Seemingly dead and buried at the winter break, ŠK Slovan Bratislava fought back to win a Slovakian double after a remarkable spring resurgence, inspired by Filip Šebo.
Article top media content
Seemingly dead and buried at the winter break, ŠK Slovan Bratislava fought back to win a Slovakian double after a remarkable spring resurgence.
Champions: ŠK Slovan Bratislava
The Sky Blues claimed their sixth post-independence Slovakian title, and 14th in total, despite trailing front-runners MŠK Žilina by 12 points at the end of the first half of the campaign. However, they dropped just two points in 15 league games in the spring, drawing 1-1 with FK Dubnica, and ended up taking the title by a seven-point margin. "It was a small miracle," said the club's Czech coach Karel Jarolím, who won the first double of his career.
Cup final: ŠK Slovan Bratislava 3-3 MŠK Žilina (aet, Slovan win 5-4 on penalties)
Slovan beat FC Spartak Trnava 6-0 in the 2010 final, but it was much closer this time. They looked to have won in in extra-time as Filip Šebo struck his second of the match, but Patrik Mráz made it 3-3 at the death. However, Žilina's luck ran out there. "Now we will have a small celebration and then we want to win the other trophy – the Slovakian league," said Jarolím.
ŠK Slovan Bratislava – UEFA Champions League second qualifying round
FK Senica – UEFA Europa League third qualifying round
MŠK Žilina – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
FC Spartak Trnava – UEFA Europa League first qualifying round
*Subject to final confirmation from UEFA
Player of the year: Filip Šebo (ŠK Slovan Bratislava)
Sure to be top of the pile when the official vote is conducted, former Rangers FC and SK Austria Wien forward Šebo needed a few weeks to find his form after arriving from Valenciennes FC in the middle of September, but had a tremendous spring, scoring 17 goals in 15 games – including seven in the last three fixtures – to take his season tally to 22.
One to watch: Martin Juhar (MFK Košice)
Left-sided midfielder Juhar's contract expires this summer, and a raft of Czech clubs were said to be chasing the 23-year-old's signature before AC Sparta Praha finally tied him down. The former Under-21 international was one of the quickest players in the Slovakian league, and if he can improve his touch in front of goal - in spite of plenty of efforts, he scored just three in the league - stardom beckons.
Surprise package: FK Senica
The club from the west of Slovakia played attractive football, and with 54 goals in 33 league games, were only outscored by the champions. Indeed, Stanislav Griga's young side topped the table for a while, but Slovan's experience showed at the end. A silver medal finish is nonetheless quite an achievement for a team who were playing in the fourth division two years ago, having gained top-division status following a merger with AŠK Inter Bratislava in the summer of 2009.
Leading scorer: Filip Šebo, ŠK Slovan Bratislava (22 goals)
The number of minutes Senica's Czech goalkeeper Petr Bolek went without conceding a goal, before Košice's Martin Juhar finally breached his defence with a superb shot in the ninth game of the season. Slovan keeper Miroslav König's national record of 1129 minutes unbeaten from the 1998/99 season remains safe for now.
Relegated: MFK Dubnica
Promoted: AS Trenčín
"It was a good haul, but Cristiano Ronaldo was better."
Slovan forward Filip Šebo responds to being confirmed as Slovakia's top scorer for the season.