After a year away, Sigma Olomouc are back in the Czech top flight.
Truth be told, Olomouc’s major club should never have been relegated in the first place. How they slipped from being dark horses for the league championship to the second division in eighteen months has mystified the great and the good, but they look a lot better for their brief stint away from the spotlight of the Synot Liga. Leos Kalvoda has subtly altered a couple of things, but by and large wholesale changes have been avoided. Instead it’s been about evolution, not revolution and that dark cloud that once circled the Andruv Stadion has certainly been blown away.
Last season: 1st FNL
Odds: 250/1 (Bwin)
With strong foundations already in place there hasn’t been a need to go out and spend money this summer. Instead, Kalvoda has opted to strengthen the defence and add a little more depth to his already bulging attacking options. One such newcomer is the all-time top scorer in the Slovak first division, Juraj Halenar. But despite his pedigree over the border, there’s no guarantee that the three-time international forward will even make Sigma’s first-eleven, such is their almost bloated number of options up front.
Everywhere you look there is competition for places; enough to make sure that Sigma Olomouc won’t be discussed as potential relegation candidates.
From the battle between Czech Under-21 international Michal Riechl and Milos Butcha for the number one jersey up through the ranks to the monumental tussle involving Vaclav Vasicek, Tomas Chory, Juraj Halenar and others, Sigma are strong enough to be mentioned alongside the likes of Teplice, Slovan Liberec and Dukla who are likely to be secure in the Synot Liga’s top half.
Pre-season has seen results fluctuate: On one end of the scale they have easily dispatched Polish top flight side Piast Gliwice quite comfortably and put five past Spartak Myjava, but they were easily defeated by Slovak champions Trencin and Gazovik Orenburg from the Russian second tier. But these wild variations can be explained to some degree by the club’s decision to host multiple games on the same day, splitting the squad in two in process.
With a moderate opening to the season (Teplice, Pribram, Bohemians 1905 and Brno), Sigma have a chance at getting some early points on the board. If they do, they could quite easily get on a roll and ruffle a few feathers.
Michal Ordos – Capable of playing in both midfield and attack, Michal Ordos is a long-standing servant of Sigma and is one of the group that stayed at the club despite being relegated. A one-time Czech international, Ordos typically finds himself amongst the goals and was the league’s top scorer in 2009-10 and runner-up in 2012-13. Expect him to find the net on a regular basis once again.
One to watch
Jakub Plsek – Last season Plsek scored ten times from central midfield and if he can translate even half of that goal-scoring nous to the Synot Liga then he should enjoy a very solid season at the very least. Somewhat gangly looking, the Czech Under-21 international hasn’t always been used from the get-go and with Denis Cana, Michal Ordos and David Houska all vying to start, Plsek could, initially, find himself tasked with being an impact substitute – a potentially devastating one.
- Posted by Chris Boothroyd
- On 25th July 2015