Debreceni VSC fans are preparing for an end-of-season party at the final league game against FC Sopron on 26 May after winning the Hungarian title yet again.
Confirmed as domestic champions on Monday night following a 4-1 win against Rákospalotai EAC, Miroslav Beránek's side became the first side from outside the capital to claim three successive titles - some consolation for having failed to become the first provincial double winners following a penalty shoot-out defeat by Budapest Honvéd FC in last Wednesday's Hungarian Cup final.
Title success was vindication for Czech coach Miroslav Beránek who had taken over from Attila Supka in August 2006 following their defeat by F.Y.R. Macedonia's FK Rabotnicki in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League. The 50-year-old will now lead the side from eastern Hungary into the first qualifying round of the 2007/08 competition.
Five points adrift of MTK Budapest at the winter break, disgruntled fans had labelled Debrecen's style as "grey football", but their tune changed as the club roared into 2007. "We never gave up during the title race, even when we were so many points behind," said Beránek. "That made us a real team and that's why we won. We put in a great performance in the spring."
Some might argue that MTK's erratic form handed Debrecen the title, and Beránek's side could even afford to pass up one title-winning opportunity, losing 2-0 at Újpest FC on 4 May when they could have been handed the title in Budapest. "Anything can happen in soccer - a team can even stumble over the doorstep of success," reflected Beránek.
Crucial to Debrecen's success has been the form of tall Senegalese striker Ibrahima Sidibe, with the 26-year-old scoring 17 goals over the course of the season. A local star was also born as Under-21 international Balázs Dzsudzsák made the left midfield slot his own. A substitute at the start of the season, the 20-year-old scored six crucial goals in the title run-in.
Dzsudzsák's form has seen him come to the attention of scouts from all over Europe, with the player revealing he had been watched by representatives of Dutch giants AFC Ajax and Belgium's RSC Anderlecht. Debrecen will hope that Europe's best can get a closer look at all of their players should they battle their way to the UEFA Champions League group stage in 2007/08.
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