Lechia Gdańsk

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Lechia Gdańsk
Lechia Gdańsk logo.svg
Full nameKlub Sportowy Lechia Gdańsk Spółka Akcyjna[1]
Nickname(s)Gdańskie Lwy (Gedanian Lions)
Budowlani (Construction Workers)
Biało-Zieloni (White-Greens)
Lechiści (Lechistas)
Founded7 August 1945; 75 years ago (1945-08-07)
GroundStadion Energa Gdańsk
Capacity41,620
PresidentAdam Mandziara
ManagerPiotr Stokowiec
LeagueEkstraklasa
2019–204th
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Lechia Gdańsk (Polish pronunciation: [ˈlɛxʲa ˈɡdaj̃sk]) is a Polish football club based in Gdańsk. The club was founded in 1945 by people expelled from Lwów, who were supporters of Poland's oldest football team Lechia Lwów, founded in 1903.[2] The club's name comes from Lechia, a poetic name for Poland, and is a continuation of the name used by the club based in Lwów. In their early years, Lechia enjoyed some success, most notably finishing third in the Polish top division, before spending decades in the second and third tiers. In the early 1980s, Lechia won the Polish Cup, the Polish SuperCup, and played in a European competition for the first time. After having two mergers with other teams in the 1990s the club had to restart from the sixth tier in 2001. In May 2008 the club was promoted again to the Ekstraklasa, with the club's most recent success coming in 2019, finishing third in the league and again winning both the Polish Cup and SuperCup.

History[edit]

Early years (1945–1949)[edit]

The club was founded on 7 August 1945 in Gdańsk and was originally named "BOP Baltia Gdańsk".[3] The club was first established by the "Port Reconstruction Office" (Polish: Biuro Odbudowy Portów). The BOP's purpose was to help rebuild Polish sea ports which were destroyed during World War II, and saw it best to create a sports club for the BOP workers. BOP Baltia's first game came on 2 September 1945, in which they lost the game 6–4 against Milicyjnym Klubem Sportowym z Wrzeszcza (Militia Sports Club from Wrzeszcza). At the end of the season, BOP finished top of their qualifiers, and were promoted to the second division as a result.

Towards the end of February 1946, BOP officials had a meeting, in which it was decided that the name of the club should be changed. The team became known as "Sports Club for the Port Reconstruction Office Lechia Gdańsk" (Polish: Klub Sportowy Biura Odbudowy Portów Lechia Gdańsk), 'Lechia' coming from Lechia Lwów, as a majority of the workers at BOP and those who studied at the Gdańsk University of Technology had been Expelled from Lwów at the end of WW2.

Lechia fared well in its early years in the lower divisions finishing top of their district championships in both the 1946–47 and 1947–48 seasons. For Lechia to be promoted to the top division they needed to win additional qualifying rounds against the other district champions. Lechia achieved this in the 1947–48 season when they finished top of the promotion playoffs.

Years in the Ekstraklasa (1949–1963)[edit]

In 1949 Lechia played in the top flight for the first time. It was not a season to be enjoyed by Lechia however, winning only 4 games all season and losing an incredible 15 times out of 22 games. Lechia found themselves back in the second tier of Polish football in 1950, however, their stay was to be short as the team once again won their district championships and won the promotion playoffs, ensuring that Lechia would be playing in the Ekstraklasa again.

In the 1952 and 1953 seasons, Lechia were playing to maintain their status in the top flight, surviving their first year back in the top tier finishing 7th, before finishing bottom of the league in 1953. In 1954 finishing 2nd in the second division and were promoted at the first time of asking.

Upon Lechias return to the Ekstraklasa, these were seen as being the club's "golden years" of their early history. 1955 was a much better year for Lechia in the league with the team finished in 5th place, while also reaching their first Polish Cup final. Lechia's route in the Polish Cup (Polish: Puchar Polski) to the final saw them beating Sandecja Nowy Sącz, Wisła Kraków, Odra Opole and Gwardia Warszawa. The final saw Lechia play Legia Warsaw at the Polish Army Stadium. Lechia lost the game 5-0 after a hat-trick from Kempny, and a goal each from Pohl and Słaboszowski.[4]

The 1956 season saw Lechia's greatest achievement's so far in the league. Despite only scoring 25 goals in 22 games, Lechia finished the season in 3rd place. This achievement happened under the guidance of Tadeusz Foryś, arguably Lechia's greatest manager in their earlier years, seeing them promoted from the second tier, taking them to a cup final, and achieving their highest finish of 3rd place. The following season Lechia finished 5th, once again scoring only 25 goals in 22 games. At the end of the season, Foryś left Lechia to manage Arka Gdynia.

Lechia's fortunes declined the following season. The side fell to 8th place, just surviving relegation by a single point. This was a trend which was to continue for Lechia. While the team finished 6th in the 1959 season, the team only managed to score 19 goals in their 22 games, the only team to score fewer was Stal Sosnowiec who finished bottom of the league. The next three seasons saw the team flirting with relegation, finishing 9th in 1960, 8th in 1961, and 9th again in 1962.

1962 saw a change in the Ekstraklasa format, with the season changing from a summer league (playing from spring-autumn) to it becoming a winter league (playing autumn-spring). The 1962-63 season ended up being a difficult one for Lechia. In the 26 games that season, they only managed to win 6, drawing 3, with the side losing 17. This caused the team to finish second from bottom, and were relegated from the Ekstraklasa with Lech Poznań.

The Second and Third Divisions (1963–1982)[edit]

Lechia struggled to bounce back to the top flight at the first time of asking and found themselves struggling in 10th place in their first season in the II liga. This season's disappointment will have been lightened by the fact that Lech Poznań who were also relegated with Lechia suffered another relegation, showing the competitiveness of the league they had found themselves in. The following year Lechia made a slight improvement, finishing 7th in the League, as well as facing Arka Gdynia for the first time in the Tricity Derby with the two clubs quickly becoming fierce rivals. Lechia won the first meeting between the two clubs with the game finishing 2–1. The following season also saw another improvement, with the team finishing 6th overall, however, they were still far off the pace of the two teams who were promoted. The 1966–77 season saw Lechia relegated from the second tier, after having never really competed with the other clubs looking for promotion. Lechia finished the season in 13th place, one point from safety.

The 1967–68 season saw Lechia in the third division since the first year of their creation. The season in the III Liga almost saw Lechia promoted at the first time of asking. The team finished second, just behind Arkonia Szczecin, however only the winning team from each of the four groups in the third division were awarded promotion. That season was filled with derbies for Lechia, with their first-ever Gdańsk Derby game against Polonia Gdańsk, as well as facing Bałtyk Gdynia and Flota Gdynia.

1968–69 saw the introduction of Zdzisław Puszkarz, a youngster from the Lechia academy, and who would one day become a club legend. The season didn't go as planned for Lechia, with the team finishing in 5th, seeing rivals Arka top the league and getting promoted at the first time of asking. Lechia's fortunes slowly improved over the following three seasons from 1969–72, with the team finishing 3rd, 2nd, before winning the league and achieving promotion in the 1971–72 season.

Back in the II liga Lechia finishing comfortably in 7th place. For the 1973–74 season the Polish second division experienced a change, with the tier going from 16 teams to 32, and being split into a North and South group. This, therefore, made it harder for teams to get out of the division, with teams now having to finish first to be promoted. The first season saw Lechia finishing 4th in the new format, before finishing second in the 1974–75, 1975–76 and 1977–78 seasons, just missing out on promotion by a few points each time. The following season they finished 3rd, and for the second season in a row missed out on top by a single point. In 1975, despite Lechia playing in the second tier, Zdzisław Puszkarz was called up to the Poland squad to face East Germany.

Lechia's fortunes slowly declined after 1979 after having been competitive in the league for the previous 5 seasons. For the 1978–79 season the second tier once again experienced a change, with the groups changing from North and South. to becoming East and West, with Lechia joining the West group. Strangely this had an effect on the team with the team finished 6th and 7th in the following two seasons. During the summer in 1981 Zdzisław Puszkarz left Lechia. A player who had been seen as too good for the second tier for many years finally left the team he supported. His effect on the team became evident for the 1981–82 season. The team fell to 14th after winning only 6 of their 30 games, and were 7 points from safety. Lechia found themselves once again in the third tier, this time without their best ever player to help them out.

