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Season review: Slovakia

Published: Friday 20 June 2014, 9.17CET
ŠK Slovan Bratislava were untouchable as they claimed their eighth league title, though MFK Košice ensured they did not have it all their own way in the Slovak Cup.
by Rastislav Hribik
from Bratislava
Season review: Slovakia
Slovan Bratislava at full time as a 2-0 victory over Zlaté Moravce wrapped up the title ©SITA
Published: Friday 20 June 2014, 9.17CET

Season review: Slovakia

ŠK Slovan Bratislava were untouchable as they claimed their eighth league title, though MFK Košice ensured they did not have it all their own way in the Slovak Cup.

With Róbert Vittek back in their ranks, ŠK Slovan Bratislava were untouchable as they claimed their eighth league title, though MFK Košice ensured they did not have it all their own way in the Slovak Cup. Free-scoring FK AS Trenčín caught the eye while FC Spartak Trnava lit up the second part of the season with a record-breaking run.

Champions: ŠK Slovan Bratislava
Slovan hit the front in round nine and never looked back as they underlined their dominance in Slovakia with a fourth First League title in six seasons. Jozef Valovič replaced Samuel Slovák as coach last summer but there was no period of transition. Six points clear going into the winter break, by the end the advantage was 12 as they wrapped things up with three games to spare despite stuttering around the time of the cup final. Žilina matched them stride for stride at home but Slovan's real strength lay on their travels, with 12 wins in 16 outings. "We had two long winning streaks earlier this season and remain superior by a massive margin," midfielder Juraj Halenár said. "But we are still not a top-ranking European team producing winning performances for the whole year."

Cup final: ŠK Slovan Bratislava 1-2 MFK Košice
Košice claimed their second Slovak Cup since independence five years on from their first triumph, recovering from conceding an early Róbert Vittek goal in Myjava. Oumar Diaby replied for Radoslav Látal's side not long after the half-hour mark, setting the stage for Martin Bukata to win the game with a header 16 minutes from time and spoil Slovan's ambitions of becoming the first team in 13 years to retain the cup. "It is an amazing feeling," said Košice captain Peter Šinglár. "We wanted the trophy more than our opponents."

European places*
ŠK Slovan Bratislava – UEFA Champions League second qualifying round
MFK Košice – UEFA Europa League third qualifying round
FK AS Trenčín – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
FC Spartak Trnava – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round

* Subject to final confirmation by UEFA

Player of the year: Róbert Vittek (ŠK Slovan Bratislava)
Vittek returned to Slovan in September after ten years in Germany, France and Turkey but it was as if he had never been away. The Slovakia striker, 32, scored in his first game back – by coincidence, the match when Slovan moved to the top of the table – and ended up with 12 First League goals from just 17 appearances. That was only two fewer than towering 21-year-old Trenčín forward Tomáš Malec, the division's top scorer.

One to watch: Adam Zreľák (MFK Ružomberok)
Only 20, Zreľák was ever-present for fourth-placed Ružomberok, his eight league goals including a hat-trick against TJ Spartak Myjava in May. Already capped at senior level, he has nine goals to his name for the Under-21 side who are pushing the Netherlands hard in UEFA European U21 Championship qualifying, form that has not gone unnoticed by some of Europe's bigger clubs. Zreľák had a trial at PFC CSKA Moskva during the winter break and while he remains at Ružomberok, the question is for how much longer?

Surprise package: FK AS Trenčín
Third last season, Trenčín went one better this after a high-octane campaign that brought 74 goals – 11 more than Slovan. In Malec, Martin Ševela's team possessed the top scorer and at home they were formidable, picking up as many points as the champions and notching 2.8 goals per games in doing so. They were not bad at the back either, with the league's second best defence.

Leading scorer: Tomáš Malec (FK AS Trenčín, 14 goals)

Relegated: FC Nitra

Promoted: ŽP Šport Podbrezová

Number: 8
Eighth in mid-March, Spartak Trnava embarked on a club-record eight-match winning streak to finish third and earn a place in the UEFA Europa League first qualifying round.

Quote
"I think I am the only one in the region who could do it. No one else was ready to invest this kind of money in the club."
New DAC 1904 Dunajská Streda owner Oszkár Világi, who purchased Khashayar Mohseni's majority stakes in March and helped steer the team clear of relegation

Last updated: 20/06/14 11.58CET

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