Monday, July 21, 2014

Zawada signs professional contract with Wolfsburg

Polish U-18 striker Oskar Zawada has signed his first professional contract, inking a four-year deal with VfL Wolfsburg.

The 18-year-old joined the German club in 2012 from Stomil Olsztyn, and has been on a scoring spree in all levels of age starting with 18 goals in 25 games with the U-17 side two years ago, and netting 19 goals in 23 games with the U-19 side last season. He also made one appearance for the Wolfsburg reserve team this past season.

"Oskar had some opportunities to train with the pros at the end of last season and we are hoping to slowly integrate him into the Bundesliga team now. We are delighted to have been able to bind a further young player with prospects to VfL in the long-term," Wolfsburg's Sporting Director, Klaus Allofs, told the club's official website.

Lewandowski scores in first match for Bayern Munich

Polish striker Robert Lewandowski scored his first goal in his first appearance in a Bayern Munich shirt. His new club drew 11 against German third division side MSV Duisburg in a pre-season friendly today.

Lewandowski started and played 86 minutes with a very youthful-looking side put out by Bayern head coach Pep Guardiola.

Here is Lewandowski's goal:

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Krychowiak joins Sevilla on four-year deal

It has been confirmed that Polish defensive midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak will be joining Spanish side Sevilla.

Krychowiak was set to leave Stade de Reims, it was only a question of where he would end up. Anderlecht had previously made an offer that Reims accepted, but Krychowiak rejected the move.

Krychowiak already agreed terms with the Spaniards earlier, it was just up to the two clubs to negotiate a transfer fee, and that has now been finalized.

The Polish international will officially sign with Spanish club and be presented on Monday.

The transfer fee is not yet known, but is thought to be somewhere around 5 million euros.


Friday, July 18, 2014

European disaster for Polish clubs

Will Polish fans ever see a big improvement in Polish club football? That must be the question on our minds right now. It's all too much for some of the Polish fans and it's understandable. Unfortunately, despite poor performances in Europe, rather than doing something about it, all we get are excuses from coaches and club owners, who tell us not to worry, that there will be improvements, and the most common one, the strategy for the future response. That's the best way to buy time from the fans, saying that things will improve, and the club needs time to build a strong squad.

It's a great strategy, Legia Warszawa owner Bogusław Leśnodorski has used it too, giving fans hope for the future, even if the team fails now. Earlier this summer he told Polska Times that he expected the team to definitely qualify for the Champions League 'sooner or later'. We'll assume he meant later. Unfortunately potential is something that has been used to calm people in Poland down for a while now. If in five years Legia have not qualified, a different strategy will need to be put in place. Meanwhile, time is being wasted.

In 2004 Wisła Kraków were beaten by Anderlecht in the Champions League qualifier, but the reason give was that the squad was rebuilding and not ready for the Champions League anyway.

When Lech failed get in to the Europa League in the qualifiers last year, coach Rumak said he wasn't too bothered because the club would be concentrating on the league this year. What will his excuse be now if they go out, concentrating on the league again?

Legia was not quite ready for the Champions League last year, according to various sources, but were hoping to do very well in the Europa League. They didn't.

The Polish national team had the same problems. Apparently, despite his failures in Euro 2012 with Poland when he failed to qualify from Group A, Franciszek Smuda was praised for handing over an 'almost ready' team to the then new coach Waldemar Fornalik. That didn't do much good. The 'ready made' Polish side did not qualify for the World Cup.

What happened over the last couple of days was disgraceful. There was a time when Polish sides struggled in the European qualifying stages, but over the last few years, despite still not managing to get a team in to the Champions League, we have seen Polish clubs do well against decent sides in the Europa League. Lech Poznań, Legia and Wisła Kraków have all managed to get in to the Europa League group stages and have even qualified further from them. The aim is to keep building and going forward, not taking steps back.

