STA, 5 June 2020 - The national football championship will resume on Friday after being on hold for almost three months due to the coronavirus outbreak, albeit without spectators. All first league players have tested negative for Covid-19 and are ready to go, but it is expected that they will need a game or two to return to top form.
Entering the pitch first today will be players of Aluminij and Mura, and this match will be followed by a Celje-Rudar encounter in the evening.
The national championship was halted in mid-March after 25 out of the 36 scheduled matches played. Olimpija Ljubljana leads the standings with 50 points, ahead of Celje and Aluminij (45 each). The defending champions Maribor are fourth at 43 points.
Olimpija's Ante Vukušić, who is tied at the top of the scorer standings this season, has told the STA that the team is getting back in shape and that it would need a game or two to get to the top of its game.
The Croatian believes that Celje is the top contender for the title. "They have played well, and the coach has constructed the team very well. They are difficult to play," he said, adding that the other competitors were close as well.
"Maribor has gotten an injection of fresh blood with the new coach and director of football and will be very motivated. But all is up to us and I think there will be no major problems," Vukušić believes.
"We have shown the most so far. We have the best starting line-up in the country. I don't underestimate anyone but we know that we have the quality to win it all," he added.
The schedule is complete and matches in the first league are expected to conclude on 22 July, followed by the play-off matches for the survival in the elite division and/or advancement from the second division.
The national cup competition will resume next week. The cup semi-finals will be played on 9 and 10 June, and the final on 24 June, all of them on the neutral pitch of the National Football Centre in Brdo pri Kranju, also without spectators.
The second league for men and the first league for women had been ended in mid-May.
To be promoted from the second league is Koper, the club which topped the standings before the epidemic. The second-placed Gorica will enter play-offs with the club which finishes ninth in the premier league.
The women's premier league ended without the official champion declared. The decision on which club will represent Slovenia in European competitions in the next season will be based on past results.