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Sebastian Witek: The Polish Eagle

Started on 26 July 2022 by Tayls
Latest Reply on 8 August 2022 by deadzpool
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Since relegation from the Ekstraklasa in 1997, these opportunities had been few and far between for Tychy and its supporters. Aside from another playoff finish in 2018, the club had failed to make any real impact in the second tier to indicate that a return to the top-flight was forthcoming. The story of Tychy was one of real intrigue from an outsiders perspective but from a supporters aspect, it had been a real rollercoaster of emotions to say the very least.

Upon their relegation from the Ekstraklasa, the club fell upon financial hardship that ultimately saw the club meet its end as they dissolved that year. It would provoke a phoenix club to return, however, as a new organisation formed under the name Tyski Klub Sportowy Tychy. They would later take on the former club's name and rights, enabling the club to maintain its achievements from its initial founding in 1971.

The 2020/21 campaign was one of optimism. The supporters were dreaming again. There was an entire generation that had to witness the club be built from the bottom up again as the club restarted in the lower reaches of the Polish pyramid, it would be a truly magical story for them, but also for those that were present when the club met its end following relegation back in 1997. The heartbreak of that would be, somewhat, repaired.

The race for automatic promotion was pushed to the very end. Tychy appeared set for a playoff finish until a late run left them with an opportunity of capturing a second-place finish, enough to merit automatic promotion into the Ekstraklasa. Unfortunately, Bruk-Bet Termalica Nieciecza had built enough of a buffer to ensure that they would join champions Radomiak Radom in the top-flight.

It would be playoffs, therefore, for Tychy. 3,500 made their way into Stadion Miejski with anticipation, excitement and tension in the air as GKS Górnik Łęczna were welcomed.

Sebastian Witek, an experienced central-midfielder who wore the captain's armband with pride, led his team onto the pitch. Witek was a local lad and knew of the club's history well. He was once in the terraces with his father, albeit now he was on the pitch in the newly-built stadium that had played home to his club since 2015. He was respected by supporters and his peers and had been with the club for the past few seasons after departing Lech Poznań.

Since leaving Lech, where he amassed over 200 appearances, Witek was determined in helping the club usher in new life in the hope of eventually bringing the club back into the top-flight. Time was running out however and he knew this. Now at the age of 38, he knew this was his last chance and he announced he would retire at the end of the playoff campaign. If the pressure wasn't already on, it certainly was now.

The semi-final was a one-legged affair with the game going to extra-time and penalties if required. The winner would meet the winner of the opposing playoff semi-final contested between Arka Gdynia and ŁKS Łódź.

It was clear that the game-plan from Tychy was to get at the opposition from the off. It soon paid off as Kacper Piątek put his side in front with just three minutes played. The support needed little incentive to create an atmosphere but this certainly boosted the volume and spirits immensely. The stands were filled with banners and flares which in turn created somewhat of a hostile environment for Górnik who now had to reply.

Tychy remained on the front-foot seeking a second but remained sturdy at the back to keep out the attacking threat of Górnik. Albeit unable to find a second goal, it seemed that the hosts were on course to reach the playoff final. The minutes were ticking away and Sebastian Witek was continually barking orders at his teammates as they edged closer to the full-time whistle. And then it happened. Górnik equalised.

With just a few minutes of play remaining, it was 1-1. The heads of the Tychy players dropped. The disappointment was evident across their faces but Witek and head-coach Artur Derbin ordered for calm. The visitors looked the more threating for the rest of normal-time but the hosts held on to bring the game into extra-time.

Both managers shared words of encouragement with their players as they entered another half-an-hour of football. As the players jogged back onto the pitch, Witek gathered his teammates again. "This means everything. Leave everything out there, lads." He barked.

There were clearly nerves in both sets of players with very few attacks over both halves of extra-time. Neither team wanted to make a sacrifice in fear that it would prove costly. It was understandable in such a game. It came as little surprise that when the referee sounded his whistle at the end of the extra-time, it would be a signal for an upcoming penalty-shootout.

The nerves would continue. Both teams missed their opening spot-kick before converting their second. Witek would, unsurprisingly, be the man to convert for his team. Górnik would convert again to lead.

