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Thread: Life after CM 00/01 --> exploring CM 01/02

  1. #26
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    2009/2010

    Our debut in professional football contained an early red card for our goalie and (consequently) a massive defeat: 1-4... In the end it didn't matter, because we gained all of the next possible six points and moved up to sixth in the ranking as well! A promising start of the season, to say the least. Now we had to keep up the good work and stay away from the drop zone as far as we can. In my opinion not the easiest assignment, however...

    Spoiler!

    The only remaining cup tournament for us was the Polish FA Cup. In the Second Round we visited Stal. St. Wola, a team with the same league history as Grunwald. Within the first twenty minutes of the game, Wania (FLC) - our man behind the attacking force - scored a hat-trick. That was all we needed: 0-3! The Third Round meant a home game against Slask, playing in the division above us. In the second 45 minutes both Zarzeczny (AM/FLC), replacing Wania as most attacking midfielder, and Wania himself, playing up front this time, provided some goals: 2-0! Next to that we had to play two legs against Stomil, another team from the First Division. After about half an hour at our own Klodnicka it took our backup left back Dabrowski (D/DML) only one minute to collect two yellow cards. Thanks to excellent goalkeeping from Wosicki we survived sixty minutes of repeated attempts on our goal: 0-0. Away from home Logvinov (SC) opened the score before the ten-minute mark. Less than ten minutes later Stomil's goalkeeper was sent off and the same Logvinov couldn't keep his nerves from the spot. Wania, again playing as an attacker, did score our second goal before half-time. With ten men Stomil could only get one back in the second half: 1-2!

    Spoiler!

    So much for our luck this season. The opposition in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup consisted of the mighty Wisla. In Krakow out-of-control Dabrowski again saw a red card: 4-0... In front of our crowd nothing seemed possible either: 0-2...

    Quite frankly, the second half of the season as a whole turned out to be rather embarrassing for Grunwald. I'm just trying to forget those kind of things and focus on my future. After deservedly getting the sack, I'm obviously planning to move away from Poland.

    Spoiler!

    Apparently there is no need to be any good at managing a football team. One of the countries that failed to qualify for the World Cup will give me - of all people - a chance to try and reach the 2012 Euros. Definitely a big challenge, but I'm excitingly looking forward to it!

    Spoiler!

    Don't be afraid, I'm also appointed to take charge of a team at club level. Participating in Group 4 of the Spanish Second Divison B, Castillo (C.F.) - with no history in professional football - is my new squad. When I arrived there were only three players present, but fortunately I had some money to purchase a couple more. I spent 250,000 on bringing in fifteen new players and also confirmed fourteen loan deals, with one of those already ended because the player was transferred. Let's see what I can make out of this...

    Spoiler!

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  3. #27
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    Get Victory in that starting lineup now!

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  5. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by AMC View Post
    Get Victory in that starting lineup now!
    Only if necessary

  6. #29
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    Class this! Keep it up Verkh Vrkh!

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  8. #30
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    2010/2011

    A total of four Groups, containing twenty teams each, are making the Spanish Second Division B (one of) the largest competition(s) in the world. Finishing in the top four of your Group means you enter a playoff group with three other teams, all representing one of the other Groups. Again this means there are four (playoff) groups and every winner of it gets promoted to the Second Division. At the other end of the table, a total of sixteen(!) teams are relegated at once. Three out of four other teams can stay up through winning one or two - depending on the results - two-legged playoff ties.

    Based on the recent past of my managerial career so far, it was very likely that Castillo had a realistic option of going down written all over them. That's why I was fairly happy to see the performances of my team in the first half of the season. Surely, we weren't rocking all the time, but a positive achievement after 38 games still wasn't unthinkable!

    Spoiler!

    That average of one point per match kept us on track for avoiding relegation, no matter in what fashion. Unfortunately it soon became clear there were more than 38 points needed to reach the safety status. This kind of pressure was literally killing us. Quite frankly we didn't deserve to be part of this division, considering our record in the remaining twenty fixtures played in the league: 3 wins, 3 draws and 14 losses... Only twelve points out of a possible sixty, what a disaster!

    Spoiler!

    The (former) Magical Magyars are playing their part in the Euro qualifications and have even managed to win some of their games:

    Hungary - Czech Republic: 0-1 (0-0)
    Georgia - Hungary: 1-1 (0-0)
    Hungary - Cyprus: 4-1 (1-0)
    Faroe Islands - Hungary: 0-2 (0-1)
    Hungary - Sweden: 1-1 (1-0)
    Czech Republic - Hungary: 4-0 (2-0)
    Hungary - Georgia: 1-0 (0-0)

    It's hard to compete with Czech Republic an Sweden, so the summer of 2012 will probably be a quiet one in the Budapest area...

    Spoiler!

    The Castillo directors had every right to send me away and I thus searched for another club to find my luck. I didn't have to travel much, as I'm in the Second Division B again. This time it's the Portuguese one and Clube Desportivo Cova da Piedade - also known as C. Piedade - are playing in the Southern section of it for the first time in their history. I'm not sure yet, but I think I might like the look of their kit colours!

    At the beginning of the summer there were no players available, so I had some work to do before the start of the season. With not that many players interested to sign a contract with us, I decided to bring in both free agents and loanees. The most remarkable recruitment for me was 39-year old Mark Bosnich as a player/coach. I considered him good enough to be our first goalkeeper and also being capable to bring in some experience in the team. Then out of the blue he retired from his playing career and for no reason his wage went up way too high, so I released him on a free again. We now have 31 players, 16 of them on loan, to kick off the season. Fora C. Piedade!!!

    Spoiler!

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  10. #31
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    2011/2012

    Could Portugal then be a candidate to become a steady home for me? Again a battle against relegation from a nation's lowest professional football division awaited me. The Portuguese Second Division B includes a total of 60 teams, perfectly partitioned between three regional sections (North, Central and South). At the end of the season each region sees one club promoted and four relegated. In order to prevent one of my teams conceding goals for no reason yet another year, I was going to play a very flat 5-1-3-1.

    After two league games with just one goal scored against us, we played in the Second Round of the Portuguese Cup. At home against Esmoriz, who were not playing professional football, it took more than half a game for us to open the score through left midfielder Cardoso. Given our defensive record, we were ought to be on the good side of the score from then on. Apparently we needed to do more than rely on our defenders only: 1-2...

    Having played the first five matches in the league without finding the net once, we still had a remarkable goal difference of just -1. That was way better than what I had experienced in previous years, although this lack of goalscoring was obviously bothering me big time! Collecting only five points out of the possible thirty at the beginning of the season wasn't very hopeful either...

    Spoiler!

    When it comes to best defence we could even compete with the highest seeded teams of the division, but the attack definitely was our major concern. I decided to support our lone striker a bit more by adding instructions of going forward for the three midfielders already closest to him and both of our wing-backs. It immediately showed a positive effect as we won the 11th game, with Gonalo - our only attacker - on the scoresheet: 0-1. Lucky us!

    Spoiler!

    Losing half of the first twenty matches wasn't bad at all. Winning just one by no doubt caused the trouble where we were in at that moment. The next ten matches saw us win relatively more, however we also lost more often... Much to our relief the gap towards the first place above the feared line remained exactly the same. We still had eight whole games to do the fans a big favour!

    Spoiler!

    There was nothing wrong with the willingness that was shown by my players during those last matches. It became harder and harder nonetheless to stay up with them, especially because some of the loan deals ended four or five games before the end of the season... With two games to spare our only possible way out, was picking up all six points and be the better one on goal difference.

    Spoiler!

    At least we had a somewhat better season than one of the teams in the Northern section. In the end the result of being relegated was equal for both teams, though... Extremely painful to see on top of that is the number 25 in their season report:



    It was up to Hungary to add something positive to my season. Beating Cyprus 1-3 away from home, brought them back at three points from second-placed Sweden. With two games to go - one of which was against the Swedes - things looked rather good. Typically for my career was the display at home to the supposed very weak Faroe Islands: 0-1... No need to mention the outcome of our match played in Stockholm, I reckon. The end of another dream...

    Spoiler!

    I was shown the door by my Portuguese friends. So I had four consecutive relegations out of professional football in my pocket. Not the best of histories to find a new job in football management with. I was likely to end up at a club in the basement of their country's divisions. My journey across Europe continues with a contract at KVO Aarschot in Belgium, playing in the colours of the Dutch national team.

    There's not much money to spend and that's why I mainly brought in lots of players on loan. From the 43 players currently in the squad, only seven don't have contracts with a parent club. Despite the overall disappointing season with Piedade, I liked their defensive stats. The use of five at the back will be maintained at Aarschot as well. In front of them a snake-shaped formation has been put together.

    Spoiler!

    We will have to wait until early September before the Third Division kicks off. On the 11th of August we had to travel to the capital to play Rhodienne-Verrewinkel (non-League) in the Third Round of the Belgian Cup. At half-time we were 2-0 down and thanks to De Jonghe and Melkert we drew level. No extra time was played and after eight penalties we won the shoot-out with 2-4! A week later we welcomed Heusden (Second Division) for the Fourth Round. Within fifteen minutes already De Groote brought us back to 1-2. Next we played against ten men for almost an hour, but no more goals were scored...

  11. #32
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    2012/2013

    The 32 teams playing in the Belgian Third Division are divided into two Groups (A and B). Both league leaders are automatically promoted to the Second Division and will play two legs against each other to decide who are the overall D3 champions. After every team has played a(nother) third of the regular 30 league matches, period winners per Group are decided. Although this results in only six teams to be drawn against one another, they still call it the Promotion Playoff Quarter Finals. The best three over two legs advance into the Semi Finals, where the number 16 of the Second Division enters the draw as well. Two ties of two legs are fixtured and the winners of those have one Final match to make clear which team is allowed to play or stay in D2 next season.

    At the bottom of the two tables the numbers 15 and 16 are irreversibly relegated. Firstly, for the remaining two slots in the Third Division, six knockout matches between Non-League squads are played. After those the two numbers 14 out of D3 are added to the draw. Again the knockout principle is used for these four matches and finally the same goes for the last two games of the Relegation Playoffs.

    Undoubtedly I was in for a genuine relegation battle for the umpteenth time in a row. Even though I don't use any of the substitutes when nobody is injured or sent off, only being able to name a maximum of four, isn't very luxurious. We proved to be a relatively hard nut to crack in the first period of the season. Just four out of ten opponents managed to beat us. Unfortunately we weren't very succesful in defeating other teams ourselves either... On the other hand, we still had every chance to survive at this level.

    Spoiler!

    The sale of one or two loanees by their owners led to me concluding some new loan deals with other players. Most important was a DMRC from Anderlecht who would replace Foket in our starting eleven. This new impetus produced more wins in the second period. Because we lost more games as well, our total amount of points won was only doubled. Luckily for us the safe places weren't far away yet, so we were pretty much in it at the beginning of the last ten games.

    Spoiler!

    Despite this rather promising outlook, suddenly my job became insecure. I was somewhat surprised by that news, but all I could do was go on and try to make the best out of it. First there was a very unlucky 0-0 at home against Lambusart (shots on target: 4-0) and after that a well-deserved decider in the 90th minute of the game away at Maaseik: 1-0 (shots on target: 6-1). And that was that when it comes to the board's patience with me...

    Spoiler!

    At the end of the day, Aarschot ended on 24 points, resulting in a disappointing 15th place. I don't even know why clubs are still interested in my services as a manager, but pretty soon after my dismissal, I succeeded in finding another job. Not for the first time, a return to a country where I was before. The club were relegated to the Second Division B last season, so some possibilities were available as well! Portuguese side Unio Futebol C. I. Tomar (U. Tomar), in seventh place, would like me to reach a respectable league position after the remaining twelve matches of this season.

    Spoiler!

    I'm not prepared yet to quit using five defenders and that's why a 5-2-3 was implemented. Both wingbacks are asked to move forward once in a while and the two midfielders must keep an eye on what's behind them. Furthermore, the general concept of play is based on playing long balls towards the three men up front.

    The transfer window was already closed, so I arranged some loan deals to supply myself with the players I needed for my new formation. We collected a total of 21 points to make it sixty for the season. Officially neither of the teams I managed this season were relegated at the time I was in charge!!!

    Spoiler!

    The people of Hungary must be hungry for some success, but the quality of said country's players might not be enough to give the people what they want. In the Qualification Group for the 2014 World Cup they have to play reigning European Champions (!) Belarus, Portugal (who lost against Belarus in the quarterfinals of the earlier mentioned EC), Belgium - who were runners up in 2008 - and Cyprus. So far, just the expected points against the islanders, without any experience on a major tournament, were picked up.

    Spoiler!

    Although there was some money on the bank to invest in new faces, I thought it wasn't a bad idea to sell players I didn't plan on giving a chance anyway. With all the transformations taken into account, I think we're ready for the upcoming season, mostly playing the lads shown below.

    Spoiler!

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  13. #33
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    2013/2014

    The general opinion in the direct area of Tomar was that a finish in the top quarter of the table shouldn't be impossible. Staying unbeaten in the first five league games of the season did much to grow the fans' confidence. In the end this second place wouldn't give us anything, but it was good to get things going early on! I'm still astonished though by the way we continued after this clear moral boost. I don't have any explanation whatsoever for us picking up a total of zero points in the next five fixtures... Welcome back, danger zone

    Spoiler!

    In the Second Round of the Portuguese Cup we had to turn up away from home against the semi-professionals of Abrantes. Only the first fifteen minutes gave some reason to cheer, when Tiago (FRLC) got himself a brace: 0-2! Next up were Cinfes, acting on the same level as our previous opponents. This time Musetti (FRLC) and Manuel (DMRC) silenced the home crowd, but both of our goals were singled out by their total of two shots on target: 2-2. The replay saw us dominate even more and with Pratas (SC) once and Musetti twice on the scoresheet, the result corresponded to the run of play: 3-1! Bigger opposition then in the Fourth Round, when we had to bring Taipas - playing in the North Group of the Second Division B - a visit. We took a first-half lead through a Stassin (DC) goal, although the game was only decided in the last quarter of the second half: 2-1...

    I certainly didn't want to add another relegation to my palmares, so a change of league form was essential. Probably a fast recovery would take away some of the tension, at least for me. Our five defenders prevented us getting a lot of goals put passed us, which was something to build on. However, the madness was complete, while we needed another eight league matches to finally return to winning ways. It looked like we should use the full season to escape going down, that is if that goal could be achieved after all...

    Spoiler!

    So far we had won just four out of twenty ties in this competition. After winning the 18th game earlier, we repeated that in matches 21, 23, 25, 27 and 29, more than doubling our wins! That surely saw us reaching a safe position and a rather quiet end of the season, wouldn't it? In fact they kicked me out, directly after that ninth victory... Without a tenth in the remaining nine games, Tomar eventually stayed up as number sixteen.

    Again I had to convince a club to hire the laughingstock of world football as a manager. Thrilled to get a new chance, I went to a club that was already relegated from the top flight. That didn't matter to me at all. There were still two matches to play, meaning I would make my debut in a country's highest division!!!

    Wow, this is something else indeed! An exciting draw (2-2) to start with and a very unfair loss (1-2) afterwards. My striker Krzysztof Dawidowski impressed right away by scoring all three of our goals!!!

    Spoiler!

    The lost cause of Hungary was even more highlighted in the remaining three matches of the qualification. In the 88th minute a defeat against Belgium was averted (1-1), but against both Cyprus and Portugal we didn't score ourselves (losses of 1-0 and 0-1)...

    Spoiler!

    Not an easy assignment for me in Poznan, as promotion is demanded. I'm especially disappointed by the retirement of several players just before the season kicked off. Taking a look at the transfer market throughout the season could be necessary after all. Hopefully I can attract some suitable players for something that can be called a 4-2-1-2-1.

