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Season review: Poland

Published: Tuesday 28 June 2011, 12.11CET
Wisła Kraków started slowly but surged to the title thanks to a change of coach, while WKS Śląsk Wroclaw did likewise to come second and Legia Warszawa won the Polish Cup.
by Piotr Koźmiński
from Warsaw
Season review: Poland
Wisła Kraków celebrate their title triumph ©Getty Images
Published: Tuesday 28 June 2011, 12.11CET

Season review: Poland

Wisła Kraków started slowly but surged to the title thanks to a change of coach, while WKS Śląsk Wroclaw did likewise to come second and Legia Warszawa won the Polish Cup.

Robert Maaskant was appointed Wisła Kraków coach in the early stages of the season and duly guided his new side to their 13th title at the first attempt. WKS Śląsk Wroclaw enjoyed a fine second half of the campaign to come second, while KKS Lech Poznań were left disappointed, finishing fifth to miss out on European qualification altogether.

Champions: Wisła Kraków
Now just one title shy of Górnik Zabrze and Ruch Chorzów's record 14 Polish championships, Wisła looked unlikely winners of the Polish First Division at the time of Maaskant's appointment, just three league games in. However, the winter sale of twins Piotr and Paweł Brożek to Trabzonspor AŞ raised the funds to add goalkeeper Sergej Pareiko, midfielder Maor Melikson and striker Tsvetan Genkov. Such acquisitions helped Wisła ultimately finish seven points clear at the summit.

Cup final: Legia Warszawa 1-1 KKS Lech Poznań (Legia win 5-4 on penalties)
The old rivals met in Bydgoszcz and it was Lech who took the lead thanks to a splendid goal from Dimitrije Injać. Manu equalised midway through the second half, however, and Legia eventually claimed their 14th Polish Cup thanks to Lech captain Bartosz Bosacki's penalty miss.

European places
Wisła Kraków – UEFA Champions League second qualifying round
Legia Warszawa – UEFA Europa League third qualifying round
WKS Śląsk Wrocław – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
Jagiellonia Białystok – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round

Player of the year: Adrian Mierzejewski (KSP Polonia Warszawa)
The player of the year gong may have seemed recognition enough for Mierzejewski's performances from midfield, but the 24-year-old has since enjoyed even greater reward. An increasingly frequent fixture in the Poland national team, he scored his first international goal in the 2-1 friendly win against Argentina earlier this month and has since moved to Turkish Super League runners-up Trabzonspor.

One to watch: Artjoms Rudņevs (KKS Lech Poznań)
The Latvia striker quickly made a name for himself following last summer's move from Zalaegerszegi TE in Hungary. He struck a hat-trick against Juventus on UEFA Europa League Matchday 1, scoring five in all in the competition, and found the net 11 times in the league to make him one of the most prolific forwards in the country.

Surprise package: WKS Śląsk Wroclaw
With just four points from their opening seven fixtures, Śląsk were second from bottom and seemingly headed for a relegation battle. They acted in September, however, appointing the 68-year-old Orest Lenczyk to the helm. They suffered just two further defeats for the remainder of the season and duly finished second – their best placing for 30 years.

Number: 36
At the age of 36, Tomasz Frankowski found the net 14 times to become the oldest top scorer in Ekstraklasa history.

Leading scorer: Tomasz Frankowski (Jagiellonia Białystok) 14

Relegated: Arka Gdynia, KS Polonia Bytom

Promoted: ŁKS Łódź, Podbeskidzie Bielsko-Biała

Quote
"I won the league with Wisła thanks to God, who leads me every day. Now I am a football player, but in the future I will certainly be a pastor. I already help in a church in Krakow but that is only the beginning. When I finish my career, I will travel around the world and speak to people about Jesus; that is my destiny." Wisła Kraków's Honduras defender Osman Chávez talks to UEFA.com about life after football.

Last updated: 08/07/11 16.58CET

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http://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/association=pol/news/newsid=1644412.html#season+review+poland

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