Football: Ekstraklasa returns after winter break

The spring part of season 2019/2020 of Polish PKO BP Ekstraklasa, the highest division of football championship in Poland, starts on Friday.

After a total of 20 rounds of Ekstraklasa, the leader of Ekstraklasa is Legia Warsaw, followed by MKS Cracovia and Pogoń Szczecin. Piast Gliwice, the defender of the title of champion is placed sixth.

During the winter break, several important players left the Polish football league and joined foreign clubs. The best scorer of the first round, Jarosław Niezgoda moved from Legia to Portland Timbers from American Major League Soccer, Adam Buksa changed Pogoń Szczecin to New England Revolution (also MLS) while Patryk Klimala left Jagiellonia Białystok and joined Scottish Celtic FC.

Clubs earned significant amounts of money for these transfers but simultaneously lost important members of their teams, who will not be easy to replace.

After the 30th round, the teams will be divided into two groups. Eight best will compete for the championship, while others will do everything they can to avoid relegation to a lower division. All the teams will play seven more matches in those groups. The last round is scheduled for May 16-17. This season will end earlier than normal, due to the UEFA Euro 2020.

The champion of Poland will play in qualifications to the UEFA Champions League, while the runner-up, club that came in third and either winner of Polish cup or the fourth club in Ekstraklasa - in qualifications to the UEFA Europa League.

Teams that will end in the lowest positions (14-16) will be relegated. They will be replaced by two best clubs from the lower division and winner of play-offs played between 3-6 teams of the second tier of championships.

The first game of the new round of Ekstraklasa will be held in Gdynia, north Poland. Local Arka will play against Cracovia from Kraków, southern Poland.

The highest number of champion titles were collected by two Silesian clubs, Górnik Zabrze and Ruch Chorzów, which won the league 14 times each. Thirteen times victorious was Legia Warsaw and Wisła Kraków, but there is a controversy about it. The club from the Polish capital ended season 1992/93 on the top, but due to the suspicion of corruption, the result of the last games of Legia and ŁKS Łódź were invalidated and Lech Poznań became the official champion.