    Spoiler!

    A couple of cup matches made clear what can be done with the current squad. Starting at home in the first match of the League Cup First Round, meeting Gornik Zabrze, another team out of the Second Division. From our point of view the scoreline was altered by Kaminski (AM/FRC) in the first and Dawidowski (SC) in the second half: 2-0! In the second leg Dawidowski found the net more than once and Borkowski (SW/DC) fired one in too: 0-3! After that Miedz hosted a game between two sides from the same division. Both teams left it late and the latest goal of the lot, scored by Dawidowski, made the return still worthwhile for us: 2-1...

    Let's try and make it a season full of these kind of scenes:


  14. #34
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    2014/2015

    With previous contracts at Polar and Grunwald already under my belt, perhaps the scenario of third time lucky in Poland was a, albeit unlikely, possibility. Of course a story of a performance the other way around was lying in wait as well, given my history as a manager so far.

    The Second Division got underway right between our two legs in the League Cup against Miedz, having lost the away game 2-1. Due to fitness issues a lot of different players were lined up for the kick-off at our own Bulgarska. Despite Kowalik (SC) grabbing an equaliser right before the interval, LKS eventually took all three points: 1-2... Lobodzinski (AMC) scored our only goal in the return versus Miedz. Too bad (Piotr) Lewandowski earned himself a brace way before that: 1-2... If losing three times in a row with the same score wasn't bad enough by itself, in that third match we also lost Dawidowski for about three months... A great opportunity for Kowalik to show the world what he's capable of. With him as our front man in most of them, we were unbeaten in the following nine league matches!

    Spoiler!

    We even had to start our FA Cup campaign without Dawidowski. Away at the 'amateurs' of Odra Wodzislaw in the Third Round it was Kowalik who scored first. After a penalty for the home team we came back in front in the first half, again thanks to Kowalik. A couple of minutes past the break he completed his hat-trick and a little while later Latka (AM/FC) finished the job: 1-4! In league match ten Kowalik was replaced by the fit-again Dawidowski, but obviously he had fulfilled his role as understudy like no other!

    Spoiler!

    Our defence was doing well, to say the least. But when I had the chance to sell Szmuc (DLC, age 20) for 1M, the decision was easily made. Would something like that come out to haunt us? It was league match eleven, the second consecutive one he was playing, when bad luck struck again. Dawidowski picked up an injury which kept him out for another four months... We knew Kowalik was on fire anyway and only five other matches were to be played before winter recess emerged. We were still unbeaten, but it looked like we need to win all games to stay at the top. Could we manage to do that?

    Spoiler!

    Both legs in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup were fixtured in November and a familiar opponent came out of the draw. Firstly, we had to visit LKS and an early goal by Bednarz (AML) decided the match: 0-1! A few weeks later it was one of my (Russian) recruitments in Pchelintsev (MC) to score our only one: 1-0 (again)! In short, we were doing great on the pitch and I was ever so busy to do the same off it. Letting Latka and Adamczyk (GK) go for 1,000,000 each maybe was a bit of a risk, but they both had clauses that could make them leave for only 775,000 or so.

    Spoiler!

    Clearly, some quality players left us and in the past, my teams had difficulties to get their act together after multiple months of inactivity. With Dawidowski back in the starting eleven, we never managed to break the deadlock in the next four games, at the same time picking up five points. The last match of that quartet featured the man who then became third time unlucky in Poland. Dawidowski out. Three months... Hopefully, Kowalik was ready to shine once more.

    Spoiler!

    Our attempt to reach the last four of the Polish FA Cup saw us challenging Polonia, playing in the division Lech Poznan desperately wanted to return to. At home a potential draw was denied by one of the linesmen, but in the very last minute of the game, Bednarz succeeded in doing so at last: 1-1. We now had to score in the away tie. It proved to be too much of an assignment and in all fairness, even if we had done just that, it wouldn't have been enough: 2-0...

    Back to the league, where we soon built a five-point gap towards LKS and even one of ten between us and the playoff places. There is never a good moment to choke, but this was a pretty decent situation to cope with a little bit of that. Because this is a club I was in charge of, the slump continued for a too long period of matches. On the bright side, we still had everything to fight for in the decisive phase of the season.

    Come on you Kolejorz!!!

    Spoiler!

    Back-to-back Saturday losses and LKS went ahead of us. Then Dawidowski lightened up his almost countless return by scoring one of our three goals on Wednesday, which secured us a top-four finish after this penultimate game. Because of our mutual results, the top spot was officially out of sight. To keep things in our own hands, we could better record a win in the last encounter of the season. On Saturday Kowalik did what he does best, namely putting the (foot)ball past the opponent's goalie: 1-0 (undeserved as hell, but who cares?)!

    Okay, earlier I've won the Africa Cup of Nations with Ghana. However, for me, this actually counts as an achievement as well. Surely, winning the title would have been a fine bonus, but I'm delighted to finally perform with a club. Now I need to keep it up!

    Spoiler!

    As far as international football is concerned, year in, year out I'm wondering when the Hungarian Football Association will decide to take me off my duty. It's just becoming more hopeless every game... No further words to explain the situation. More than ever I expect my days in this occupation to be counted.

    Spoiler!

    At first I was signing some players to arrive on a Bosman when summer would come. The promotion made me feel something more was necessary to survive in Poland's top division though. I agree that some inequality can be noticed between players leaving and coming in.

    Those who went out:

    1. Borkowski (SW/DC, age 24, contract expiry)
    2. Kaminski (AM/FRC, age 32, contract expiry)
    3. Owczarek (DMR, age 23, 500,000)
    4. Kucharski (MRC, age 20, 500,000)
    5. Wozniak (FRC, age 19, Bosman)
    6. Romanowski (SW/DC, age 33, retirement)

    The new faces:

    1. Kot (DLC, age 26, Bosman)
    2. Hajduk (AM/FR, age 24, Bosman)
    3. Majchrzak (GK, age 32, Bosman)
    4. Wozniak (DRLC, age 28, Bosman)
    5. Bankowski (SC, age 22, Bosman)
    6. Kulpaka (DRL, age 22, Bosman)
    7. Madej (DC, age 26, Bosman)
    8. Sala (SW/DC, age 27, 75,000)
    9. Grabowski (DMRLC, age 24, 250,000)
    10. Klimek (AMLC, age 27, Bosman)
    11. Malecki (DMC, age 32, Bosman)
    12. Wachowicz (AM/FC, age 23, 75,000)
    13. Najewski (AM/FRC, age 23, 75,000)
    14. Wierzchowski (GK, age 38, free transfer)
    15. Siedlecki (DRC, age 21, loan deal)

    Call me crazy, but I'm too tempted to put the 38-year old, capped 53 times for Poland, in goal. In that way my new assistant manager can even have some influence on the results during our matches! An indication how (the rest of) the squad looks like, is hidden right below.

    Spoiler!

    Probably as a result of our regained elite status we didn't play any early cup matches. Instead three friendlies were programmed within five days. Besides the oldy in goal - who played all three of them - thirty field players were named for one game per person. It's safe to say that the so-called strongest eleven clearly made the most of the 90 minutes they were between the lines.

    Spoiler!

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  16. #35
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    This is a great read!....good work!

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  18. #36
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    2015/2016

    Our promotion from the second to the first tier of Polish football was accompanied by 525,000 for finishing 2nd and another 775,000 came Poznan's way when TV money was handed out. With that, it probably wasn't the biggest deal of all to meet the expectations of the man in charge even above the manager, as he requested me to improve the squad during the upcoming season. Did this mean he wouldn't mind if, god forbid, by chance a quick return to the Second Division occurred?

    For one thing, I had to find out what the league structure has in store. All sixteen competitors are drawn to play just seven of the possible fifteen opponents in the first months of the season. Facing all of them on both grounds, means that the first balance can be made up after fourteen matches. It wasn't clear to me why there was a dotted line halfway through both of the groups. By the look of it, some kind of reward could emerge after ending up in the top half of your chart.

    Spoiler!

    A visit from reigning champions Wisla meant our first taste of competitive action. Despite us creating the most goal chances, we suffered a last-minute defeat. Away at Stomil the same story could be told. At least we weren't outplayed... We headed for Radzionkow next and when their goalkeeper caused a penalty and got sent off for that at 0-0 ( 20'), I became optimistic about a good result. 0-1 from the spot and a one-player advantage, but still we managed to concede a late goal and drop some more points. With the first attack of the game we immediately silenced Hutnik's crowd. Chance after chance to double the lead were missed and then someone with a definite weak spot for Kowalik (SC) did something incredibly stupid, which produced yet another loss...

    Spoiler!

    To complete the first series of games in Group A, we could count on our own fans' support in all three remaining fixtures (Orlen, Widzew and (the return against) Stomil). Unfortunately Kowalik wasn't our biggest threat in those, scoring just once himself. Apparently even that was enough to win each one of them and lift our point tally from one out of four to ten out of seven! What an out-of-the-blue luxury!!! On top of that, these performances kept us near the still mysterious dotted line, with only Wisla (far) out of sight.

    Spoiler!

    Such a shame we were tied against Wisla in the Third Round of the League Cup, starting in Krakow. In short, not our best game: 3-0... We had nothing to lose in the return and that's exactly what we did. In the second half Bankowski (SC) got us underway and near the end of the game Nowicki (D/DMC) gave us some more hope. If only the match could have lasted a couple more minutes: 2-0...

    The FA Cup saw us entering in the Second Round, facing KSZO - one of our former league opponents - at our ground. Although our goalie had to stop some shots as well, a first-half goal through Kowalik was followed by a second-half Tarasov (AMR) brace: 3-0! Hosting Stomil in the Third Round would probably ask for a different approach. Eventually we had to process the same number of shots against and I was ever so happy with both Kowalik and Wachowicz (AM/FC) finding the net before half-time: 2-0!

    We continued the first stage of the league by somehow holding Wisla to a draw in Krakow! In fact, we only lost, undeservedly too, away at Widzew. By doing so, we managed to double our amount of points gained. Could we make it into the top four with that? And if so, what would it mean? And if not, was that bad news? In general, I was proud of the way we presented ourselves in the highest national league of Poland so far anyway!

    Spoiler!

    No matter in which part of your group you'll finish, your points are halved before the closing stage of the league kicks off. In case of an odd number, the .5 is rounded up to give you sort of an extra point. Instead of eleven points we now were 'just' six behind the league leaders. For me, the most intriguing part was another grouping of eight teams each. Both top and bottom halfs of the previous groups were matched, meaning you don't have to play four of the teams in the same league for an entire season. Again every team in the second phase of the season is played twice. To make up for the clubs you don't encounter, some of the others will be contested four times!

    Spoiler!

    The first leg of the FA Cup Fourth Round was at home against Kietrz, who finished 7th in Group A of the opening stage. In the first hour or so there was nothing between both teams, but from then we needed Bankowski and Hajduk (AM/FR) to come back from behind: 2-1! The return match displayed the same scenario, only this time in the first fourty minutes of the game. It was Bankowski again to open the score and this time Kietrz fought back in style: 2-1. No more goals were scored, neither in the second half nor in both halfs of extra time. Guess who were the most secure from the spot? Not us...

    For a change the league wasn't resumed with a fixture against Wisla. Polkowice came to visit and we clearly brushed them aside: 4-1! We didn't have to wait for too long before Wisla came across after all. After Szymanski (DMC) had received two yellow cards we still managed to score twice: 0-2! Besides the downer in the FA Cup, we went into the winter break with rather positive feelings all along! And by then I finally came to the conclusion, looking at the positions on the table and the corresponding points won, that we were already safe from relegation worries

    Spoiler!

    Quite remarkably, as I led Hungary to four wins on the bounce against Luxembourg (A), Bulgaria (H), Faroe Islands (H) and Slovakia (A, friendly) to end 2015 in some fashion! To put things right, 2016 saw them losing both friendly matches against Ireland (H) and again Slovakia (A).

    Spoiler!

    The winter break was quiet as ever. Nevertheless my coaches all agreed that Szewczyk (DRLC) at the age of 15 was already mature enough to join the main squad. He didn't play a game, though, and even if he had done so, our overall inconsistency would still have been victorious. It became clear that we weren't ready to immediately compete with the very top of the country. Of course that's nothing to be ashamed of when you're just promoted from the league below!

    Spoiler!

    Maybe I shouldn't have been so excited already about securing our stay in the top flight midway through the season. Now it was hard to keep my playing personnel motivated for the last hurdles in the league. When we had to play Wisla for the 6th time (cups included), Wierzchowski (GK) was suspended after 'earning' himself a red card in the previous match. The replacement of our golden oldie in goal definitely shared in the malaise: 1-5...

    Despite all that, I was surprised in particular by the prize money given to us in comparison to last season in the Second League: 350,000 now versus 525,000 back then

    Spoiler!

    No real necessity to compose a completely different squad. I did ask for improvement of the training ground. At the cost of 1,000,000 we went from good facilities to:

    Spoiler!

    New:

    1. Bugaj (D/DMC, 21, Bosman)
    2. Wysowski (D/DMC, 18, Bosman)
    3. Bazler (D/DMC, 35, Free --> player/coach)
    4. Nowak (DC, 31, Bosman)
    5. Giguel (DC, 23, Free)

    Away:

    1. Lauwrijs (GK, 36, Retired --> coach)
    2. Drag (DR, 35, Retired)

    With two cup winners as well, it was beyond all things I had expected, so I even had to recall my players from their summer holidays to compete in the First Round of the Inter-Toto Cup. Grabowski (DMRLC) was at the Euros with Poland, thus we started without him at home against Loko Plovdiv (Bulgaria). Lacking match practice all over my squad and to make matters worse, we went one goal down after a good twenty minutes. Thanks to Szymanski we drew level before the break and after that the run of play was in our favour. In the end it was Wachowicz who sealed the deserved win for us: 2-1! Four days later almost everyone was replaced by a (slightly) fitter subsitute and the Bulgarians took maximum advantage of that, by totally outclassing us. Within thirty minutes they were three goals up. Kowalik was the first to wake up and at half-time the deficit was brought back to two. In the second half the pressure kept on coming towards us and it was some kind of miracle that Sala (DC) made our second. After that we still had at least 35 minutes to defend the even score on aggregate. We only had two shots on target in the whole game, but it seemed to be enought to advance on away goals: 3-2! Wait a minute, what is that referee thinking? We are playing European football, right? We can't handle another thirty minutes on the pitch! And so we went down at the first occasion: 4-2 (118')...

    After those games Giguel from Senegal arrived. Sala and Adamski (DRC) moved one position to the right to fit him in and Kulpaka (DRL) lost his place.

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  20. #37
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    Just caught up, really good stuff. You've certainly had some tough jobs in recent years but glad to see you doing much better with Lech.

    Keep it up!

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  22. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMAdventurer View Post
    Just caught up, really good stuff. You've certainly had some tough jobs in recent years but glad to see you doing much better with Lech.

    Keep it up!
    It sure did take some time to find my way, but I'm happy too with how things are going at the moment. This makes playing and writing a wee bit more enjoyable!

  23. #39
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    2016/2017

    A new season equals new chances of success. By the words of the board, the hope for improvement was there. By my interpretation, not much more pressure was laid on us. With the deception in Europe fresh in mind, the first part of the domestic competition presented itself. For a change we didn't had to play Wisla (for a while), however last year's champions Radomsko made it to our group.

    According to our first attempt for a cheerful season, nothing more disappointing to behold was possible for Lech's loyal crowd. Four days later we were handed an opportunity to win their support back, when Second Divisions' Ceramika came to visit us in the context of the League Cup Second Round. This first leg was over already before fifteen minutes were played, because Wachowicz (AM/FC) beat the opposition goalie twice. Within ten minutes after the break Dawidowski (SC) was the only one to find the net as well: 3-0!