'Rebirth', Polish Cup, Polish SuperCup, and the Ekstraklasa (1982–1988)[edit]

Although Lechia found themselves in the third tier for the 1982–83 season, it turned out to be a historic year for the club, and was seen as the club's 'rebirth'. The team finished top of their division, going on to concede only 9 goals in their 26 games. Due to Lechia being in the third tier they joined the Polish Cup in the second round. The first game of the competition saw them play Start Radziejow, who they narrowly beat 3–2 on penalties. The cup saw them playing 4 Ekstraklasa teams on their route to the final. They beat Widzew Łódź 5–4 on penalties, after drawing 1–1, Śląsk Wrocław 3–0 in the round of 16, Zagłębie Sosnowiec 1–0 in the quarter-finals, and Ruch Chorzów in the semi-finals 4–3 on penalties. The final saw them playing Piast Gliwice who were in the second tier. They won the final 2–1 with goals from Krzysztof Górski and Marek Kowalczyk to win their first-ever piece of silverware.[6]

In 1983–84 Lechia were again in the second tier (west group), and qualified for the Polish SuperCup (Polish: SuperPuchar Polski) due to winning the Polish Cup the season before. It was the first-ever season of the Super Cup, and saw the cup winning team play the Ekstraklasa champions, resulting in Lechia playing Lech Poznań. Despite Lech being heavy favourites Lechia won the super cup with a late goal from Jerzy Kruszczyński.[7] This resulted in 1983 being the most successful season in the club's history up to that point, with the team winning both cup competitions it participated in despite not being in the top division. Lechia's stay out of the Ekstraklasa wasn't to last long, however, with the team winning the 1983–84 II Liga season, and as a result were promoted back to the Ekstraklasa. A division they had narrowly missed out of playing in many seasons before, and was their first time back in the top tier for 21 seasons. That season Lechia also qualified for the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup due to winning the Polish Cup the season before. In the first round, Lechia was drawn to Italian footballing giants, Juventus. The first game was played in Turin, Italy, with Juventus easily winning 7–0. With the team knowing they were all but knocked out already the team put on an inspiring performance scoring 2 goals against the European giants in the home leg of the competition.[8][9] The Lechia home game against Juventus was not only a sporting spectacle, but proved to be a place of mass demonstration for the Solidarity movement, which many fans were part of. In the 40,000 crowd was Lech Wałęsa, with the crowds chants of "Solidarność! Solidarność! Solidarność!" causing the second half to be delayed by 6 minutes and with broadcasters resulting to mute the whole second half of the TVs broadcast. The Lechia manager, Jerzy Jastrzębowski, said of the event; "We were in the dressing room during half-time when we heard it and it sent shivers down our spines, the whole ground singing 'Solidarnosc'."[10]

For the 1984–85 Ekstraklasa season, a season in which all teams struggled for goals (an average of 1 goal a game), Lechia finished 12th having scored 23 goals, and with only 2 of their wins that season coming from scoring 2 more goals than their opponents. The season after Lechia finished just above the relegation zone by a single point, and seeing local rivals Bałtyk Gdynia getting relegated a place below. Lechia was lucky that season, with the team finishing 3rd from bottom, with four teams normally getting relegated. However, a change to the division below saw only 2 teams going down that season. 1986–87 saw the team once again fighting relegation. For the 3rd season in a row, Lechia only managed 23 goals in their league 30 games, however, the team once again stayed up finishing in 11th. The team were once more fighting a relegation battle during the 1987-88 season. Lechia legend Puszkarz rejoined the team after having left 5 seasons prior. It had always been his dream to play for Lechia in the top flight, and this was the season where he achieved this accomplishment however it didn't go according to plan. Despite the team finishing in 12th, which would normally be one position above the relegation zone, for that season though there was a relegation playoff, with 14th playing 11th, and 13th playing 12th. Lechia played Olimpia Poznań in the relegation playoff and lost over both legs 3–2 on aggregate. This saw Lechia being relegated with Zagłębie Lubin, the other team who would otherwise have normally been safe also suffered relegation after they lost both legs 4–3 to Górnik Wałbrzych on aggregate. The following season the relegation playoffs in the Ekstraklasa were scrapped.

Lower leagues and mergers (1988–2001)[edit]

After relegation from the Ekstraklasa, Lechia found themselves back in the II liga. During the 1988–89 season Lechia struggled to adapt to the new league, finishing 10th out of 16. Things failed to improve for Lechia during the next two seasons, finishing both 11th and 12th. The situation slightly improved for Lechia during the 1991–92 and the 1993–94 seasons finishing in 8th before their highest finish of 6th since being relegated. During this period there was a greater rivalry with the three major Tricity clubs, Lechia representing Gdańsk, with Arka and Bałtyk from Gdynia. The 1993–94 season was an important season for the Tricity teams. Bałtyk Gdynia finished highest in the league for the 3rd season in a row, while both Lechia and Arka faced each other for the first time in history in the 1993–94 Polish Cup, with Arka winning the match 1–0. The season was another difficult one for Lechia, in which they finished 14th, 1 place above the relegation zone. The struggles for Lechia reached a devastating end by the end of the 1994–95 season, with the team, ultimately being relegated to the 3rd Division, along with fellow rivals Arka Gdynia.

The 1995–96 season saw Lechia merge with Olimpia Poznań, becoming Olimpia-Lechia Gdańsk. Olimpia-Lechia Gdańsk played in the top division, while the continuation of the Lechia Gdańsk team played in the 3rd division, with the Lechia Gdańsk side being used as the team's official second team. By the end of the 1995–96 Ekstraklasa season Lechia-Olimpia Gdańsk finished 16th, and were ultimately relegated. The second team (Lechia Gdańsk) also narrowly miss relegation, finishing just above the relegation places. At the end of the 1995–96 season Lechia–Olympia Gdańsk was renamed as Lechia Gdańsk, promoting the team from the 3rd division to the 2nd. The new Lechia team failed to capitalize on the return to the second division by being relegated to the 3rd division straight away. The 1997–98 season was a better season for Lechia with the team finishing in 3rd place in the III liga.

Before the 1998–99 season Lechia had their 2nd merger within 3 years, this time merging with Polonia Gdańsk to create Lechia-Polonia Gdańsk taking Polonia's place in the 2nd division. This merger lasted 3 years, with the team's fortunes slowly deteriorating, finishing 7th in 1998–99, 14th in 1999–2000, and 19th in the 2000–01 season, and thus suffering another relegation to the 3rd division. In the 2001–02 season Lechia–Polonia competed in the 3rd division, while a newly formed Lechia Gdańsk team was formed in the 6th division. After the 2001–02 season Lechia–Polonia dissolved, resulting newly formed Lechia becoming the continuation of the original club, while Polonia Gdańsk having already reformed in the sixth tier in 1999.

Re-formation and re-start from the sixth tier (2001–2008)[edit]

The newly formed independent Lechia Gdańsk team had a lot of initial success, winning the league in its first year in the 6th tier in 2001–02 season. This form continued finishing first in the 2002–03 season in the 5th tier, as well as winning the 2003–04 season in the 4th tier, and also finishing first the season after in the 2004–05 3rd tier. After 4 seasons of being an independent club after failed mergers with Olimpia and Polonia, Lechia found itself back in the second tier of Polish football.

Back in the II liga Lechia finished the 2005–06 in 10th, comfortably above the automatic relegation zone, and clear of the relegation playoffs. With Lechia making more improvements during the 2006–07 season finishing in 5th.

The 2007–08 season was the team's 20th season outside of the top flight, having to come from two failed mergers, and working their way back into the 2nd division. During the season the MOSiR Stadium became a fortress, with Lechia winning 14 of the 17 games at home, losing only once at home, against Odra Opole. Lechia struggled more away from home, winning 6 of their 17 away games. Lechia was helped during the season with goal-scoring contributions from Maciej Rogalski, Paweł Buzała, and Piotr Cetnarowicz, with all three players scoring more than 10 goals over the course of the season. Despite the club's decent away form, it proved by the end of the season that their home form had massively helped Lechia in the league, with Lechia finishing the 2007–08 season as champions, and as a result, secured promotion back to the Ekstraklasa.

Return to the Ekstraklasa (2008–2018)[edit]

For the 2008–09 season Lechia returned to the Ekstraklasa for the first time since being relegated after the 1987–88 Ekstraklasa season. Lechia struggled in their first season of being back in the top flight of Polish football with the team losing 16 of the 30 games that season. They ended the season three points above the relegation zone, and stayed in the league mostly due to their home form (having 7 of their 9 wins that season from their home games). Lechia fared better during the 2009–10 season finishing in eighth, while also enjoying a cup run that took the team to the semi-finals of the 2009–10 Polish Cup losing in the semi-final to eventual cup winners Jagiellonia. In January 2009 the members of Lechia Gdańsk (OSP) signed a document forming Lechia Gdansk S.A. (Spółka Akcyjna = Stock Corporation). It was during this season that Gdansk was chosen to be one of the host cities of the UEFA Euro 2012 championships in Poland and Ukraine, meaning the team would be moving from their current MOSiR Stadium to a new 43,000 capacity stadium in 2011.

