Over the years I’ve received a host of questions regarding the Polish league, so I thought I’d put everything in one place to aid those foreigners who seek to follow the league a little more closely. So here goes:
Watching the league from abroad
The best (and only) place to start is by bookmarking this dailymotion site. The Ekstraklasa and Dailymotion have done a deal which allows you to watch all Ekstraklasa games from abroad. Yes, that’s right no dodgy streams just direct access. The site also has highlights packages. Heavily recommended.
The best Twitter account and website to follow on this front is Ekstrastats. Set up several years ago this team provide a host of interesting statistical data regarding the league. While almost everything they produce is in Polish, some clever usage of google translate is very productive. In addition they produce a lot of neat graphics regarding the league.
Finding out fixture information
Many Twitter and Facebook followers ask me about fixture details. Well there’s a website to go to which has pretty much everything on that front -it’s 90minut.pl. This is an exhaustive resource which contains not just fixtures but historical results and player statistics from now and the past. The key part regarding fixtures is on the left hand side bar. There you can find the Ekstraklasa fixtures, all the way down to the lowest leagues. If you don’t want to mess around with google translate there’s Soccerway which updates relatively regularly. Unfortunately it’s not as up to date as 90minut.pl. It’s important to note that often fixture dates and times are not finalised until several weeks before the fixtures are announced.
Buying tickets for games
Ekstraklasa clubs have various different methods for selling tickets, sometimes you can buy online abroad but the best method is to turn up to the match in question with a passport or valid ID card several hours in advance and buy tickets that way. Sometimes clubs will make you a Fan’s card (Karta Kibica) but if you bring a passport and ID card there will be no problem in getting one of these done. For really big games it makes sense (if you can) to turn up to matches several days in advance and get tickets. In my experience only the biggest games – derbies – Lech vs Legia etc sell out more than 3 or 4 days in advance. You can try and contact clubs directly regarding buying tickets in advance – but they don’t always respond.
Attending games and safety
Polish football has a bad reputation abroad in terms of fan violence. I’m not saying it’s not there but violent incidents are very rare at Polish games these days and stadiums are in the main modern and safe (especially in the Ekstraklasa). You should have no problems but just a few little tips, don’t speak English too loud and don’t wear other club colours (scarves, shirts etc) at games. By blending in you’ll be fine.
Buying train and bus tickets in Poland
If you want to travel across the country by train the website to go is that of the PKP – Polish state railways. Tickets can be bought online and you can download them as PDFs and then put them on your digital device of choice or they can be printed. I’d advise buying tickets in advance because otherwise – even for westerners – the prices can be rather high. If you buy suitably in advance you can make the journey between Kraków and Warsaw in 2 and a half hours and pay as little as 49zl (11 Euro 30) one way.
For bus travel – which obviously takes longer the best place to go is Polskibus. Kraków to Warsaw takes about 5 hours on these buses, but you do get free wifi and if you book in advance the tickets are very cheap, and it’s a good option if train prices are too high.
That’s it for the moment – I’ll update this post if and when other information comes up, hope it’s useful and enjoy your first baby steps watching the Polish league!