Third in the Ekstraklasa table, and heading for what is already a crucial Europa League tie against Group leaders Napoli, is clearly not what is expected of Legia Warsaw. So much so that, after less than a third of the season gone, Wojskowi boss Henning Berg looks as though he could well be the next Ekstraklasa coach looking for employment.
It has been reported by various sources that Thursday’s game against the Italian giants will be the Norwegian coach’s last in charge of the club, after club president Bogusław Leśnodorski confirmed on TOK FM Radio that he had already held discussions with a number of coaches, including the favourite for the job: Russian boss Stanislav Cherchesov.
“For a long time, and in the last few months more intensively, we have been negotiating with other coaches. A serious club should be prepared for different situations – just as we look for new players, we talk to other coaches.”
Bogusław Leśnodorski, on Monday.
With four wins and four draws from their ten league games so far, Legia already sit a massive eight points behind surprise leaders Piast Gliwice, and despite being the top-scoring team in the division, their goals have not always translated into points. Early season hammerings of both Śląsk Wrocław and Podbeskidzie Bielsko-Biała looked to hold the side in good stead; but with only one win in their last seven league outings, coupled with defeat in their opening Europa League clash against Danish side FC Midtjylland, the Norwegian has been living precariously. Saturday’s draw at villagers Termalica Bruk-Bet Nieciecza looks to have been the straw that has finally broken the camel’s back.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Leśnodorski has seemingly decided to take action; Berg himself had taken over a Legia side top of the Ekstraklasa, after Jan Urban was dismissed following disappointing exits from both the Europa League and the Puchar Polski. Berg’s only saving grace so far seemed to be that Maciej Skorża – coach of last season’s champions and current bottom-club Lech Poznań – was still in employment. However this time, rather than once again waiting for European elimination, action will instead likely be taken to prevent it.
Ex-Russian international Cherchesov, the man who looks to have been tasked with replacing Berg, does have some previous knowledge of Legia, having scoured the club for talent during his time coaching in his homeland. In 2012, as boss of Terek Grozny, the former goalkeeper signed both Marcin Komorowski and Maciej Rybus from Legia; while two years later at Amkar Perm, he once again returned to the club to capture full-back Jakub Wawrzyniak. Last April he replaced ex-Wisła Kraków boss Dan Petrescu at Dynamo Moscow; but after failing to secure a Champions League place, his contract was mutually terminated by the club in the summer