The 2013 EKSTRAKLASAreview Awards

The EKSTRAKLASAreview Awards

With the end of a fascinating year of Polish football, EKSTRAKLASAreview is extremely pleased to bring you the first annual EKSTRAKLASAreview awards; clearly the most prestigious awards in Polish football. Asked for their opinions on a total of eleven different categories, our assembled five-man judging panel dug out their memories of the Ekstraklasa in 2013; to give out undoubtedly the biggest honours ever to be received by any football player in Poland.

The five-man Judging Panel

Ryan Hubbard, Freelance writer, EKSTRAKLASAreview.co.uk

Michał Zachodny, Freelance writer, KTBFFH/KrotkaPilka.pl

Andrzej Gomołysek, Freelance writer, Taktycznie.net

Mike McKenna, Commentator, SportsTonight Live

Oscar Chamberlain, Commentator, SportsTonight Live

The voting process

Given the list of categories, our five-man panel were asked to give their three nominations for each award in order. If a nominee is placed in first position, five points are received; if in second position, three points; and third position gets one point. The nominee with the most points after all votes have been cast will receive the award.

Got that? Well lets get onto the awards.

—-

‘Poles Abroad’ Player of the Year

5th=: Bartosz Białkowski (Notts County) – 1 point

5th=: Łukasz Piszczek (Borussia Dortmund) – 1 point

4th: Mateusz Klich (PEC Zwolle) – 3 points

3rd: Artur Boruc (Southampton) – 7 points

2nd: Jakub Błaszczykowski (Borussia Dortmund) – 8 points

And the award goes to…

Robert Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund) – 25 points!

He may not have reached his club form for the Polish national team, but 2013 has still been a special year for Poland’s superstar striker. Finishing the 2012/13 season with 24 goals, a further eleven in the Autumn have made him one of the world’s most sought-after strikers. His four goals in the Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid will go down as one of the greatest European performances ever, and his proposed move to Bayern Munich will bring the prospect of continental silverware even closer.

A clean sweep for the Dortmund hitman, as everyone of our judging panel game him the maximum 5 points.

Ekstraklasa Game of the Year

7th=: Korona Kielce 3-2 Legia Warszawa – 1 point

7th=: Śląsk Wrocław 2-0 Lech Poznań – 1 point

6th: Górnik Zabrze 3-2 Wisła Kraków – 2 points

4th=: Śląsk Wrocław 1-0 Club Brugge – 3 points

4th=: Jagiellonia Białystok 5-2 Wisła Kraków – 3 points

3rd: Wisła Kraków 1-2 Legia Warszawa – 10 points

2nd: Górnik Zabrze 3-2 Śląsk Wrocław = 12 points

And the award goes to…

Lechia Gdańsk 4-4 Ruch Chorzów

Lechia Gdańsk 4-4 Ruch Chorzów – 13 points!

On the face of it, a game between a mid-table Lechia and a slowly falling Ruch wasn’t much to whet the appetite of Ekstraklasa fans; but as soon as Łukasz Janoszka’s 8th minute strike cancelled out Piotr Wiśniewski’s opener a minute earlier, the 11,342 fans who travelled to the PGE Arena knew they were in for something special.

Ricardinho gave the home side the lead midway through the first half, although a second-half brace from Pavel Sultes and a 18-yard curling effort from Marek Zieńczuk looked to have given Ruch an unassailable lead, ten minutes from time.

As the clock ticked away, Lechia missed a number of chances to pull a goal back; the woodwork and the Ruch keeper preventing them. But in the second minute of stoppage time, Grzegorz Rasiak tapped-in from close range to make it 3-4; and with the Ruch defence reeling, some neat play from the home side allowed an unmarked Adam Duda to coolly backheel in a stunning equaliser.

