Gornik Zabrze

Gornik Zabrze (Polish pronunciation: [ˈɡurɲiɡ ˈzabʐɛ]) is a Polish football club from Zabrze. Gornik is one of the most successful Polish football clubs in history, winning the second-most Polish Championship titles together with Ruch Chorzow. The club was a dominant force in the 1960s and 1980s. Gornik holds the record for winning the most consecutive Polish Championship titles (5) and Polish Cup titles (5). In addition, the club was 1969–70 Cup Winners' Cup runners-up.

The club plays in a white or dark blue-red kit, and is based at the Ernest Pohl Stadium. Their main local rival is Ruch Chorzow.

History

First years

The club was founded in 1948, three years after Polish borders had moved westward and the city of Zabrze became part of the Polish Republic. Gornik was patterned after several smaller sports associations that had existed in Zabrze between 1945 and 1948 – KS Zjednoczenie, KS Pogon, KS Skra, and KS Concordia. The clubs merged into a single organization, which took the name "Gornik", the Polish word for "Miner", reflecting the fact that Zabrze was an important coal-mining centre.

In 1950 Gornik joined the Opole Silesia regional league. In 1952 the club was promoted to the Polish Second Division. Their first game in the second tier was against Skra Czestochowa, and was witnessed by 20,000 fans, with Gornik winning 5–1. The whole season was very successful and Gornik finished second overall, behind Gornik Walbrzych.

The club was promoted to the top division in 1955. In their first game in the top flight Gornik beat local rivals Ruch Chorzow 3–1, with 25,000 in attendance; the club finished the season in 6th place.

First successes

In 1957, just a year after promotion, Gornik won its first championship of Poland. The team, with star, Ernest Pohl, was third in 1958, to regain the crown in 1959 and 1961, together with such players as Stanislaw Oslizlo and Hubert Kostka. In 1961 Gornik for the first time appeared in European Cups, losing in the first round to Tottenham Hotspur.

Golden years

The next championship, won in 1963, marked the beginning of an unusual streak of five consecutive titles (1963, 64, 65, 66 and 67), which is a Polish record.

Gornik's biggest success in European football took place in 1970 (even though in Poland the team was second, after Legia Warsaw). In the UEFA Cup Winners Cup, Gornik beat all their opponents – Olympiacos, Rangers, Levski Sofia and AS Roma, reaching the final, which took place in Vienna. There, Manchester City turned out to be the better team, winning 2–1. The following season Gornik would once again play Manchester City, with the 1970 final being repeated this time in the quarter-final.

Late 1970s and early 1980s

During the mid-1970s Gornik form deteriorated and in late spring of 1978, the team was relegated to the Second Division. However, it returned after one year and in games of 1979–80, Zabrze's side finished sixth. In 1984, after purchasing of a group of talented players (Ryszard Komornicki, Waldemar Matysik, Eugeniusz Cebrat, Andrzej Zgutczynski, Tadeusz Dolny, Andrzej Palasz), Gornik finished fourth, which was a sign of better times.

Late 1980s until now

Between 1985 and 1988 Gornik again marked a magnificent streak, with four consecutive championships. Zabrze's side also played versus renowned European powerhouses, such as Bayern Munich, Anderlecht, Hamburger SV, Juventus and Real Madrid.

In 1994 Gornik competed again for the title and with players as Jerzy Brzeczek, Grzegorz Mielcarski, Tomasz Waldoch, hopes were high. Before the last round of the league the standings at the top were: Legia 47 points and Gornik 45 points. Since the two teams were to face each other in Warsaw, Gornik still had a chance to win the title. However the game ended in a 1–1 tie which gave Legia the crown. Before Legia scored the goal which gave her the title (the score 0–1 would mean the title for Gornik), the referee of the match – Mr Redzinski – sent off one by one 3 players from Gornik's squad, and Gornik had to finished match with only 8 players against 11 players of Legia. It was the last match in Mr Redzinski's career.

In the same year, Gornik played its last so far game in European Cups, losing to Admira Wacker Vienna.

In the spring of 2007 Gornik got a new sponsor – German insurance company Allianz. However, after finishing 16th in the Ekstraklasa in 2008–09, the club was relegated to the Polish First League, the 2nd level of Polish football, during the 2009–10 season. In June 2010, the club earned promotion back to the Ekstraklasa for the 2010–11 season.

This page also has a version in other languages:  Гурник (Забже) (@@русский@@)

Gornik Zabrze