Another disappointing season at Zagłębie Lubin – more so than any other recent year. Michał Rygiel runs the rule over it for EKSTRAKLASAreview’s Season review.
To say that the recently finished season was bad for Zagłębie Lubin is a massive understatement. Once again a team with views on finishing somewhere near the top failed to do so – the fans have kind of become used to it. But the Miedziowi decided to go a few steps further and managed to find themselves dead last in the league. Money, a great base, relative stability – some might say that it’s the perfect place to play football.
Those factors only led to the laziness of the players. But you can’t fire all the guys responsible for that, so instead the board went for the managers. The first one, Pavel Hapal, lasted two games. Yes, two. The next one, Adam Buczek, was never meant to be a full time head coach; yet he managed to grab Zagłębie’s one and only away victory of the season – a 2-0 win against Ruch Chorzów (then still under Jacek Zieliński’s reign). Orest Lenczyk got the job of securing a safe spot, but failed miserably. He not only failed to keep the Miedziowi out of ‘group B’, but also pushed them into the relegation zone. Piotr Stokowiec had to rely on a miracle, and his prayers simply weren’t answered.
And so, four coaches later, Zagłębie were down and out, with few bright spots in this absolute nightmare of a season. Arkadiusz Piech, the best goalscorer in the team, tried to do everything in his power to keep Zagłębie up, but proved to be a streaky striker at most. David Abwo shocked the pundits and fans with his run of form in the first few games of 2014 but then disappeared completely. Silvio Rodić helped the fans forget about Michał Gliwa, though the big Croatian also wasn’t a reliable option in goal.
In the final seven games of the season with nothing to lose and stronger opponents out of the way Zagłębie kept playing the counterattack game (with Lenczyk at helm) or without enough commitment (under both coaches) and were punished for their inability to score. Despite the signings of Aleksander Kwiek and Łukasz Piątek, both well-respected in the Ekstraklasa, Zagłębie lacked leadership and ideas. Their offensive game was incredibly chaotic – perhaps they attacked just to have a breather before setting up camp around their own penalty area. Though Lenczyk seemed to improve the back four (mostly by switching Guldan and Bilek as well as signing Džinić), they still couldn’t keep a clean sheet most of the time. All of those factors make for a season to forget as quickly as possible.
As you can clearly see, I could go on and on with all that has been wrong with Zagłębie this campaign. Instead, I’d like to end this short piece on a positive note. Not everything has been lost, though it’s not another expected rebuilding phase. This one has to be thorough and successful. Miedziowi cannot afford to stay in Pierwsza Liga for more than one season – that’s simply out of the question. With superior players that’ll most likely stay in Lubin, and the addition of great young guns that already had their cameo appearances in past few games, Zagłębie needs to stabilise its course. A quick promotion back to the Ekstraklasa will mean that they have escaped the sea of despair and are ready to swim with the big fish once again. Hopefully this time next year fans in Lubin will have a reason to be cheerful.