Grasshopper Club Zürich

Grasshopper Club Zürich, commonly referred to as simply GC, GCZ, or Grasshoppers, is a multisports club based in Zürich, Switzerland. The oldest and best known department of the club is its football team. With 27 titles, Grasshopper holds the records for winning the most national championships and the Swiss Cups, 19 trophies in the latter.[2] The club is the oldest football team in Zürich and maintains a substantial rivalry with FC Zürich.[3]

Grasshopper Club Zürich
Grasshopper-Club Zürich Logo
Full nameGrasshopper Club Zürich
Nickname(s)Hoppers
Short nameGC, GCZ, Grasshoppers
Founded1 September 1886; 136 years ago (1886-09-01)
GroundLetzigrund, Zürich
Capacity26,104
OwnerJenny Wang[1]
PresidentSky Sun[1]
Head coachGiorgio Contini
LeagueSwiss Super League
2021–228th
WebsiteClub website
Current season

The origin of Grasshopper's name is unknown, although the most common explanation refers to its early players' energetic post-goal celebrations and that their style of play was nimble and energetic.[4]

After a number of appearances in European Cups and the UEFA Champions League, Grasshopper has become one of Switzerland's most recognizable football clubs. Today, in addition to its main football squad, the club has competitive professional and youth teams in rowing, ice hockey, handball, lawn tennis, court tennis, field hockey, curling, basketball, rugby, squash, floorball and beach soccer.[5]

HistoryEdit

 
Chart of GCZ table positions in the Swiss football league system

Before 1920: Foundation and first championship winsEdit

Grasshopper was founded on 1 September 1886 by Tom E. Griffith, an English student. Using a 20 Swiss franc donation, the club acquired an English football shirt in blue and white colours (as worn by Blackburn Rovers). The English students were from Manchester Grammar School in Manchester. Arthur J. Finck was one of the students who was part of the group that founded the club. Its first match came in October that year against ETH and ended in a goalless draw. In 1893, Grasshopper became the first Swiss team to play in (what was then) Germany, defeating Strasbourg 1–0.

The first Swiss championships (then called "Serie A") were held in 1897–98 and were won by Grasshopper, as was the first championship played using a league system in 1899–1900.[6] After two more titles in 1901 and 1905, Grasshopper had to withdraw from the Swiss championships in 1909 because they lacked a suitable playing ground. They rejoined in 1916.

1920s: Dori Kürschner eraEdit

After rejoining the Swiss championship in 1916, GC won their fifth championship in 1921. In 1925 started the era of the Hungarian manager Izidor "Dori" Kürschner, a former member of the coaching staff of the Swiss national team that won the silver medal at the 1924 Olympics. Under Kürschner in the 1920s, Grasshopper won the championship twice (in 1927 and 1928) and also the first two editions of the Swiss Cup in 1925–26 and in 1926–27.

1930s: Beginning of Karl Rappan eraEdit

Dori Kürschner stayed with Grasshopper until 1934, winning another championship in 1931 and two more Swiss Cups in 1932 and 1934. Then started the era of Austrian coach Karl Rappan who managed also the Swiss national team for several years during that time. The first title under Rappan came in 1937 and the second one in 1939. They also won the Swiss Cup in 1937 and 1938.

1940s: More titles during World War IIEdit

Despite the turmoils of World War II the Swiss championships were held during the 1940s with the Grasshoppers winning in 1942, 1943 and 1945. Until Karl Rappan left the team in 1948, the team also won another five Cups (in 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943 and 1946).

1950s: Last successes for a long timeEdit

In 1952, Grasshopper won their 14th Swiss championship title and their 12th Swiss Cup. They managed to win the double again in 1956, but it turned out to be their last silverware for a long time, as they had to wait for 15 years until their next championship and for 27 years until their next Cup win. In 1956–57 Grasshopper participated for the first time in the European Cup which was founded in the previous season. They reached the quarter-finals where they were eliminated by Fiorentina.

1960s: No titlesEdit

During the 1960s, Grasshopper won no championships and no Cups. The best result was a second place in 1968, which qualified them to play in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, the predecessor of the UEFA Cup. However they had no success at European level either, and they were eliminated in the first round.

1970s: Return to success and UEFA Cup semi-finalEdit

In 1971, Grasshopper finally returned to the top of the Swiss league. After the end of the season, GC and FC Basel were tied at the top of the table and thus a play-off match was played in Bern. In front of 51,000 spectators, GC defeated Basel 4–3 after extra time to win their 16th championship. Throughout the decade Grasshopper was among the best Swiss teams. Their next championship win came in 1978.