In Lechia's 3rd season back in the top flight, it was another season of consolidating their Ekstraklasa status. In the 2010–11 season the team once again finished in 8th place. It was, however, a more positive season that showed progression for the team as a whole. It was the first time since their promotion back to the top league that Lechia had won more games than they had lost, finished with a positive goal difference, and Lechia player Abdou Traoré finished joint runner up for most goals that season. And for the second season in a row Lechia reached the semi-finals of the 2010–11 Polish Cup, before losing 5–0 to Legia over the two legs. This was the last season in which Lechia played at the MOSiR Stadium, the stadium in which Lechia had played all of their home games since their formation in 1945. The last game to be played at the stadium was the final game of the season against Zagłębie Lubin, a game in which Lechia lost 2–1.

The 2011–12 season saw Lechia move into their new stadium, the first game to be played there saw Lechia playing against Cracovia, a game which finished 1–1. Lechia struggled during their first season inside the new and much larger stadium, winning only three of their home games that season. Lechia slumped to a 13th-place finish, in a season where they scored 21 goals in 30 games. In 2012–13 there were more positives for Lechia, again finishing in a mid-table 8th. The team once again struggled at home, winning only three games. With the relegation of Polonia Warsaw (who finished the season in sixth) due to financial issues, Lechia effectively finished seventh, and secured their highest finish since their return to the top flight.

There were major changes made for the 2013–14 Ekstraklasa season with the introduction of a Championship Round (teams who finish 1st–8th) and a Relegation Round (teams who finish 9th–16th). This took the overall games played in a season from 30 to 37. As ever Lechia finished eighth after the 30 game season qualifying for the Championship Round. Lechia finished the first-ever Championship Round in fourth place and just missing out on qualification for the qualifying rounds of the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League due to Zawisza Bydgoszcz winning the 2013–14 Polish Cup. The 4th-place finish meant that Lechia had achieved their highest finish since the 1956 season, in which Lechia finished third.

2014–15 saw Lechia struggling towards the lower end of the table by the time the winter break took place. During the mid-season transfer window Sebastian Mila rejoined the club where he had started his professional career 14 years earlier. The Polish international became Lechia's captain for the remainder of the season, and helped the club to an eighth-placed finish for the regular season. During the Championship Round, Lechia managed to finish in fifth, once again just missing out on qualifying for the Europa League.

2015–16 saw an intent for progression for Lechia. Joining Mila and Łukasik, the Poland internationals who were already at the club, saw the arrivals of Ariel Borysiuk, Sławomir Peszko, Jakub Wawrzyniak, Grzegorz Wojtkowiak, as well as former Serbian international Miloš Krasić. Despite the new players Lechia struggled at the start of the season and hovered above the relegation zone until the winter break. The team managed to reach seventh place by the end of the regular season. During the Championship Round Lechia once again finished fifth, and narrowly missed out on qualification for the Europa League Qualifiers. Grzegorz Kuświk who joined Lechia from Ruch during the summer finished the season with 11 goals, and was one of the top goal scorers that season.

2016–17 saw the improvements that fans had been anticipating. With players such as Haraslín as well as the internationally experienced players who joined the season before had now settled into the club. New arrivals such as twins Marco Paixão and Flávio Paixão, as well as Rafał Wolski arriving from Fiorentina and Dušan Kuciak from Hull City. The regular season saw Lechia winning all but three of their home games, and were top of the table at the end of 10 of the game weeks. Lechia ended the regular season in fourth. In the last home game of the season against Pogoń Lechia celebrated the careers of Piotr Wiśniewski and Mateusz Bąk. Both players had played over 10 years for Lechia, while Lechia was the only professional club Wiśniewski played for. Both players came on as substitutes in the 4–0 win over Pogon, with Wiśniewski scoring the final goal of the game, and Bąk made an important save to keep a clean sheet for the team. Going into the final game of the season Lechia was in fourth place, two points behind Legia who were top, Lechia knew that with a win away to Legia they had a great chance of winning their first-ever Ekstraklasa title. The game finished 0–0, and due to Lech and Jagiellonia drawing with each other, Lechia did not gain any positions and finished fourth with the same points as Lech and Jaga who finished in second and third. For the third season in a row Lechia once again missed out on qualification for the Europa League by a single position, this time due to their main rivals Arka Gdynia getting the place from winning the 2016–17 Polish Cup. Marco Paixão finished the season as the top scorer in the league with 18 goals, an award which was jointly shared with Marcin Robak.[11]

There was much anticipation for the 2017–18 season after having the chance to win the title up until the final game the season before. However, any optimism of a repeat was short-lived. Lechia spent most of the season in the bottom half of the table and finished the regular season in 14th, one place and one point above the relegation zone. This was the first season Lechia had featured in the Relegation Round. Wins against Termalica Nieciecza, Arka Gdynia and Piast Gliwice ensured that Lechia finished the Relegation Round in 13th place, two places and three points above the relegation zone. Marco and Flávio had a huge contribution to Lechia staying up, with 16 goals from Marco and 10 for Flávio. At the end of the season Sebastian Mila retired from football, after having had two spells with Lechia.

Stokowiec and new success (2018–present)[edit]

2018–19 Polish Cup starting line-up. The only goalscorer in the game, Artur Sobiech, started on the bench.[12]

Piotr Stokowiec was in place for the final few games of the disappointing 2017–18 season and was in place ready for the 2018–19 Ekstraklasa season. The first game of the 2018-19 season saw Lechia beating Jagiellonia Białystok, with Sławomir Peszko receiving a straight red. After the game Peszko received a three-month ban for a dangerous kick at Arvydas Novikovas.[13] The season started well, with Lechia winning five of their first seven games, while also holding Legia to draw in Warsaw. Lechia's first defeat of the season came away to Wisła Kraków after the international break, before losing a 3–0 lead and drawing 3–3 with Zagłębie Lubin in the game after. After a difficult September, Lechia went on a 13-game unbeaten run, including wins over rivals Arka Gdynia and beating Lech Poznań away in Poznań for the first time in 52 years.[14] The unbeaten run lead to Lechia leading the Ekstraklasa when the league broke up for the winter break. During this time Lechia also went on a cup run beating Wisła Kraków, Resovia Rzeszow and Bruk-Bet Termalica Nieciecza to reach the quarterfinals. After the break Lechia continued their good form losing only 2 of the 11 games after the restart. After losing the final game of the regular season to Cracovia 4–2, they found themselves in the first place due to goal difference, having +3 goals more than Legia Warsaw. Lechia's good fortunes in the cup also continued after the restart, beating Górnik Zabrze in the quarterfinals, Raków Częstochowa in the semifinal, meeting Jagiellonia Białystok in the final. The final was played on 2 May 2019 at the National Stadium in Warsaw. After a close game Flávio Paixão scored for Lechia in the 85th minute, before it was disallowed by the VAR. Artur Sobiech scored the winning goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time, winning the Polish Cup for Lechia, the second time in their history they won the competition.[15] After the cup triumph, the championship group was a disappointment in comparison. After losing only four games in the previous 30, Lechia lost four of the seven championship games. Despite the disappointing end, it was a historic campaign for Lechia after winning the Polish Cup for the second time, and finishing third in the league, their joint highest finish in the league which was last achieved in 1956.[16]