Now we are back to the old days. On Wednesday evening Legia were almost defeated by Irish champions St Patrick's Athletic, and the following night Lech Poznań lost in Estonia to Nomme Kalju. Ruch Chorzów managed to beat FC Vaduz from Liechtenstein 3-2 but their opponent now have two away goals that could prove to be crucial. The only club who perhaps does not deserve to be ridiculed are Zawisza Bydgoszcz. The fact that they are even competing in Europe is a surprise, and they had by far the toughest opponent of the four Polish teams. They lost, but only 2-1 away to Belgian side Zulta Waregem who have caused their fair share of upsets in Europe and done well in the Belgian league.

No matter how you look at it, most of the European performances from Polish clubs were unacceptable. Polish sides are struggling against clubs from Liechtenstein, Estonia and Ireland. The performance by Legia and Lech were a big let down. Lesnodorski's twitter page said everything on Wednesday, when we wrote 'it couldn't be any worse.'

We can only hope that the Polish champions had a bad game and will win convincingly in the second leg. Michał Żyro is confident, saying that St Patrick's did not surprise them in any way, scored a fortunate goal on the counter attack and his team should have no problem dealing with them in Ireland. Being too sure of yourself is never good, but in this case, I hope he's right.

Let's hope Lech's performance improves greatly too, Ruch Chorzów can hold on to or even increase their current lead in Liechtenstein and Zawisz Bydgoszcz, with a packed house, can cause a surprise and dump their Belgian opponents out in the qualifying round. Hope, that's all we ever have when watching Polish teams play.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Zawisza 1, Zulte 2: Goal Highlights

Nightmare scenes continue in Polish football

Polish clubs are once again putting on a show in Europe competitions -- a nightmare show.

After yesterday's embarrassing draw by Legia Warszawa against Irish champions St Patrick's Athletic (1-1), Polish clubs got even worse today in their Europa League 2nd qualifying round matches. Lech Poznan lost away to Estonia side Nomme Kalju 1-0 and Zawisza Bydgoszcz were defeated in Belgium by Zulte Waregem (1-2).

The only bright light for Polish football were Ruch Chorzow, who won 3-2 against Liechtenstein side FC Vaduz -- a club that played in the Swiss second division last year.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Dudka: We don't play for free

Wisła Kraków are in serious financial trouble. The club is unable to pay the players their wages, but has supposedly promised to do this, according to Dariusz Dudka.

'Nothing has been paid so far. We've been promised we will be paid by the 15th, but we'll see what happens.'

Dudka understands that the club is having financial difficulties, but says the players did not come here to play for free.

'The club is slowly trying to get out of dept, but is currently still in it. We don't play for free, but to earn money.'

Dudka admitted to rejecting offers from clubs in Greece and France.

'I refused the offers for financial reasons. It's not beneficial to me to go to these clubs abroad. The financial situation over there isn't great either.'


Ruch Chorzow's pitch is not ready for the Europa League!

Ruch Chorzów's pitch is not ready and cannot be used at this time. According to Przegląd Sportowy, despite renovations being started on the pitch in June, there is currently no grass on it!

This means that Ruch Chorzów must play their Europa League 2nd round qualifying match against Vaduz in Gliwice, and their first few league fixtures will all be played away, until the renovations are completed.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Smuda's Wisła ambitions low

Wisła Kraków coach Franciszek Smuda does not appear to be aiming high with his current club Wisła Kraków. When asked about his hopes for the new season, Smuda said he had a modest squad, with 10 seniors and 10 juniors. He stated that the club would be aiming to finish in the top eight, as they did last season.

Smuda also mentioned that the preparation time for the season was not very long, but he feels his team have not lost much in the way of physical fitness since last season and things should be okay.

These comments by the Wisła coach may not fill fans with optimism. Many Wisła supporters are expecting the club to return to the good times when they would top the table. They see the last couple of seasons as a temporary crisis and hope the team will get back to the heights they were previously at.

It seems however, that the coach is not aiming to win the league or even necessarily qualify for European competitions with the club who have been Ekstraklasa champion five times in the last decade.

[source] Wisła Kraków/Piłka Nożna