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Season review: Poland

Published: Friday 11 June 2010, 13.16CET
Lech Poznań banished 17 years of title frustration by leapfrogging leaders Wisła Kraków in the finishing straight while Jagiellonia Białystok finally got their hands on the Polish Cup.
by Piotr Koźmiński
Season review: Poland
Robert Lewandowski's goals were crucial to Lech Poznań's Ekstraklasa-winning campaign ©Getty Images
Published: Friday 11 June 2010, 13.16CET

Season review: Poland

Lech Poznań banished 17 years of title frustration by leapfrogging leaders Wisła Kraków in the finishing straight while Jagiellonia Białystok finally got their hands on the Polish Cup.

One of the most thrilling campaigns in recent times ended with Lech Poznań usurping Wisła Kraków and winning their first title since 1993. The media described events on the penultimate weekend as "a minute that shook the Polish league" – Wisła's concession of a last-minute own goal in drawing 1-1 at MKS Cracovia Kraków and Lech going top after a late clincher at KS Ruch Chorzów. Lech never looked back, landing the championship the next week with a 2-0 home victory over Zagłębie Lubin.

Champions: Lech Poznań
Lech ended a 17-year wait for the title despite looking second favourites with two matches remaining. Jacek Zieliński's squad – unbeaten in the second half of the campaign – trailed leaders Wisła by a point heading into their penultimate fixture, but successive victories eventually lifted them three clear of their rivals who signed off with two draws.

Cup final: Pogoń Szczecin 0-1 Jagiellonia Białystok
Lithuanian international Andrius Skerla scored the only goal four minutes after half-time as Jagiellonia Białystok captured the Polish Cup for the first time in their history. Jagiellonia, who had started their league programme with a ten-point deduction, will make a first venture into UEFA competition next term.

European places*
Lech Poznań – UEFA Champions League second qualifying round Jagiellonia Białystok – UEFA Europa League third qualifying round
Wisła Kraków – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
KS Ruch Chorzów – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round
*subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the year: Robert Lewandowski (Lech Poznań)
Long regarded as the best forward in Poland, Lewandowski finished as the Ekstraklasa's 18-goal leading marksman in only his second top-flight campaign. The feat completed a hat-trick of scoring achievements for 21-year-old – linked with a move to BV Borussia Dortmund – who had also topped the third and second division strike charts in successive seasons.

One to watch: Sergei Krivets (Lech Poznań)
Lech's acquisition of the Belarusian international from FC BATE Borisov during the winter transfer window proved one of the signings of the season. The 24-year-old midfielder hit three goals in 13 league matches, the last of which – the winner in the 2-1 triumph at Ruch – was instrumental in securing his club's sixth Polish championship.

Surprise package: KS Ruch Chorzów
Alongside Górnik Zabrze, Ruch are the most successful team in Polish football history with 14 league titles. If they have failed to live up to such a legacy in the modern era, their third-place finish – coming 12 points behind Lech – surprised many and raised hopes of better days ahead.

Leading scorer: Robert Lewandowski, Lech Poznań (18)

Relegated: GKS Piast Gliwice, MKS Odra Wodzisław Śląski

Promoted: Widzew Łódź, Górnik Zabrze

Number: 133
The amount of Ekstraklasa goals scored by Jagiellonia striker Tomasz Frankowski. The 35-year-old registered 11 of them in 2009/10, moving into ninth place in the all-time scorers' list in Poland.

Quote:
"I am glad we managed to stay in the First Division but next season must be much better. I told our coach, José Mari Bakero, that he has a choice if he wins the title – a 1m Polish złoty [€250,000] bonus or a 25% stake in the club. To my astonishment, he chose the second option."
Józef Wojciechowski, KSP Polonia Warszawa owner, on this season and next

Last updated: 11/06/10 15.42CET

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