    Three days after that first national win of the season we went to Radomsko for the league. By a tiny margin we were the better team in play and - probably as a result of that - we left the pitch as winners, albeit by a one-goal difference. Again only four days separated a league encounter and a meeting with Ceramika. People had to wait until the last half an hour of the game to see goals, but they weren't disappointed from then on. Dawidowski managed to bring us back level more than once, so we were through on aggregate: 3-2 (3-5).

    Despite this lost match, we somehow got a boost just by being in the Third Round of that cup. We added four unbeaten games in the First Division to our win at Radomsko, before Wisla found their way to the Bulgarska in Poznan. Was it a bonus that they were in the other group of the league or could they do us damage anyway in this first of two legs? To the utmost extent an early bath of Wierzchowski (GK) affected the final score: 0-3... With him suspended the next fixture wasn't easy either and we were beaten once more.

    By then we didn't only had eleven players in our starting formation. It was that same number returning in the figures showing the goals for and against, resulting in exactly that amount of points as well!

    Spoiler!

    Another - even when hitting the target ten times (thirteen with both teams included), scoreless - draw made it all the more difficult towards the return in Krakow. With Danilewicz provisionally for the last time in goal during the last game of suspension for Wierzchowski, the same scoreline, but unfortunately for us reversed, was reached: 3-0 (6-0)... Right after this humiliation we had to visit Hetman (D2) in the Third Round of the FA Cup. We were the weaker party the entire match and thereby it was impossible for us to pick up a positive result: 1-0...

    Being cleared out of both cup tournaments within a week. A hefty setback in terms of confidence. Surprisingly though, we were able to string together a total of six consecutive league encounters without a defeat. By doing so, we made it through to the 'Championship Half' before all fourteen group matches were played. I couldn't care less about ending that run in the very last one!

    Spoiler!

    It was clear that Group B provided some tougher opposition in the second half of the season than Group A did. No less than three quarters of those teams were above us in the adjusted rankings after the group stage. Could we do the same as or even better than last season? We had to keep an eye on the fifth spot then at least. And on Wisla of course... Go Lech Poznan!

    Spoiler!

    The season wouldn't be complete without playing Wisla in the league. In fact our very first duel of the Second Phase was played in Krakow. A perfectly equal match was decided in our disadvantage, meaning a bad resumption for us. We were kept in the race by winning the last fixture before the gap in the schedule of play. The dream was still alive with Lech Poznan 'only' five points behind a possible title (a.k.a. Wisla)!

    Spoiler!

    Our vocabulary was clearly missing the word 'consistency' and all of its synonyms. In the spring of 2017 the advantage of the league leaders towards us was doubled. Yet we had to aim for the highest possible position on the table. Something that wasn't easy as we obviously had major problems finding the net. I was desperate to turn things around (a little) during the last quarter of the season. If only my players would be able to do so... On a positive note, in the first half of the season relegation was avoided already!

    Spoiler!

    One can imagine we had a severe slip-up when I tell you that after the penultimate game all possible outcomes of a football match had occurred just as often as the other two. Then again, somehow there still was a scenario available in which we could consolidate last year's final position of fifth. The type of result that eventually went into double figures, was - and my point of view in this can be generalised with impunity - the least favourite of them all... So that's why we ended up at place seven, almost twenty points behind Wisla.

    Spoiler!

    I had the feeling things were going nowhere when it came to my attempts to bring a revolution to Hungarian football. A change of plan was designed and basically a 3-5-2 was introduced to the players. No real stability was reached, with us dropping points against Macedonia, Albania (twice) and even San Marino. On the other hand, Sweden and Yugoslavia were defeated, although our goalkeeper had to be at his best for that. Anyway, at this stage we aren't out of it (yet)! We're facing Sweden (H), San Marino (A) and Yugoslavia (A) - in that order as well - in the near future.

    Spoiler!

    Dropping from fifth to seventh in the space of a season led to a serious bunch of unhappy players. It's not my aim to throw in the towel at any point, but I realised something (big) had to happen (anytime soon). I can't come up with another explanation for the fact that I decided it was my priority to splash a fair bit of the cash, in order to finally respond to the needs of the board. A quick reminder about that: improve the squad.

    Players moving out:

    1. Bednarz (AML, 26, Contract expiry)
    2. Kowalik (SC, 27, Contract expiry)
    3. Bazler (D/DMC, 36, Retirement (as a player))
    4. Tarasov (AMR, 30, Contract expiry)
    5. Marzec (DRC, 26, Contract expiry)
    6. Bankowski (SC, 24, Contract expiry)
    7. Bak (AM/FLC, 26, Bosman)

    Players moving in:

    1. Gasior (GK, 17, Youth academy)
    2. Bialek (SC, 21, Bosman)
    3. Szewczyk (AM/FLC, 24, Bosman)
    4. Terlecki (AM/FLC, 20, Bosman)
    5. Masewski (DLC, 27, Bosman)
    6. Wozniak (AMR, 26, 75,000)
    7. Skocic (DRC, 26, 100,000)
    8. Kowalski (AMRC, 26, 150,000)

    I think we're in need of someone that's more of a killer in front of goal, so Bialek gets his chance instead of Dawidowski (12 goals in 30 appearances last season). At the wings Klimek (AMLC, played 27 times, scored 1 and assisted 4) is replaced by Terlecki and Wozniak comes in for Najewski (AM/FRC, 28 games, 2 goals and 2 assists). Skocic is the new right back at the expense of Adamski (DRC).

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  25. #40
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    Tough season, the Polish league is weird! Still well in with a shout in a very tight qualifying group as well, despite some dodgy results.

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  27. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMAdventurer View Post
    Tough season, the Polish league is weird! Still well in with a shout in a very tight qualifying group as well, despite some dodgy results.
    It'll probably not represent the actual situation over there, but for me the challenge is hard enough as it comes right now!

  28. #42
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    2017/2018

    Me not noticing any demands from the board, probably wasn't the best of starting points for the upcoming season. A great part of the players unhappy with me and/or the way things were going performance-wise, sounded like an even bigger challenge than I had already experienced throughout my years in football management. If it wasn't for my love of the (simulation) game, this story could have faded away silently on the one hand, but rather quickly on the other...

    Not that I really had time to overthink this kind of crap, because the first games presented themselves exactly at the right moment. For the third season running we tried to qualify for the 'champions stage' of Poland's premier football league. After five matches I couldn't resist a negiotated offer for Nowak (DC, 33), who had joined us during the summer of 2016 for free and now earned us a quarter of a million Euros.

    One fixture later we made our return in the League Cup. The First Leg of the Third Round was at home against Hetman, leading the league right below us. Five minutes in and Sala (SW/DC) put us ahead, but we had to wait until ten minutes or so after the break for another goal: 1-1... Fifteen minutes later first Wozniak (AMR) and then Wachowicz (AM/FC) woke up and well into injury time both of them got theirselves a brace to finish things off: 5-1! We had a free weekend before the return, but Hetman dropped to second in their league, albeit on goal difference. I was confident enough to replace all eleven of my players for this one. One goal in both halfs, scored by Dawidowski (SC) and Scewczyk (AM/FLC), proved me being right in the end: 0-2 (1-7 on aggregate)!

    I had some serious doubts about the possibilities we had and I couldn't have been more wrong. The purchased players did gave us a real boost and almost all results in het first quarter of the (league) season were truly magnificent. Was it just a glimmer of hope or was this the recipe I had been searching for all of those years? Of course there were much more points to gain, so I tried not to get overconfident. If only the belief amongst the players could stay intact...

    Spoiler!

    By then, some player trading was executed. Grabowski - DMRLC, 26 - who was sitting out a nine-match suspension, wanted to leave us for a bigger club and had an expiring contract, almost departed for half a million Euros, when Gruszka (SW/D/DMC) arrived for 50,000. Our captain Szymanski (DMC) moved to the left and Wysowski (D/DMC) partnered him in defensive midfield to replace Grabowski.

    When the second half of the opening stage of the league was one match old, we went to Odra Wodzislaw to play in the Third Round of the FA Cup. They were sitting 10th in the Second Division at that time and Wysowski opened the scoring within the first ten minutes. During the last 25 minutes Wozniak, Szymanski and Wachowicz really made this one count: 0-4! One surprise after another came across on all fronts and I didn't exactly know what to think about it...

    Spoiler!

    Just before the 14th and last league tie in Group B had to be played, Wysowski (19) went out for the same amount of money as Nowak did earlier. Apart from the suspension, he manoeuvred himself in the same situation as Grabowski had been in. That's why I more or less had to accept the money and let him go as well. For a combined 1,000,000 Radomsko took away three of our defensive options. So nice of them to sponsor us like that! With Gruszka in for Wysowski we extended our largely unbeaten run, even though a place amongst the first four was secured a relatively long time ago already.

    Spoiler!

    Immediately the vultures of the media were there to put the spotlights upon us. I know they have to do their jobs too, but I decided to do mine as well and ignore this kind of messages. By doing so, I hoped the players could keep their focus on what they are obviously good at and perhaps we did stand a chance to make this season count in the history of the club. So far, so good, that was for sure! Now coping with the pressure was our main duty.

    Spoiler!

    Especially a fine defensive record saw us placed above the best teams of Group A as well. Even with half the points, we were three points clear of our closest pursuers. Make that a virtual four when goal difference is taken into account. But still, this wasn't the time to adopt a lax attitude or something similar. Three pieces of domestic silverware were there to be won and any single one of those could have the power to turn things around in the beautiful city of Poznań.

    Spoiler!

    We were handed the first chance to keep it all up in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup. Home team Polkowice found themselves in third place of Poland's Second League. After a quarter of the game they took a double lead and soon after the break Bialek (SC) did something back. At the end of the match a fourth goal was added to the game total: 3-1... Not the best of preparations concerning the league resumption. Away at Kietrz - unbeaten against us in the two previous meetings and also responsible for our only league defeat until then - we got in front early in the second half (Wachowicz). The 0-1 didn't stay on the board for long and with some injured players leaving the pitch on our side we would be happy to settle for a draw. One man in particular had other thoughts in mind when lining up a free kick in the penultimate minute of this tie and so Szymanski turned this one into another victory!

    The exhausting contest against Kietrz left its marks on the starting eleven for the return versus Polkowice. A somewhat weakened team were pretty much unable to create anything worth mentioning: 0-0 (1-3 on aggregate)... We were clearly losing the mental game by then and the next visitors undoubtedly sensed our weakness at that point. To make matters worse, the last fixture before the winter break was the long-awaited reunion with our tormentors from Krakow... Just see for yourself what happened on that day, because sometimes a picture can tell more than a thousand words:

    Spoiler!

    Taking all three points from this kind of games extended our incredible league run. However, I had to point out that our luck couldn't be perpetual, at least not in these quantities. For now that wasn't an issue yet, as we were going into the (free) winter period, five points ahead of both the numbers two and three. And so there I was, living the dream when entering the festive month of December!

    If only the results could keep on coming our way after Szymanski (28 | 1,000,000) and Sala (SW/DC | 29 | 250,000) were sold to Kietrz, only to be replaced by Zagorski (D/DMC | 22 | loan deal). Almost immediately after his arrival a Bosman deal was concluded to make his stay at Lech permanent. The man from Zaglebie came straight in to take over the free position in defensive midfield and Adamski (DRC) was back in the team to complete the defence.

    Spoiler!

    Despite all this Polish tension, I had to concentrate on my other job too. A group of World Cup Qualifiers containing five countries within touching distance of each other, separated by a maximum of three points. We were fourth in line and our first of three remaining ties was at home against Sweden, equal on points with us, but second-placed all together.

    Spoiler!

    That was one of my teams back on earth. The other one had a long way to go until the next official match was scheduled. In the past few years we had some trouble winning games during the winter and spring season. I thought it couldn't hurt to change the approach of that part of the season a bit and I was ever so happy to secure the services of this club for meeting us. Let's say revenge obviously was in play...

    Spoiler!

    Whether or not we were truly ready to continue our title challenge, at first a double cup confrontation with Polonia (11th in D1) awaited us. As a host we had to accept that their only shot between the sticks hit the back of the net: 0-1... After half an hour on the clock in the return, they doubled their summed advantage, decimated by Wachowicz with 25 minutes left to play. Another away goal would see us through. No worries, right? So much for using the winter break wisely: 1-1 (2-1 on aggregate)...

    A little drop of form would be totally understandable for me, but this was a bit too much surrounded with a smell of conspiracy. I was so furious that I almost missed out on capturing the (slightly distorted) rankings prior to the start of the last and deciding quarter of the season. Without a league win in five, 2018 had everything in it to not become one of our favourite years... More than ever we were longing for a major turnaround: the sooner, the better!

    Spoiler!

    Finally we did manage to win a game or two in this calendar year. Partly because of that the fight for the title was still wide open before all the games of the last matchday kicked off. Everybody was dropping points in March, April and May, so there were plenty of contenders left. A solid performance, I'm talking about the result here, away at Stomil (0-3) was all we could do to rescue our eventually frustrating season... Boys and girls, never ever even consider the option of premature cheering

    Spoiler!

    Maybe I shouldn't have let that many players go in the middle of the season. Probably selling them to rival clubs wasn't overly sensible either. Rebuilding the squad and preparing them for some European matches in the UEFA Cup gobbled my summer.

    Departures:

    1. Jurkowski (DC, 26, contract expiry)
    2. Danilewicz (GK, 26, contract expiry)
    3. Malecki (DMC, 35, contract expiry)
    4. Timofeev (MC, 30, contract expiry)
    5. Klimek (AMLC, 30, Bosman)
    6. Najewski (AM/FRC, 26, Bosman)
    7. Bankowski (DL, 25, Bosman)
    8. Zaluska (AMLC, 24, player swap)
    9. Wierzchowski (GK, 41, retirement) --> stays in charge as the Assistant Manager

    Arrivals (next to Zagorski of course):
    1. Dariusz Owczarek (DMC, 31, Bosman)
    2. Lewandowski (D/DMRC, 23, 500,000)
    3. Trzeciak (D/DMRL, 26, player swap)
    4. Ptak (AMRLC, 25, 750,000)
    5. Adam Owczarek (D/DMRC, 28, 100,000)
    6. Swierczewski (DMC, 20, loan deal)
    7. Zilic (DRC, 25, 200,000)

    Two of his competitors are gone and that's why Gielarek now gets his chance in goal and is named as captain too. The other adjustments are Zilic for Adamski at centre-back and pairing up Swierczewski and Lewandowski from left to right as the holding midfielders.

  29. #43
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    at all of the friendlies against Polkowice!

    Very unlucky there, the season promised so much and delivered so little. Like you said, you probably let too many players go. Hopefully you can put the transfer funds generated to good use and challenge again next season.

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  31. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by CMAdventurer View Post
    at all of the friendlies against Polkowice!
    I just thought it was a brilliant idea

    Quote Originally Posted by CMAdventurer View Post
    Very unlucky there, the season promised so much and delivered so little. Like you said, you probably let too many players go. Hopefully you can put the transfer funds generated to good use and challenge again next season.
    For I'm a staunch supporter of the illusion that the game will only give you limited opportunities to succeed with a certain way of playing, I can only hope there's some time left for me...

    Thanks for your continued support!

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  33. #45
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    2018/2019

    Can I get away with an image-based report to reflect on the past season?

    Spoiler!

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  35. #46
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    2019/2020

    For the first time under my command a club started a season as defending champions. That's right, Poland's most important piece of silverware was ours to lose! Encouraged by their chairman, Lech Poznan were aiming for prolongation of the national title. Before things really kicked off, we were already beaten by our clear rivals Wisla Krakow in a battle to win the Polish Super Cup. That had to give us all the more motivation to make the best of the remaining dozens of games.