Lechia started the season with the 2019 Polish SuperCup playing against Polish Champions Piast Gliwice.[17] Two goals from Lukáš Haraslín and one from Jarosław Kubicki meant that Lechia were 3-0 up in the final before a late consolation for Piast from Patryk Sokołowski. Lechia won the Polish SuperCup for the second time in their history by winning 3–1.[18][19] Another challenge for Lechia to face early in the season was playing in a European competition for only the second time in their history. Lechia were to play in the 2019–20 UEFA Europa League, with the team being drawn against Brøndby IF.[20] The first game went well, with Lechia winning 2–1 at home, with goals from Flávio Paixão and Patryk Lipski.[21] The second leg however went Brøndby's way. After finishing the away leg 2–1, with Lechia's goal coming from Flávio Paixão, the game went to extra time. Brøndby scored early in extra time, and with Lechia pushing for an equalizer, scored again late on meaning Lechia lost the tie 5–3 on aggregate.[22] The start of the 2019–20 season proved to be difficult for Lechia, with new signing Žarko Udovičić receiving a four match ban after being sent off in the team's first game of the season against ŁKS Łódź.[23] Lechia went on to only win one of their first six games, which was against Wisła Płock.[24] After the difficult start Lechia then went on a five match winning run which put them top of the league after beating Legia Warsaw away 2–1.[25] After their winning run was ended by Zagłębie Lubin, the team had the Tricity Derby the following game. After goals from Artur Sobiech and Flávio Paixão (this being Paixão's seventh goal against Arka, making him the outright highest scorer in the fixture) Lechia lost a 2–0 lead and finished the game 2–2, with Udovičić again being sent off,[26] this time receiving a two-month ban.[27] After the game against Arka, Lechia failed to win any of the next three games, losing two, placing the team in 9th place at the mid-way point of the regular season. For the start of the second round of fixtures Lechia beat ŁKS Łódź 3–1, with Flávio Paixão scoring two goals. These two goals put Paixão on 68 goals in the Ekstraklasa, overtaking Miroslav Radović as the highest scoring foreigner in the top league of Poland.[28] Lechia went on to win the next two games while managing to keep clean sheets in both games. The 3 match winning run was ended after a 3–0 defeat against Jagiellonia Białystok. It was announced a few days after the game, on 17 December, that the players and staff had not been played by the club since September and had failed to pay the players their bonuses for winning the Polish Cup in May.[29][30] Due to the players having not been paid for months they would have been legally be able to apply for a termination of the their contract, and leading to the possibility of many important players leaving during the next transfer window.[31] After the finances had been resolved, Lechia lost the final game of the autumn round 3-0 going into the winter break in 7th. To help with the club's future financial situation key players on high wagers were told they could leave during the winter break.[32] Key players that left included; Lukáš Haraslín, Artur Sobiech, Daniel Łukasik, Rafał Wolski and Sławomir Peszko with Błażej Augustyn training with the Lechia II team until arrangements could be made. Although key players were missing and there being a greater emphasis on playing the youth players in the first game back after the winter break, the team started the second half of the season drawing 2–2 with a Championship chasing Śląsk Wrocław team. During the game it was clear to see the club's current situation with their finances with the entire bench being made up of teenagers from the U23's team. Lechia won the following game 1–0 against Piast with Kacper Urbański starting the game, becoming the youngest ever Lechia player to play a competitive game, and the youngest ever player to start a game in the Ekstraklasa.[33] On 10 March it was announced that all games would be played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.[34] After the announcement Polish football would be played without fans present, Lechia went on to beat Piast Gliwice 2–1 in an empty stadium the Polish Cup to reach the semi-finals, leaving only 2 wins to retain the cup. Announcements were made over the following days and weeks, with the Ekstralasa, I liga and Polish Cup fixtures would both be suspended until 26 April at the earliest.[35][36] At the time of the league's suspension Lechia were in 7th place with 4 games left to play in the regular season. After a difficult restart to the season Lechia went on a run to climb the table, including a 4–3 win over rivals Arka Gdynia.[37] This run coincided with the meeting of Lech Poznań in the Polish Cup semi-final, against whom Lechia beat 4–3 in penalties after the game finished 1–1.[38] This led Lechia into their second Polish Cup final in successive years. Lechia finished the season in 4th place and played Cracovia in the Polish Cup final, losing the final 3–2 after the game went into extra-time.

Historic club names[edit]

  • 1945: Biuro Odbudowy Portów Baltia Gdańsk
  • 1946: Klub Sportowy BOP Lechia Gdańsk
  • 1947: BZKS Lechia Gdańsk
  • 1951: ZS Budowlani Gdańsk
  • 1955: Terenowe Koło Sportowe ZS Budowlani "Lechia"
  • 1959: Budowlani Klub Sportowy Lechia Gdańsk
  • 1991: Klub Sportowy Lechia Gdańsk
  • 1992: FC Lechia (S.A.)
  • 1995: Klub Piłkarski Olimpia/Lechia Gdańsk
  • 1996: Klub Sportowy Lechia Gdańsk
  • 1998: Lechia-Polonia Gdańsk Sportowa Spółka Akcyjna
  • 2001: Ośrodek Szkolenia Piłkarskiego Lechia Gdańsk
  • 2009: Klub Sportowy Lechia Gdańsk (S.A.)

The fans[edit]

Lechia's fans

Lechia Gdańsk is the most supported club in northern Poland, and is one of the most supported clubs in the country, despite not always being successful. Most of the support comes from Gdańsk and the Pomeranian region. The biggest supporters group is the "Lions of the North" group (Polish: Lwy Północy) who organise displays in the stadium as well as travel to away games. Outside of Gdańsk the club have 24 official fan groups linked to the club, with more unofficial fan groups. The official and unofficial fan groups can be found in the towns of; Braniewo, Bytów, Chojnice, Czersk, Dzierzgoń, Frombork, Gdynia, Gniew, Kartuzy, Kościerzyna, Kwidzyn, Lębork, Malbork, Mława, Miłobądz, Nowe, Nowy Dwór Gdański, Nowy Staw, Nowy Targ, Pelplin, Pisz, Pruszcz Gdański, Prabuty, Przodkowo, Pszczółki, Rumia, Sierakowice, Skarszewy, Skórcz, Smętowo, Sopot, Starogard Gdański, Sztum, Tczew, Tuchom, Ustka, Władysławowo, Wejherowo, Zblewo and Żukowo, with the club also having a fan group in England.[39]

In the 1980s many of the club's fans were active in the Solidarity movement which was fighting the communist regime in Poland.[40] This included Lech Wałęsa, a fan of Lechia Gdańsk who was at the front of the Solidarity movement and became the first elected President of Poland after the fall of communism. Due to Gdańsk's role with the Solidarity movement, it is not unusual to see anti-communist slogans on banners in the stadium. A phrase often used by the club and the fans is "We're creating history" (Polish: My tworzymy historię), which can be associated to the role Lechia fans have had on the fall of communism in Poland, and with the club's increasing competitiveness in recent years, such as winning the Polish Cup, the Polish SuperCup and finishing third in the Ekstraklasa all in 2019.

Famous Lechia fans include; Lech Wałęsa, the leader of the Solidarity trade union which helped to bring an end to communist rule in Poland and Poland's second President. Donald Tusk, former Polish prime minister and President of the European Council from 2014–2019 is also a Lechia fan. Paweł Adamowicz, the mayor of Gdańsk from 1998–2019 until his assassination in 2019, was a life Lechia fan. He used his role as mayor of the city to help the club during its reformation in 2001.

Friendships[edit]

Current friendships[edit]

Lechia, Śląsk and Wisła fans in 2010

The fans have a friendship with Śląsk Wrocław with which the two clubs fans have had a friendship since 1977, and have had friendly relations since 1967. This is the oldest fan friendship in Polish football.[41][42] During the 2017/18 season, the two sets of fans celebrated their 40th Friendship Anniversary. Games between the two are often called "The Friendship Match".[43][44]

There is also a mutual friendship between fans of Gryf Słupsk and Lechia Gdańsk. Gryf Słupsk are also from the Pomoranian area of Poland. The two teams have rarely met competitively due to Gryf often playing in the lower regional divisions. Gryf set up the Amber Cup Tournament, an indoor football tournament which takes place during the winter break. Gryf Słupsk hosted the tournament and have featured many times, winning in 2009, before the tournament was moved to Gdańsk due to the rise in popularity, and was hosted by Lechia Gdańsk from 2016–2018.[45]

There are many other teams in the Pomeranian province which have friendly relations with Lechia or have sympathies towards the team. The Tricity Derby which is contested by the two biggest teams in the Pomeranian area has split the teams in the region with many fans backing Lechia in the derby. These are generally fans from; Chojniczanka Chojnice, Bytovia Bytów, Cartusia Kartuzy, Czarni Pruszcz Gdański, KP Starogard Gdański, Unia Tczew, Pomezania Malbork, Rodło Kwidzyn and Olimpia Sztum.

Other teams' fans who have friendly relations with Lechia include; Jeziorak Iława, Miedź Legnica, Hutnik Kraków, Mławianka Mława and Czech team SFC Opava. Despite being a basketball team, Czarni Słupsk fans are also closely linked with Lechia fans.

