What to Expect from Legia Warsaw in the Europa League 2015 – 2016
Traditionally, Poland’s Legia Warsaw have not been high-profile contenders in Europe’s club football tournaments. While the team reached the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League in 1970 (and the quarterfinals of the UCL in both 1971 and 1996), they never won a title in the tournament. Their history at the Europa League, while more consistent, is even less noteworthy. While Legia Warsaw have been a near-constant presence in the early qualifying rounds of the UEL, they’ve only made it past the group stage twice before. What should we expect from Legia Warsaw in the Europa League 2015 – 2016? Only time will tell.
Legia Warsaw’s Europa League History
The good news for football fans in the Legia Warsaw home jersey 2015 – 2016 is that the Legionnaires have enjoyed their best Europa League performances in just the past few years.
Indeed, the first time the Polish football club made it beyond the groups was in 2011 – 2012. After narrowly beating both Gaziantepspor and Spartak Moscow, in the third qualifying round and the playoff round, respectively, the Legionnaires managed a surprise second place in their group stage draw. They still picked up two losses in the group (two of them against Dutch powerhouse PSV Eindhoven), but managed to win their other three and claim second in the group.
Unfortunately, Legia Warsaw were drawn against PSV Eindhoven once again for the round of 32. And while the Legionnaires managed a draw in the first leg of the round (2-2), they lost big in the second (0-4) to be eliminated from the tournament.
Warsaw were back in the fray in 2014 – 2015. They beat Kazakhstan’s FC Aktobe in the playoffs and topped their group (against the likes of Trabzonspor, Lokeren, and Metalist Kharkiv) to earn a spot in the knockout stages. Once again, though, the Legionnaires had a tough draw for the round of 32 (against AFC Ajax), and ended up losing the round on an aggregate score of 0-4.
Has Legia’s Time Come?
Fans of Legia Warsaw, though, are hoping for something more. The soccer squad had a very good season in 2014 – 2015, not only reaching the round of 32 in the Europa League but also nearly winning the title in the Polish Ekstraklasa. The Legionnaires actually were the strongest football team in Poland during the regular season, winning 17 of their 30 matches to top the table.
In the championship playoff segment of the season, meanwhile, Warsaw won 21 additional games—more than any other soccer club in the league. Unfortunately, they also picked up nine losses, which left them one point behind Lech Poznan in the title race.
With strong domestic and international performances under their belt from last season, could 2015 – 2016 be Legia Warsaw’s time to make a real mark on the Europa League? It’s certainly possible. The Legionnaires crushed Romania’s FC Botosani on a 4-0 aggregate in the second qualifying round. They did the same to Albania’s FC Kukësi in the third qualifying round. And they topped Ukrainian soccer club FC Zorya Luhansk in the playoffs, successfully earning a spot in the group stage.
In fact, Legia Warsaw have only had one hiccup in the 2015 – 2016 Europa League so far. On September 17th, they lost 0-1 in an away match against Denmark’s Midtjylland. It was a disappointing start to the group stage for the Legionnaires, but it was only one game out of an eventual sixth. Legia also aren’t in last place in Group D: they are ahead of Belgium’s Club Brugge, who lost 0-5 in their opening group stage fixture, with Napoli.
Can the Legionnaires turn things around in the 2015 – 2016 Europa League on October 1st, when they don the Legia Warsaw jersey 2015 – 2016 to host Napoli at the Polish Army Stadium? At Soccer Box, we want to hear your predictions, so find us on social media to discuss the Europa League action! We are active on Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn and other popular social networks.