They played va banque in Ekstraklasa and won. A debutant in cups

Fourth place would be the worst for an athlete, but not in football. Over the years, fourth place in the English league, the oldest and richest in the world, has been like a championship – it meant entering the football paradise that UEFA Champions League† Roman Abramowicz traveled through the capital of England in the summer of 2003 with the plan to take over a football club, which we now know on whose behalf. The first steps, according to his roots, he conducted to the stadium Tottenham, White Hart Lane. Just a few miles west on Stamford Bridge, the Danish winger Jesper Gronkjaer defeated Jerzy Dudeka Chelsea they beat Liverpool, finishing fourth and getting a new, wealthy owner, and the rest is history. Aside from the ethical issues and the origins of Abramovich’s fortune, football events could have ended very differently, could Spurs fans be happy with their two-time Champions League triumph?

We return to Polish soil, and more specifically to the Polish sea. I don’t know exactly what the mood is like in Częstochowa and Szczecin, but I would like to kindly inform you that in Gdańsk there is no euphoria like in the championship Pozna, but the fourth place of Lechia and the qualification for the cups brought a lot of joy. I will even risk the team Lechia Gdansky ends this season in a better mood than Raków and Pogoń, for a simple reason: the Biało-Greens won the competition for fourth place and the residents of Częstochowa and Szczecin lost the battle for the championship. Raków, the winner of the Polish Cup, is not left empty-handed, but after the triumph at the National Stadium, many pundits predicted that Marek Papshun’s players would follow suit and reach for the league gold.

The teams that were on the Eredivisie podium despite the small turns were stable projects and with experienced skippers on coaching chairs. In Lechia Gdańsk it was very different. At the beginning of the season, in August, activists from Gdansk said goodbye to the coach after six rounds of competition Piotr Stokowiecwhich led the club to its greatest success in history. It’s been a long time since my phone was as hot as it was then. Fellow journalists and fans from the interior did not believe it – “you have a short fuse there by the sea”, “feel sorry for this move”, “what did this Manziara come up with?” – such voices dominated. Surprise gave way to consternation when the name of Stokowiec’s successor was announced – “Tomasz Kaczmarek is a family of Bobo Kaczmarek?” – they asked, as if it were a joke. The 37-year-old trainer met Ekstraklasa by his side Kosta Runjaic in Pogon Szczecinhe coached the lower division teams in Germany, was involved in the early stages of his career Mo Salahbut it is completely different from leading a team in a specific Polish league.

The club took a risk and could go either way on the league ladder. It could have gone downhill like during Adam Owen’s tenure, who Lechia’s coach was initially compared to. However, it certainly went up. Better turned out not to be an enemy of good and today the White-Greens are in better shape than on September 1, 2021, when Kaczmarek was presented at Polsat Plus Arena. It’s not even about qualifying for the European cups, but more about that the current Lechia Gdańsk is SOME

Under coach Stokowiec we heard about the attacking play, we got to know the statistics to support this statement, but it was not visible on the pitch. Lechia Kaczmarka tries to create, not just disturb, she plays from behind and risks are her ideas for the game. The White-Greens come out high, with many players in front of the ball line, they try to play in a modern way and the coach doesn’t live up to their name as evidenced by the fact that Jarosław Kubicki, an ironclad member of the midfield, was placed on the bench in the last games. Kaczmarek hit the nail on the head in an interesting interview for the portal polskapilka.pl, where he said in a sentence that resembled a linguistic error: “we defend ahead”. There’s something about it.

Lechia’s game and progress can be compared to the language skills of a coach who grew up in Germany. At first he lacked Polish words (to this day he often repeats “the end of the end”), but it is getting better. These are just words to the media and fans, but the publicly expressed evaluation of the field events is roughly in line with reality. Trainer Kaczmarek has distanced himself from the achievements so far, it is valuable that he does not pulverize reality, knows where his team stands on the path taken and does not hesitate to talk about it. He says of himself that he has serious doubts about whether he deserved to be nominated for the title of coach of the year in Ekstraklasa.

In the autumn round, it was said that Tomasz Kaczmarek is riding on fuel supplied to the team by Piotr Stokowiec and his staff, that whoever took over Lechia after the current Zagłębie coach would slightly reduce the training load to achieve success. Perhaps there is some truth in it, the first serious test for Kaczmarek was the spring round. At first it went like December, and six consecutive defeats bring no pride. The team came out of this crisis unscathed and its last sixth loss in this series (with Legia in Warsaw 1-2) was the last. The crisis caused by Flavio Paixao’s words about the team’s poor physical preparation was also successfully resolved. Kaczmarek was strict with his peer, he did not take the Portuguese to Zabrze, but everything went well. Flavio joined the Centennial Clubscored goal number 1000 for Lechia in Ekstraklasa and extended his contract for the last year of his career

Indeed, perhaps some mistakes were made in the preparations, if this is the case, Lechia’s coach will not bury his head in the sand and publicly point fingers at the culprits. It’s not that type. In the end, the residents of Gdańsk finish just behind the podium and it is only the third time in history that they have played in European cups. Tomasz Kaczmarek as third coach in Lechia history, na Jerzy Jastrzębowski and Piotr Stokowiec will lead the Whites and Greens in European competition.

Pogoń Szczecin’s coach, Kosta Runjaić, who admitted after the game in Gdańsk that “Tomek is doing well in Lechia” is right. By the way, Messrs. Kaczmarek and Runjaić probably won’t send each other postcards for Christmas, but maybe I have incorrect information.

Now another test for Lechia’s team and staff. European Cups, especially the Conference League qualifiers. Often the cups proved to be the kiss of death for Polish teams, will this be the case with Lechia? There will be plenty of challenges in the coming matches. One of these will likely be the warehouse remodel. Twitter user Sławomir Łapiński pointed out that in a year, as many as 14 Lechia players will expire: Kuciak, Ceesay, Nalepa, Maloca, Pietrzak, Kubicki, Kryeziu, Kałuziński, Terrazzino, Durmus, Zwoliński, Paixao, Clemens, Tobers and Haydary . The departure of Tomasz Makowski has already been announced, there is talk of departure from Poland and Europe in general The Brazilian Conrado

Lechia is a club with a building pedigree and coach Tomasz Kaczmarek has a chance to become Bob the Builder, maybe he will be called “Bobo” Kaczmarek? And more seriously – you know real men after they finish, not when they start, but in sports starting is also very important. Tomasz Kaczmarek started well, with a strong four, finishing fourth for Lechia Gdańsk at the end of the 2021/22 season.

Maciej Slominskic

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