Foreign Player of the Year

6th: Hérold Goulon (Zawisza Bydgoszcz, France) – 1 point

5th: Kasper Hamalainen (Lech Poznań, Finland) – 3 points

3rd=: Robert Demjan (Podbeskidzie Bielsko-Biała, Slovakia) – 6 points

3rd=: Dani Quintana (Jagiellonia Białystok, Spain) – 6 points

2nd: Marco Paixao (Śląsk Wrocław, Portugal) – 14 points

And the award goes to…

Prejuce Nakoulma

Prejuce Nakoulma (Górnik Zabrze, Burkina Faso) – 15 points!

With the financial worries at Górnik, many thought Burkinabe international Nakoulma would be gone from the Ekstraklasa before it returned in February. But failing to secure a move away from Poland, “Prezes” has since played an important role for the Trójkolorowi as they climbed into second place ahead of the winter break.

With nine goals to his name this season, he is a constant attacking threat for Górnik – and always one of the first names on the teamsheet. However with a contract up in the summer, he could have played his last game in a Górnik shirt; with clubs abroad sniffing around, Górnik may need to sell now or risk losing him for nothing in the summer.

Goalkeeper of the Year

8th: Dariusz Trela (Piast Gliwice) – 2 points

6th=: Wojciech Kaczmarek (Zawisza Bydgoszcz) – 3 points

6th=: Rafał Gikiewicz (Śląsk Wrocław) – 3 points

4th=: Jasmin Burić (Lech Poznań) – 5 points

4th=: Dusan Kuciak (Legia Warszawa) – 5 points

3rd: Emilijus Zubas (GKS Bełchatów) – 6 points

2nd: Radosław Janukiewicz (Pogoń Szczecin) – 7 points

And the award goes to…

Michał Miśkiewicz

Michał Miśkiewicz (Wisła Kraków) – 14 points!

Behind fan-favourite Sergei Pareiko in the pecking order, Miśkiewicz was never going to have it easy upon his arrival at Reymonta 22. But with the Estonian vacating the jersey in the second half of last season, the 24 year-old stepped up to the plate – rightfully making the position his own.

With Wisła undergoing a huge transformation under Franciszek Smuda this season, Miśkiewicz has played a huge part in the club returning to the top-end of the Ekstraklasa table for the first time since their league success in 2011. An ever present for the Biała Gwiazda this season; twelve Ekstraklasa clean sheets, and another one in the Puchar Polski have understandably made the former Sudtirol-Alto Adige stopper one of the most praised players in Poland.

Defender of the Year

8th: Łukasz Burliga (Wisła Kraków) – 1 point

7th: Tomasz Jodłowiec (Legia Warszawa) – 2 points

6th: Paweł Olkowski (Górnik Zabrze) – 3 points

5th: Arkadiusz Głowacki (Wisła Kraków) – 4 points

3rd=: Inaki Astiz (Legia Warszawa) – 5 points

3rd=: Tomasz Brzyski (Legia Warszawa – 5 points

2nd: Marcin Kamiński (Lech Poznań) – 10 points

And the award goes to…

Jakub Rzeźniczak

Jakub Rzeźniczak (Legia Warszawa) – 15 points!

After playing a large part of the Autumn round, injuries, as well as stiff competition, prevented Kuba from playing a huge part in the Spring of 2012/13. However rejuvenated for the new season, the 27 year-old has been an integral part of the Legia back four that has climbed to the top of the table.

With Spanish defender Inaki Astiz missing for large parts of this Autumn, Rzeźniczak has slotted into the centre of the Wojskowi defence almost seamlessly, and become one of the most impressive performers in the league in doing so. Rightly so, he has pulled himself into the fringes of the Polish national team.

Midfielder of the Year

10th: Dawid Plizga (Jagiellonia Białystok) – 1 point

7th=: Hérold Goulon (Zawisza Bydgoszcz) – 3 points

7th=: Tomasz Jodłowiec (Legia Warszwa) – 3 points

7th=: Filip Starzyński (Ruch Chorzów) – 3 points

6th: Kasper Hamalainen (Lech Poznań) – 4 points

5th: Miroslav Radović (Legia Warszawa) – 5 points

2nd=: Jakub Kosecki (Legia Warszawa) – 6 points

2nd=: Dani Quintana (Jagiellonia Białystok) – 6 points

2nd=: Prejuce Nakoulma (Górnik Zabrze) – 6 points

And the award goes to…

Radosław Sobolewski

Radosław Sobolewski (Wisła Kraków/Górnik Zabrze) – 8 points!