While not a friendship, Lechia fans have had an “agreement” (Polish: układy) with Stomil Olsztyn since 2016. Typically if agreements last the two teams become friends and develop a “friendship” (Polish: zgody). Lechia fans supposedly also have an agreement with Raków Częstochowa.

Former friendships[edit]

From 1983 until 1988 Lechia was part of a fan coalition which consisted of Widzew Łódź, Wisła Kraków, Jagiellonia Białystok, and Ruch Chorzów, being the biggest coalition in Poland at the time. The coalition broke up when Lechia fans wanted Śląsk Wrocław to join the coalition, but opposition from Widzew, Jagiellonia and Ruch prevented the coalition from growing. As a result, the coalition split with Lechia and Wisła fans siding with Śląsk.[46]

Lechia fans had an agreement with Wisła Kraków dating back to 1973, and from 1988 until 2016 both sets of fans were involved in a fan coalition with Śląsk Wrocław. Wisła left the "Three Kings of Great Cities" (Polish: Trzej Królowie Wielkich Miast) coalition to join a new coalition of Widzew Łódź and Ruch Chorzów. This upset both Lechia and Śląsk fans as fans of Ruch Chorzów and Widzew Łódź were involved in the murder of a Śląsk fan in 2003.[47][48] The main Lechia Gdańsk fan group posted that the decision for Wisła to form a friendship with Ruch was unacceptable for the fans of Lechia, and that the friendship was to be terminated.[49] The main Śląsk Wrocław fan group posted a similar response the following day officially ending the TKWM alliance.

While not technically a former friendship it was also documented that Lechia fans had agreements with both Piast Gliwice and Wisła Płock since at least 2017 until around 2020.[50] While this agreement didn't progress into a friendship between fans, it is unlikely that there will be negative thoughts between each team's fans, as with the case of Wisła Kraków, and have a more neutral opinion of each other.

Rivals[edit]

Their biggest rivals are Arka Gdynia, the games between the two are known as the "Tricity derby" (Polish: Derby Trójmiasta). The two teams are the largest in the Tricity area, with Lechia representing Gdańsk and Arka representing Gdynia, these are the two largest cities in the Tricity area. The Tricity derby impacts the Pomeranian region as a whole as fans of the smaller clubs in the region will also sympathise with either Arka or Lechia, with some counties being fully behind one of the teams with other counties being split between the two. Lechia receives the greatest support outside of Gdańsk from Słupsk, Starogard Gdański, Chojnice, Malbork, Sopot, and Lębork. Arka receives most of its support outside of Gdynia from Tczew, Wejherowo, Rumia, and Kościerzyna.[51] Lechia has the most success in the derby winning 16 to Arka's 11, with Lechia also being undefeated to Arka in the Ekstraklasa (10 wins, 4 draws).

Lech Poznań and Cracovia are rivals dating back to the time with their alliance with Wisła. This was due to the two largest fan coalitions in Poland, "Three Kings of Great Cities" (Lechia, Śląsk, and Wisła) and "The Great Triad" (Arka, Cracovia, and Lech) with any of the opposite coalition teams playing each other resulting in a big and hotly contested match.

In recent years there has been a growing rivalry with Legia Warsaw. While Legia have often been challenging for titles and trophies for much of their history, Lechia have not. While Lechia has been more competitive in recent years, and are finishing higher in the table, the matches between the two sides is starting to have more importance, with the Lechia home game against Legia often being one of the highest attended games of the season.

Other clubs who's fans have negative views of Lechia are; Pogoń Szczecin (due to both clubs being from Northern regions in Poland, where historically there have been few competitive football clubs), Zagłębie Lubin (due to Zagłębie being the main rivals of Śląsk Wrocław, Lechia's biggest friendship), Jagiellonia Białystok, Ruch Chorzów, Widzew Łódź, Motor Lublin (despite Motor fans having a friendship with Śląsk Wrocław), GKS Katowice, Zawisza Bydgoszcz, Elana Toruń, Polonia Bytom and Górnik Zabrze.[52]

Since 2016 Wisła Kraków has since turned into a rivalry for some fans, while other fans still see the club in a more positive light.

Bałtyk Gdynia is another rivalry due to the geographically close proximity between the two clubs. Over recent years, however, this fixture hasn't been much of a rivalry due to the teams being in different divisions for many seasons. This rivalry was at its biggest in the 1990s when the two clubs played each other often in the second tier.

Gedania Gdańsk and Stoczniowiec Gdańsk have historically been a derby for Lechia with games between any of the three teams being known as the Gdańsk Derby (Polish: Derby Gdańska). The rivalry with Gedania[53] was at its biggest in the 1940s and 1950s while the rivalry with Polonia[54] was at its height from the late 1960s to early 1980s. Due to the current leagues, the teams are in, this is no longer seen as a major rivalry.

While not rivals per se with any of these teams in a competitive capacity, these local teams fans are all aligned with Arka for the Tricity derby and are, as such seen in lower regard compared to other local teams; Gwardia Koszalin, Kaszubia Kościerzyna, Gryf Wejherowo, Wisła Tczew and Orkan Rumia.

Tricity derby[edit]

The Tricity derby is a match between Lechia and Arka Gdynia. The first derby was held on 2 September 1964 and was a 2–1 win for Lechia Gdańsk.

Matches Lechia wins Draws Arka wins
44 17 16 11

Gdańsk derby[edit]

The Gdańsk Derby are games between teams based in Gdańsk. Historically the derby has referred to games between Lechia Gdańsk, Gedania Gdańsk and Stoczniowiec Gdańsk.

The first derby held between Lechia and Gedania Gdańsk was held on 23 September 1945 and was a 7–2 win for Lechia Gdańsk. The last time this derby was played was on 27 June 2004.

Matches Lechia wins Draws Gedania wins
12 9 0 3

The first derby held between Lechia and Stoczniowiec Gdańsk was held on 20 August 1967 and was a 2–1 win for Stoczniowiec Gdańsk. The last time this derby was played was on 7 May 1983.

Matches Lechia wins Draws Stoczniowiec wins
31 12 12 7

Stadia[edit]

Stadion Energa Gdańsk[edit]

The Stadion Energa Gdańsk, previously called the Baltic Arena and PGE Arena Gdańsk, is the home stadium of Lechia Gdańsk. The stadium is located on ul. Pokoleń Lechii Gdańsk[55] ("Generations of Lechia Gdańsk street") in the northern part of the city (Letnica district). The capacity of the stands is 43,615 spectators,[56] all seated and roofed. Stadion Energa Gdańsk is the largest arena in Ekstraklasa and the third largest in the country (after National Stadium and Silesia Stadium).

Construction of the stadium started in 2008 and was completed mid-2011. The opening match was between Lechia Gdańsk and Cracovia and ended with 1–1 draw.[57] The first international match, Poland – Germany, took place on 6 September 2011 and ended 2–2. The match was relocated from Warsaw because the National Stadium was not ready. Stadion Energa Gdańsk is used by Lechia Gdańsk since 'the White-and-Green' relocated there from MOSiR Stadium.

The stadium was also one of the designated venues for the finals of Euro 2012. It hosted four matches during the tournament. Three matches in Group C and one quarter-final were played here.[58] In 2010 the official name of the stadium changed to PGE Arena Gdańsk, on the basis of a sponsorship agreement with Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE Group).[59] The contract with PGE ended, however, on 30 September 2015, after PGE chose not to renew the contract.[60] On 9 November 2015 Energa was revealed as the new stadium's sponsor until 2020.[61] The stadium will host the 2020 UEFA Europa League Final as the Gdańsk Stadium due to UEFA sponsorship regulations.[62]

MOSiR Stadium / Gdańsk Sports Center Stadium[edit]

The Lechia Gdańsk stadium from 1945–2011 was the MOSiR Stadium. In 2000 the ownership of the stadium changed from MOSiR to Gdańsk Sports Center, also seeing a change in the stadiums name. Now it now officially known as Gdańsk Sports Center Stadium, the Lechia Gdańsk Stadion or simply the Lechia Stadion[63][64] but has often been called by Lechia fans, Traugutta or Traugutta 29, the street and address of the stadium. The stadium is most well known for the European Cup game against Juventus where around 40,000 fans attended the game, just over three times more than the capacity of 12,244.[65] Since Lechia moved to the Stadion Energa Gdańsk the stadium has been used for first team training, matches for the Lechia Gdańsk Ladies team, the Lechia Gdańsk II team, and formerly also held games for the Lechia Gdańsk rugby team.