Nemanja Nedic stepped-up for Tychy. The centre-back was an unlikely taker at this stage of the shootout but looked confident nevertheless. He took a couple of strides back before making his run-up and struck the ball to his left. The keeper went the wrong-way. 2-2.

Górnik converted again and the pressure continued to mount. 3-2. Oskar Paprzycki, a 22-year-old midfielder, stepped-up. He looked far less assured than Nedic did previously. It proved. His penalty was comfortably saved.

It meant that the visitors had the opportunity to win the shootout from their next penalty. Whistles and jeers filled the stadium in a desperate attempt to deter and put off Aleksander Jagiello, the penalty-taker, but they would be in vain.

Tychy and Witek were defeated. A bittersweet end for a beloved hometown hero. He left the pitch devastated. His career ending on a chapter of disappointment...

Author's Notes

Many thanks for taking the opportunity to read my introductory post to 'Sebastian Witek: The Polish Eagle.' I am new to writing on FM Scout however have plenty of experience writing on various other FM forums. I have enjoyed reading a number of threads on this site, namely Jack's 'Neil Godwin: The Next Episode' and J_ames's 'Oriol Vivas - Creating a Dynasty' which has brought me over to this site to share my own save/story.

I really enjoy the creative aspects of Football Manager and creating a backstory like this is something that I have often done in the past. I am really looking forward to documenting this here and hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

All Change In Tychy


Just a week removed from their playoff semi-final defeat to Górnik Łęczna, it's all change in the dugout at Stadion Miejski.

Supporters were left taken aback with the sudden departure of head-coach Artur Derbin after less than twelve months in the role just twenty-four hours after Tychy's heartbreaking penalty shootout defeat. However, the club have moved quickly in order to find a replacement.

The defeat to Górnik Łęczna also brought an end to the playing-career of Sebastian Witek as he waved goodbye to the Tychy faithful. It was expected that Witek would return to the stands to support his boyhood club following his retirement, however, he will instead take to the dugout after being named the successor to his former boss Derbin.

Derbin arrived in the summer of 2020 having departed his previous employers GKS Belchatow at the end of the season. He oversaw the club's survival in the second-tier following promotion the season prior, albeit doing so marginally. Belchatow survived on goal-difference with a goal-swing of just two goals enough to keep their heads above water.

Witek's appointment comes with mixed reactions, understandably. Despite boasting of an experienced playing-career and a strong relationship with the club and its supporters, Witek enters the dugout with no previous managerial experience.

In a club statement announcing his appointment, Witek said: "I am delighted to continue my journey with this incredible football club. I was all set to hang up my boots and walk away. I was uncertain about what the future had in store for me but this unexpected opportunity arose. I have always praised myself on taking whatever comes my way in my stride and I see this as no different.

I was devastated by how the end of the season unfolded. I made it no secret that I wanted to guide my boyhood club back into the Ekstraklasa before I walked off the pitch for the final time. I didn't manage that. Now this is a second chance to write the wrongs and do what I set out to do from the dugout."
Welcome and good luck

Sebastian Witek: A Biography


Witek was a successful prospect at the Lech Poznan academy and came through the youth ranks at a rapid rate. At the age of eighteen, he was brought into the first-team and played a handful of games as the club won the I Liga title to win promotion into the Ekstraklasa after a two-year hiatus from the top-flight of the Polish game.

The following season, Witek was allowed to depart the club on loan and enjoyed a breakout season in the I Liga with Górnik Polkowice. He was an ever-present in the title-winning side and earned plaudits for his performances in the centre of midfield, chipping in with six goals across the course of the campaign. He would later return to Lech Poznan the following season and stake a claim for a regular first-team spot.

From the 2004/05 campaign, Witek would be a constant figure in the Poznan starting eleven. His most successful season in a Kolejorz shirt came during the 2009/10 season when the club would lift the Ekstraklasa title for the first time since 1993, the sixth time in the club's history. Witek contributed to fifteen goal involvements over the season and won the Player of the Year award.

Prior to departing the club in 2016, Witek was part of seven trophy-winning sides. This included winning the Ekstraklasa in both 2010 and 2015, the Puchar Polski (Polish Cup) in 2004 and 2009 and the Superpuchar Polski (Polish Super Cup) in 2004, 2009 and 2015.

