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Season review: Slovakia

Published: Sunday 2 June 2013, 12.30CET
ŠK Slovan Bratislava claimed a domestic double in Samuel Slovák's first season in charge in Slovakia, claiming the league ahead of FK Senica and defeating MŠK Žilina in the cup final.
by Rastislav Hribik
from Bratislava
Season review: Slovakia
Slovan's Igor Žofčák was the star player in the Slovak league ©Getty Images
Published: Sunday 2 June 2013, 12.30CET

Season review: Slovakia

ŠK Slovan Bratislava claimed a domestic double in Samuel Slovák's first season in charge in Slovakia, claiming the league ahead of FK Senica and defeating MŠK Žilina in the cup final.

A brilliant first half of the season proved enough for ŠK Slovan Bratislava to secure a seventh Slovak title since independence in 1993. A poor finish from the eventual champions, which yielded one victory and three defeats in their final five games created some late tension, but closest pursuers FK Senica could not make up the difference and finished four points behind.

Champions: ŠK Slovan Bratislava
With fresh-faced Samuel Slovák taking the reins in the summer in his first coaching role, Slovan were in charge from the off. A strong spell either side of the winter interval, winning three and drawing one going into the break, and notching four straight wins immediately after, meant the title was theirs to lose. Despite a shaky finish, their lead proved insurmountable, and the club held firm to become the most decorated since independence.

Cup final: ŠK Slovan Bratislava 2-0 MŠK Žilina
With Žilina suffering a troubled league campaign, ending in seventh, they had the chance to deny their big rivals a domestic double, but goals from captain Igor Žofčák and Lester Peltier ensured a 13th Slovak Cup in Ruzomberok for Slovan against the holders.

European places*
ŠK Slovan Bratislava – UEFA Champions League, second qualifying round
FK Senica – UEFA Europa League, second qualifying round
FK AS Trenčín - UEFA Europa League, second qualifying round
MŠK Žilina - UEFA Europa League, first qualifying round

*Subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the year: Igor Žofčák (ŠK Slovan Bratislava)
A true captain – whenever Žofčák was on the field, Slovan were at their best. Whether supporting attacks, scoring goals or infusing his side with spirit, the 30-year-old undoubtedly proved the key figure, and alongside Marko Milinkovič's technical ability and forward Lester Peltier's ferocity, it was a recipe for success for the capital club.

One to watch: Tomás Ďubek (MFK Ružomberok)
If Ružomberok did not know who would replace their top scorer after Pavol Masaryk's move to Senica, Ďubek provided the answer. Though not in the first stages of his career, the 26-year-old midfielder found the form of his life, hitting nine goals following the winter break and 13 in total, more than he had managed in his six previous seasons combined. Still with plenty of years ahead of him, Ďubek's is a name to look out for over the coming seasons.

Surprise package: TJ Spartak Myjava
It took 92 years for Spartak to taste life in the top flight, but, after back-to-back promotions, the club seriously considered withdrawing before the season had begun, worrying that they simply would not be able to compete due to their tiny budget and lack of professional facilities. However, the decision to take part proved the right one as the club ended fourth in the end, flirting with the UEFA Europa League places before just missing out.

Leading scorer: David Depetris, FK AS Trenčín (16)

Relegated: 1. FC Tatran Prešov

Promoted: DAC 1904 Dunajská Streda

Number: 5
The number of seasons FK AS Trenčín needed after suffering relegation in 2007/08 to seal European football again. Under promising coach Adrián Gula, the club finished third and will enter UEFA Europa League qualifying next season. 

"Everybody sent us coffins and funeral cards via the internet, but I didn't believe we could be the worst team."
FC Spartak Trnava coach Vladimír Ekhardt after his team won 1-0 in the last round at 1. FC Tatran Prešov and saved one of the league's most popular clubs from relegation.

Last updated: 02/06/13 17.52CET