7 League Shots – Round 2

Piotr Stokowiec knows what he is doing (foto: slasknet.com)

After each league round this season, EKSTRAKLASAreview will try to get You short insight into how things went on the pitches in Polish top league. Time to move up a gear with round 2!

1) Unlike Tomasz Hajto, Piotr Stokowiec is making things happen at Jagiellonia. May it be the opening of half of the new stadium in Białystok, or is there something more behind great start of Jaga? Six points from two tough away trips and they are already looking like they might be someone like Piast Gliwice or Ruch Chorzów or Górnik Zabrze from recent seasons – a sensation. Solid defensive performance (up to the point when Śląsk pushed more and scored their second and last on Sunday), much better organization of the second line and attacking schemes that were not existing under Tomasz Hajto. Surely Piotr Stokowiec is showing why he was so highly rated for his coaching and man-management skills at troubled Polonia Warsaw. Dramatic but flashy 3-2 win in Wrocław will do him and Jaga only more good.

2) Meanwhile, Ślask’s defensive performance might be the best cry for more transfers Stanislav Levy managed in the last month or so. He knew it will happen one day and Jagiellonia exposed his defenders perfectly – Mariusz Pawelec was slow on the turn and made many mistakes, Tadeusz Socha was always late in the challenge, while Dudu Paraiba focused too much on the attacking phase. Fans were shocked as Jaga easily raced onto 3-0 lead but two goals back they are unhappy because of lack of points – surely, the best point was actually made. One transfer of defender, Oded Gavish, will not be enough.

3) The best deals are indeed the ones made on the last minute. Eduards Visnakovs signed with Widzew just two days before the game with Zawisza and he thought he will be allowed to come back home to Latvia to pick up some of his stuff and be back for next round. None of this happened – he was dressed up in his kit, sent out against Zawisza to play with people he barely knew. And he scored twice.

4) There are much more important things in life than Ekstraklasa football. For Lech that means Europe. Honka was beaten over two games but now Lithuanian Zargilis offers bigger threat and surely Mariusz Rumak proved that on Sunday his squad is mostly picked with nearest Thursday night in mind. The draw with Cracovia, however, means Lech is now four points behind Legia, but without Murawski and few other players (Douglas, Henriquez), Rumak has to use his squad wisely and risk results.  Over extended season it will be easier to catch Legia – even easier when the points will be eventually cut in half – but for two legs of the European cup the focus and strength must be at full level.

5) There is still life in that funny old guy? Franciszek Smuda rather comically communicated with his right winger Sarki to show him why he should stop walking on the pitch and start running, but it seems that in Kielce he finally got something to his players’ heads. At least they were fighting and creating, unlike in the season opening goalless and boring draw with Górnik Zabrze. Also it is worth to note how Łukasz Garguła’s role is growing – when Paweł Brożek will be finally prepared to play after his comeback, he might have someone to play him that crucial through balls. After couple of seasons of negativity around Garguła’s presence at Wisła, on Monday he actually won them a game. Will they appreciate him more from now on?

6) Zawisza Bydgoszcz was supposed to be the better one out of two Ekstraklasa newcomers. But over 180 minutes of Ekstraklasa football maybe a quarter was good enough and up to the standards. Ryszard Tarasiewicz’s players are looking slow and too basic in their skills to put up a challenge that will match their ambition of ending first part of the season in top eight. Surely, their transfer activity speaks for itself – only now they’ve contracted top scorer of Cyprian league from last season, while ex-Blackburn (yes, really) Herold Goulon is maybe running little but moving and passing around with some grace. It looks as if it will work out for them soon – at least on the paper.

7) And who is looking dumber now, Zagłębie? First casuality of the Ekstraklasa season is Pavel Hapal, who was sacked by Zagłębie Lubin following two defeats. But not even results speak loud enough about his failures – to try and make a winger out of Robert Jeż takes some bravery, nerves and… stupidity. What is more, once again Zagłębie lacked passion, organization and idea in Gliwice, where Piast needed last ten minutes to get an otherwise deserved victory. But Pavel Hapal knew the writing is on the wall since May – how on earth someone at Zagłębie thought that giving him an extra two months – two crucial months of transfer activity and pre-season trainings – would be a sensible thing? Not at any point of his tenure at Zagłębie he looked like he will establish something with these players. Once he lost the dressing room (oh yes, that old cliche!) it was game over – and they couldn’t even notice that indeed, that had happened in the summer, but the one in 2012!

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