FC Dinamo Bucuresti returned to the top of Romanian football in 2003/04 as Ioan Andone's side won their third title in five seasons before clinching the double with victory against FC Otelul Galati in the Romanian Cup final.
Run of success
The latter triumph, Dinamo's fourth since 2000, capped another remarkable campaign which cast a shadow over rivals FC Steaua Bucuresti who, despite the considerable investment of owner Gigi Becali, again came up empty-handed.
The secret of Andone's success lay in the unity he instilled in his squad, and a determination that was seen throughout the second half of the season when Dinamo won 12 of 15 matches, losing just once, and beating Steaua who finished six points adrift.
Dinamo supporters may have been spoilt in recent years, but Andone kept his team hungry for more, their desire earning the coach his first title in an eleven-year coaching career. And they did it in style.
Danciulescu sets pace
While Steaua mounted their challenge on the back of the most miserly defence in the league, conceding 20 goals in 30 games, Dinamo went on the attack. No club came near their 71 goals scored, and between them strikers Ionel Danciulescu, the division's top marksman with 21 goals, and Claudiu Niculescu (16) combined to register more times than eight teams in their entirety.
Only captain Florentin Petre has been with Dinamo since the title run began in 2000, and his pleasure is his rivals' pain. At Steaua, coach Victor Piturca is feeling the heat after delivering just one championship, in 2001, since taking charge in January 2000. Piturca at least saw out the season, in contrast to AFC Rapid Bucuresti coach Mircea Rednic, who despite winning the title in 2002/03, was sacked at the midway stage with his side just three points behind Dinamo.
In came Dan Petrescu, but the former Romanian international's tenure was brief and a turbulent campaign ended with Viorel Hizo at the helm, and Rapid 15 points off the pace in third having failed to qualify for European competition. Club president Ioan Becali stepped down, leaving majority shareholder George Copos the task of finding a new coach and president.
Up and down
Change too beckons for relegated FC Oradea, FC Petrolul Ploiesti and FC Ceahlaul Piatra Neamt. CF Sportul Studentesc, FC Politehnica Iasi and CFR Ecomax Cluj, for the first time in 28 years, replace them in the top flight.
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.