    In the Group Phase of the First Division a missed penalty and later on a red card against us made the opening match a bit more difficult than necessary. Luckily we went into the next one, more of a challenge because of its continental character, with three points in the bag. At home to Maribor (Slo) a scored spot kick and later on a sending-off in our favour were responsible for our opponents not once finding their way towards the area between the posts and under the bar were Gielarek was (literally) waiting. We had a total of ten goal attempts and seventy percent of them were on target, but Robert Bingo was keeping ever so well. Consequently it was Pawel Szewczyk (AM/FLC) who became the matchwinner in Leg 1 of the Champions League Qualifying Round 2: 1-0!

    Our trip to Slovenia was preceded by a lost home game in the league, so we knew it was important not to underestimate any other team. Again we kept on testing Bingo and eventually it was Terlecki (AM/FLC), the man that came crawling back to us a week and a day after leaving on a free, who found a way past him. Remarkably, the hosts didn't produce any shot towards our goal, let alone Gielarek: 0-1 (agg 0-2)! Followed by a comfortable league win, it didn't really matter which club we had to play in the Third (and final) Qualifying Round.

    We had to play on foreign soil first. Gazovik-Gazprom Izhevsk were happy to welcome us to Russia. Isn't that the same country where we were eliminated from European football last year? I'm afraid so... Any chances of a better result this time? The story can be told with people scoring close to the half-time break in both halfs: 2-0... Before Gaz-Gaz came to town, we only gained three points from two league fixtures, also played in Poznań. At our own Bulgarska the deadlock was broken after less than twenty minutes by Lewandowski (D/DMRC) and after the interval some more effectiveness in front of the enemy goalkeeper was shown: 1-2 (agg 1-4)...

    Before it was time to enter the League Cup, we won another game in the First Division, this time outside of Poznań. The team at the summit of Division Two visited our home town in the Third Round of said tournament. Belchatow managed to let us concede twice and we only had Ptak (AMRLC), Wozniak (AMR) and Marzec (SC) to hand us the win. A minor addition to that, the last two of the mentioned players scored a brace each: 5-2! A gameless week - for us, they stayed on top of their league thanks to a win - later and nothing changed: 0-0 (agg 5-2).

    Another away win to wrap up the first half of the Qualifying Phase of the domestic league was enough to reflect our ambitions. We were clearly in the race for a place amongst the eight best teams of the season in Poland. A rather tight defence and a less than prolific attack would describe us best at this stage. As always, we still had a long way to go and this competition was far from decided yet. I had to wait and see or and if so, how the UEFA Cup could interfere with our main goal of winning that one trophy for the second time in a row.

    Spoiler!

    Since 2011/2012 Malinowski (AML) only played four matches for Lech and I was willing to let him go for 50,000. On our way to Finland then, to play in the First Round of the UEFA Cup against the squad that got the better of Shakhtar Donetsk in the Qualifying Round. Jari Aho, the goalie of Pallo-Iirot Rauma, earned himself a ten and Gielarek made sure nothing got past him. One can imagine the amount of shots we had, given the names of Wachowicz (AM/FC) and Bialek (SC), with his first goal of the season, on the scoresheet: 0-2!

    Without conceding a goal, we picked up four out of the possible six points in front of our own fans. Against P-Iirot the first to put one home was Lewandowski and the other two shots on target in the first 45 were goals as well. In the second act we needed less than ten minutes and the brilliance of both Wachowicz and Bialek to score from all attempts on goal and cancel out the in-game deficit: 3-2 (agg 5-2)!

    Nothing but clean sheets and a total of six goals brought us the same number of points. As an additional result we had already qualified for the Championship Group of the Polish Premier League! So I thought this was the best possible moment to cross swords with a well-known side from Germany. We went to Munich to destroy and, much to my amazement, that's exactly what Wachowicz and (ironically) Lewandowski did to leave the players and people wearing red shirts behind with an unfamiliar look on their faces: 0-2!

    We were trying to collect as many points as there were available to set up a good position for the second half of the season. Even though we lost two points, our little run of unbeaten games continued. Partly because of that the stars of FC Bayern were somewhat hesitant to visit Poznań. After the first half the same scoreline as two weeks earlier was accomplished, this time by Zilic (DRC) and Terlecki. With 120 minutes of football on the clock, the Germans had their first shot on target against us and scored as well: 2-1 (agg 4-1)!

    Three days later we were ever so lucky to win the last Group match in the league. I was especially impressed by the amount of goals scored against us (0.5 per game), which looked pretty much in accordance with the average we produced in the opposite column ( 1.6 per game). Pretty decent figures all in all, but not really spectacular and the biggest question was if this would be sufficient to eventually win the league.

    Spoiler!

    At first sight, most unsurprisingly, our eternal rivals from Krakow looked to be the most likely challengers for the title. To be fair to all the other six teams, the gap between Lech and position eight was only five points. With us still acting on the European stages, maybe we were in a vulnerable position after all. My philosophy is to have a go at every trophy, so I wasn't prepared to choose between any of them and therefore resting players wasn't addressed. Let that squad rotate like never before!

    Spoiler!

    Immediately at the 'real' start of the championship, we lost away at LKS... This was followed by a European confrontation with some other (former?) giants in red. In Lisbon we never got to our game properly and limiting the damage seemed all we could do: 1-0 (38')... Two defeats in a row since we were beaten last by Gaz-Gaz. I was glad to see my boys turning the tide against Dolcan, with Marzec (SC) scoring a hat-trick. By then I decided to make him (7 goals in 8 starts) my number one striker instead of Bialek (3 in 18).

    Spoiler!

    As you can see, we played the return with Benfica as the league leaders in Poland. Four minutes played and we were already back in this one, with Marzec providing the goal. We were the better team all day long and at the stroke of half-time we were suddenly forced to score two more... Four minutes into the second half it was Giguel (DC) who made this assignment fifty percent more achievable. Ten minutes later all hope was gone, because we again had to find a way past their goalie twice in the remaining thirty minutes... Within four minutes Marzec did so once. Total madness! We kept on bombarding their goal, but unfortunately time wasn't on our side. Minute 87 and the name of the last scorer became known. Sport Lisboa e Benfica came close to proceeding, if it wasn't for Wozniak: 4-2 (agg 4-3)!!!

    One can understand we went into the winter break on a high. Piotrowicz (DMLC, 27, 100,000) coming in was the only change I made to our selection. No need for me to arrange something during that couple of months without matches scheduled. That gave me some time to apply for national jobs that came available. My predecessor and successor Jzsef Kiprich was one of the sacked bosses. I don't even know why they or why I want to do this, but I'm back at Hungary. Bosnia offered me the job three days later, which I declined because of my loyalty. I played some friendlies with a rubbish formation (or just weak players) and that's why I'll have some considering to do.

    Spoiler!

    Lech's first match of 2020 was played at their home ground and Stomil, sitting eleventh in Division One, were faced in the First Leg of the League Cup Quarter Finals. The guys in blue and white were the dominant team, but the majority of the crowd was relieved to see Marzec finally finding the net in the second 45 to level the scoreline: 1-1.

    The same stadium, two teams playing in blue and white, yet a total different match. UEFA Cup Round 4, Leg 1, and with less than fifteen minutes past, Napoli were put behind by Wachowicz. In a brief spell shortly after the hour-mark the game exploded with three goals within a space of four minutes. The first two of them meant Wachowicz completed his hat-trick, however this was all but over with a match in Italy still to play: 3-1!

    To make the variation complete, we had to play a league game first. Again we managed to fire in three goals. Sometimes two can play that game and that's exactly what Orlen did. In the last two fixtures, three teams succeeded in scoring three times. Proceedings beginning with a penalty (38'), the return in Naples added another team to that sequence: 3-0 (agg 4-3)... It's little consolation that they won the tournament in the end.

    We were quick to react and comfortably won a league game before we were heading to Olsztyn to play another Second Leg. They hadn't left their position in the rankings and we had to score at least one goal. It was a close encounter and again the scoring was opened from the spot. Just like in the reversed fixture, a total of two goals were registered: 2-0 (agg 3-1)...

    Two cup exits in a few weeks time. That made the following three wins in the league even more remarkable. Only the last quarter of matches to go and we were six points clear at the top. The case that worried me most was the fact that we still had to play Wisla twice in those seven games. But hey, in fact we were the champions of 2018/2019. We could do this!

    Spoiler!

    Based on these standings my conclusion was that Lech had little difficulties winning matches and Wisla was very hard to beat. Round 22 of 2019/2020 and the battle between those two, played in Krakow, resulted in a very even fight. Nevertheless, the result wasn't that undecided when a single goal made all the difference in the world: 0-1... An advantage of three points to defend in the six games to come.

    Before the other meeting with our closest pursuers awaited us, we didn't lose any of the four contests in between. What bothered me, though, was the way we failed to win one of them by simply not utilising (all) the chances we created over and over again. We had to be careful with that kind of performances, although the one against our archrivals could prove to be the most decisive of them all.

    Spoiler!

    Despite some results going against us, we were five points ahead of Wisla when they came to visit our turf. Two 'finals' of ninety minutes to go and obviously we were the team to beat. If we managed to keep one or more points in the safe by not losing this first one, no one would be able to catch up with us anymore. As usual, an important match was ignited by a converted penalty kick. The further development on the scoresheet showed what our role in this play was: 0-2...

    Quite a disappointment, to say the least. On the other hand, the last kick of the season had to take place yet and we were the favourites to stay on top in the end. I got the feeling that playing in the country's capital didn't make us feel overly confident. Given the scoring process in the other match, there was a definite urge to avoid defeat. We had few problems realising just that and after the final whistle it became clear that gaining three points with a three-goal margin determined the final table.

    Spoiler!

    Our overall performance this season was pretty equal to that of Wisla, but in the mutual duels we were never there. Probably because of some memorable wins, mainly against foreign opposition, I received some individual recognition. Of course I would trade that for an actual trophy any time...

    Spoiler!

    No need to massively rebuild the squad, in my opinion. Those who left us are Bak (DR, 29, Bosman), (Grzegorz) Ptak (DL, 33, retired) and (Dariusz) Owczarek (SW/DMC, 33, retired). To make up for that, the very versatile Lejman (D/DMRLC, 27, 150,000) came in. Two of my foreign players recently got a Polish passport, but apparantly I'm still not allowed to buy new foreigners...

    Due to Wisla's run in Europe last year (2018/2019) and the resulting postponements, the final of the Polish FA Cup was only played in July 2019. Therefore - I think - the edition of 2019/2020 was given a go in late June 2020. For us it all started in the Third Round against non-league Pelikan Lowicz. Away from home three first-half goals by Marzec, Wozniak and Pawel Szewczyk were sufficient to put us through: 0-3!

    The Fourth Round contained two legs and Slask from our division were the opposition. At the Bulgarska we needed two Marzec goals to save us: 2-1! In the return we really outclassed them, but only a penalty was scored. No worries, it was taken by Wachowicz: 0-1 (agg 1-3)! For the First Leg of the Quarter Finals a team acting at the same level as Pelikan Lowicz travelled to Poznań. Zaglebie Sosnowiec didn't threaten us at all, with Marzec (2x), Wachowicz and Wozniak causing the damage: 4-1! Three days later all shots on target resulted in goals and Pawel Szewczyk single-handedly neutralised the 1-0 by not only scoring from the spot: 1-3 (agg 2-7)!

    We now have almost 3,000,000 in the bank, but I would love to generate some more cash by playing in the Champions League. As the number two of Poland we might have a chance to do so this season, while we're allowed to qualify for the Group Phase. In Leg One of the Second Qualifying Round we made a trip to Kiev. Not the best of matches from both sides, presumably because of the tension and the importance of the outcome. It's the same old story over and over again, whilst Terlecki is transfer listed once more, because he wants to move to a bigger club, and to generate some publicity he headed one home for us: 0-1!

  36. #47
    Join Date
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    2020/2021

    On the one hand we were still massively suffering from the narrowly lost title race. On the other hand it was plain obvious that Lech Poznan had become one of the top teams in Poland. In order to keep living up to those standards, we needed to keep defeating opponents and of course winning prizes could add to that in particular. I was desperately hoping to finally enter the main tournament of the Champions League, although lifting that trophy would probably be far out of reach for us, at least for now.

    Before the Dinamo Kiev squad came to visit for the return of the Second Qualifying Round, the Polish First Division got underway for us. We needed all the luck in the world to scrape away with a 1-0 win (Zagorski (D/DMC), 74') at home to Arka. That was exactly the margin we had against the Ukrainians. They played much better at home, but couldn't produce a single goal attempt this time. We did had a few ourselves and went in front after just ten minutes when Marzec (SC) already decided this confrontation: 1-0 (agg 2-0)!

    The next and final Preliminary Round - the First Leg that is - had to wait one more league game. For the third time in a row we played in front of our own fans and again it was Zagorski (73') who scored the only goal of the match in a domestic tie. Then there is was: our trip to Great Britain, England to be more specific and the blue part of Liverpool to give you all the details. I don't know what got into us, but for sure it wasn't just me who wanted to proceed from this! Within half an hour all that resulted in a given penalty and an associated red card as well. The fouled Marzec himself hopelessly failed to seize this opportunity to take the lead... We continued to pressure them, though, and at the beginning of the second half a Wachowicz (AM/FC) header finally paid the scoreline some justice. In the end it was debatable whether we should have scored more often: 0-1!

    Spoiler!

    Business as usual after that, with another home game in the national league. This time it was Andrzej Kowalski (AMRC) to be the only one on the scoresheet. That's how we registered six consecutive wins of 1-0 and a club record of eleven successive victories in total! An exciting start to the season if you ask me.

    Because of the shifted schedule concerning the 2019/2020 Polish FA Cup we now had to play the first Semi Final away at Radomsko, featuring in the other Qualifying Group of the top flight. Thirty minutes on the clock and one of their players received his marching orders. Not much time to take advantage of that, while it took Wachowicz less than ten minutes to make it an even number of players between the lines again. In the second half one team's only shot on target went in: 1-0...

    Spoiler!

    To make sure our unbeaten run was ended by then, Hutnik showed us who was the boss at their ground. They completely dominated the league game there and we were very fortunate to concede just the two goals. It certainly wasn't the best moment to defend our minimal lead against The Toffees after that miserable spell... Instead of deciding this double confrontation in the first match, we were forced into extra time because of a first-half goal. At the stroke of the second half-time we got what I think we deserved: 1-1 (agg 2-1 aet)! Our ticket to the Champions League was presented to us by Marzec!!!

    Spoiler!

    We returned to our domestic league full of excitement about the chance to measure ourselves with the European elite. The only downside was the amount of minutes needed to reach that goal. In a pretty even match we scored a very, very late equaliser and still managed to go home with no points... Four games without a win and the big question was if we were capable of reaching the Final of the FA Cup. Radomsko were having a slight advantage following their home game. Halfway through the first half and our star defender Giguel (DC) had to be substituted with the scoreline still unchanged... One minute later and things suddenly were totally different when Wozniak (AMR) was the scorer. With the last kick of the first half and his first goal of the season Lewandowski (D/DMRC) sent us flying! At about twenty minutes from the end it looked like the game was put to bed by Marzec, but two minutes later a penalty brought a lot of tension back in this game. In the end only one of these teams could advance towards the next and also the final round: 3-1 (agg 3-2)!

    Spoiler!

    In fact, that FA Cup Final was immediately scheduled after reaching it. The First Leg against fellow league opponents Kietrz was at our own Bulgarska. The supporters were probably looking forward to the Champions League a bit more, while not every place in the stadium was filled. Maybe they were right as well, because both teams were responsible for not even a handful of dangerous shots each. Nevertheless a winning goal was welcomed in the last few minutes of the first half: 1-0 (Wozniak)!

    Spoiler!