Avenue of Stars[edit]

At the MOSiR Stadium Lechia have an "Avenue of Stars" which commemorates the efforts and success of former players and coaches. There are currently 21 players with stars at the stadium, including all-time top goalscorer, Roman Rogocz, and all-time appearance maker, Zdzisław Puszkarz.[66] Due to MOSiR becoming the training ground in 2011 after the move to the PGE Arena Gdańsk there have been calls for the stars to be moved due to the new stadium by some fans, while others see the stadium as the historic home of Lechia Gdańsk and the perfect place to keep the players' commemorative stars.[67][68]

The players who have a star to commemorate their time with Lechia Gdańsk are Jerzy Apolewicz, Michał Globisz, Józef Gładysz, Andrzej Głownia, Henryk Gronowski, Robert Gronowski, Jerzy Jastrzębowski, Bogusław Kaczmarek, Alfred Kokot, Henryk Kokot, Roman Korynt, Jerzy Kruszczyński, Lech Kulwicki, Hubert Kusz, Władysław Musiał, Ryszard Polak, Zdzisław Puszkarz, Andrzej Salach, Jakub Smug, Roman Rogocz, Zbigniew Żemojtel.

Attendance[edit]

Attendance statistics since the start of the 2011–12 season after the club moved to the Stadion Energa Gdańsk.

Season Highest Opposition Date Lowest Opposition Date Average
2011-12 34444 Cracovia 14 August 2011 [69] 10525 Podbeskidzie 24 March 2012 [70] 17372
2012-13 19415 Śląsk Wrocław 21 October 2012 [71] 8000 Korona Kielce 11 March 2013 [72] 13219
2013-14 24276 Górnik Zabrze 30 August 2013 [73] 7705 Piast Gliwice 29 March 2014 [74] 12844
2014-15 36500 Legia Warsaw 11 April 2015 [75] 7619 Piast Gliwice 7 December 2014 [76] 16608
2015-16 22415 Legia Warsaw 11 May 2016 [77] 8827 Śląsk Wrocław 6 December 2015 [78] 11569
2016-17 37220 Legia Warsaw 19 March 2017 [79] 10009 Nieciecza 29 April 2017 [80] 17531
2017-18 22871 Arka Gdynia 7 April 2018 [81] 2235 Nieciecza 27 February 2018 [82] 10640
2018-19 25066 Arka Gdynia 27 October 2018 [83] 8769 Wisła Płock 11 March 2019 [84] 14746
2019–20 [a] 14008 Lech Poznań 14 September 2019 [87] 0 [b] Arka Gdynia & Cracovia 31 March 2020 & 9 June 2020 - 8110
  • All of the released attendance figures for Lechia Gdańsk before the 2011-12 Ekstraklasa season were rounded to the nearest 500.

†Season still in progress.

  1. ^ It was announced on 10 March that the games against Arka Gdynia and Cracovia would be played behind closed doors and the games in the championship round against Piast Gliwice, Cracovia and Legia Warsaw will be played with crowd restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.[85] However these games did not go ahead as all league games were postponed indefinitely on 14 March.[86] The attendance stats for this season includes the home games where fans were not allowed to attend.
  2. ^ Due to restrictions imposed by the Polish government in reaction to the coronavirus outbreak there were no fans in attendance for the home games against Arka Gdynia and Cracovia.

Colours, badges and banners[edit]

Lechia Lwów (1909). Lechia Gdańsk have worn Lechia Lwów's green and white stripes for 2006/07, 2009/10, and continuously since 2015.
Lechia Gdańsk's 2018–21 away kit was worn in two Polish Cup finals, most notably the 2018–19 final win over Jagiellonia Białystok.

Kit history[edit]

Lechia Gdańsk's colours have always been green and white. In the first years of the club, Lechia wore green shirts with white shorts and either green or white socks. Predominantly throughout Lechias history the team has worn all green shirts, however, there were a few seasons in which Lechia wore white as their home colours. During the 1960–61 season, Lechia wore green and white stripes for the first time.[88] It was this season when the Lechia badge featured on the shirts for the first time, however, the badge did not return to the Lechia shirts until the 1996–97 season. After that season Lechia wore all green shirts until the 2002–03 season when Lechia wore an all-white kit. 2006–07 saw for the first time in Lechia's history the team wore an all-white kit with green hoops on the shirt,[89] the same colours worn by Lechia Lwów, from which the expelled fans after WW2 created Lechia Gdańsk. Since the turn of the century, Lechia has been more creative with their designs for the home kits. From the team wearing all green home shirts from 1960–2002, there has since been a return of the green and white stripes for the 2011–12 season, an all-white kit with a green sash on the front for the 2012–14 seasons, as well as the hooped design, which was first worn in the 2006–07, and has since been worn during the 2008–10 seasons, and continuously since the 2015–16 season.

During Lechia's history, the away shirt colours have often always been the opposite of the home shirt. When the home shirt was green, the away was white, and vice versa. 2009 saw the introduction of Lechia's first non-white/green kit, with an all-black away kit introduced. Lechia released an all red third shirt for the 2014–15 season, with an all-red kit being used as the club's away or third colours from 2014–20. The 2018–19 season saw the introduction of another previously unused colour for a kit. Lechia wore an all-grey away kit for that season, replacing the all green kit which had been the away kit for the previous season. This grey kit was used by the team from 2018–21 and was worn by Lechia in two cup finals.

While white and green have always been the club's home colours, Lechia have not always worn these colours while playing at home. On 9 February 2019 Lechia wore an all-black kit for their home game against Pogoń Szczecin to commemorate the death of Paweł Adamowicz, the mayor of Gdańsk at the time of his murder, and a lifelong Lechia fan.[90] This was the first time in their history a predominantly green or white kit wasn't worn by Lechia for a home game. The game finished 2–1 to Lechia, with goals from Filip Mladenović and Flávio Paixão. An all-red kit was worn on 10 November 2019, again against Pogoń Szczecin, to commemorate the 101st anniversary of Polish independence,.[91] That same match Lechia attempted to break the Polish record for most people singing the full Polish national anthem at the same time, which was 3,171 people, breaking the record with 7,614.[92]

Home kits[edit]

The Lechia Gdańsk home kits since 2011.

2011–2012
2012–2014
2014–2015
2015–2016
2016–2017
2017–2019
2019–2020

Badge history[edit]

The badge design of Lechia has stayed roughly the same since 1945 with only slight changes when the club's name changed or when Lechia had a merger with another club. The design of the Lechia badge has always been a triangular pennant with the flagpole on the left. The flag has always been green, with a white horizontal stripe through the middle, and the symbol of Gdańsk coat of arms in the centre. The name "Lechia" has always featured on the badge. In 1995 Lechia experienced a major change to their official club badge. The merger with Olimpia Poznan saw the flag featured in a circle with "Olimpia–Lechia Gdansk" featured at the bottom. A similar thing happened again when Lechia experienced a merger with Polonia Gdańsk in 1998. After the Polonia merger broke up in 2001, Lechia returned once again to their normal badge design, which has been used continuously since then with only minor changes in 2018.

The badge was often not worn on the shirts. They were first worn on the kits in 1960, with a return in 1963. After the 1963–64 season the badges did not reappear again until 1996 but have featured on every shirt since. The first symbol to appear on a Lechia shirt was a large white "L" which featured on the shirts for the 1947–48 season.

