Unlike in more developed football playing countries, Poland’s attention to the game largely switches off once the highest league has ended its program.
The Ekstraklasa champions, cup-winners, qualifiers for the UEFA Europa League and relegated teams are all known, but there are still issues to be settled below, in the second level Polish tier – Liga 1.
With two rounds still to go, the all-important positions have been secured, champions and runners-up LKS Lodz and Podbeskidzie Bielsko Biala are guaranteed of promotion. The former are no strangers to the Ekstraklasa and have won it twice in 1958 and 1998. Their presence there next season will be welcomed by Widzew Lodz because it will guarantee at least two local derbies in Poland’s second city.
That is always good for business. Podbeskidzie however have never played at the highest level before and with their very limited resource both financial and with regards to experienced players, may find it a struggle. But that seems to happen everywhere, even in the English Premier League.
There is an interesting battle at the bottom of Liga 1 where only one team is certain to be relegated – GKP Gorzow Wielkopolski, who went bust and folded through financial difficulties with eight rounds still to go. Of the six clubs still fighting to avoid the three remaining relegation spots, only KSZO Ostrowiec Swietokrzyski and Odra Wodzislaw Slaski have any history of top-flight football. But the Liga 1 club who would have been most welcomed in the Ekstraklasa are Warta Poznan. Since moving in with giant neighbours Lech, the greens have been averaging gates of around 15,000 at the Bulgarska – not bad at this level by any standards.
Unfortunately their late run of seven wins and one draw in eight games came too late.
Meanwhile clubs in the third level who are fighting for promotion and who have tasted life at the top are: Zawisza Bydgoszcz and GKS Tychy (Div 2 West) and Swit Nowy Dwor and Wisla Plock (Div 2 East).
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