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Drawn against Juventus, Manchester City FC and FC Salzburg in the UEFA Europa League group stage, few gave KKS Lech Poznań much hope, but after kicking off Group A with a 3-3 draw in Turin, the Polish champions dazzled, finishing second in the section to set up a round of 32 meeting with SC Braga. Here, 35-year-old captain Bartosz Bosacki – who is in his third and most likely final spell with his home-town club – talks over their miraculous autumn campaign, and celebrates making history with Lech.
UEFA.com: What is your relationship with Lech like?
Bartosz Bosacki: My team-mates joke that it's my club; I'm from Poznan, and I've been with the club pretty much from the beginning of my career. I had some breaks; I have changed clubs a few times, I played in Germany, but Lech always brought me back. I'm in Poznan now, and it seems like I will finish my career here. It's a great honour to be captain, as it would be for any boy who had come to this stadium as a supporter since childhood. It's a dream come true.
UEFA.com: What does qualification for the round of 32 mean for you and the club?
Bosacki: It's probably one of our greatest successes when it comes to European competitions. Lech have never come this far before. It's a great advert, not only for all of us footballers, but also for the club and Poznan as a city. We are aware that we are breaking new ground. We are doing something now that will be talked about in Poznan for many years to come.
UEFA.com: What do the club get out of playing in Europe?
Bosacki: The experience is important.
You learn as much in one game against Manchester City than you do in five matches in the Polish league. It's a big thing for the players and also for the club, never mind the financial aspect. Everyone who works here gets to see how the best clubs in the world work.
UEFA.com: What is your realistic target for the knockout phase?
Bosacki: We are already a success – after the group stage draw not many people believed we could get this far. In the dressing room, however, we always say that anything is possible in football, and we are showing that. That's why we are not looking back on what we have already achieved, but looking forward to what's ahead of us.
UEFA.com: What was your most memorable moment of the campaign so far?
Bosacki: Artjoms Rudņevs' third goal [against Juventus] in Turin. It was a match we could easily have won, but all of a sudden everything turned around and we were 3-2 down. Then, in the dying moments, Artjoms decided to take a shot in a situation that didn't look promising. It was a shot, and goal, that the whole of Europe saw. No one could believe it.
No one really imagined we could score three goals against Juventus away from home. Artjoms couldn't believe it either, but it just shows how unpredictable football is. Bless him, because he not only made a name for himself, but also spread Lech Poznań's name around the world.
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