In the 1990’s traditional rivalry between Widzew and Legia was amongst the most exciting in the Polish Premier League. The match played on 18 June 1997 entered the Polish football lore.
In 1996, four rounds before the end of regular season, Widzew faced Legia Warszawa away. The winner of that game was supposed to almost surely secure the champion of Poland title for its club. Until the 80th minute the score was 1:1 tie - then Piotr Szarpak scored for the Lodz team and the championship title went to Lodz.
One year later the same two teams met also at Legia home ground to decide to whom the championship title would go this time. They were both full of national team players and two rounds before the end of regular season the difference between them in the league table was just one point. The team from Warsaw wanted revenge and they were very self-confident. - If we win, Widzew will most probably fall apart and we will hold the championship title for some seasons to come - said Jacek Zieliński the then defender of Legia.
The game was progressing in accordance with Legia wishes. In 12th minute Cezary Kucharski scored the first goal for them. In the second half Sylwester Czereszewski added on the second goal and fans of the home team started to celebrate the championship title. However, as it turned out later, they did it a bit prematurely. In 88th minute Sławomir Majak opened the score for the visitors, two minutes later Dariusz Gęsior scored the equalizing goal. In the injury time Andrzej Michalczuk scored for the third time for Widzew giving the club the second championship title in a row.
Euphoria filled the streets of Lodz. - In "Siódemki" [The Sevens] pub in Piotrkowska street the game was watched by more than 500 fans. After Majak scored, no-one was sitting there any more. Only a few saw the third goal as the crowd was jumping and people were throwing themselves in each other arms. Some men stripped down to their underwear in celebration of victory. Red and white victory parade alongside the main street of the city was greeted by residents who watched it from balconies and windows. Fans were heard shouting till early in the morning in pubs and gardens. Several hundred cars decorated in Widzew club colours were driving around Lodz. A dozen or so men were riding huge Harley-Davidson motorcycles with the flag of Widzew attached to them - this is how local media reported the feast.
18 June 1997
Legia Warszawa - Widzew Łódź 2:3 (1:0)
Goals: Kucharski (12.), Czereszewski (57.) - Majak (88.), Gęsior (90.), Michalczuk (90.)
Legia: Szamotulski - Kozioł, Zieliński, Skrzypek, Sokołowski - Czereszewski, Staniek, Czykier, Bednarz - Kucharski (87. Kacprzak), Mięciel (90. Jałocha).
Widzew: Szczęsny - Szymkowiak, Łapiński, Bogusz (72. Szarpak), Michalczuk - Gęsior, Miąszkiewicz (65. Curtian), Michalski, Siadaczka - Majak, Dembiński.