Thanks to their top finishes in the league, GC was able to play in European competitions almost every year. In 1978–79 they defeated Real Madrid in the second round of the European Cup, but lost the quarter-final against the eventual winner, Nottingham Forest. But their biggest European success to date came in the 1977–78 UEFA Cup where they reached the semi-final against French side Bastia. After a 3–2 win at home, they traveled to Corsica for the second leg but lost 0–1 and were eliminated due to the away goal rule.

1980s: Hat-tricksEdit

The 1980s were a successful decade for Grasshopper. In the years 1982, 1983 and 1984, GC won the championship three times in a row, achieving the "title hat-trick". In all three seasons, Servette from Geneva was their strongest rival, and in 1984 a championship-deciding game had to be staged in Bern because the two teams were equal on points after the regular season. GC won that match 1–0 by a converted penalty kick by Andy Egli in the 104th minute.

Grasshopper were also successful in the Cup competition: after winning in 1983 they also achieved a hat-trick in the Cup, winning in 1988, 1989 and 1990. The last two of those wins were achieved with German manager Ottmar Hitzfeld. A notable success in European competitions came in 1980–81 UEFA Cup when GC reached the quarter-finals, but then were eliminated by French side Sochaux.

1990s: Champions LeagueEdit

In 1995–96 Grasshoppers became the first Swiss team to play in the UEFA Champions League. After defeating Maccabi Tel Aviv to qualify, they played in group D against Ajax, Real Madrid and Ferencváros. They won no matches but achieved two draws, one against Ajax and one against Ferencváros.

In the following year, Grasshoppers qualified a second time for the Champions League, this time after defeating Slavia Prague. In group A with opponents Auxerre, Glasgow Rangers and again AFC Ajax, a more positive result was achieved. After home wins over Rangers and Auxerre and an away win at Ajax, a draw in the last game at home against Ajax would have secured qualification for the quarter finals. However, the game was lost 0–1 and Ajax advanced instead.

2000s: IncorporationEdit

With title wins in 2000–01 and 2002–03, the first decade of the 21st century started well, but since then no further successes were achieved. In 1997, Grasshopper was incorporated and as of May 2005, it is formally organized as Neue Grasshopper Fussball AG. In doing so, Grasshopper became the first Swiss sports club to go public.[7] However, the club entered a period of decline after their last championship in 2003, with two third place finishes in 2005 and 2010 being their best results. In 2012, they narrowly avoided being relegated thanks to Sion's 36-point deduction and Neuchatel Xamax's expulsion from the league in January 2012. Then coach Ciriaco Sforza resigned in April 2012.

For the 2012/13 season, Ulrich Forte took over coaching. On 20 May 2013, Grasshopper ended a ten-year trophy drought with a penalty shoot-out victory over FC Basel in the Swiss Cup final at the Stade de Suisse in Bern.[8] With a second-place finish in the 2012–13 Swiss Super League campaign, Grasshopper qualified for the Champions League for the first time in a decade, entering the competition at the third qualifying round.[9] Following Forte's departure after the 2012/13 season, former German National Team coach Michael Skibbe took over coaching duty. Under Skibbe, the team managed a second place finish in 2013. They also were runners-up in 2014.

The improving results did not last however and soon declined again. In the following 5 years, they managed to only once finish in the upper half of the table and finally, in 2019, Grasshopper were relegated to the second division for the first time in 68 years.[10] They spend the entire 2018/19 season in the bottom three of the league, ending their season with two abandoned matches due to Grasshopper fan behaviour.[11]

2020s: Relegation and PromotionEdit

The first season in the second league did not go as planned. For one, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the second half of the season was delayed until late spring 2020. Furthermore, GC failed to even achieve a second place finish, which would have qualified them for a playoff game for promotion, after losing the final game of the season 0-6 against FC Winterthur. During this time, in April 2020, it was revealed that the Hong Kong-based Champion Union HK Holding Limited had acquired 90% of GC shares.[1] The new ownership appointed Sky Sun as the president of the club. In April 2021, Seyi Olofinjana was signed as sporting director.[12]

For the following season, João Carlos Pereira took over coaching duties at GC. Despite a strong season and spending a majority of the time at first place, the team began to struggle at the close of the season. After a seven point lead on challenger FC Thun had melted away in three games, club leadership took drastic measures by removing Pereira and reinstating Zoltán Kádár (who had been interim coach at the end of the previous season) as interim coach for the final two games of the season. The changes would pay off, as GC secured Challenge League championship and promotion in a 2-1 victory over SC Kriens in the final game.