Witek's final few seasons were spent with his boyhood club, GKS Tychy, whom he joined on a free transfer. He would be part of two playoff campaigns in his four seasons at the club but would prove to be unsuccessful in both efforts as the club failed to win promotion to the Ekstraklasa.

Comments

Justice: Thank you, it's greatly appreciated!

Tychy Flatter To Deceive Ahead of New Season


Following last season's playoff heartbreak, Sebastian Witek is keen to usher in fresh optimism as he makes the transition from the pitch to the dugout. However, it has been an eye-opening pre-season campaign for the inexperienced head-coach.

GKS Tychy concluded their pre-season preparations with a 2-2 draw against Ruch Chorzów in front of an impressive 4,190 spectators. After initially taking the lead and doubling their advantage within thirteen minutes, the hosts would ultimately sacrifice the game with two minutes to spare as Ruch, who achieved promotion from the fourth-tier last season after their spectacular demise from being an Ekstraklasa side as recently as 2017, fought back.

It has been an underwhelming number of weeks for Witek as he prepares for his first competitive game in charge against Zagłębie Sosnowiec next week. A couple of losses against Ekstraklasa opposition to begin pre-season was arrested with a 3-2 victory over Lechia Gdansk before another defeat to top-flight opponents in Wisla Plock.

However, it was the two proceeding games to the recent draw with Ruch that has been the most alarming disappointing for Tychy. A 2-0 loss against Chojniczanka Chojnice was followed up with a further defeat to a lower-league opponent in Czech outfit FC Hlučín.

There has been minimal activity in the transfer window heading into the new season with just two new faces. Jan Majsterek joined on loan from Jagiellonia Bialystok to increase the number of defensive options in the heart of the defence, whilst Wojciech Lisowski also arrived on loan from Pogoń Szczecin. The 29-year-old looks set to nail down the right-back position this season.

It begs the question of whether further additions are required if Tychy have their sights set on challenging for promotion to the Ekstraklasa this season.

Squad


The first-choice goalkeeper this season will undoubtably be Konrad Jalocha with the 30-year-old entering his fifth season at the club. He has been an ever-present since initially joining the club on loan part-way through the 2017/18 campaign from Legia. He will be supported by the deputising Adrian Odyjewski who also enters a fifth season at club. A more than capable back-up, Tychy supporters will still be hopeful that they won't be seeing all too much of the former GKS Katowice shot-stopper.

Stanislaw Czarnoglowski is a young 17-year-old goalkeeper with a bright future ahead of him but is still in the infancy of his development and is unlikely to feature at any stage this season. It will, however, be beneficial for him to be in and around the first-team squad to aid his progression.

Arguably the star man of the side is central-defender Nemanja Nedić. The Montenegrin arrived on a free transfer last summer from his native club side Sutjeska and impressed. He will be an ever-present this season and will likely feature alongside Kamil Szymura once again this season after the pair achieved a strong partnership at the back last term. They are supported by the recent loan arrival of Jan Majsterek.

There is far from a lack of depth at left-back with four names capable of playing a role this season. The lead name appears to be Krzysztof Wolkowicz who possesses a good well-roundness to his overall game. He will be supported by Wisla Krakow loanee Krystian Wachowiak and youngsters Marcel Stefaniak and Konrad Pipia.

On the opposing side, Tychy boast of the loan signature of Wojciech Lisowski alongside 31-year-old experienced defender Maciej Mańka. However, Tychy have been dealt a severe blow with Mańka set to be on the sidelines for the foreseeable future with a serious injury that has cast doubts over his playing-career. It means that Dominik Polap, primarily a winger, may be asked to provide cover.

The midfield will comprise of primarily younger talents supported by the experienced head of Łukasz Grzeszczyk who will likely act as the number ten in the adopted 4-2-3-1 system Witek has persisted with throughout pre-season. Wiktor Żytek and Mateusz Czyzycki appear to be the favoured duo in the heart of the midfield with Jakub Piatek and Kacper Janiak providing depth and support.

The latter will be crucial to providing numbers towards the rule adopted in Poland whereby one U21 Polish player must be included within the starting eleven at all times.

The wings will likely see plenty of action for both Sebastian Steblecki and Bartosz Biel. Steblecki presents as one of the highest-earners within the squad but certainly has the ability to back the pay he receives. The pair are both entering their prime years at the ages of 29 and 27, respectively.

