One match was enough to change the attitude of players in the Ekstraklasa and restore fans' faith in Polish football. Poland's 2-1 win against Portugal in qualifying for UEFA EURO 2008™ on 11 October has supporters dreaming of a place in Austria and Switzerland again. And if that wasn't enough, the following weekend they were treated to the most exciting round of the league season so far with 29 goals scored in eight matches.
Leaders Wisla Kraków put on a show with a 6-0 win against MKS Odra Wodzislaw Slaski and it could easily have been more. New Wisla coach Dragomir Okuka has enjoyed a strong start in the league, but his side were unable to transfer their excellent form to Europe where they fell to a 2-1 home defeat against Blackburn Rovers FC in UEFA Cup Group E on Thursday. It was the Serbian coach's first loss since replacing Dan Petrescu this time last month.
"We are in a tough position after losing our first match at home in the UEFA Cup, but we'll do our best," Okuka said. "We have a tough run in front of us, with many hard matches, but I believe my team will show our strength. I can't promise anything, only our best possible performance. We will also need a little bit of luck, as always in football."
Okuka has strengthened his squad with the signing of striker Stanko Svitlica, who was the league's top scorer under Okuka when the pair were at Legia Warszawa. Svitlica, who was at LR Ahlen in the German second division last season, is not registered to play in the UEFA Cup, but should prove a useful addition on the domestic front.
Legia continue to mis-fire and have won just four times in ten league matches, prompting coach Dariusz Wdowczyk to rethink the club’s strategy following an over-reliance on Brazilian imports. Legia did have cause to celebrate after the international break when they defeated MKS Pogon Szczecin, a side that ironically until recently was composed almost entirely of Brazilians.
Lech Poznan are back on track after an average start to the season, and last weekend treated 22,000 fans to a 4-0 demolition of LKS Lódz. Franciszek Smuda’s side are regularly drawing large crowds, thanks in large part to a new hero, 29-year-old Peruvian midfielder Henry Quinteros who has been amongst the goals since leaving his homeland. Neighbours RTS Widzew Lódz also put on a show in a 5-1 win against Górnik Zabrze with Bartlomiej Grzelak, last season's top scorer in the second division, leading the way with a hat-trick.