Aug 10 2011

Crazy week for Slovan!

Published by at 2:34 am under Domestic,European and tagged: , ,

Regular readers may be wondering where is the response to what has been a highly eventful week by Slovak football standards, especially for Slovan Bratislava.  Well Britski Belasi went on holiday last Friday, and what a day to be travelling!  After 10 hours in the air, upon reconnecting with the world through Vancouver Airport Wifi with a slightly out-of-sync body clock, I really had a shock with the news on my timeline.  Thanks to all for the updates, by the way!

Well, I knew I’d miss the Europa League draw, and I also knew we would most likely be given a tough opponent, but I honestly hadn’t reckoned with being paired against AS Roma!  My reaction to this draw is very mixed.  Obviously the plum tie should generate another special night at Pasienky, and Rome is also a feasible destination for the fans to travel on what should be a thoroughly enjoyable trip.  I just can’t see any way we will have a chance against a top Serie A side.  Which is a pity, because after the disappointment of the APOEL defeat, one thing that was evident is that we are definitely lacking European experience.  I really hoped we could get to the Europa League group stages where another 6 matches would potentially give us invaluable experience for any potential future attempts at Champions League qualification.  MSK Zilina proved the value of competitive European experience by benefiting from good runs in the Europa League in the 08/09 and 09/10 seasons to help them achieve qualification for the CL in 10/11.  Unfortunately the task which faces Slovan is a massive one, 6.15 the latest odds on a home-win in the first leg and you can get 10.00 on Slovan progressing to the next round.  Basically, it ain’t going to happen.

Anyway, aside from the difference in class between the teams, it is a very attractive tie for fans wanting to travel.  Let’s hope Slovan make the most of it, and that the team and the fans perform admirably in both legs.  I got lucky with the APOEL home match, but I won’t be able to make either of the Roma fixtures, so any readers planning on attending either leg, please do let me know!

There was no time to digest the Roma story before another even more eye-catching headline came before my eyes.  Vladimir Weiss already announced as new Slovan coach!  I really didn’t see that coming, but having had time to think about it, I think it could be a great move by Slovan.  The Jarolim rumour had only surfaced on the day of the APOEL game, and from the tone of my previous blog post, you can tell I wasn’t happy about it, but this is one outcome I can live with.

You can’t really blame Jarolim for taking the offer of big bucks out in Saudi, I just wish the timing had been different.  I really feared that a Champions League exit, the coach departing, Sebo noticeably arguing with fans on his way to the dressing room after the APOEL defeat, could all culminate in a sudden massive change for the worse at Slovan, but announcing Weiss is a massive step to keeping the ‘ship’ on a straight course.  He should be fully respected by the players, most of whom will want to impress to enhance their National Team chances ahead of huge Euro 2012 qualifying games and, looking forward, the next World Cup campaign.  I don’t see any reason why he can’t double up as Slovan and Slovakia coach.  We already know Weiss was linked with a move to Legia Warsaw earlier in the year, but surely staying in Slovakia is much better for all involved.  He can keep a really close eye on the Slovan ranks and the Slovak league in general, while his scouting team will continue to monitor most of the squad who are playing elsewhere.   The assistant coaches remain in place, so hopefully business will continue as normal for Slovan in the next few weeks.

The other massive boost after the appointment of Weiss was the victory over Spartak Trnava.  Having had only a couple of days to get the squad ready after the Champions League disappointment, this was a very risky fixture for Slovan.  I heard they didn’t play particularly well, and Trnava were distinctly hapless in defence, but at least the 3 points were secured here which keeps us in touch with the early pace-setters in the league.  Weiss picked 2 strikers, something Jarolim really should have done 4 days earlier, and once again Juraj Halenar scored.  It might not be too long before we are singing “Halenar-gol”, but let’s hope he and Filip Sebo can start to form a consistent and reliable strike partnership.  There should be plenty of goals for Slovan if that happens.

So there we have it; elimination from the Champions League, paired with AS Roma, a new coach and victory in the local derby, quite an eventful week to say the least!  Up next for Slovan, a trip to Dukla Banska Bystrica who have won their last 3 matches and sit level on points with the Champions.  At least for once, Slovan will have had a full week without European distractions, it should be a very interesting fixture.

One response so far

One Response to “Crazy week for Slovan!”

  1.   StaryJazvecon 11 Aug 2011 at 10:36 pm

    Unprincipled badge kissing.

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