Finally, there are four recognised strikers at the club with Slovak Tomas Malek the standout name having arrived from FK Senica where he scored eight goals last season. He will be supported by Gracjan Jaroch, who will be hoping to impress in the second-tier where he did for his previous employers Warta Poznan as they won promotion in 2020.

Daniel Rumin is unlikely to see many minutes this season and instead will likely fall further down the pecking-order to young 20-year-old Marcin Kozina who appears to be an exciting prospect.

Winter Break* Update


Transfers



Despite expecting a fairly quiet Deadline Day, it proved to be anything but for Sebastian Witek as Karlsruhe came calling for Oskar Paprzycki. The midfielder rather forced a move away after an initial bid was rejected before the two parties settled on a fee of £40,000. The departure prompted some initial panic in the dressing-room as vice-captain Łukasz Grzeszczyk voiced his displeasure.

However, a replacement would be brought in prior to the closure of the transfer market. Patryk Mucha arrived from promotion-rivals Widzew Łódź for £50,000. The 24-year-old had enjoyed a strong start to the season with Widzew Łódź after making thirty appearances for them last term and appeared to be the perfect replacement.

There would be a further departure to mention as Kacper Dana also departed. The youngster, who was set for a season in the U23's, had little chance of ever making the grade at Tychy and it was therefore deemed reasonable that he be able to depart to pursue opportunities at GKS Jastrzębie.

Results


A blistering start to the season that saw Tychy win all seven games in August enabled them to build a strong buffer at the top of the I Liga table. During this period, they maintained five clean-sheets and conceded just two goals in the process whilst only failing to net more than once on just one occasion during a tightly-contested win over Arka Gdynia.

September would continue to see Tychy go undefeated but featured three draws from four league games. It would also feature the opening round of the Puchar Polski where penalties were required to provide a winner against Podbeskidzie Bielsko-Biała. The hosts prevailed in a 5-4 win, scoring all five of their penalties before Adrian Odyjewski denied Jakub Bieronski.

The first loss of the Witek regime came rather convincingly as a below-par Tychy surrendered to Górnik Polkowice in a 3-1 defeat but the response to this was pleasing. Back-to-back games against either side from Łódź provided four points from a possible six, an important tally given both sides are pushing for promotion alongside us.

The Puchar Polski adventure ended in the second round with defeat to Ekstraklasa side Wisła Kraków, however we can be extremely pleased with our efforts as a fatigued eleven managed to take Wisla to extra-time and, arguably, were unfortunate not to take the lead on a couple of occasions.

Since, Tychy have remained undefeated and head into the midway point of the campaign with just one defeat to their name whilst boasting of both an impressive attack and defensive record that sees them place second in goals scored and goals conceded.

League Table


A couple of recent draws have the division looking a little closer than it has at times this season. We currently hold a mere two point advantage over the chasing pack which is currently headed by ŁKS Łódź with their city-rivals behind them in third, albeit with a six point deficit. The rest of the division is closely congested as just six points separates third from tenth.

Squad


Konrad Jalocha has been a mainstay when fit this season as expected. He unfortunately suffered a knock that meant he missed out on three games during September but has impressed otherwise. This is reflected in an impressive tally of nine clean-sheets from sixteen games.

The goalkeeper has been supported by Nemanja Nedić who has undoubtably been the key-man so far this season. A rock at the back, he has struck up an impressive partnership with whomever he has been put alongside.

Sebastian Steblecki has featured in all twenty-one games, as has Tomas Malek with the pair responsible for the most goal involvements. They have been supported by Bartosz Biel with the winger having netted six times.

Elsewhere, new signings Wojciech Lisowski and Patryk Mucha have also impressed at the halfway stage of the season.

Upcoming Fixtures


Whilst it has been an impressive start to the season, we must remember there is still a lot of football to be contested between now and the end of the season. The winter-break spans almost three months before we return at the end of February. We begin by facing the side at the foot of the table, GKS Katowice.

*As you can see above, I stupidly forgot to save the game to the point where it includes the final game before the winter-break, so please excuse this!
Top of the table is the dream position. A good run of form to steamroll away from second place would help to relieve any pressure going into the latter stage of the season
polska league must be tough good luck to sebastien

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