Banners[edit]

Banners first started to appear at Lechia's MOSiR Stadium in the 1980s with the first Lechia banners made and displayed being "'LECHIA PANY!"[93] and "LECHIA KARWINY"[94] (Karwiny being a district in Gdynia). Banners have been used to display support for the team, show where the fans are from (such as the English fan club,[95] Malbork, Sopot, etc.), political statements, and support for friendly teams (such as Śląsk Wrocław,[96] and formerly Wisła Kraków).[97] Over the years some of the older flags displayed have been damaged, stolen, or remade.[98] In total over 300 flags and banners have been documented throughout Lechia's history.[99]

Records and statistics[edit]

All-time[edit]

  • First Ever Game: September 2, 1945, Milicyjnym Klubem Sportowym z Wrzeszcza, 4-6
  • First Ever Win: September 9, 1945, Wojskowy Klub Sportowy, 9-1
  • Biggest Win: May 11, 2000, LKS Waplewo - 15-0
  • Biggest Defeat: November 13, 1949, Polonia Bytom - 8-0
  • Highest Scoring Game: May 11, 2000, LKS Waplewo - 15-0
  • Most Goals in a Game: September 20, 1945, Stanisław Baran vs Wojskowy Klub Sportowy - 7 goals
  • Most Total Goals in a Season: Bartłomiej Stolc – 2001–02 season – 40 goals
  • Most League Goals in a Season: Bartłomiej Stolc 2002–03 season – 34 goals
  • Most League Goals in a Season: (top three divisions) Jerzy Kruszczyński 1983–84 season - 31 goals
  • Most League Goals for Lechia Gdańsk: Bogdan Adamczyk - 73 goals
  • Most Goals in all Competitions for Lechia Gdańsk: Roman Rogocz - 109 goals
  • Most Apps for Lechia Gdańsk: Zdzisław Puszkarz - 325 apps
  • Highest Transfer Fee Paid: Daniel Łukasik, 2014- 2,750,000zł (£560,000)
  • Highest Transfer Fee Received: Vanja Milinković-Savić, 2017 - 10,500,000zł (£2,150,000)

Ekstraklasa[edit]

  • Debut Match in Ekstraklasa: March 20, 1949, Cracovia – Lechia Gdańsk 5–1
  • First Win in Ekstraklasa: March 27, 1949, Lechia Gdańsk – Ruch Chorzów 5–3
  • Most Lechia Goals in the Ekstraklasa: Flávio Paixão - 51 goals
  • Most Lechia Apps in the Ekstraklasa: Roman Korynt - 207 apps

Individual achievements[edit]

  • League Top Goalscorer: Jerzy Kruszczyński (1983-84 - II Liga) - 31 goals
  • League Top Goalscorer: Marco Paixão (2016-17 - Ekstraklasa) - 18 goals[100]
  • Most Different Leagues Played in for Lechia Mateusz Bąk (2000-2010, 2013–17) 6 different divisions - Klasa A group Gdańsk IV (sixth tier), Liga okręgowa group Gdańsk II (fifth tier), IV liga group Pomorska (fourth tier), III liga group II (third tier), II liga (second tier), Ekstraklasa (first tier).
  • Most Promotions with Lechia: Mateusz Bąk (2000–10, 2013–17) 5 promotions - Sixth tier to first tier.
  • First non-Polish player: Sargis Khachatryan (Armenia) - Debut: 13 May 1993[101]

Stadium statistics[edit]

  • Last Game at the MOSiR Stadium Gdańsk: May 29, 2011, Zagłębie Lubin, 1-2[102]
  • Last Win at the MOSiR Stadium Gdańsk: May 22, 2011, Lech Poznań, 2-1[103]
  • Last Lechia Goalscorer at the MOSiR Stadium Gdańsk: May 29, 2011, Abdou Razack Traoré
  • First Game at the Stadion Energa Gdańsk: August 14, 2011, Cracovia, 1-1[104]
  • First Win at the Stadion Energa Gdańsk: September 12, 2011, Górnik Zabrze, 2-1[105]
  • First Lechia Goalscorer at the Stadion Energa Gdańsk: August 14, 2011, Fred Benson
  • Highest Attendance: September 29, 1983, Juventus, UEFA Cup Winners Cup - 40,000 (estimate)

Player statistics[edit]

The top ten most appearances and goal scorers for Lechia Gdańsk.[106][107]

(Stats correct as of 19 September 2020)

Apps
No. Name Apps
1 Zdzisław Puszkarz 342
2 Roman Korynt 340
3 Andrzej Salach 337
4 Czesław Nowicki 288
5 Marek Ługowski 273
6 Henryk Gronowski 273
7 Jerzy Apolewicz 260
8 Piotr Wiśniewski 260
9 Mateusz Bąk 245
10 Andrzej Marchel 236
Goals
No. Name Goals
1 Roman Rogocz 109
2 Bartłomiej Stolc 81
3 Bogdan Adamczyk 78
4 Flávio Paixão 66
5 Zdzisław Puszkarz 61
6 Robert Gronowski 59
7 Jerzy Apolewicz 57
8 Marek Wasicki 52
9 Leszek Goździk 51
10 Alfred Kokot 49

Club sponsors and kit manufacturers[edit]

Framed Lechia Gdańsk shirts worn throughout their history shown in the Lechia Gdańsk museum.
The 2015–16 Lechia Gdańsk home shirt, manufactured by Sport-Saller, sponsored by LOTOS.
Seasons Sponsor Kit manufacturers
1984–87 No sponsor Umbro
1987–89 Puma
1989–95 Self-made
1995–96 Canal+ Kelme
1996–98 Nata
1998–2000 Centrum Handlowe Ptak
(Ptak Shopping Center)
2000–01 Pomorskie Towarzystwo Leasingowe
(Pomeranian Leasing Association)
Adidas
2001–03 No sponsor Legea
2003–04 Self-made
2004–05 GPEC Legea
2005–06 Erreà
2006–07 SNG Jako
2007–10 SNG & Energa
2010–14 LOTOS[108][109] Adidas
2014–16 Sport-Saller[110]
2016–19 Energa[111] New Balance[112]
2019–20 Energa & Paytren[113]
2020–21 Energa (with Grupa Orlen[114]) & Paytren

Honours[edit]

The Polish Cups won by Lechia Gdańsk: 1983 (left) & 2019 (right).

Ekstraklasa

Polish Cup

Polish SuperCup:

I liga

  • Winners: 1951, 1983–84, 2007–08
  • Runners-up: 1954, 1974–75, 1975–76, 1977–78
  • Third place: 1978–79

II liga

  • Winners: 1971–72, 1982–83, 2004–05
  • Runners-up: 1967–68, 1970–71
  • Third place: 1969–70, 1997–98

European Competitions

League participation[edit]

Tier Years Seasons
I 1949, 1952–53, 1955–63, 1984–88, 1995–96, 2008–present 30
II 1946–48, 1950–51, 1954, 1963–67, 1972–82, 1983–84, 1988–95, 1996–97, 1998–2001, 2005–08 35
III 1945–46, 1967–72, 1982–83, 1997–98, 2004–05 9
IV 2003–04 1
V 2002–03 1
VI 2001–02 1

Lechia in Europe[edit]

Season Competition Round Club Home Away Agg.
1983–84 European Cup Winners' Cup First round Italy Juventus 2–3 0–7 2–10 Symbol delete vote.svg
2019–20 Europa League Second qualifying round Denmark Brøndby 2–1 1–4 3–5 Symbol delete vote.svg

Ownership[edit]

During the communist era of the club's history, it was owned and run by employment sectors. When the club was first created it was used for the workers of the Port Reconstruction Office (Polish: Biuro Odbudowy Portów), and thus owned by the Port Reconstruction Office itself, later becoming a club for construction workers (Polish: Budowlani). Both Biuro Odbudowy Portów and Budowlani being included in the club's official name when they run by these sectors.

In 2007 Tadeusz Dąbrowski unsuccessfully tried to invest in the club.[115] In 2009 Andrzej Kuchar became the majority shareholder for the club, a position he held until late 2013 when he sold his shares.[116][117]

In 2014 it became known that 72% of the club shares are controlled by an investment company named Wroclawskie Centrum finansowo (WCF) with the club being owned by Franz-Josef Wernze. WCF is owned by Swiss investor W&C Vermögensverwaltungs AG in which Philipp Wernze, the son of the German businessman and Lechia owner Franz-Josef Wernze, is involved.[118] In summer 2014 this German control over Lechia became more and more obvious when several players from Germany joined the club. Under Wernze's wings are also the German clubs Viktoria Köln and Lok Leipzig.[119] In 2017 the shares of the company's main shareholder, Lechia Investment, were taken over from W&C Vermögensverwaltungs by Advancesport AG.[120] This saw Franz-Josef Wernze staying as the owner of Lechia, but with his son Philipp Wernze, the main shareholder in Advancesport AG, having a greater role within the club and within his father's company, ETL Group.[121]

Players[edit]

Current squad[edit]

As of 2 September 2020[122]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK Serbia SRB Zlatan Alomerović
2 DF Poland POL Rafał Pietrzak
4 DF Latvia LVA Kristers Tobers
5 DF Poland POL Bartosz Kopacz
6 MF Poland POL Jarosław Kubicki
7 MF Poland POL Maciej Gajos
8 FW Afghanistan AFG Omran Haydary
9 FW Poland POL Łukasz Zwoliński
10 MF Poland POL Kacper Urbański
11 MF Slovakia SVK Jaroslav Mihalík (on loan from Cracovia)
12 GK Slovakia SVK Dušan Kuciak
15 FW United States USA Kenny Saief (on loan from R.S.C. Anderlecht)
17 FW Poland POL Mateusz Żukowski
18 FW Poland POL Jakub Arak
No. Pos. Nation Player
19 DF Poland POL Karol Fila
20 DF Brazil BRA Conrado
21 MF Poland POL Mateusz Sopoćko
23 DF Croatia CRO Mario Maloča
25 DF Poland POL Michał Nalepa
28 FW Portugal POR Flávio Paixão
31 MF Serbia SRB Žarko Udovičić
32 FW Indonesia IDN Egy Maulana
36 MF Poland POL Tomasz Makowski
45 MF Poland POL Mateusz Cegiełka
55 DF Poland POL Filip Dymerski
77 DF Poland POL Rafał Kobryń
80 MF Slovenia SVN Egzon Kryeziu
88 MF Poland POL Jakub Kałuziński

Out on loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
FW Poland POL Kacper Sezonienko (at Bytovia Bytów until 30 June 2021)
No. Pos. Nation Player
55 DF Poland POL Filip Dymerski (at Bytovia Bytów until 31 June 2021)

Notable players[edit]

The players below played for their respective countries at any point during their career with the dates showing their time with Lechia.