For the first season back in the top Swiss league, former FC Lausanne-Sport coach Giorgio Contini was signed as head coach.[13] Despite a decent first half of the season, following the winter break, the team struggled to win points and came dangerously close to the bottom of the league. Improving results in spring 2022 allowed the team to narrowly avoid the relegation playoff, ending the season in eight place thanks to a better goal difference over FC Luzern.

During preparation for the new season, sporting director Olofinjana and CEO Shqiprim Berisha were removed from the teams management.[14] President Sun would take over CEO duties in the interim. On 1 July 2022, Grasshopper veteran Bernt Haas was appointed as new sporting director.[15]

Stadium and groundsEdit

Since September 2007, Grasshopper-Club Zürich has played all of its home matches in the Letzigrund stadium which is the regular home ground of FC Zürich. After the completion of the new Stadion Zürich (currently in planning stage), both teams are expected to play there.

From 1929 to 2007, Grasshopper had their own home ground in the Hardturm stadium. Before 1929, home matches were played at various other venues.

Training facilities are located in Niederhasli, where in 2005 the club opened a comprehensive facility including five practice pitches, apartments for youth players and offices.

RivalriesEdit

FC ZürichEdit

FC Zürich was founded ten years after GC in 1896. A year later, the first derby between the two Zurich clubs was held as part of the first Swiss championship, where GC defeated FC Zurich 7–2. As the two teams did not always play in the same league, it would take nearly 70 years until the 100th derby. To date, 251 official derbies have been held, with Grasshopper leading with 121 wins to FC Zurich's 90, leaving 39 draws.

FC BaselEdit

FC Basel has long been a rival to GC, owing largely to the rivalry between the two cities. As a result, games between FC Zurich and FC Basel are also often heated games, often leading to clashes between fans.

From the late 60s to the early 80s, both GC and Basel had numerous Swiss championship victories. However, in 1988 FC Basel was relegated to the Nationalliga B. The rivalry flared up at the beginning of the 21st century, when FCB's improved performance has made them a mainstay at the top the Swiss league. However, with FCB's rise came GC's downfall and the rivalry has become largely one-sided. The most recent notable meeting between the two teams was the Swiss Cup Final in 2013, where Grasshoppers were able to beat FC Basel in penalties, with a score of 1–1 after extra time.

HonoursEdit

LeagueEdit

CupsEdit

  • Swiss Cup
    • Winners (19): 1925–26, 1926–27, 1931–32, 1933–34, 1936–37, 1937–38, 1939–40, 1940–41, 1941–42, 1942–43, 1945–46, 1951–52, 1955–56, 1982–83, 1987–88, 1988–89, 1989–90, 1993–94, 2012–13 (record)
  • Swiss League Cup
  • Swiss Super Cup
    • Winners: 1989

European CompetitionsEdit

PlayersEdit

Current squadEdit

As of 11 November 2022[16]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK   POR André Moreira
4 DF   CHN Li Lei
6 MF   ALB Amir Abrashi (captain)
7 MF   GER Tsiy-William Ndenge
8 MF   SUI Giotto Morandi
9 FW   KOS Shkelqim Demhasaj
10 MF   SUI Petar Pusic
11 FW   KOR Jeong Sang-bin (on loan from Wolverhampton)
14 DF   POR Tomás Ribeiro
15 DF   JPN Ayumu Seko
17 MF   SUI Dion Kacuri
20 MF   SUI Noah Blasucci
22 FW   NGA Francis Momoh
23 MF   GER Meritan Shabani
No. Pos. Nation Player
25 DF   GNB Nadjack
27 FW   AZE Renat Dadashov
28 MF   SVK Christián Herc
29 GK   AUT Manuel Kuttin
31 DF   SUI Dominik Schmid (3rd captain)
33 DF   AUT Georg Margreitter (vice-captain)
40 MF   JPN Hayao Kawabe (on loan from Wolverhampton)
41 DF   SUI Noah Loosli
56 MF   KOS Leonardo Uka
71 GK   SUI Justin Hammel
73 DF   KOS Florian Hoxha
77 DF   HUN Bendegúz Bolla (on loan from Wolverhampton)
93 GK   FRA Lévi Ntumba
95 FW   BRA Guilherme Schettine (on loan from Braga)

Academy players with first-team contractsEdit

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
50 MF   SUI Simone Stroscio
54 MF   SUI Malik Deme
57 FW   SUI Filipe de Carvalho

Out on loanEdit

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
MF   GER Robin Kalem (at Schaffhausen until 31 December 2022)
FW   CHN Jia Boyan (at Dubrava until 30 June 2023)
FW   SUI Elmin Rastoder (at Vaduz until 30 June 2023)

Women's teamEdit

The women's division was founded in 2009, when GC/Schwerzenbach (originally FFC Schwerzenbach) was absorbed into the club.