What gets better with age? Whiskey, yes. Cheese, yes. Wine, most definitely. But defensive midfielders?! Well if they go by the name of Radosław Sobolewski, then definitely so.

Something of a legend at Reymonta 22, Rado’s last two seasons have been marred with injuries; and when his Biała Gwiazda contract wasn’t renewed in the summer, many thought that retirement may be on the horizon for the then-36-year-old. But not Sobolewski. Signing for Górnik Zabrze on a free transfer, he was expected to play a bit part, strengthening his new side’s midfield for the extended Ekstraklasa season. No-one expected him to make the impact he did.

Starting all-but-two of Górnik’s 21 league games (one through injury, and one for a suspension), as well as their two cup games, Sobol has showed that age is just a number; his five goals and impressive performances helping Górnik to second in the table and a Cup Quarter Final. If it wasn’t for his age, many would be stating his case for inclusion in the National squad.

The closest category by far in this year’s awards. A testament to the veteran’s performances that he has pipped so many talented names to the award.

Striker of the Year

8th: Mateusz Zachara (Górnik Zabrze) – 1 point

4th=: Vladimir Dvalishvili (Legia Warszawa) – 3 points

4th=: Łukasz Teodorcyk (Lech Poznań) – 3 points

4th=: Marek Saganowski (Legia Warszawa) – 3 points

4th=: Marcin Robak (Piast Gliwice/Pogoń Szczecin) – 3 points

3rd: Robert Demjan (Podbeskidzie Bielsko-Biała) – 8 points

2nd: Marco Paixao (Śląsk Wrocław) – 9 points

And the award goes to…

Paweł Brożek

Paweł Brożek (Wisła Kraków) – 15 points!

Since leaving Kraków in late 2010, Paweł Brożek hasn’t been having much fun. Rather unsuccessful spells at Trabzonspor, Celtic and Recrativo de Huelva, left him forgotten in Poland. A player who couldn’t cut it any more. But returning to his former club in the summer, Brożek has so-far managed to recreate the form which earned him the transfer abroad in the first place.

With eleven goals in eighteen appearances, Paweł once more leads the Ekstraklasa scoring charts. Playing regularly after lengthy spells on the bench at his various clubs, it’s unsurprising to see Adam Nawałka keeping an eye on him for the national team.

Young Ekstraklasa Player of the Year (Aged Under 21 on 01/01/14)

8th: Paweł Stolarski (Wisła Kraków) – 1 point

7th: Przemysław Frankowski (Lechia Gdańsk) – 4 points

5th=: Przemysław Kita (Cracovia) – 5 points

5th=: Aleksander Jagiełło (Legia Warszawa/Podbeskidzie Bielsko-Biała) – 5 points

4th: Mariusz Stępiński (Widzew Łódź) – 6 points

3rd: Karol Linetty (Lech Poznań) – 7 points

2nd: Jonathan Straus (Jagiellonia Białystok) – 8 points

And the award goes to…

Paweł Dawidowicz

Paweł Dawidowicz (Lechia Gdańsk) – 9 points!

While he has a penchant for picking up yellow cards (just one more will result in his second suspension of the season), it has nonetheless been an impressive proper “début” season for 18 year-old Dawidowicz.

Despite making two substitute appearances under Bogusław Kaczmarek, Dawidowicz earned his starting berth under new boss Michał Probierz, who threw him into his starting squad to face Podbeskidzie on the opening day. With impressive performances, the defensive-midfielder quickly became an important part of the Lechia side; and in matchday ten he was finally rewarded with his first senior goal – the equaliser in a 2-2 draw against Korona Kielce.

The youngster’s performances have since earned him a spot in the Polish U19 squad, whilst there have also been rumours of interest from a number of big clubs; most notably German giants Borussia Dortmund.

