Last Chance for Wisła

The final round of the 2009/2010 Polish Ekstraklasa season is to take place Saturday 15 May at 17:00, as Polish Champion Wisła Krakow tries to shake off the disastrous Tuesday round in which an own goal by defender Mariusz Jop almost certainly cost the Krakow club its crown. The clubs only remaining hope lies in the slim possibility that the ascendant Lech Poznań, now at the top of the table, draws with or loses to sixth-place Zagłębie Lublin. Wisła will itself be hosting last-place Odra Wodzisław, who have won only two matches away all season.

Lech dominated second half of season — Lewandowski on a tear

Lech has shown no indication of slackening its pace, however. While the Poznań club lagged behind in the standings early on after strong starts from Wisła and Legia Warszawa, Lech has yet to lose a match since the season resumed in after the winter break in February, and has outscored its opponents by an astonishing 22 to 4 in that time. Leading the charge for Lech is top Polish scorer Robert Lewandowski, who has amassed 17 goals already this season. It was, however, only on Tuesday night that they were able to topple the Kraków side from the top spot. If Lech wins Saturday, they are assured of the championship, the sixth in club history and their first since 1993.

Zagłebie not to be underestimated

Lech’s opponent Saturday, Zagłębie Lublin, will certainly be hoping to treat Lech to a reversal of fortune much like the one that Cracovia handed Wisła on Tuesday. For Zagłębie, that hope is perceived in the person of Ilijan Micanski, the Bulgarian striker they inherited from Lech two years ago when then-coach Franciszek Smuda had him traded away to the Lublin club, then stewing in the first league as a punishment for corruption. Iliajan is second only to Lewandowski in goals scored this season, with 14.

Brożek injured

Wisła remains confident that they can beat Odra with little difficulty, even without the aid of their inconsistent striker Paweł Brożek, who left Tuesday’s match with Cracovia in the 41st minute and did not practice on Thursday. The club has appealed to supporters not to invade the pitch at Stadion Suche Stawy regardless of the result, while they did not specify which result they were referring to: that of their own match or that of their rivals
on ul. Bulgarska in Poznań.

If Lech Poznań loses or ties, and Wisła wins, Wisła will have clutched victory from the jaws of defeat, or rather, Lech will have clutched defeat from the jaws of victory. While on paper this scenario would appear rather unlikely, stranger things have happened.

See also: Derby Draw Disaster for Wisła, Drama in the Ekstraklasa

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