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Season review: Poland

Published: Friday 5 June 2009, 16.35CET
A breathtaking climax to the season saw Wisła Kraków retain the title on the final day with runners-up KKS Lech Poznań gaining some consolation in the cup and one-time titans Górnik Zabrze relegated from the Ekstraklasa.
by Piotr Koźmiński
from Warsaw
Season review: Poland
Wisła fans are celebrating a 12th title success ©Getty Images
Published: Friday 5 June 2009, 16.35CET

Season review: Poland

A breathtaking climax to the season saw Wisła Kraków retain the title on the final day with runners-up KKS Lech Poznań gaining some consolation in the cup and one-time titans Górnik Zabrze relegated from the Ekstraklasa.

A breathtaking finale to the season saw Wisła Kraków retain the title on the final day, with runners-up KKS Lech Poznań gaining some consolation by winning the cup. One-time titans Górnik Zabrze were relegated from the Ekstraklasa, and ŁKS Łódź will join them having been refused a license for next season.

Champions: Wisła Kraków
A 2-0 final-day win against Ślask Wrocław ensured Legia Warszawa could not deny Wisła a 12th Polish title, though fans' joy was tempered by the knowledge that renovations would see them without a home stadium next season. Club president Marek Wilczek said: "Our goal is very clear: we want to reach group stage of the Champions League. We have tried many times but with no success." Their qualifying games will be played in Sosnowiec, around 60km from Krakow.

Cup final: KKS Lech Poznań 1–0 Ruch Chorzów
Sławomir Peszko's goal earned Lech their fifth Polish Cup, and it was an especially important victory for experienced coach Franciszek Smuda. "I am delighted as I have never won the cup before," said the 59-year-old. "It has haunted me but I have finally done it." It was, however, his last trophy won with Lech, with his contract expiring in June.

European places
Wisła Kraków – UEFA Champions League second qualifying round
KKS Lech Poznań – UEFA Europe League third qualifying round
Legia Warszawa – UEFA Europe League second qualifying round
KSP Polonia Warszawa – UEFA Europe League first qualifying round

Player of the Year: Paweł Brożek (Wisła Kraków)
The nation's joint-top scorer along with Legia's Takesure Chinyama, Brożek became the first player in 30 years to take that honour in successive seasons, emulating Kazimierz Kmiecik's achievement in 1978 and 1979. Brożek has now scored 70 goals in 160 Ekstraklasa games.

One to watch: Robert Lewandowski (KKS Lech Poznań)
Regarded by some as the new Włodzimierz Lubański – Poland's 48-goal record international goalscorer – the 21-year-old was top scorer in the Polish third and second divisions with Znicz Pruszków, prompting Lech to pay €400,000 for him last summer. Having registered 14 times this season, that already looks like a bargain, with 'Lewy' also impressing at international level, contributing three goals in his first seven Poland games.

Surprise package: Piast Gliwice
Tipped for relegation and undermined by the fact they could play only six of their 24 home games at their own stadium due to renovation work, Piast nonetheless earned a creditable eleventh-placed finish, eclipsing big local rivals Górnik Zabrze, who were relegated.

Leading scorers: Paweł Brożek, Wisła Kraków and Takesure Chinyama Legia Warszawa (19)

Number: 122
The number of Ekstraklasa goals scored by 35-year-old Tomasz Frankowski, who returned to Poland to join Jagiellonia Białystok in the winter. No current player has scored more than 'Franek'.

Quote
"I heard that Jesús Gil fired 26 coaches over 16 years at Atlético Madrid. If I have to, I will fire 27."
KSP Polonia Warszawa owner Józef Wojciechowski, who has got through eleven coaches since taking over three years ago. 

Last updated: 05/06/09 12.07CET

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http://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/association=pol/news/newsid=835837.html#season+review+poland

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