Transfer of the Year

6th=: Vladimir Dvalishvili (Polonia Warszawa to Legia Warszawa) – 1 point

6th=: Kasper Hamalainen (Djurgardens IF to Lech Poznań) – 1 point

6th=: Bartosz Bereszyński (Lech Poznań to Legia Warszawa) – 1 point

5th: Radosław Sobolewski (Wisła Kraków to Górnik Zabrze) – 4 points

3rd=: Hérold Goulon (no club to Zawisza Bydgoszcz) – 5 points

3rd=: Tomasz Jodłowiec (Śląsk Wrocław to Legia Warszawa) – 5 points

2nd: Marco Paixao (AS Ethnikos Achnas to Śląsk Wrocław) – 9 points

And the award goes to…

Paweł Brożek

Paweł Brożek (Recrativo de Huelva to Wisła Kraków) – 19 points!

Having spent a difficult year in the Spanish second-tier, Brożek’s return to Kraków seemed his only option. With former coach Franciszek Smuda back in charge, and a lack of funds to sign players, a free transfer for one of the club’s most successful-ever strikers didn’t seem too much of a gamble. And so far, it has paid off.

His eleven goals make him the league’s top scorer at the winter break; an award he won in both 2007/08 and 2008/09. In both of those seasons, the Biała Gwiazda also lifted the league title. After a few miserable seasons on the north side of Park Błonia, Wisła sit within reaching distance of the top once more. Surely the can’t do it again… Can they?

Ekstraklasa Manager of the Year

5th: Ján Kocian (Ruch Chorzów) – 4 points

4th: Wojciech Stawowy (Cracovia) – 7 points

2nd=: Piotr Stokowiec (Polonia Warszawa/Jagiellonia Białystok) – 9 points

2nd=: Jan Urban (Legia Warszawa) – 9 points

And the award goes to…

AdamNawalka

Adam Nawałka (Górnik Zabrze) – 16 points!

A clear winner of this award, eclipsing his closest challenger by seven points – 2013 really has been Nawałka’s year.

Guiding his Górnik Zabrze side through tough times, both on the pitch and financially, a fifth-placed finish in 2012/13 may have been a little disappointing for fans. But with more big names leaving and players running the risk of becoming unsettled, his men stormed out of the blocks in the Autumn Round; continually battling Legia at the top of the table.

After Waldemar Fornalik received his P45 at the end of Poland’s disappointing World Cup Qualifying campaign, it was understandable that Nawałka’s name was first on Zibi Boniek’s list. With his excellent man-management, and strong discipline – somewhere in the middle of Fornalik and his predecessor Franciszek Smuda – it is hoped that that balance can lead Poland through their Euro 2016 Qualifying campaign.

Ekstraklasa Player of the Year

9th=: Daniel Łukasik (Legia Warszawa) – 1 point

9th=: Marco Paixao (Śląsk Wrocław) – 1 point

9th=: Dani Quintana (Jagiellonia Białystok) – 1 point

6th=: Dominik Furman (Legia Warszawa) – 3 points

6th=: Kasper Hamalainen (Lech Poznań) – 3 points

6th=: Paweł Brożek (Wisła Kraków) – 3 points

3rd=: Jakub Kosecki (Legia Warszawa) – 5 points

3rd=: Miroslav Radović (Legia Warszawa) – 5 points

3rd=: Tomasz Brzyski (Legia Warszawa) – 5 points

2nd: Radosław Sobolewski (Wisła Kraków/Górnik Zabrze) – 7 points

And the final award goes to…

Jakub Rzeźniczak

Jakub Rzeźniczak (Legia Warszawa) – 11 points!

A well-deserved second award for the Legia centre-back, beating a whole host of names to the most coveted award of the lot.

Legia’s longest-serving current player has been in impressive form during the autumn round, even chipping in with five goals in all competitions. Although Kuba has missed five games through injury, his immediate return to the team just shows how highly-regarded he is at the club. A new three-year contract at Łazienkowska 3 ensures he’ll remain a fan-favourite for the foreseeable future. Well, either that or he’ll earn a big-money move abroad very soon.

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