    To make it an uninterrupted series of FA Cup games, the return against Kietrz was our next match. Between those two matches we bought Wielkoszynski (DRL, 25, 500,000) to become our new first-choice left-back and a possible stand-in at right-back. This fixture was far more attractive than the first one and Kietrz' players were damn effective as well. Their first goal in the first 45 minutes came after Marzec and Pawel Szewczyk (AM/FLC) had already put us in front. They really came back in the game with a second goal ten minutes before the final whistle. In the very last minute this tie was decided by Andrzej Kowalski: 2-3 (agg 2-4)!

    Spoiler!

    By winning this cup for the first time since 1988 we added 775,000 to the starting fee we received from the UEFA for reaching the Champions League. Speaking of which, we went all the way to Greece for a meeting with their champions Panathinaikos right after the Second Leg of the Cup Final. In a hostile atmosphere nothing more than a decent match from both sides was recorded. Around the hour mark the first hit was a fact and by opening his account for the season Swierczewski (DMC) caused the damage. Ten minutes later the game was level again and everyone had to wait until the injury time to see what the final result would be. With his first of the season as well, Bialek (SC) handed us a flying start in this major tournament: 1-2!

    I'm the first one to admit that our biggest chance to win the FA Cup was by avoiding a battle against Wisla. And so it happened. What about the League Cup? Same approach then? Our first round and the Third in general made things clear right away... Thus to Krakow we went to play the First Leg. Within five minutes we were behind and just before the first half hour was played, Zagorski received a straight red... All in all we played an okay match, despite conceding once more in the second half: 2-0...

    Spoiler!

    And then there it was: the first home game in the Champions League in over ten years! It could have been easier, but we had to do with a visit from the Spanish champions by the name of Barcelona... Not even a handful of minutes passed and Marzec fired in his tenth of the season! The whole match got me wondering what was happening and I couldn't believe my eyes when after three quarters of the game Swierczewski doubled our lead to convincingly win it in the end: 2-0!

    Six non-league games later we made our comeback in that competition. At home to Legia in the first half already all three points were collected. Last year's number three in Germany came to Poznań after that. Freiburg withheld the pressure for less than fifteen minutes when the head of Wachowicz met the ball! Based on the run of play in the rest of the game, the visitors deserved at least one point. Just before the last quarter started that's exactly what they got: 1-1.

    Only one other game to break our league schedule this time. Another home fixture, Hutnik the opposers, resulting in the maximum of three possible points. Not surprisingly at all it took us some more time to play half the group games in the Polish top flight than any other team needed. Despite those two defeats we were still in an amazingly good position to qualify for the actual championship. Let's keep that up then!

    Spoiler!

    It wasn't the easiest of assignments to make up a 0-2 deficit against that club from Krakow. Wachowicz did what he could by scoring as a midfielder in the first and, after Marzec went off injured, as our striker in the second half. In the meantime, the 45th minute to be precise, a field goal and a penalty were scored. Over two matches we scored from two of our six shots on target as they converted four out of five: 2-2 (agg 2-4)...

    Spoiler!

    Our sixth home game in a row in all competitions counted as the first of three consecutive league fixtures. That one went by without any ball crossing the goal line. The other two were both on the road and the hosts remained goalless in the process, securing two excellent wins for us! We were ready for our trip to Freiburg, the only ones who prevented us from winning in this continental Group Phase so far. They surely meant business as they went 2-0 up within twenty minutes! Less than fifteen minutes later and Swierczewski and Pawel Szewczyk had already squared everything. In true German fashion the game was eventually decided with a winner in the last five minutes: 2-3 (Wachowicz)!

    Travel number four on the spin and we witnessed a robbery, meaning our third defeat in the national championship. Good thing we were on ten points in the Champions League when PAO came by. Together with Bara they were four points behind us. I don't know if we were so dominant or they just couldn't do any better, but there was only one team with shots on target and an injury-time strike by Bialek, putting away his fifth of the season, saw us go up right before the break. Still no sign of the Greeks and so we extended our stay in Europe for the second half of the season as well: 1-0!(!!)

    By winning the next one at home against Polish opposition, we secured a place amongst the eight best teams of the season. The sixth year in succession to do so. In the remaining two away games we picked up another four points, which in the end made us win our group, despite not winning five out of fourteen. That had me slightly worrying for the slowly upcoming so-called business end of the season. Maybe I had to do something with a part of the Champions League money that kept on coming in.

    Spoiler!

    Even with a guaranteed qualification in the bag, it's very hard to play uninhabited before the eyes of almost 100,000 spectators at Nou Camp. We played well enough to let Marzec score in the first thirty minutes. It took Los Blaugranas nearly all of the remaining minutes to avoid a defeat: 1-1. That's how we kept our unbeaten status in Europa!!! I'm still in shock about that specific fact, I must admit...

    Spoiler!

    The new grouping of the Polish First Division saw us challenging for the title with two teams in front of us. That sounds heavier than it really is, because the summit was only one point away at the time. Needless to say that it was Wisla Krakow in first place at that time. As always, the difference between all the teams in this half of the table was negligible. We were only looking up obviously, although everything was all but decided yet.

    Spoiler!

    Between the end of the First and the beginning of the Second Group Phase in the Champions League we played the last two domestic fixtures before the winter break. Not only did those bring us the maximum of the points, but we also became the new league leaders! I had no other choice but being confident for everything to come, no matter the country of origin belonging to the squads we were facing. And yet I had the same doubts I was suffering from every season...

    Spoiler!

    In imitation of Spain's champions their Italian equivalents visited our Bulgarska. Less than ten minutes gone and as usual against top teams Marzec opened the scoring. Close to approaching half-time with that being the only goal, Milan's game started as well and they even went ahead before the break. We weren't capable of realising such a return ourselves, so our first loss in European context was a fact: 1-2...

    One game away from the half-season pause and we were scheduled against the champions of Turkey. In that same country Denizlispor were unlucky with two early injuries and we had to handle a man-down situation during the last twenty minutes, because Skocic (DRC) saw a red card shown against him. We took the lead fifteen minutes earlier, when Wachowicz headed one in. Even with more players on the pitch the home side couldn't create any danger: 0-1!

    The winter months were used to give some of the cash away. Rather big signing fees persuaded Giguel ( 1,500,000) and Swierczewski ( 750,000) to sign a new contract. I was also allowed to finally add another foreign player to our squad: Argentinian attacker Villarreal (SC, 27, 1,500,000) came in as the new backup for Marzec. No friendlies this time and everybody was looking forward towards February, when the season was bound to continue.

    Two games versus the champions of Russia were our share to start 2021 with. Ten minutes to play in the first half at our own turf and Lokomotiv Moscow also got to know who Marzec is. Right before the break Lewandowski picked up a torn groin muscle, which ruled him out for the second half naturally, but for the following three months as well. On the short term we succeeded in keeping the Russians at bay: 1-0! In the reverse fixture abroad a man-of-the-match performance by Gielarek (GK) told the whole story pretty much: 0-0.

    An absolute cracker to resume the league with, playing in Krakow. Both teams had the chance to defend an advantage and eventually a draw seemed a fair result, causing little to no damage. We then had to deal with an in-form goalie ourselves and lost at home to Radomsko, who were rapidly closing in on us rankingwise in this way.

    Shortly after one another the last two rounds of group games in the Champions League were played. At first our visit to San Siro, which really went by as boring as it sounds: 0-0. By then we had only scored three goals in our last five European ties, but those were sufficient to get us through to the last eight!!! Literally the last kick of the home game against Horozlar went in off the underside of the bar: 1-0 (Wachowicz)!

    Spoiler!

    Not much time between both games when Wisla were on the menu again. 0-0 at half-time and a few minutes after the break the Lech crowd went crazy! Too bad the linesman spoiled the party and when the first goal did count, there was too little time for us to come back from that: 0-1... Two home fixtures after that in which we didn't concede once, but only scored a single goal ourselves. No great developments for our title chances, to say the least!

    Spoiler!

    Away at Legia Marzec reached the landmark of twenty goals for the season by putting us in front twice. Still we were losing ground on Wisla and Radomsko and even teams like Stomil and Legia themselves leapfrogged us: 3-2... By no means were we ready for the First Leg against Sporting, Portugal's Runners Up of last season. Just over ten minutes on the clock and the Poznań people went crazy when Ptak (AMRLC) fired one in. As the Portuguese didn't find a way to our goal(keeper), we were heading towards the return with the smallest of margins: 1-0!

    Spoiler!

    Our trip to southern Europe had to wait two rounds of league ties. Kicking off with a more than welcome away win at Stomil and ending with a home beating by two Kietrz penalties. On our way to be part of the best four teams in Europe, but no chance whatsoever of success in our own country... Nearing the end of the first half in Lisbon the task for the home team became all the more complicated thanks to the first goal of the season by Kaczmarek (AM/FRC). In the second half it was Villarreal who did the very same after Ptak had doubled our lead earlier on: 0-3 (agg 0-4)!

    Spoiler!

    Again two Polish games away from home and on both occasions we weren't nearly as effective as in the matches against Sporting. So no goals at all for us and just the one for the other teams, costing us a grand total of five points... Up to the First Leg of the Semi Finals then. The nearest contenders of Milan during the last season in Italy were our guests in Poland. We were toying with the Fiorentina players the entire game, but still they managed to do the business: 0-2...

    Spoiler!

    A visit from Legia and just like in the other meeting with them we took the lead twice. Don't even mention what happened the first time around: 2-3... Off to Florence then and we were back in this battle after ten minutes, with Villarreal putting his name on the scoresheet! La Viola weren't as deadly as last week, but halfway into the second half the pressure became unbearable: 1-1 (agg 3-1)... Sad to see us leaving the tournament at this stage, but what a journey it has been!!!

    Spoiler!

    The last match in the national league saw us building an advantage of 9-2 in terms of shots on target (12-2 in total). It left me furious that we only took away one point from that... After winning the first two of fourteen in the championship half of the season, our continental adventures didn't combine well at all with the domestic aspirations. Only two more wins, four draws and six losses made us drop the table all the way to the sixth place...

    Spoiler!

    Lazy as I am the 3-1-3-2-1 formation of Hungary wasn't changed when the World Cup Qualification campaign got underway. However, it surprised me somewhat that we were able to beat the supposedly stronger countries England and Norway! Of course we dropped a lot of points in almost all of the other matches against Slovenia, Latvia and Faroe Islands... Three fixtures still to play and we aren't eliminated yet. Let's hope for the best in the following months!

    Spoiler!

    Plenty of business to do in preparation for the new season with Lech Poznan, given the amount of players leaving the club. Wysowski, who has a history with us already, is there to take over the position Lewandowski made available.

    Those who left:

    1. Bialek (SC, 25, contract expiry)
    2. Owczarek (D/DMRC, 31, contract expiry)
    3. Adamski (DRC, 31, contract expiry)
    4. Malinowski (D/DML, 24, contract expiry)
    5. Kot (DLC, 32, contract expiry)
    6. Lewandowski (D/DMRC, 26, Bosman)

    Those who arrived:

    1. Zewlakow (D/DMC, 21, 50,000)
    2. Seweryn (D/DMC, 22, 50,000)
    3. Zajac (DRLC, 28, 100,000)
    4. Wysowski (D/DMC, 23, 1,000,000)
    5. Skrzypek (AMRC, 25, 100,000)
    6. Paszulewicz (D/MR, 25, 500,000)

    Probably the FA Cup delivered us a place in the upcoming season's UEFA Cup. I don't think the schedule of said Polish cup will ever recover, so the first official match of the 2021/2022 season was in the Third Round of it. One day before his departure (to bloody Wisla FFS) Lewandowski played his last match for us away at non-league Avia. In the 80th minute of a game we completely dominated, Giguel was stretchered off. Going into half an hour of extra time was one thing I couldn't believe and I can't say the other thing out loud...

    Spoiler!

    In total confusion I accepted the request of a home friendly against Kilmarnock (2-0, Marzec & Wachowicz) before the FA Cup we did win handed us a place in the battle for the Polish Super Cup. I was so glad to see Wisla again: not...! Very early in the game they gave us some chasing to do and with the break in sight Marzec levelled the game. He and Terlecki (AM/FLC) were the ones who couldn't keep their nerves from the spot, so our record against Wisla doesn't make good reading at all: 1-1 (Pens 2-4)...

    Spoiler!

  37. #48
    Join Date
    31-07-15
    Location
    Nijmegen, Netherlands
    Posts
    349
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    10500

    2021/2022

    Back in 2014, relegation to the Polish Second Division was already sealed when the Lech Poznan board of directors decided to hire me. In the following full season we directly managed to return to the top flight. Afterwards we always ended up in the top half of that league, with the fun fact being six different final positions. Eighth and third were the only ones missing on my resume so far. Of course the objective for every season after 2018/2019 was to at least repeat that performance leaguewise.



    Last year was very disappointing, especially when looking at the domestic rankings. However, our excellent run in Europe did gave the financial balance an enormous boost! Maybe the biggest mistake I made, was to only spend a small amount of it to attract just a couple of new players. Probably I was hoping against hope that the existing squad of men had enough quality to turn things around. Ticking off that third spot only needed a minor bit of approvement, so who knew...

    Spoiler!

    Definitely no possible route into the Champions League for us this time, so quick towards the league it was. We were on fire immediately with three straight wins without giving away a single goal against. As soon as we conceded, our winning streak was interrupted. That blew our confidence right away and we didn't even got a goal ourselves in the next game, dropping a couple of points once more. After adding even a third consecutive draw, Wysowski (D/DMC) scoring for the first time since his return to the club finally handed us another three points. The first quarter of the season resulted in almost half of the matches without a win. No wonder we were put in second place of our qualifying group.

    Spoiler!

    The first distraction from the league brought us to Łdź, where we had to play Widzew for the first time in the League Cup (3th Round). They were playing at the same league level as us, but in Group A. Before a mad man went in with two feet on Zagorski (D/DMC) and got sent off, Zilic (DRC) had already opened his account for the season. Less than five minutes of this man advantage had passed and Villarreal (SC) also got off the mark after Wachowicz (AM/FC) had doubled our lead first. A fairly eventful first quarter of the match! In the second half it was Terlecki (AM/FLC) who joined Zilic and Villarreal: 0-4!

    Spoiler!

    One hell of a detour back to Poznań as we first had to visit San Marino to play Faetano. Our first European match this season was played in the the UEFA Cup. We just had to survive this First Round and within twenty minutes Wozniak (AMR) had his name on the scoreboard. Near the last five minutes of the game he had to come off injured and that was the signal for Villarreal and Ptak (AMRLC) to triple our advantage: 0-3!

    Spoiler!

    A couple of good results to take with us by returning to both the Bulgarska and the league. Against hardly-winning Arka our unbeaten status ended after an unlucky turn of events. By then we had actually won only half of our league games. It was Widzew's turn to visit our stadium and try to come back from 4-0 behind. We didn't have to play our best from the start and they were lacking the real belief as soon as the kick-off took place. All in all it was nothing more than an extremely dull affair: 0-0 (agg 4-0).

    Spoiler!

    We had set things straight in the Polish Premier League with a comfortable away win, before Faetano were visiting Poland. Fair enough, KSZO weren't exactly flying high, but neither were Arka... Anyway, against the San Marines it was the same sort of game as earlier in the League Cup. Luckily for the home crowd the number of chances created had increased and rather early in the second half a first of the season for Giguel (DC) went in. No need to push things further and a small win was added to the books: 1-0 (agg 4-0)!

    Spoiler!

    Out of the next two fixtures in Group B we only picked up half of the possible points. Not the best way of preparing for the next foreign team to host. In comparison to, with all due respect, an (at least by me) unknown team from San Marino, from a side called Nantes we probably had a lot more to fear. By no means was it our best display of the season, but the same goes for them. We were handed the opportunity to peg one back for over an hour, unfortunately without success: 0-1...

