Ekstraliga Preview - Round Two

GREAT Britain stars Tai Woffinden and Dan Bewley head to Leszno on Friday for an early-season clash of Ekstraliga heavyweights.

Image courtesy of Darren Bott

The Wroclaw duo were involved in a comfortable opening-night win over Lublin last weekend but will now face a much sterner test in a repeat of last year’s Grand Final.

The reverse league fixture in 2019 saw Woffinden pile up 16 points although he couldn’t prevent his side from going down to a 40-50 defeat – and when they met last September, Leszno wrapped up the title with an emphatic 59-31 victory.

The home side have topped the regular table for the last two seasons, and have won the last three league crowns, whilst Wroclaw are hotly tipped to end their title drought which goes all the way back to 2006 – despite the fact that they have reached the play-offs in each of the last five seasons.

Leszno are unbeaten at home for nearly three years, but Woffinden was involved in a surprise 46-44 Wroclaw victory at the Alfred Smoczyk Stadium in May 2017.

Friday’s meeting will see him go up against Grand Prix rival Emil Sayfutdinov, with the two scheduled to meet in Heat 9.

And whilst Bewley faces arguably the toughest league match of his career, he can take confidence from his last outing at the venue when he finished on the rostrum in a World Under-21 Final series event in 2018.

Meanwhile Robert Lambert looks to build on his stunning start to the season when Rybnik travel to Grudziadz in the early meeting, with both sides looking to get off the mark for 2020.

Lambert racked up a 14-point haul from six rides in last Sunday’s home defeat against Zielona Gora, and once again looks set to be used tactically in the No.8 position by the top-flight newcomers.

The meeting will see him face former World Champion Nicki Pedersen, although the man to watch for the hosts is undoubtedly Artem Laguta, who went through the card with a full 18-point haul at Czestochowa on Monday – the first six-ride Ekstraliga maximum for over two years.

Elsewhere, Sunday’s fixtures feature Lublin hosting Gorzow, whilst Zielona Gora take on Czestochowa.