Poland: Can Jagiellonia maintain winning mentality? (+video)
Having won the Polish Cup last season Jagiellonia Białystok, a club based in Poland’s north east close to the Lithuanian border, have started well in this season’s Ekstraklasa having won six of their first eight games. They extended their lead on Saturday to five points after defeating Górnik Zabrze although nearest challengers Korona Kielce can reduce the gap when they play on Sunday against Ruch Chorzów.
The last couple of months have been as bright for Jagiellonia as their distinctive yellow and red shirts since winning their maiden Polish Cup at the end of the 2009-10 season defeating Pogoń Szczecin 1-0 in the final. This was complimented at the beginning of the current campaign after defeating Polish league champions KKS Lech Poznań to win the Polish Super Cup for the first time in the club’s history. These victories have given the club a new direction after a succession of less than spectacular league finishes in the last few years although last season’s 11th place ranking would’ve been better had they not suffered a ten point deduction for their alleged involvement in a corruption scandal which has beset Polish football for the last couple of years.
Nonetheless the club have wiped the slate clean and have started off the current season on a successful note. After an opening day goalless stalemate at Śląsk Wrocław Jaga have gone on to win six of their next seven matches including a win at home to Wisła Kraków, who have been Polish football’s dominant force for the last decade. The only reverse that Jagiellonia have suffered thus far was a surprising 1-0 defeat away at Arka Gydnia on Matchday 6 but the club have responded in fine fashion by winning their most recent two games against Zagłębie Lubin and Górnik Zabrze. The most notable performers this season have been the attacking duo of Tomasz Frankowski and Kamil Grosicki, who have scored seven goals between them, as well as Lithuanian international defender Andrius Skerla who, as well as scoring the winning goal in last season’s cup final, has already scored two league goals in a Jagiellonia shirt this season including the winner against Górnik today which dramatically came in second half stoppage time.
The season may only be a couple of months old but it seems that coach Michał Probierz has found a winning blend amongst his team who are, for the most part, lacking any real stars but who possess a great team spirit. Even if second place Korona defeat Ruch Chorzów in Sunday’s game Jaga will lead the table going into the international break and it will be interesting to see, throughout the course of the season, if the Białystok club can add to their list of firsts and come away with a maiden league title win this season.
WATCH ANDRIUS SKERLA’S WINNING GOAL FOR JAGIELLONIA HERE: