Analysis: The Bosnian Premier League 2015-2016

footballThe Bosnian Premier League 2015-16 is halfway and about to kick off for the second part of the competition. This season is the 16th official season since its establishment in 2000 and its fourteenth as a unified country-wide league.  The Bosnian Premier League consists of 16 teams with this year’s two newcomers FK Rudar Prijedor and FK Mladost Doboj Kakanj as promoted teams.

The rules within the BPL regarding European qualification and relegation are as follows. The champion will qualify for the Champions League second qualifying round. The number two and three at the end of the competition will qualify for the Europa League first qualifying round.  This basically means that the first top three teams still have to take some obstacles and have to beat other European teams prior to official placement for these two main tournaments.  In this regard, there are solely three tickets available for qualification for European tournaments which leaves a lot of teams empty handed in the end. There is however another opportunity to qualify for the Europa League by winning the national cup. In terms of relegation rules, the two teams that finish at the bottom at the end of the competition will face relegation. It depends on the geographical location of the teams to which division they will relegate. This could either be the First League of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina or the First League of Republika Srpska.

The current defending champion of the League is FK Sarajevo.  Prior to the start of the second phase of the competition, Sarajevo still has a lot of work to do as they are currently ranked on the 5th place although they have a decent four-game win streak prior to the mid-season break. The runner up of last season Željezničar is struggling this season and need to deliver a better performance to obtain a ticket for the European tournaments. This season, the surprising current leader of the BPL is Sloboda Tuzla (40 points). It would be a great performance if they could maintain this position as they have not won any prizes since the start of the BPL. Following the competition table, Sloboda Tuzla is followed by:

  1. Zrinjski Mostar   (39 points)
  2. Široki Brijeg (36 points)
  3. Radnik Bijelina   (35 points)
  4. FK Sarajevo   (34 points)
  5. Željezničar   (28 points)
  6. Čelik Zenica   (28 points)
  7. Mladost Doboj Kakanj (26 points)
  8. Slavija   (25 points)
  9. Vitez   (23 points)
  10. Olimpic   (19 points)
  11. Borac Banja Luka   (18 points)
  12. Travnik   (17 points)
  13. Rudar Prijedor   (16 points)
  14. Drina Zvornik   (9 points)
  15. Velež Mostar   (8 points)

Drina Zvornik and Velež Mostar are in serious trouble and really need to step up their game in order to avoid relegation. This will not be, in any case, an easy task due to the gap with Rudar Prijedor. The second phase of the competition will start on Saturday the 27th of February. Drina Zvornik immediately has a great chance to catch up as they play against Rudar Prijedor. Another interesting match on the other side of the table is the one between Zrinjski Mostar and FK Sarajevo. The result between these two will re-shape the title race if Sarajevo manages to grasp the three points. Željezničar will face the strong side Široki Brijeg but can, with a victory, reduce the gap between the two by 5 points. Although the competition still has a long way to go, a good start is more than important in order to secure qualification for the European tournaments or to avoid relegation at the end of this season.

Written by Dustin Giel

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