    Spoiler!

    A draw in the twelfth game of that competition saw us proceed to the championship half of the league with two games to spare. By losing the next one we did put our second place in the group at stake and weren't helping ourselves when it came to gathering points before they were bound to be halved. What a timing for a travel to France... Roughly fifteen minutes on the clock and a low drive by Wozniak went in. Not much time to celebrate that one because of its cancellation. By all means, it just wasn't our day: 0-0 (agg 1-0).

    Spoiler!

    Thus the early exit from the FA Cup was followed by the same procedure in the UEFA Cup. Add the league form we were in to that and an awful season laid ahead of us. We had to play the last group game with the continental deception still not fully processed. Despite an early deficit we came up with a convincing victory and so the record of fifty percent won remained. We were certainly not used to end the group phase below the first place and third isn't exactly what I was hoping for this soon into the season...

    Spoiler!

    It wasn't a real surprise to see us in the bottom half of the eight best performing teams in the First Division so far. From an optimistic point of view one could put forward the fact that there were still fourteen matches to be played. Winning them all would bring an unforgettable season after all! For now I was happy that Wisla were only four points ahead of us instead of the initial nine at the end of the first stage.

    Spoiler!

    Like last year, the two pre-winter duels were converted to three points each, which saw us climbing from sixth to third on the table. That was good for our confidence, but not for the gap between us and the league leaders. We still had to play them twice, so it was theirs to lose. The only sidenote was that they were invincible so far and had conceded only a handful of goals. Maybe having a go at finishing on the third spot wasn't such a bad idea from the beginning.

    Spoiler!

    As for Hungary, they didn't play a significant role in the rest of the WC qualifying campaign. In the last three matches as many goals were conceded and only one point was gained. Not much more to discuss about them. I'm in doubt to go for another formation as I'm still discovering the possibilities. I don't know if it's considered cheating, finding a loophole or digging your own grave, but maybe all ten field players will be positioned on the attacking half at once. We shall see...

    Spoiler!

    The only money spent at the end of 2021 was some hand cash of 750,000 to help Ptak deciding to extend his contract with Lech. No new signings came in during the transfer period that was closed before the next official match was played. There were some players transfer listed at their own request, because they wanted to leave us for a bigger club. Quite a lot of the others were unhappy as a result of several different matters. A squad filled with complaining footballers and high expectations as ever. Good luck with that!

    Into February and the first action of 2022 was in the League Cup Quarter Finals. We were playing Dolcan, unbeaten leaders in the tier below us, at their turf first. They were giving us a hard time and around the hour mark, ten minutes after Wozniak was sent off (48'), we were behind. Another ten minutes later and a Wachowicz double had turned things around for the better. With ten men we were holding on to keep a good prospect towards the return: 1-2!

    Spoiler!

    Where Dolcan had a league game scheduled between both confrontations with us, we had the full period to prepare for the part of the tie played at our home ground. Either side had won a match during the past week and this one was really close. Again the referee helped out by giving a penalty after twenty minutes or so. Level on aggregate, but the advantage of away goals scored was ours. In the second half, five minutes went by and, like a week ago, Wachowicz was responsible for the equaliser. Fourty minutes and many chances later, the final whistle was blown: 1-1 (agg 3-2).

    Spoiler!

    Ahead of the next cup game were two league fixtures. Including some late drama we recorded two narrow wins. Then we went to visit Kietrz, the current number four in the same competition we were in. A close match once more and with 25 minutes to play we found ourselves 1-0 down for the third time in a row when it comes to League Cup meetings. Two minutes later a defeat looked less likely when a Marzec (SC) strike went in. The Lech crowd had something to look forward to: 1-1.

    Spoiler!

    Now this was getting kind of boring. Kietrz, still in fourth position, came to Poznań after we had won two league games. Seven consecutive top-flight wins in a row, six of which in the championship half of the season. In the run-up to that cup match, we concluded a summer deal that would take Giguel away from us for more than twice the club record, but only a quarter of his 10,000,000 clause. Fifteen minutes underway in the cup tie and the name of Wachowicz popped up once again. A quarter of an hour later and we were up against ten men and still in front. In the last fifteen minutes of the game Villarreal scored one late and one very late goal: 3-0 (agg 4-1)!

    Spoiler!

    On our way to the last quarter of the season, our good run of form was suddenly halted by Pogon, serving us a home defeat of 0-1, while two of our goals were ruled out. One day later, Wisla had the chance to punish us some more, by winning their game in hand. A loss for them as well, meant there wasn't much between us. We could forget about place eight and even ending up third would be a real challenge. Just a single point behind the summit and still two games against the Cracovians to go.

    Spoiler!

    In fact, the first chance we both had to recover from those defeats, was in the same match to be played in Krakw. The game plans of the two teams were dominated by the idea of not wanting to lose this one. It became obvious why we had the best defences in the league and nobody finding the net told the whole story. Three days later we and they played at home, receiving a red card each. We dropped two points, equalling their result.

    A quick opportunity for revenge as the two top teams met again. Even less shots on goal than eleven days prior to this and not only the result in terms of a draw but also the scoreline was copied. The next week wasn't that much different as we drew for the fourth time in succession. Out of the blue, with Wisla losing at home, that was turned into a bonus point for us. To breach that series of draws, the smallest of wins was enough to stay on equal points and more important to keep the battle alive.

    Up next was the first of two games in the Final of the League Cup. At home to Legia, just behind us, sitting third in the league. We clearly were the more dangerous team, but their goalkeeper was doing ever so well to prevent us from scoring. Approaching the last fifteen minutes of the match, that very same man saw a red card shown against him. By converting the spot kick, Pawel Szewczyk (AM/FLC) lifted his tally for the season to five. However, in Warsaw there was still plenty to play for: 1-0!

    Spoiler!

    In the penultimate game of the national championship, we made up for the home loss against Pogon, this time beating them 0-2 (Marzec & Terlecki). Surprisingly, Wisla didn't score in their game at home, seeing us moving two points clear at the top. Because of the two scoreless draws between us, I assumed goal difference would be decisive in case of the same amount of points after the last game. For now, we had the best starting point, although both sides had a busy week in prospect.

    Spoiler!

    Saturday would be the big day, but on Wednesday Wisla first played in the Final of the UEFA Cup against Racing Genk. The last time they did so, they lost it on penalties and we were crowned Polish champions. Now they went down in the extra time and we had to play the return against Legia on Thursday. I wanted us to be ready for the fixture two days later and only fielded Gielarek (GK) as intented starter for that one as well. Legia had their eye on third place in the league, so this cup match was one to forget very quickly: 0-0 (agg 0-1).

    Spoiler!

    That piece of silverware was already in the bag and now it was time to show our home crowd what we were made of. With three points against Stomil there were no further calculations needed. Almost half an hour played and a big part of the nerves disappeared when a header by Andrzej Kowalski (AMRC) moved the back of the net. Half-time was sandwiched by a Marzec brace, so in the end it didn't even matter that Wisla got stuck on a draw! For the upcoming season, three Polish teams are given the chance to play in the mighty Champions League and as the new champions, we don't even have to play any preliminary matches.

    Spoiler!

    This year he finally got his Polish citizenship, next to the Senegalese he was born with. From the moment he came in, I knew it was a rare beast we had on our hands. Unfortunately he wanted to move to a bigger club and undoubtedly he will be sorely missed. At least he literally left us as a champion and the day after he was chosen as the best player in Poland for the past season. Apart from his excellent grades, those tackling stats are sublime as well. Thank you very much and all the best, Frank!!!

    Spoiler!

    Players gone:

    1. Giguel (DC, 29, 2,500,000)
    2. Bukalski (DRL, 27, end of contract)
    3. Marek Kulpaka (DRL, 29, end of contract)
    4. Terlecki (AM/FLC, 25, end of contract)
    5. Madej (DC, 33, 5,000)

    New players:

    1. Szmuc (AM/FL, 22, Bosman)
    2. Grgic (D/DMLC, 24, 150,000)
    3. Terlecki (AM/FLC, 25, free transfer)
    4. Stasiak (AM/FL, 16, youth academy)

    The departure of Giguel made way for Zagorski (D/DMC), so far used as backup in midfield for Swierczewski (DMC), to get a place in the starting eleven as a defender. Even though it wasn't the first time Terlecki wanted to move to a bigger club, again he came crawling back to us. This time I prefer to play Szmuc as first choice on the left wing. Together with the 450,000 we got as an award for finishing in first place, the bank balance is now over 21,000,000.

    FA Cup Third Round to get the new season underway. Polonia Bytom out of the Second Division were hosting this knockout game. Within five minutes we were behind and ten minutes later Zilic brought us right back into it. Ten minutes before the break a debut goal from Szmuc reflected the run of play way better. Nearly eighty minutes gone and suddenly extra time was needed... We then needed a spot kick to create the difference that was expected based on three times as many chances in our favour. A great debut with a second goal as well: 2-3 (aet)!

    Spoiler!

    In the next round a double confrontation with Gornik Zabrze awaited us. Last season they had won their playoffs to stay in the top flight. Close to the end of the first half Marzec opened the scoring and shortly into the second half Zagorski doubled our lead. Around the hour mark this advantage was halved first, before Marzec completed his hat-trick. The last thirty minutes were far less exciting, but of course the win was ours: 4-1!

    Spoiler!

    To make up for two goalless draws, there always is the Polish Super Cup. More goal attempts in this match than in the two prior ones combined, but ten minutes after the tea it was an own goal that finally broke the deadlock. That very same player forced us into extra time by scoring for Wisla as well with ten minutes to play. Another chance to beat them and it was grabbed by Wozniak: 1-2 (aet)! Is our trophy cabinet prepared for this?

    Spoiler!

  38. #49
    Join Date
    31-07-15
    Location
    Nijmegen, Netherlands
    Posts
    349
    vCash
    10500

    2022/2023

    The second chance for me to defend a league title with my name on it. It would be nice to add a third to that, no matter what. Doing it by a back-to-back kind of style should make it even more special. Maybe such a performance could change the minds of the current group of players (still) wanting to move to a bigger club? Or perhaps boost the club's and/or my reputation in order to get some more (quality) players to be interested to join Lech? Certainly something worth fighting for!

    Ahead of our second meeting in the FA Cup we picked up one more point than Gornik Zabrze in our first game of the Polish Premier Division. Meanwhile we got rid of Szewczyk (AM/FLC, 29, 350,000) who had an unprotected contract. Winning 4-1 at home had to give us sufficient margin to finish the job at their stadium. Possibly not everyone on the pitch was convinced of their chances to go through and after only eight minutes played those perspectives didn't change with a powerful header by Marzec (SC). That very same body part decided the match six minutes before the interval and with fifteen minutes to play, Man of the Match Wachowicz (AM/FC) blasted his first of the season in the top corner: 0-3 (agg 1-7)!

    Spoiler!

    The first leg of the quarterfinals was scheduled immediately after this one. Widzew Lodz, also on zero points in our League Group, were the hosts. No time to get used to the circumstances first, as the deadlock was broken within the first five minutes of the game. First to react on a loose ball was Villarreal (SC) and from then on we had to defend our lead. Two minutes after the break and a penalty was given. From the spot our advantage was doubled by Terlecki (AM/FLC) and things were going well indeed. The pressure was mounting, however, and we had to make do with a narrow win to take home: 1-2!

    Spoiler!

    Six points out of two league games later and the reverse fixture popped up. An early goal once more with only five minutes on the clock and ten minutes later Villarreal added one to that of Kowalski (AMRC). Again a goal was scored at the beginning of the second half and Widzew had pegged one back. They still needed some more goals, but there was room for just the one as the game was finished off by Ptak (AMRLC): 3-1 (agg 5-2)!

    Spoiler!

    Three matches in a row in the league and all of them with the same outcome: 1-1... Between the first and the second game of that run, Tomasz Zajac (AMRLC, 16) left our youth ranks to join the first team. After the third one, in which two of our goals were disallowed, the same goes for Nocon (SW/DC, 16). Probably no game time for them soon, but maybe useful in Europe - because of their young age - as extra options besides the 25 assigned players. Three cup ties separated us from our return to the Champions League.

    At first our entrance to the League Cup in the Third Round. Slask, in League One like us, hosting the first leg. Spectacular as always the match in Wrocław opened up in the first ten minutes with a half volley by Marzec. Twenty minutes later our away goal was levelled out and halfway through the second half things got going again with Wysowski (D/DMC) and Gielarek (GK) miscommunicating. We were two down one minute later and then Grgic (D/DMLC) really stood up by scoring his first ever goal for the club and turning that moment into a brace as well: 3-3.

    Spoiler!

    Afterwards we had agreed a deal with Atltico Madrid to buy 29-year old Villarreal from us for 1,000,000. During the negotiations I thought it was wise to leave him out of the European squad becaus of his possible departure, only to find out later that the Spanish transfer period was closed and the striker would be with us until half December...

    Down to the last four in the FA Cup and we started at home to Arka, playing at the same level as us. They gave us a hard time all around and so it lasted until half an hour before the first goal was scored by Marzec. Shortly after the hour mark the equaliser went in and we had all kinds of trouble to get back into this duel. In the end it was decided by a first-ever goal from Piotrowicz (DMLC): 2-1!

    Spoiler!

    Not much between these two sides when the return kicked off. A quarter of an hour underway and Arka boldly took the lead. We then really did everything we could to reach the final. No more goals were scored in the first 45 minutes and so time automatically became our second opponent of the day. I think it's fair to say that we deserved at least one goal. A handful of minutes before the 60th went by and a common name appeared on the scoresheet. Not for the first time in recent years it was Wachowicz who saved the day: 1-1 (agg 2-3).

    Spoiler!

    When the waiting was over, last year's runners-up from Belgium were received at the Bulgarska. Around twenty minutes played and KV Mechelen reached the same situation as Arka had put us in earlier. With two-thirds of the game passing by, Wysowski scored one at the right end of the pitch. By creating more chances, we were definitely approaching this contest more positively than our foreign friends. Five minutes before the final whistle was blown, it all paid off when Wozniak (AMR) handed us the win: 2-1!

    An actual final awaited us. Stomil (L1) and Lech (L1) were the only contenders left to win the FA Cup. Three full minutes played in Olsztyn and we had some serious chasing to do. Twenty minutes later and I was scratching my head once more. My team talk at the break didn't have the desired effect as it took Wachowicz just five minutes to see a red card. A quarter of an hour after that incident and Szmuc (AM/FL) did brought us back in the game. It wasn't enough to prevent us losing our unbeaten status this season: 2-1...

    Spoiler!

    German champions Darmstadt were ready to combat us with one point in the bag from the previous continental game. Despite the fact that we were the team playing across our national borders, the run of play was obviously in our favour. As a result of creating more opportunities, let alone the better chances, we were bound to score (first). The nearly 19,000 in the stands had to wait for almost an hour to witness a player succeeding in front of goal. With his tenth of the season in all competitions, the only goal of the evening was scored by Marzec: 0-1!

    We were warming up for our seventh fixture in the league, but there was still one other tie to go to complete the series of seven other matches in a row. Slask came to our place to try and score at least one goal, otherwise they were out of the League Cup. It was a rather quiet affair and the first real danger after exactly an hour - a first goal of the season - crushed our souls: 0-1. Halfway through the remaining half an hour, someone with a first goal for his club did somewhat better and Paszulewicz (D/MR) celebrated like never before: 1-1 (agg 4-4).

    Spoiler!

    Finally we were given the opportunity to complete the first half of our group games, but not before Wojciechowski (D/DML, 18, youth academy) and a Cape Verdean by the name of Totas (SC, 26, 500,000) became Lech players. It wasn't an easy affair by all means and we were very lucky to come away with the narrowest of wins. Unbeaten in the league, albeit with four results that went by undecided, gave us reasonable prospects to end up in the good half of this interim table.