As of 28 September 2022[17]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
3 DF   SUI Michelle Blöchlinger
4 MF   SUI Victoria Laino
5 MF   SUI Sabina Jackson
7 FW   CRO Ana Maria Marković
8 MF   CRO Ella Ljustina
9 FW   AUT Katja Wienerroither
10 MF   SUI Yllka Kadriu
11 FW   SUI Aurélie Csillag
12 GK   SUI Isabel Rutishauser
14 DF   HUN Kata Buzas
15 DF   ESP Marta Cazalla
16 FW   SUI Emanuela Pfister
No. Pos. Nation Player
18 FW   CHN Zhang Linyan
19 DF   HUN Emőke Pápai
20 FW   SUI Janina Egli
21 DF   SUI Lara Meroni
24 MF   SUI Noemi Ivelj
25 GK   SUI Lia Winkler
26 DF   SUI Luna Lempérière
28 FW   SVN Nina Predanič
29 FW   SUI Seraina Kaufmann
DF   SUI Rachel Rinast
DF   GER Anna Blässe


Notable former playersEdit

Players for the Swiss national football team

Players with World Cup appearances for their national teams

Coaching staffEdit

Current coaching staffEdit

As of 13 June 2022[18]
Position Name Since
Head Coach   Giorgio Contini 06/2021
Assistant Coach   Erminio Piserchia 06/2021
Athletic Coach   Philippe Hasler 05/2021
Athletic Coach   Florian Klausner 05/2021
Goalie Coach   Jörg Stiel 05/2021
Video Analyst   Rain Nappir 04/2021


List of Coaches (since 1925)Edit

Academy CoachesEdit

As of 8 July 2022[20]
Position Name Since
Under 21   Goran Ivelja 08/2020
Under 18   Artur Petrosyan 01/2022
Under 16   Ervin Gashi 08/2020
Under 15   Rafael Dos Santos 07/2021

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Thomas Schifferle (9 April 2020). "Chinesen übernehmen GC". Tages Anzeiger. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Vilotić seals Swiss Cup success for Grasshoppers". UEFA. 20 May 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  3. ^ "The great Zurich divide". FIFA. Archived from the original on 30 May 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  4. ^ "GESCHICHTE DES GRASSHOPPER CLUB ZÜRICH". GCZ. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  5. ^ "Sektionen". GCZ. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  6. ^ "Grasshopper Club Zürich". FIFA. Archived from the original on 7 October 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  7. ^ "White Papers – Resource Library". TechRepublic. Archived from the original on 18 January 2021. Retrieved 24 August 2006.
  8. ^ "Soccer-Grasshoppers win Swiss Cup, end 10-year trophy drought". Reuters. 20 May 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  9. ^ "Soccer-Basel on verge of fourth successive title, Servette down". Reuters. 29 May 2013. Archived from the original on 22 March 2020. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  10. ^ Homewood, Brian (16 May 2019). "Relegation completes demise of most successful Swiss club". Reuters. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  11. ^ Reidy, Paul (13 May 2019). "Relegated Grasshopper fans demand players surrender shirts". as.com.
  12. ^ "Wolves loan manager Seyi Olofinjana to join Grasshoppers". The Athletic. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  13. ^ Thomas Schifferle (9 June 2021). "Giorgio Contini neuer Cheftrainer bei GC". Grasshopper Club Zürich. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  14. ^ "GC ANNOUNCES CHANGES TO ITS MANAGEMENT". Grasshopper Club Zürich. 20 June 2022. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  15. ^ "BERNT HAAS APPOINTED NEW SPORTING DIRECTOR OF GC ZURICH". Grasshopper Club Zürich. 1 July 2022. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  16. ^ Zürich, Grasshopper Club. "Kader – Grasshopper Club Zürich". www.gcz.ch.
  17. ^ "Kader | GC Frauen". www.gcfrauenfussball.ch. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  18. ^ Zürich, Grasshopper Club. "Squad – Grasshopper Club Zürich". www.gcz.ch.
  19. ^ "GIORGIO CONTINI NEUER CHEFTRAINER BEI GC". Grasshopper Club Zürich. 9 June 2021.
  20. ^ Zürich, Grasshopper Club. "Youth Performance Center – Grasshopper Club Zürich". www.gcz.ch.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

Fan sites