.

One to watch: Vlastimir Jovanović (FK Slavija Sarajevo)
Miroslav Blažević's national team have made considerable progress in recent years, but mostly with players based at foreign clubs. Premijer Liga success stories have been relatively rare, but 24-year-old Slavija star Vlastimir Jovanović has broken the mould. The former Under-21 international midfielder may yet find himself lured abroad too.

Surprise package: FK Borac Banjaluka
One of the nation's most famous clubs, and Yugoslavian Cup winners in 1988, Borac had a great first season back in the Premijer Liga, winning a highly creditable fifth place and showing a real desire to battle for lost prestige.

Leading scorer: Darko Spalević, FK Slavia Sarajevo (17)

Number: 30
The number of league games played by Orašje's Under-21 international defender Matijas Pejić – the only one of the 503 players who played in the Premijer Liga this season to have played in every round.

Quote
"Any coach who lasts a whole season with one team in Bosnia-Herzegovina should be declared a hero."
Abdulah Ibraković, FK Velež's fifth coach of the season. Only Zrinjski, Slavija, Sloboda, Siroki Brijeg, FK Leotar and NK Zvijezda Gradačac did not change coaches in 2008/09.

Last updated: 08/06/09 17.17CET

Related information

Team profiles

http://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/association=bih/news/newsid=836639.html#season+review+bosnia+herzegovina