With Jan Urban's young Legia Warszawa side seemingly cracking under pressure, Wisła Kraków seized the initiative in the Polish title race last weekend.
Games between Legia and Wisła have long been regarded as the biggest match-ups in the Ekstraklasa, and the meeting between the two sides on 28 October was to prove no exception to that rule. Marek Zieńczuk scored the only goal of the game for the home side to leave Wisła four points clear at the top of the table, while Legia are being left to ponder what went wrong. "I couldn't sleep in the week before the match because I knew how important it was," admitted Wisła coach Maciej Skorża. "Now I'm happy with the result."
Still unbeaten after 12 games, Wisła are now in a strong position while Legia are experiencing an alarming dip. Having won their opening seven games, they have lost 1-0 in four of their last five league games, leading many to question their ability to withstand pressure. After the Wisła game, Urban explainded that his side had done their best and insisted that "the title race is definitely not over." However, his side are now eight points behind their arch-rivals and are up against it.
In his first senior coaching post since returning to Poland following a successful playing spell in Spain with CA Osasuna – where he became the first visiting player to score a hat-trick against Real Madrid CF at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in a 4-0 win in December 1990 – Urban faces a steep learning curve, but has the support of club owner Mariusz Walter, who said: "Urban will have the time to make our dreams come true before we open our new stadium, which means he has three years."
Wisła, meanwhile, are justifying their pre-season billing as title favourites, with no player impressing more than left winger Zieńczuk. His goal against Legia was his eighth in six league games, and took his total to nine in 12 Ekstraklasa appearances in 2007/08. Meanwhile, second-placed Korona Kielce are showing promise – as demonstrated with a 3-2 win against a Górnik Zabrze side coached by their former boss Ryszard Wieczorek. They may not be title contenders yet, but with a bigger budget planned for next season, they are a team to watch.
Elsewhere, champions Zagłębie Lubin have dismissed coach Czesław Michniewicz – leaving his assistant Rafal Ulatowski in charge – while KS Zagłębie Sosnowiec have brought Romual Szukielowicz back into a top-flight job to replace Jerzy Kowalik. Changes may yet be afoot at 1998 champions LKS Lódz too with Mirosław Jabłoński's side just a point ahead of rock-bottom Sosnowiec and facing a relegation battle.
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