Amber Cup Tournament[edit]

The Amber Cup Tournament (created 2006)[123] is the biggest indoor footballing event in Poland, taking place in January during the football leagues' winter break. Lechia Gdańsk took a team to the Amber Cup every year from 2011 until 2018 and are the tournaments most successful team, winning the tournament four times (2011, 2013, 2016 & 2017).[124][125][126][127] Players who have won the tournament with Lechia on more than one occasion are;

The teams for Lechia's Amber Cup wins are;

Lechia Gdańsk II and Lechia's Academy[edit]

Lechia Gdańsk II[edit]

Lechia Gdańsk operates an official second team, known as Lechia Gdańsk II, which currently plays in the fifth tier in the IV liga Pomerania. In its early years the second team was only used for games in the Polish Cup, fielding teams in four cup competitions in their first 50 years as a club. For the 1995–96 season the merger between Lechia Gdańsk and Olimpia Poznań creating Olimpia-Lechia Gdańsk, saw the second team running as the continuation of the "Lechia Gdańsk" team in the III liga.

Lechia Gdańsk II officially became the second team in the Polish league system for the 2005–06 season. The purpose of the second team was to provide more playing experience for the younger players, while providing game time for players returning from injury. The second team played for 11 continuous seasons, achieving their highest result of 2nd in the III liga in the 2014–15 season. In 2016 it was announced that the second team was to be discontinued[128] before it was reintroduced again for the start of the 2018–19 season.[129]

Lechia Gdańsk Academy[edit]

In 2015 it was announced that all of the youth teams would once again be returning to Lechia, with Lechia taking control of coaching and player development.[130] It was announced that there would be 11 age groups which would make up the Academy starting from the Under-7's to the Under-23's. After 3 years, the Lechia Academy had 12 teams under their control, with other 200 staff seeing over the development.[131] From the summer of 2019 the academy will be home to multiple levels of girls football teams with the formal incorporation of the Lechia Gdańsk Ladies into the Lechia Gdańsk structure.[132]

2019-20 Season

Team League
Under-15's Central Junior League U15 [133]
Under-17's Central Junior League U17 [134]
Under-18's Central Junior League U19 [135]
Under-23's IV liga Pomerania [136]

Partnerships[edit]

Lechia have partnerships with academies in the Gdańsk and surrounding regions. The agreements provide Lechia with the best players, the teams to take part in competitions organised by Lechia, and better training for the coaches. Currently Lechia have partnerships with the Rotmanka Football School, APK Jedynka Kartuzy, GAP Sparta Gdańsk, and Unia Tczew.

Current partnerships

Team Agreement start Agreement until
Rotmanka Football School 2014 June 2021 [137]
APK Jedynka Kartuzy September 2019 Not stated [138]
GAP Sparta Gdańsk January 2020 Not stated [139]
Unia Tczew August 2020 Not stated [140]

Lechia Gdańsk Ladies[edit]

Initially Lechia Gdańsk was in close cooperation with Grupa Lotos for the AP LOTOS Gdańsk academy and ladies football team. The team was formerly known as "Akademia Piłkarska Lechia Gdańsk" due to the close association the two teams once had. The ladies team wore the Lechia kits to start with before disagreements led to Lechia and APLG starting to work more independently. Due to APLG and Lechia going in different directions Lechia's focus was less on the APLG ladies team and making a team of their own.

Lechia became closely linked with Biało-Zielone Gdańsk, which was formed in 2014. Biało-Zielone was another team closely linked with Lechia but was not officially part of the Lechia set up. In 2019 it was announced that the team would be incorperated into the Lechia Gdańsk academy structure and that their name was to become Lechia Gdańsk Ladies.[141] The Lechia Ladies team currently plays in the III liga (Pomeranian group).[142]

Lechia Lwów (1903–1939)[edit]

Lechia Gdańsk shares a lot of its history with Lechia Lwów, most notably the club's name as well as the colours used. Lechia Lwów was the oldest football team in Poland with many of the fans of the team moving to Gdańsk after Poland‘s borders were changed after World War II, Lwów being given to Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, and the expulsion of Poles from Ukraine. Due to Lechia Lwów and Lechia Gdańsk sharing many of the same fans, Lechia Gdańsk is often seen as Lechia Lwów's "sister team".[143] Lechia Lwów often played in the Polish second division, playing once in the top tier in the 1931 season suffering relegation that same season. The Lechia Gdańsk 2012–13 kit had "1903" written on their socks in commemoration of Lechia Lwów's 110 year anniversary since their founding.[144]

In 2019 a retro league was formed in Poland of 5 teams who had been disbanded in 1939. The league followed the same rules and kit standards of those in 1938.[145] Lechia Lwów were crowned the inaugural winners of the Retro Liga at the end of the 2019 season.[146]

Managers[edit]

The following list contains the statistics from all competitive games after 1 July 2001, when Lechia Gdańsk was re-founded in the sixth tier.

Name Nat From To G W D L %W
Michał Globisz Poland 1 July 2001 25 August 2001 2 2 0 0 100%
Tadeusz Małolepszy Poland 26 August 2001 16 November 2002 38 30 4 4 78.9%
[147] Jerzy Jastrzębowski Poland 1 February 2003 21 May 2004 53 45 3 5 84.9%
[148] Marcin Kaczmarek Poland 22 May 2004 16 June 2006 74 38 17 19 51.3%
[149] Tomasz Borkowski Poland 17 June 2006 27 August 2007 41 16 12 13 39%
[150] Dariusz Kubicki Poland 30 August 2007 22 July 2008 32 22 4 6 68.7%
[151] Jacek Zieliński Poland 23 July 2008 5 April 2009 37 9 7 21 24.3%
[152] Tomasz Kafarski Poland 7 April 2009 8 November 2011 94 32 27 35 34%
[153] Rafał Ulatowski Poland 9 November 2011 14 December 2011 4 1 0 3 25%
[154] Paweł Janas Poland 1 January 2012 24 May 2012 13 3 5 5 23%
[155] Bogusław Kaczmarek Poland 6 June 2012 4 June 2013 32 11 8 13 34.3%
[156] Michał Probierz Poland 4 June 2013 26 March 2014 42 12 15 15 28.5%
[157] Ricardo Moniz Netherlands 27 March 2014 4 June 2014 10 5 3 2 50%
[158] Quim Machado Portugal 16 June 2014 21 September 2014 9 3 3 3 33.3%
[159] Tomasz Unton Poland 21 September 2014 17 November 2014 7 1 2 4 14.2%
[160] Jerzy Brzęczek Poland 17 November 2014 1 September 2015 30 11 9 10 36.6%
[161] Thomas von Heesen Germany 1 September 2015 3 December 2015 12 3 2 7 25%
[162] Dawid Banaczek Poland 3 December 2015 13 January 2016 3 2 0 1 66.6%
[163] Piotr Nowak Poland 13 January 2016 27 September 2017 66 31 16 19 46.9%
[164] Adam Owen Wales 27 September 2017 3 March 2018 16 4 6 6 25%
[165] Piotr Stokowiec Poland 5 March 2018 present 103 50 25 28 48.5%

Stats correct as of 14 September 2020. The managers in italics were given the contract on a caretaker basis.

Managerial statistics[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 54°22′4.59″N 18°37′15.79″E / 54.3679417°N 18.6210528°E / 54.3679417; 18.6210528