    Spoiler!

    With all the possible points so far in the bag, we were ready to face the third side in our Champions League Group. Hrcules claimed Spain's fourth league spot in the previous season and now were on two points in Europe. Not much chances between the two squads, playing on Polish soil for this occasion. Nevertheless, all was done and dusted in the final third prior to the change of halfs. In fact, no further differences were made to the score in the second half: 0-2...

    By also losing our next match, as well as our unbeaten league status, it didn't look as the perfect time for Stomil to come to town for a match we had to win, in case we wanted to lift that FA Cup. An early away goal led to us pushing even more for one or two of ourselves. We did manage to make it a more or less one-sided show, without it resulting in enough movements of the hostile net. Actually, none of our chances affected the scoreline, making it three defeats in a row: 0-1 (agg 1-3)...

    Spoiler!

    Towards the second challenge against our Spanish conquerors, we had regained some of our confidence by winning two domestic fixtures with a total goal difference of 5-0. Again there wasn't much action in any box to record and this time we didn't fell behind in the first half. Midway through the second act that all changed, when long-time hero Wachowicz was there to put in his overall fifth of the season. Of course this was all but over and even with Wysowski scoring, you're never sure. Such a shame it was yet his second own goal of 2022/2023: 1-1.

    In preparation for the second tie against the Belgians, a Marzec-inspired performance - him scoring a hat-trick lifted his season tally up to 15 - handed us an incredibly easy 4-0 win. It didn't stop for him there, because in Mechelen he quickly picked up a brace (7' & 17') and even made it six in two (56'). After a penalty was given, an old-fashioned outburst of two players reduced both teams by one. I brought on Terlecki for Marzec to cover for the exclusion of Stasiak (AM/FL) and then it was time for Wachowicz to keep his nerves from the spot and copy our last score: 0-4!

    A series of three league matches to get one of eight spots in the championship half of said competition. Winning the first one without conceding was already sufficient to do so. To confirm our form, the next one was won by a smaller margin, but with a clean sheet too. We managed to hold on to the first place in our group, despite a loss in the last game of this phase. Getting ready for the real stuff, naturally.

    Spoiler!

    Where did this all leave us? Not in a bad position, I would say. Only a single point behind the winner of the other group, but just three above the current number eight. Not much of a surprise that Wisla were the ones keeping us in second place. In the meantime I sold Piotr Kulpaka (FC, 25, 50,000), while Ptak, Zagorski (D/DMC), Wachowicz and Gruszka (SW/D/DMC) all signed new contracts at the cost of a 500,000 fee each.

    Spoiler!

    Five games played and we had already qualified for the Second Group Stage of the Champions League. Still no need to give away more than one present at home to a German team. His twentieth of the season after less than fifteen minutes gave us the lead through Marzec. Fully in control after that, but history keeps on repeating itself by last-minute goals: 1-1. An excellent result to win this group!

    Spoiler!

    Immediately a big challenge was ahead of us, as we went to Krakw to resume the Polish Premier Division in the new setup after the group stage. They had a grand total of eight attempts that were heading between the aluminum framework and Gielarek was equal to each and every one of them. Our three shots of the same kind caused no more danger and so it was nothing won, but probably far more important, nothing lost.

    Since we were guaranteed of at least six more continental games, we might as well make the best of it while we were at it. At first a new confrontation with a delegation from Spain, with their number three of last season, Betis, visiting us. A lightning start gave us the lead through Wozniak (3') and many chances for both sides followed afterwards. More than an hour of gameplay later the second goal of the match - and his first for the club - was scored by Lejman (D/DMRLC). Another great performance by Gielarek as well: 2-0!

    Our last league contest before the winter set in, was all about keeping up with Wisla. A red card for one of the opponents helped us in the driver's seat and Wysowski now scored two at the desirable end of the pitch to reach the season-milestone of five in total. To help our goal difference even more, Wachowicz added our third in the last minute of the game. No mistakes by both teams at the top, so the one-point gap had our full focus.

    Spoiler!

    Just one more to go in the year 2022. A trip to Italy against the team closest to the champions of last year and in our way of the Champions League Final two seasons ago. We feared Fiorentina for their ability to make use of the (few) chanches they need to score a goal or two. A penalty when the game was about thirty minutes underway and a quick fire in the second half could have reflected the equally spread amount of attempts, but they didn't: 2-0...

    For us, 2023 started with four non-league encounters and the first couple of them were in Europe, both times against Red Star from (former) Yugoslavia. When they first came to Poznań, we were only two points ahead of them. Within ten minutes a header by Marzec made that a virtual difference of five. At the beginning and the end of the second half, all doubts were gone after Wysowski and Swierczewski (DMC) tripled our in-game lead: 3-0!

    Near the end of the first half in Belgrade, we were confronted with a penalty, which led to a deficit as well. Early in the second half that was levelled out by Swierczewski and near the end of this half, another penalty, several minutes after a team took the lead again, was given. This spot kick was converted too and the verdict was as clear as day: 3-1...

    Back to Poland for a pair of domestic ties, namely in the quarterfinals of the League Cup. Our challengers Pogon were sitting four places below us in the league and had the home advantage in this first leg. It definitely wasn't our best start and after that things didn't improve at all, resulting in 2-0 and 3-0 after thirty minutes played. A total offday and especially Gielarek had a mare, although the only goal in the second half came from the spot: 4-0...

    Spoiler!

    A miracle was needed to turn this one around in our favour. In terms of produced goal danger we more or less did the same as Pogon did when they were playing in front of their own fans. It certainly was enough to win this single match, but far from reaching the semis, with only Ptak putting his name on the scoresheet: 1-0 (agg 1-4).

    Spoiler!

    Our return to the league in 2023 started with going behind 0-1 and turned out to be a solid 3-1 win. Then the plane took us to Sevilla, to play the local team in green and white. It took less than fifteen minutes for us to power a header in the hostile goal and Szmuc was the man who rose the highest. Ten minutes after that and the game was level again following a direct freekick. A lengthy goalless period was just what we needed to convert one of our many chances into a goal with only six minutes to play. If it wasn't for Betis to change into a German side - scoring both of their two shots on target through a freekick - Wachowicz would have surely been the matchwinner with his tenth of the season: 2-2.

    In need of at least one point to keep qualification for the quarterfinals of the Champions League in our hands, we had to deal with an early red card and penalty against in the league. That didn't do us any good and this away game ended in a dramatic way: 4-0... Good for us that Fiorentina were already through to the last eight and came to visit our Bulgarska. Around thirty minutes played and Wachowicz gave us the lead, plus an almost certain ticket for the knockout phase. On the hour mark I became a bit more uncertain, but both teams settled for the deserved draw: 1-1.

    Spoiler!

    Back home for another one in the league and again we had to deal with a quick penalty. A horrific day for Gielarek from then on and in the end from four shots on target by each team, we were on the wrong side of the scoring: 1-3... Jokes on us as we used the very first day of April to celebrate a Wachowicz brace in Wrocław: 1-2! Would that mean we were ready to try and reach the quarterfinals of the Champions League? The first of two matches against Spanish giants and last season's number two of La Liga was played in Eastern Europe. We totally controlled the game for the whole 45 minutes and just as the tea was about to boil, a penalty was given and Zagorski went off. Of course Real took the lead and we went for damage control in the second half. After sixty minutes of football a second went in, but I still felt things were possible in Madrid this way. In the dying seconds of the game we were punished once more: 0-3...

    Spoiler!

    Great job by the league schedulers to hand us the second meeting with Wisła three days later. Without a (quick) penalty in our third, it was easier to stay in the game. In fact we scored early ourselves this time and each time we took a double lead, the visitors did something back soon. The 3-2 win put us in third, at a distance of one point and one match of the leaders. Seven matches to go for us, so a great end to the season was all but unthinkable. Let's keep them going!

    Spoiler!

    The journey to the capital of Spain wasn't approaching before we played two more games, in which we picked up four points, with the draw containing a scored and a conceded penalty. All we needed against the men in white were goals. Terlecki (15'), Trzeciak (D/DMRL, 42') with his first ever goal for Lech Poznań and Zilic (DRC, 87') did exactly what was asked for. Even after that late goal, Los Merengues avoided a single defeat against us: 3-3 (agg 6-3).

    Spoiler!

    We had developed the nasty habit of deciding the battle for the Polish national title on the last day of asking. This season everything was different! In the remaining five fixtures, only two shots went past Gielarek and in his eleventh start, even Totas scored his first goals for the club! It's hard to believe we didn't get all fifteen points from those games. It wasn't a story about squandering a point here and there. No, not even a handful, but almost two. Eight freaking points to be precise! Getting seven points on board was just enough to finish in second place, a massive twelve behind the ones from Krakw... At least we got 425,000 for that and we're in the Champions League again next season!

    Spoiler!



    The suicidal approach displayed above was used to bring Hungary a few new records, such as most games lost in a row / most games without winning in a row and biggest defeat / highest scoring game. It soon became clear that this wasn't going to bring us anything good. The more amazed I was that the first match without losing had all three points in it for us! Needless to say, we don't have any chance whatsoever to qualify for the 2024 Euros.

    Spoiler!

    Our European adventures weren't all for fun, they also helped to increase our bank balance towards approximately 40,000,000. Time to give the club something back as I had been begging for the last couple of years. The training ground was improved to top facilities plus youth academy and the stadium was expanded from 14,580 (6,580 seats) to 25,295 (17,295 chairs). Still well over 20,000,000 left to invest wisely.

    Most of the summer deals had not taken place yet, when we were playing in the Third Round of the FA Cup. A visit to Swit, not playing in any professional league, was a perfect opportunity to give some of our lads a farewell match. About 240 seconds later the game was already killed by Wozniak and Marzec. Even when Zagorski brought the poor non-leaguers right back into the game, Wozniak restored our two-goal cushion in the first half. In the second another brace was recorded by Marzec and a last-minute goal by Swierczewski really expressed the run of play: 1-5!

    Spoiler!

    Following the example of Giguel, his former partner in the heart or our defense, Croatian hero Zoran Zilic was the next to trade us for a 'bigger' club. In my experience he has been an incredibly reliable defender and sadly it was his own wish to leave. There was nothing we could do about that and now he really is gone. My challenge was to build a new squad and make life harder again for the 'new' champions of Poland.

    Spoiler!

    Goodbye:

    1. Andrzej Kowalski (AMRC, 32, contract expiry)
    2. Trzeciak (D/DMRL, 30, contract expiry)
    3. Majewski (DLC, 33, contract expiry)
    4. Pchelintsev (MC, 32, contract expiry)
    5. Piotr Kowalski (AML, 25, contract expiry)
    6. Krolak (D/DML, 33, contract expiry)
    7. Hajduk (AM/FR, 32, contract expiry)
    8. Sobczak (D/DMRC, 27, contract expiry)
    9. Piechota (MLC, 24, contract expiry)
    10. Zilic (DRC, 30, Bosman)

    Welcome:

    1. Kowalczyk (SC, 17, youth academy)
    2. Kokoszka (AM/FRL, 27, 750,000)
    3. Tomasz Wlodarczyk (DC, 28, 1,500,000)
    4. Murdza (AM/FRC, 24, 1,500,000)
    5. Rafal Wlodarczyk (D/DMRLC, 23, 50,000)
    6. Moraes (DC, 24, 1,500,000)
    7. Uzelac (D/MLC, 27, 150,000)



    The first ones to face some of our new players were Polonia B. from the tier below us. In the Fourth Round of the FA Cup there were two legs to be played and the start was at their ground. Less than fifteen minutes played and Szmuc showed me he was excited about the purchases. Roughly five minutes later he took the responsibility to take a penalty as well and didn't fail. Within the next ten minutes it was game over, signed by Swierczewski: 0-3!

    Spoiler!

    As our guests, Polonia B. made us defend our lead heavily. In the first half hour Murdza swapped a push for a red card and a few minutes later Swierczewski put us in front. Yet before the interval we had to allow the equaliser. In the second half Gielarek was tested multiple times, but this time he definitely showed why I'm counting on him as our number one. Even a (small) loss wasn't fatal, but it's always nice to stay unbeaten for as long as possible: 1-1 (agg 4-1).

    Spoiler!

    The final contest before we'll be back in league business was at home against Legia. They finished at a safe spot in the bottom half of the Polish Premier Division last season. Replacing the suspended Murdza in the starting eleven, it took Kokoszka only eleven minutes to give us the lead with his first goal for the club. Three minutes later we had to chase for that situation again and we didn't succeed in the next thirty minutes. In the first minute after the break Wachowicz finally opened his account for the 2023/2024 season. Based on the amount of chances created, we should have added some more to that: 2-1!

    Spoiler!

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  40. #50
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    2023/2024

    Since our first league title back in 2019, we did win one more in 2022, but Wisla took home the other three. We were doing quite well in Europe and it would be nice to do the same domestically. With me in charge, only one Polish FA Cup (2020), one Polish League Cup (2022) and also one Polish Super Cup (2022) made it to Lech Poznań's trophy cabinet so far. At least we had a whole season to change this and keep the chairman happy.

    The First Leg of the FA Cup Quarter Final, at home against Legia (2-1), was followed by the season opener of the league. A group game at home versus Legia, in which Totas (SC) scored after three minutes and about ten minutes later Murdza (AM/FRC) did the very same for the first time in his Lech career. We then lost Gielarek (GK) to an injury and in the second half it was Murdza with his second to give us a flying start: 3-0!

    To make it three in a row, we faced Legia at their ground to defend our aggregate lead for a place in the Semi Final of the FA Cup. Five minutes before the interval the summed score was level, with them leading on away goals. 25 minutes from time our position improved when Marzec (SC) found the net and an own goal a handful of minutes after that, was the last noteworthy action of this tie: 1-2 (agg 2-4)!

    Spoiler!

    In the run-up to Leg One of our FA Cup Semi Final, we first sold Lejman (D/DMRLC, 30) for 250,000 and then played four league games. Half of them featured Grzyb (GK), four clean sheets were achieved, four goals scored and four points dropped. Afterwards, out of our youth academy, Machowski (DC, 17) made it to the first team squad. Then Stomil (L1, different Group) came to visit the Bulgarska and soon had a penalty to cope with. No mistakes made by Kokoszka (AM/FRL) and early in the second half he added a regular goal to his total. Whit half an hour still to play, Grgic (D/DMLC) saw a red card and we were strong enough to stay out of trouble nonetheless: 2-0!

    Spoiler!

    The fourth meeting with Legia and the second in the league, saw us conceding in that competition for the first time this season. By scoring three ourselves and getting another for free by one of their players, it didn't cost us: 1-4! In the Second Leg, away at Stomil, all the goals were scored in the second half, where we had Marzec, Kokoszka and Wachowicz (AM/FC) appearing on the scoresheet: 0-3 (agg 0-5)!

    Spoiler!

    A week later, again on a Wednesday, the First Leg of the Final was scheduled. We were playing Kietrz (L1, other Group) at home, with some of our players away on international duty... One of their defenders managed to collect two yellow cards in the first 45 minutes, which increased our chances of getting a good result. Nothing much in it, to be fair, but in the second half a man from the Cape Verde Islands was able to differ the scoreline and his name is Totas: 1-0!

    Spoiler!

    Only three days later we visited Kietrz to defend our smallest of advantages. Throughout this match, both teams were extremely cautious, however, the home team had an early opening goal ruled out. Perhaps this had something to do with the choice for tired and/or less-preferred players. Just over fifteen minutes to go and our main striker Marzec went off with an injury. Both teams only produced one shot on target each and when Ptak (AMRLC) made ours count, the first prize (combined with 775,000) of the season for Lech was already in the pocket: 0-1 (agg 0-2)!!!

