Building from the back

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To win you must score. It’s the main concept of the sport: scoring.

But, you play to win the game. Time for experiments is running out. Gornik Zabrze is set to open all of its new grandstands on February 21st, the clubs first home match in the Spring and relegation for the team right now would be devastating. It just can’t happen. As a team in the relegation zone, despite going 3-0-1 in their final four games before the winter recess, they must get to safety zone and do it soon.

The theory is simple: If you can hold possession and create chances, while limiting the opponents from creating anything, you will score more times then not, and will win more times then out. If your opponent can only generate 1-2 high quality chances while only possessing the game 30%, your odds of success go up. Continue reading

Gornik abroad: Maczysnki scores in debut

Former Gornik Zabrze midfielder Krzysztof Maczynski scored the game-winner in his debut in the Chinese Super League as Guizhou Renhe Football Club as they beat Liaoning Whowing 1:2. Maczynski’s goal came in the 80th minute (see video below, starting at 2:28). He appeared in 73 matches and scored 2 goals in his career in Zabrze prior to his transfer to China.

Warzycha: Making sense of it all

It has been a whirlpool of a year so far for supporters of Gornik Zabrze. 2013 ended on a very high note. The club was winning, Adam Nawalka had just been hired to lead the Polish national team, striker Mateusz Zachara seemed like he could potentially be the leagues M.V.P. and Gornik had beaten Legia Warsaw in Puchar Polski in Ryszard Wieczorek debut.

Then the clock struck 2014 and it all changed.

The team last played five league matches in 2014, and only has earned 2points. They are 0-3-2 to start the spring season in the Ekstraklasa. They only scored two goals, by defensive midfielder Bartosz Iwan and defender Rafal Kosznik. Injuries have limited them, but the problem was much deeper. Things went from bad to worse quick, and Wieczorek lost control the situation.

And that’s how we get to this point. The appointment of once a club legend, Robert Warzycha as manager to turn this club around. It will be much harder then some people think. Continue reading

Olkowski passes tests with 1.FC Koln

Defender Pawel Olkowski has passed his final hurtle before being able to complete his summer move to Bundesliga 2 club 1.FC Koln. The 24 year old has played an important spot on Gornik’s success the last several years under manager Adam Nawalka and has been considered for recent national team call ups.

Olkowski is a well sized back, at just over 6 feet tall, is also very quick and an accurate passer. When he moves to Koln, he will join fellow Pole Adam Matuszcyk in the squad. Currently, FC Koln is in first place and well on their way to a promotion back to the 1.Bundesliga, having a 6-point advantage over 3rd place, which is a playoff promotion spot.

He has appeared in 79 career games for Gornik Zabrze scoring 1 goal, though he has not yet played in 2014 Spring season. However, he still leads the club with 7 assists on the season.

African Cup of Nations Dream ends for Nakoulma

Prejuce Nakoulma’s Burkina Faso, in a word, shocked the football world over the past month with their spectacular run in the African Cup of Nations. A run that just ended today, in a 0-1 defeat in the hands of Nigeria.

Burkina Faso is a nation, that has rarely ever had any kinds of success. The country has never played in any tournament semi-final, of any age group, until this past year. A squad, with no stars, took on Africa like they were meant to be there. Playing with speed, passion, desire and a great sense of defense. And Gornik’s Nakoulma played a big role in the team success, as he was one of the teams better attacking options.

In the teams history at the African Cup of Nations, the team, when qualified, and that was rare, 7 times, they lost in group stages. Sometimes, they didn’t even enter to qualify. And at times, due to civil war, or politics or simply because the nation couldn’t afford to keep playing, the team withdrew mid-qualifying. So, the teams run, of winning their group, which included drawing Nigeria 1-1, and then beating Togo and Ghana (in penalty shootout) to advance to the final, is even more remarkable. Continue reading

Krol and Kopacz make squad!

Krol (left) with Milik

Two highly rated prospects of Polish football, Wojciech Krol and Bartosz Kopacz have been told they will make the team following a successful training camp.

Krol, 18 years old, a attacking midfielder, who was signed from Rozwoj Katowice, as a packaged deal, along with his best friend Arkadiusz Milik, spend last season back with Katowice on loan. Krol, unlike Milik, has not made the transition to top flight football as easy, and has spend the last two seasons playing for Gornik’s “Young Ekstraklasa” squad and Katowice. As a 16 year old, both Milik and Krol had trials with English Premiership teams Reading FC and Tottenham Hotspur. The 18 year old last season appeared for Katowice, in the Polish third division 17 times, and scored four goals.

Meanwhile, Kopacz, a 20 year old central defender. He was signed in 2010, but has played the last two season away on loan. Most recently, he’s played for first division team Zawisza Bydgoszcz, where he will be surly missed. Kopacz played over 1070 minutes for Zawisza, while starting 12 games. He scored two goals there this past fall. He is known for his physical play and is well air game. Continue reading

Gornik putting finishing touches on pre-season

The winter recess break is finally nearing an end. Something that can’t come fast enough for Gornik Zabrze. The club is playing at their best in over a decade at the half-way point, has become a legit contender for the Polish league title for the first time since the early 1990’s. Gornik, is build based off their system. A defense first style, and play it safe, no risk, all while wearing the opponent down and then attacking with a loaded arsenal of young players.

Manager Adam Nawalka has always stressed to his team that this club will never be about any one player but a group of eleven. Coming out of the winter break, that message will never be louder, as Gornik has lost it’s biggest star, striker Arkadiusz Milik. The best player to have played in Zabrze since Tomasz Hajto or Tomasz Waldoch, but, some argue he’s the best since Wlodzimierz Lubanski. And that’s why it’s so important for Nawalka to get his squad back to playing. The sooner they play, and re-focus on that message, the sooner this team can move on and once again compete against Legia Warsaw for the league title. Continue reading