Cat Amongst the Pigeons

After years of mediocrity, Poland finally start to make some noise thanks to their Dortmund connection. 

Article by Oliver Gamp our new Columnist 

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NOVEMBER 11, 2011.
That was the last time Poland lost a game. Coach Franciszek Smuda has completely transformed the teams’ mentality after their failure to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa; coupled with their disappointing performances in Euro 2008. During that tournament, they converted 2.6% of their shots, which ended up being the worst conversion rate in the competition. The strides they have made are so progressive they jump out of the screen and slap you in the face when you read their fixtures.
Clean sheets in their last five games, a Polish record, and the last man who scored against them was ex-Watford and Ipswich striker Tamas Priskin in November; and Poland still went on to win that game against Hungary.
You’d think there must be another element to their recent success, and you could look at the Bundesliga in the last two seasons. Dortmund have won the league twice in a row now and a certain Polish trio comes to mind when glazing over the German club’s squad. Jakub Błaszczykowski, Łukasz Piszczek and Robert Lewandowski: all key figures for Dortmund and have played a big role in their successive league triumphs. It appears they have transferred their mentality of champions to Poland and really given them an indication of what it takes to be a champion.

Lewandowski has to be seen as the main man for Poland, however. He won Bundesliga player of the season in 2011/12, scoring 22 goals, all of which were from open play, and sealed his phenomenal year with a hat trick in the German Cup final against Bayern Munich.
He set himself on his way for the Euros with a goal against Andorra and many are tipping him to set the stage alight for Poland as they host Euro 2012 this summer. 
Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing Poland in action and hopefully raising a few eyebrows and that’s why they are the dark horses in my eyes. With players like Wojciech Szczesny also, they certainly have the potential to cause a disturbance on their home soil.

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