Polish Club Football 2023/2024

The European leagues have one by one concluded their 2023/2024 season, and today we will take a look at the Polish top league, Ekstraklasa, with a usual focus on the top scorers from the past season.

Polish fans with scarfs
Polish fans can look forward to the Euro 2024
Although the Polish national team is highly respected and has qualified for the European Championship this summer, they have a harder time making a mark at club level. Ekstraklasa is ranked only 21st among all European leagues by UEFA. This ranking is based on how club teams perform in European competitions, where Polish teams often struggle, explaining the low ranking. Therefore, we begin by looking at how the Polish teams performed in European competitions, then continue with the domestic league and conclude by listing the top scorers of the season.

Polish Teams in European Competitions

Last season's league winners were Raków Częstochowa, and they failed to qualify for the Champions League, being knocked out by the Danish FC Copenhagen in the final play-off round. Instead, they played in the Europa League but finished last in their group, which was by the way won by Atalanta, who ultimately won the Europa League final by beating Bayer Leverkusen last week.

Legia Warszawa had to qualify for the Europa Conference League and also faced Danish opposition in the form of Midtjylland in their play-off match for that tournament. They performed better and advanced to the group stage after finally defeating Midtjylland on penalties. In the group stage, they finished second in a group won by Aston Villa, thus knocking out, among others, Dutch AZ Alkmaar. By finishing second in the group, they had to play another play-off for a chance to reach the round of 16, where they faced Norwegian Molde. However, they had little to put up against the Norwegians and lost 2-6 on aggregate in the doubleheader.

Surprise winners of Ekstraklasa

The Polish league was won by Jagiellonia Bialystok, who thus claimed their first-ever league title. They had a good period during the 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 seasons when they finished second in the league twice but have been languishing in the lower half of the table in recent seasons, making their league title this season very surprising. If you had bet on Jagiellonia winning the league before the season started, at for example najlepsibukmacherzy.pl, you would have received odds of over 100 to 1 for a league title.

They won the league by a very narrow margin, claiming the title only by goal difference. Both Jagiellonia Bialystok and Slask Wroclaw (also a big surprise in the top) finished with a rather low 63 points, but Jagiellonia had a plus 32 goal difference compared to Slask Wroclaw's plus 19.

Before the final round, both teams were at 60 points, and it looked set to be an exciting final round. Unfortunately, it didn't turn out that way, as Jagiellonia led 3-0 against bottom team Warta Poznan after just 36 minutes, and due to their fine goal difference it would be enough for them to simply win the match. The final result was 3-0, and Slask Wroclaw's 2-1 away win against reigning league champions Raków Częstochowa did little to help them.

The favourites before the season were the Polish giants Legia Warszawa, who are dominant in the all-time Polish league table, but they finished only third this season. For reigning league champions Raków Częstochowa, the season was a major disappointment, and they finished only seventh in the table.

The teams that were relegated were the already mentioned Warta Poznan, as well as Ruch Chorzow and LKS Lodz. There were no surprises there, as all three teams were expected to finish far down in the table.

Top Scorers in Ekstraklasa 2023/2024

Finally, we come to the top scorers, which we of course always like to focus a bit extra on.

Erik Expósito, Slask Wroclaw - 19 goals

The top scorer in Ekstraklasa for the 2023/2024 season was Spaniard Erik Expósito, who scored 19 goals for his Slask Wroclaw, and was thus a major reason why the team could compete at the top until the final round. Expósito may not be the most famous Spanish footballer, but he represented Las Palmas in La Liga for a couple of seasons, even though he didn't play many matches and scored only one goal in La Liga during his time there.

This was his fifth season with Slask Wroclaw, and although he has consistently been a relatively stable goal scorer for the team, with 11 league goals in the 2021/2022 season being his previous best result, this was somewhat of a breakthrough season for him. Since Expósito turns 28 in June, it is doubtful that his results will lead to any significant interest from major clubs in Europe, but after this top scorer title, he certainly has a good bargaining position for his next salary negotiation.

Ilya Shkurin, Stal Mielec - 16 goals

Second in the top scorer list was Belarusian Ilya Shkurin, who plays for Stal Mielec. Shkurin came off a fine season with the Israeli club Maccabi Petah Tikva, where he scored 14 goals in the 2022/2023 season, and he did not disappoint anyone in his new team. His 16 goals are an excellent result considering that Stal Mielec is a club that finished in the lower half of the table.

Kamil Grosicki, Pogoń Szczecin - 13 goals

A much more well-known name than the first two in the top scorer list is the third-placed Kamil Grosicki. The Polish veteran, who turns 36 in June, has an impressive track record with 93 caps and 17 goals for the Polish national team, and even though he is getting older, he still has a knack for scoring goals. This season, he scored 13 goals for his club Pogoń Szczecin, which was enough for a third-place finish in the top scorer list.

Four Players Share Fourth Place

Four players share fourth place in the top scorer list, each with 12 goals, and they are:
  • Jesús Imaz, Jagiellonia Bialystok - a Spaniard who became the top scorer for the championship team this season, along with the next player on the list. This was Imaz's sixth season with the club, and his 12 goals make him the player with the most scored goals in the club's history, 56 in total.
  • Afimico Pululu, Jagiellonia Bialystok - a player from Angola with a background in Swiss club Basel. This was his first season with the team, and it was a great success right away for him, as he both became the team's top scorer (along with Imaz) and league champion.
  • Dawid Kurminowski, Zaglebie Lubin - a 25-year-old Pole who became his team's top scorer. Notably, he scored 10 of his 12 goals in the second half of the season.
  • Efthymis Koulouris, Pogoń Szczecin - a Greek international (18 matches, no goals) who made his debut season with his new team, and became the second bests scorer in the team after Grosicki with his 12 goals.

Andrea Sugler has followed football his whole life and above all the Swedish national team. As Andrea lives in Stockholm, she sees most of the international matches on site, but has also been to most of the European Championships and World Cups in recent years when Sweden has participated, the first time already back in 1992 during the European Championship in Sweden. Andrea also likes to write about football and games, sometimes with successful results.