Grasshopper Club Zürich

Grasshopper Club Zürich, commonly referred to as simply GC, GCZ, or Grasshoppers, is a professional 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, with 19 trophies in the latter.[3] The club is the oldest football team in Zürich and maintains a substantial rivalry with FC Zürich.[4]

Grasshopper Club Zürich
Grasshopper-Club Zürich Logo
Full nameGrasshopper Club Zürich
Nickname(s)Hoppers
Short nameGC, GCZ, Grasshoppers
Founded1 September 1886; 137 years ago (1886-09-01)
GroundLetzigrund
Capacity26,104
OwnerLos Angeles FC[1][2]
PresidentStacy Johns (interim)
Sporting directorStephan Schwarz
CoachMarco Schällibaum
LeagueSwiss Super League
2022–237th of 10
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.[5]

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.[6]

History edit

 
Chart of GCZ table positions in the Swiss football league system

Before 1920: Foundation and first championship wins edit

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 of 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.[7] 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.

The illustrious coach Vittorio Pozzo played briefly for Grasshoppers, around 1905–06, before he joined Torino

1920s: Dori Kürschner era edit

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 era edit

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 II edit

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 time edit

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 titles edit

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-final edit

In 1971, Grasshopper finally returned to the top of the Swiss league. After the end of the season, GC and 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-tricks edit

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 League edit

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, Rangers and again 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: Incorporation edit

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.[8] 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 Basel in the Swiss Cup final at the Stade de Suisse in Bern.[9] 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.[10] 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 five 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.[11] 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.[12]

2020s: Return to the Super League edit

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 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.[13] The new ownership appointed Sky Sun as the president of the club. In April 2021, Seyi Olofinjana was signed as sporting director.[14]

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 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 Kriens in the final game.

For the first season back in the top Swiss league, former Lausanne coach Giorgio Contini was signed as head coach.[15] 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 eighth place thanks to a better goal difference over Luzern.

During preparation for the new season, sporting director Olofinjana and CEO Shqiprim Berisha were removed from the teams management.[16] President Sun would take over CEO duties in the interim. On 1 July 2022, Grasshopper veteran Bernt Haas was appointed as new sporting director.[17] On 13 February 2023, Sun stepped down from his positions as president and CEO, with vice-president András Gurovits taking up the mantle in the interim.[18]

On 19 March 2023, Swiss online news site nau.ch reported that coach Contini had handed in his resignation in mid February,[19] which would see him leaving the club in the summer, following a six-month notice period. On the same day, the club confirmed the news and stating their intention of continuing their cooperation for the duration of the season.[20] On 9 June 2023, following the conclusion of the season, Bruno Berner was announced as the new head coach for the 2023–24 season.[21] He signed a two-year contract with GC. Berner had graduated from the Grasshoppers academy in 1997 and played for the first team until 2002, winning two Swiss championships in that time (1998 and 2001).

On 30 June, former Premier League player Matt Jackson was appointed as the new president of GC.[22] Jackson had most recently acted as "strategic player marketing manager" at partner club Wolverhampton Wanderers.[23] He had completed his coaching license together with Berner and had known Haas from their time playing against each other in the Premier League.

On 17 January 2024, a long-term partnership with MLS side Los Angeles FC was announced, with LAFC acquiring over 90% of the shares from the previous owners, Champion Union.[1][2] In a press conference at the historic Grasshoppers rowing club, Gurovits presented the new interim president Stacy Johns, who is also the COO and CFO of LAFC. LAFC's Larry Freedman was also in attendance, as was their new managing director of Europe, Harald Gärtner. Gärtner will take up an advisory role in the club. On 27 March 2024, Haas was replaced as sporting director by Stephan Schwarz.[24]

Stadium and grounds edit

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.

Rivalries edit

FC Zürich edit

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.

Basel edit

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 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, 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 Basel in penalties, with a score of 1–1 after extra time.