    Spoiler!

    Again there were just three days to recover from winning this final and visit the champions of Sweden, IFK Gteborg, to start our European campaign for this season. Two penalties within the first twenty minutes and Wachowicz scoring after we were three down, made it a trip to remember for all the wrong reasons: 3-1... Four days went by and we entered the League Cup in the Third Round, at home first in a two-legged meeting with Stomil, again. An even earlier penalty to deal with this time and a last-minute equaliser by Ptak that was cancelled, kept the misery coming for us after we lost our unbeaten status for the season: 0-1...

    Spoiler!

    When Greek champions Panathinaikos came to Poland, the first thirty minutes saw us getting behind, equalising and going in front by Totas himself and being back level as well. Even before the break Murdza got us in front for the second time in the match and with less than thirty minutes to play the third equaliser went in. In the penultimate minute our African striker fired in his fifth goal of the season to complete his hat-trick for the day and consequently hand us the win in this spectacular piece of football: 4-3!

    Too bad we dropped some more points in the league to complete the first of four terms with. At this early stage, staying unbeaten in this competition looked like the perfect way to qualify for the actual championship phase. If only the amount of other games weren't getting in our way too much...

    Spoiler!

    On our way to England next, where last year's runners-up, Grimsby, awaited us. When all of their shots on target went in, we knew what our chances of winning this one were: 3-0... Making it four in a row without a win by drawing another leauge game, we then played the return away at Stomil. The aggregate score was levelled by Wachowicz in the first fifteen minutes and it was great news for us when the last quarter of the game was used by Murdza to make if five for the season: 0-2 (agg 1-2)!

    Spoiler!

    In the following two league encounters, we didn't concede once, thus stayed unbeaten, but gave away two more points once more. Grimsby came to Poznań to gave us some serious competition again. We came a lot closer this time, while not scoring is a big handicap when you're trying to win a game: 0-1... Before we were able to revenge ourselves against Gteborg, a league game with a disallowed opening goal for us resulted in yet another draw. With fifteen minutes on the clock, the Swedes got in front again and at the half hour mark we had Totas to get us level. Chances missed by both sides, led to a familiar result for us: 1-1.

    Finally, a league win secured our place in the top-half of the group with two games to spare. The first of those was won as well and of course we couldn't do with another draw too. So we went trought as the number one after all, without a single defeat, but by only winning half the amount of matches played. Many things to worry about, way before the decisive period of the season had arrived... At least our defensive record was alright!

    Spoiler!

    Even though we were on four points after five Champions League games, there was still a chance of reaching the Second Group Phase. In order to accomplish that, a win in Greece was needed to begin with. Two equally dangerous/harmless teams were separated by a single first-half goal, scored by Ptak: 0-1! A last-minute equaliser in Sweden kicked us out of the tournament after all... Entering the UEFA Cup instead, was the best possible consolation to that.

    Spoiler!

    The league table - with points halved after the qualifying phase - showed that we had definitely been in the weaker of the two groups. Three points behind the leaders wasn't that big a deal in the end, but I was surprised to see us get behind of a team that was in our group, which we had won! Because we had beaten them twice and our goal difference was way better, my first guess was that it had something to do with the amount of wins registered. Looking at the same situation between the numbers seven and eight, made me realise nothing else than the good old alphabetical order was used here!

    Spoiler!

    We started the 'regular' league with an away game at Orlen, in seventh place. Gielarek collected yet another clean sheet and Murdza got his bonus for scoring a goal: 0-1! Then the UEFA Cup Third Round got underway for us, playing in Belgrade against Red Star. No easy assignment, as they had also dropped out of the Champions League. We were the better team and with two second-half goals, Szmuc (AM/FL) clearly was our best player in this First Leg: 0-2!

    Spoiler!

    The last league fixture before the winter break began, was at home against Widzew. Within the space of twelve minutes, three goals were scored and Totas was the first and the last to celebrate. The remaining eighty minutes of the game went by and the three points were for Lech: 2-1! The distance to the summit was reduced by one point and the top three had immediately created a significant gap towards the rest. So far, so good!

    Spoiler!

    The year 2023 was closed with the return contra Red Star. They were in need of goals and Skocic (DRC) pulled away his first of the season, for us! Gielarek picking up the award for Man of the Match says it all, but I'll take a result like this on any given day: 1-0 (agg 3-0)! I was more than happy to continue our European adventures in the first half of 2024. But first we had two and a half months off to reload for the three competitions we were still in.

    Spoiler!

    By the way, the two remaining Euro Qualification games Hungary had to play, were lost. The last one was a double record-breaking 1-8 (biggest defeat & highest scoring game) against Russia... Of course we didn't left the bottom spot, but got away with a draw (2-2) in the next Friendly. We then lost two of those (0-6 & 2-5) in 2024 and I'm still not fired. Time to think of a new formation, I reckon!

    Spoiler!

    The winter months were also used to sell Tomasz Zajac (DRLC, 30) for 500,000 and to buy Osipov (DRLC, 27) from Russia for 100,000 as his replacement. We returned to the pitch in the Quarter Finals of the League Cup. Leg One was at home to Zaglebie, who were sitting around mid-table in Division Two. Literally zero danger was created by them and halfway through the second half it was Osipov with a debut goal to create the deserved difference between the two teams: 1-0!

    Spoiler!

    Hrcules were the fifth team of Spain last year and hosted the First Leg in the Fourth Round of the UEFA Cup. Again a game remained scoreless over an hour and then the hosts from Alicante got in front. This time the visitors had some chances of their own as well, but it wasn't meant to be: 1-0... A tough assignment to take home with us. I tried to convince the lads that it was all but impossible, though.

    Spoiler!

    Before the Second Leg was played, we returned to the league with a narrow away victory (1-2) to win some confidence back. It took about twenty minutes to see the first goal of this match and it was his tenth of the season for Murdza. Early in the second half Zagorski (D/DMC) had to go off injured and in the following minutes, even the thirty of extra time, the scoreline stayed the same. Our second and their fourth penalty didn't went in and eventually it was Wachowicz who was the coolest: 1-0 (agg 1-1; pens 7-6)!

    Spoiler!

    A minimal home win in the league (1-0, Ptak) after this big European relief prior to our next continental travel, kept us right on track. In the Quarter Finals of the UEFA Cup, Metz where the opponents. They had finished fifth in France in the previous season. Despite dominating play, we didn't score until the seventieth minute, with Wachowicz again the important man and later on Marzec by a header comfortably added one too: 0-2!

    Spoiler!

    No league match in the following weekend, so the next match was the return against Metz. Only one team really playing once again and within the first twenty minutes, Murdza gave us the lead. At the end of the first half Szmuc was stretchered off and fifteen minutes from the final whistle, Tomasz Wlodarczyk (DC) went out injured as well. Luckily for us, that didn't influence the outcome of the game at all: 1-0 (agg 3-0)!

    Spoiler!

    It was almost time for Zaglebie to welcome us, but first we recorded yet another league win at home (2-0, Kokoszka (penalty) & Osipov)! The team from the league below gave it their all after Murdza scored in the tenth minute, but we created more and better chances. Five minutes from the end, Wachowicz grabbed us one more to keep us in this cup as well: 0-2 (agg 0-3)!

    Spoiler!

    The ultimate chance to hurt Wisla, who were with us amongst the last four in the UEFA Cup, in the league, was when we played them at home. The only good thing about this game was that we didn't get further behind on them: 0-0. In Europe, much to my excitement, we had a different team to play in the Semi Final. It were Sheffield Wednesday, last year's number four and failed to qualify for the Champions League in the Third Preliminary Round. A boring match in Poland was decided by one goal in the fiftieth minute, scored by Osipov: 1-0!

    Spoiler!

    An away game at Arka in the Polish First Division then. In terms of shots on goal (9-14) and especially shots on target (4-9) we couldn't have done much better. The department that matters most, decided otherwise, though: 1-0... That's how we went five points behind the league leaders. Seven games still to play, including a direct confrontation with them, but I didn't see Wisla dropping that many points in the first place and us winning all 21 in the second place...

    Spoiler!

    The proud leaders of the Polish Second Division were our opponents in the Semi Final of the League Cup. For the First Leg, we had to travel to Swiebodzin. They put in a very brave performance and we had all the trouble in the world to break down their defence, partly because an early Wachowicz goal was ruled out. Around the hour mark, we managed to cause some damage for the first time, when Swierczewski (DMC) found the net. In the last ten minutes it even got better for us through Marzec: 0-2!

    Spoiler!

    Another Man-of-the-Match performance by a Polish goalkeeper saw us giving away two more points on the road (0-0) and we travelled to Sheffield shortly afterwards. In my opinion, the players gave up on the league and were fully motivated to be in a European Final, even if it wasn't that of the Champions League. When a Murdza free kick went in at the end of the first half, we had almost done it. In the last ten minutes of the game, Wachowicz and Marzec showed their intentions too: 0-3 (agg 0-4)!

    Spoiler!

    Did I tell you something about excelling goalkeepers in the Polish top flight already? We came across one again, when we were playing away at Radomsko. He got a ten out of ten rating, despite allowing Kokoszka to score a goal: 0-1! Let's just say we were ready for the return against Swiebodzin. A very early warning by them and a first-half leveller by Swierczewski that was chalked off, kept things needlessly tense. They did play better than during the first leg and five minutes from time, they were still in this one. Then his tenth of the season made Totas the hero and Murdza even won us the match: 2-1 (agg 4-1)!

    Spoiler!

    We played the following three league ties versus Kietrz (A, 1-0), Radomsko (H, 0-1) and Orlen (H, 1-1, Ptak with his 5th of 2023/2024) and none of their goalies was rewarded with a rating lower than an eight... By then we had no chance whatsoever to change our final league position in the last two fixtures. All out on the cups then, starting with the First Leg of the Final against Radomsko, whose goalkeeper was on an average of 8.75 (8-8-10-9) in four matches that also featured Lech...

    Even the benefit of playing at home first was theirs. Every game starts at 0-0 and anything can happen. After twenty minutes a penalty was rewarded and you know who saved the attempt made by Szmuc... Near the end that proved to be one of seven shots on target made by us and Andrzej Lewandowski (GK) got himself another eight, because he couldn't stop Totas from scoring in the 78th minute: 0-1!

    Spoiler!

    No risks were taken when it comes to the UEFA Cup Final. That's wy Giza (AMLC) scored against Arka and Marcin Kowalczyk (SC) opened his account for the club in the same home match: 2-3... In their Semi Final, Wisla had won the away game (0-1) and the return at home was decided by a winner in the very last minute of extra time: 0-2. No guaranteed Polish winner, because now we were facing Vejle, qualified for this tournament as the Danish number three.

    No matter the opposition, we had to be at our best on this night in Copenhagen. Wait, what? Isn't that the capital of Denmark? Typical! I'm not sure this was the best match to watch for the neutral fans, but at least it wasn't a walkover for any of the teams. With the scoreline unchanged after the first 45 minutes, one could be afraid of another period of extra time between these Danes and a Polish side. An attempt to avoid this was made with ten minutes of second-half football on the clock and the blue part of the stadium cheering for Marzec's tenth of the season! Again ten minutes later we were heading towards that additional period, with a maximum of half an hour. One minute after the equaliser, the final was over for Swierczewski, who unfortunately had to leave the field with an injury. Both squads were mostly trying not to lose this very important match and they got what they wanted when the game ended after ninety minutes: 1-1. Near the end of the first half of extra time, the Danish goalkeeper picked up an injury as well. While all three possibilities to substitute were already used, a player had to take his place between the sticks. Not the worst perspective for us, with a penalty shoot-out the more and more plausible outcome of this final. I tried not to think about my list of five too much yet, but time was ticking away faster and faster... In the 113th minute, an excellent scoring opportunity resulted in a history-making golden goal and I for one am willing to contribute for a statue of this living legend: Robert Wachowicz!!!

    Spoiler!

    We took this giant success (rewarded with 2,300,000 from the UEFA), but none of the participants, with us on the final matchday of the league campaign. In Krakow, the hosts were still in the race for the title. Despite the pain of helping our rivals this obviously, no one could take that European trophy from us! We lost this match: 5-1... Not exactly the domestic season I hoped for, but winning both cups did make up for that in a way.

    Spoiler!

    That memorable evening in Denmark was a week ago and now we had to play a (part of a) final once more. At home to Radomsko, we had a defeat prevented by Murdza with his fifteenth of 2023/2024 and Marzec: 2-2 (agg 3-2)!!! As soon as I confirmed this by pressing "Continue Game", CM0102 exited automatically, without saving...

    Luckily, I opted for the game setting Auto Save on Every Week, so we only had to face Wisla and Radomsko again. This time around, the league leaders raced towards a double lead and Zewlakow (D/DMC) made us clawing one back after they had a man sent off. The bigger advantage was restored before the break and in the second half Kowalczyk and Giza turned this one around: 3-3. No consequences for the final league table and I quickly saved manually!

    Spoiler!

    Stubbornly I gave the return versus Radomsko another go and Murdza scored twice this time: 2-0 (agg 3-0)!!! Then the same thing happened and when I reloaded the game once again, I decided to try what I'm reading over here all the time: leave for a (simulated) holiday, at least during this match. The result was that Murdza didn't reach fifteen for the season, but Wachowicz went into double figures for the eighth(!) season running, Wysoswki (D/DMC) converted a penalty and, more important, the game didn't stop there: 2-0 (agg 3-0)!!!

    Spoiler!

    During the summer months the prize money for finishing third ( 400,000) wasn't enough to compensate for the 5,750,000 paid to the shareholders. As far as I'm concerned, the real thing to be sad about was having to let go one of our best players, because he wanted a new challenge at a bigger club and his contract was no longer protected. The fixed price of 600,000 doesn't express what Marcin Swierczewski was worth to us by a mile...

    Spoiler!

    Out:

    1. Piotrowicz (DMLC, 31, end of contract)
    2. Kaczmarek (AM/FRC, 30, end of contract)
    3. Moraes (DC, 25, 2,500,000)
    4. Wozniak (AMR, 33, end of contract)
    5. Swierczewski (DMC, 26, 600,000)

    In:

    1. Malinowski (FRLC, 25, Bosman)
    2. Popovic (D/DMC, 24, 200,000)

    Some of the above transfers were made after the first FA Cup match (Round 3) was played. The starting eleven changed a bit, with Popovic coming in for Moraes as the left-oriented central defender, Zagorski (D/DMC) moves from right to left in taking over Swierczewski's place in defensive midfield and Wysowski comes back in to play in Zagorski's position. With Poland still present at Euro 2024, the aforementioned cup game against Hutnik (L2) was scheduled. First-half away goals by Totas, Grgic and Murdza (penalty) made this an easy one for us: 0-3!

    Spoiler!

    In the Fourth Round, the draw had linked us to Legia for the umpteenth time. They were still in the same league as us and our players had some trouble with their match fitness before the First Leg, played at our ground. A good display by them meant an early lead and at the stroke of half time Marzec squared the match. They were more threatening in the second half and had some reasons to complain about the final result: 1-1.

    Spoiler!

    Our players were in better shape for the FA Cup return and when Legia scored from the spot with ten minutes to go, Marzec had already found the net once in both halfs and in between, first-half goals by Wachowicz and Szmuc were added to the scoresheet. No real doubts about the better team over two legs, I assume: 1-4 (agg 2-5)!

    Spoiler!

    The last non-league game at the start of 2024/2025 was the Super Cup match against champions Wisla, played on a neutral venue in Chorzw. I can't remember us playing so excellent against our eternal rivals. Even when Tomasz Wlodarczyk went out injured early in the second half, his replacement picked up the Man-of-the-Match award. Such a shame these opponents are so damn efficient in front of our goal: 1-0...

    Spoiler!

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