Ekstraklasa 2017/18: New season, new chapter for Cracovia?

Coach Michał Probierz
Coach Michał Probierz

Last season was complicated for the Cracovia Pasy, as the club managed to avoid relegation in the very last games. Fans and officials were keen to quickly put this stressful episode behind and start fresh. Consequently, many changes occurred in the club during the summer: many new players, others leaving, and a new coach appointed.

At the end of a brilliant season with Jagiellonia Białystok, and despite interests from higher ranked teams, coach Michał Probierz unexpectedly chose to join Cracovia.

And as we know, a new coach is always synonym with period of adjustment – a time for players to assimilate to new play tactics.

A disastrous season start

Strong teamwork to beat Górnik
Strong teamwork to beat Górnik

Despite the wind of hope, Cracovia’s season start in 2017 was a permanent struggle. One win in 11 games, 20 goals conceded, they quickly hit the league table bottom to sit in the relegation zone for a while. They were not good, as simple as that: unable to secure a win, blatant defensive mistakes, and poor offensive impact – these were the recurrent problems the Pasy faced.

In October, six games unbeaten put the team back on track. The improvement was noticeable. Without any star or expensive player, the team started to fight as a solid block and gain important points to finally leave the red zone.

Followed a much better record of two wins and a draw in six games to finish the year. And while they were heavily defeated at home (1-4) by Wisla in the Derby, they won the last game of 2017 in style. The Pasy surprised THE team of the season so far (and Ekstraklasa leader at the time), Górnik Zabrze, with a tremendous 0-4 away win.

A Glimmer of Hope

Deniss Rakels in 2015
Deniss Rakels in 2015

In their first match of the season on February 10th, Cracovia defeated Śląsk 2-1 and moved up a spot in the standings to position 11, out of relegation. Thanks to their strong performances in the last games, the confidence seems back. In addition, with the players they managed to attract, Cracovia will certainly be a team to keep an eye on in 2018.

The Pasy managed to sign interesting players to strengthen the team. Among others, Danish striker Nicolai Brock-Madsen (on loan from Birmingham City) and, most importantly, Deniss Rakels. The Latvian winger comes on loan from Reading FC, and left great memories among Cracovia fans with his 26 goals in the two seasons he spent at the club before moving to England. A promising offensive recruitment that will be worth following.

Their next game is Saturday, 17 February at 18.00 against Jagiellonia – currently ranked #2 in the Ekstraklasa league.

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