Once again it’s only thanks to UEFA’s ‘second-chance’ rule for defeated Champions League sides, that Poland still has two teams left in the Europa League. Which means half of this coming season’s Polish club representatives in Europe, are already out – even before the football season has begun. And only a miracle will see them both still there at the group stage.
The draw for the qualifying round has been fairly kind to Slask Wroclaw in that they will not have to waste too much money in traveling expenses when they go to Hannover. For the team and their suffering fans who will bother to make the away trip, it’s only a four hour drive. On the form they showed against Buducnost and Helsingborgs where they found themselves out of their depth against two European mediocrities, Slask really are wasting their time in Europe. Their fans will be praying only for a respectable defeat by the seventh best team in last season’s Bundesliga, who will surely be as tough a test as the Swedish champions. Those Swedish champions it must be remembered, who were held to a goal-less draw by Welsh part-timers New Saints FC in the first leg and managed to score only half as many goals against them in both matches, as they put past the champions of Poland. What does that say about the ‘strength’ of the Polish football League?
Equally out of their depth in Europe were Ruch Chorzow who it has been said, played for a draw in the first leg – at home – against ‘the giants’ of Viktoria Plzen. It beggars belief, and anywhere else in the world the coach Tomasz Fornalik would already be looking for a new club. And that really highlights what is so worrying about Polish club football, it’s not just the defeats by such mediocre opponents, but the manner of those defeats. Every team loses, even Barcelona and Real Madrid. But the way Polish teams just seem to collapse offering no resistance whatever, against sides that are statistically inferior – is really quite breathtaking. It adds a whole new dimension to failure.
According to UEFA’s latest co-efficient based on club results in Europe, Polish clubs are ranked at 18 which is four and six places higher than the Czech Republic and Swedish leagues.
Whichever way you look at it Slask Wroclaw and Ruch Chorzow have brought disgrace to the Ekstraklasa. PZPN should punish clubs which bring such disgrace by banning them from playing in Europe for the next season that they qualify.
It’s really hard to judge how bad Polish football is, because Lech Poznan and Legia spoiled the funeral by winning. Kolejarz, who everyone knew were already out after being thrashed 0-3 by ‘the giants’ of Sweden AIK Solna, just managed to save some face by scraping a 1-0 win in the home leg. According to my suggestion, they should just about be allowed back into Europe the next season they qualify.
The hope and prayers of Polish football rests with Legia who play Rosenborg of Norway, representing a league which is ranked even lower than the Czech and Swedish leagues – at 27. On paper and on form, it is not an unrealistic expectation to see them as the only Polish club left in Europe by September.
As long as they don’t suddenly get an attack of inferiority by seeing their opponents as Barcelona, Chelsea and Real Madrid all rolled into one.
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