Honours edit

League edit

Cups edit

European Competitions edit

Players edit

Current squad edit

As of 15 February 2024[25]

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
2 DF   NED Dirk Abels
4 DF   LVA Kristers Tobers
5 DF   AUS Joshua Laws
6 MF   ALB Amir Abrashi (captain)
7 MF   GER Tsiy-William Ndenge
8 MF   SUI Giotto Morandi
9 FW   SUI Bradley Fink (on loan from Basel)
10 MF   GER Meritan Shabani
11 MF   SUI Pascal Schürpf
14 DF   FRA Théo Ndicka
15 DF   JPN Ayumu Seko
19 MF   AUT Dijon Kameri (on loan from RB Salzburg)
20 MF   SUI Noah Blasucci
21 FW   AUS Awer Mabil
22 FW   NGA Francis Momoh
23 GK   SUI Nicolas Glaus
No. Pos. Nation Player
24 DF   PHI Michael Kempter
27 FW   POR Asumah Abubakar
29 GK   AUT Manuel Kuttin
40 MF   GER Robin Kalem
48 DF   EST Maksim Paskotši
53 DF   SUI Tim Meyer
54 DF   SUI Liam Bollati (on loan from Kriens)
55 MF   SUI Damian Nigg
57 DF   ALB Elvir Zukaj
70 MF   GER Oliver Batista Meier (on loan from Dynamo Dresden)
71 GK   SUI Justin Hammel
73 DF   KOS Florian Hoxha
77 FW   SUI Filipe de Carvalho
90 GK   SUI Steven Deana
99 FW   MKD Dorian Babunski

Academy players with first-team contracts edit

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
52 MF   SUI Samuel Marques
GK   SUI Mark Mihaljevic
DF   KOS Sead Ahmeti
DF   SUI Diego Poloni
MF   SUI Tariq Blake
MF   KOS Dior Gerbovci
No. Pos. Nation Player
MF   SUI Eliano Guido
MF   SUI Leart Kabashi
FW   SUI Tugra Turhan
DF   KOS Davud Sylaj
DF   SUI Loris Giandomenico
FW   POR Miguel Martins

Other players under contract edit

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
FW   CHN Jia Boyan

Out on loan edit

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
27 FW   AZE Renat Dadashov (at Hatayspor until 30 June 2024)
50 MF   SUI Simone Stroscio (at Schaffhausen until 30 June 2024)
74 FW   SUI Elmin Rastoder (at Vaduz until 30 June 2024)

Women's team edit

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

As of 7 September 2023[26]

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
4 MF   SUI Victoria Laino
5 MF   SUI Sabina Jackson
6 DF   SUI Luna Lempérière (captain)
7 FW   CRO Ana Maria Marković
8 MF   CRO Ella Ljustina
9 DF   GER Anna Blässe
10 MF   SUI Yllka Kadriu
11 DF   SUI Lara Meroni
12 GK   SUI Isabel Rutishauser
13 DF   SUI Leandra Flury
14 FW   LTU Ugnė Lazdauskaitė
15 MF   SUI Noemi Ivelj
16 FW   SUI Emanuela Pfister
17 MF   POL Klaudia Lefeld
No. Pos. Nation Player
18 GK   SUI Saskia Bürki
19 FW   HUN Emőke Pápai
20 FW   SUI Janina Egli
21 DF   SUI Emma Egli
21 MF   SUI Sydney Schertenleib
23 FW   AUT Noémie Potier
25 GK   SUI Lia Winkler
27 DF   SUI Melanie Müller
28 FW   SVN Nina Predanič
29 FW   SUI Seraina Kaufmann
32 DF   GER Tamar Dongus
44 FW   SUI Lillian Schertenleib
77 GK   SUI Gilliane Roch

Notable former players edit

Players for the Swiss national football team

Players with World Cup appearances for their national teams

Coaching staff edit

List of Coaches (since 1925) edit

Organisation edit

As of 21 May 2024[34]
Board of Directors
Position Name Since
President   Stacy Johns 01/2024[1]
Board member   Larry Freedman 01/2024[1]
Vice-president   András Gurovits 07/2023
Management
Sporting director   Stephan Schwarz 03/2024[24]
Director of Commercial   Mike-David Burkhard 07/2024[35]
Head of Finance   Roland Gebhard 02/2023

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d "LAFC and Grasshopper Club Zürich form Partnership". Grasshopper Club Zürich. 17 January 2024. Retrieved 17 January 2024.
  2. ^ a b "LAFC And Grasshopper Club Zürich Form Long-Term Strategic Partnership". Los Angeles FC. 17 January 2024. Retrieved 17 January 2024.
  3. ^ "Vilotić seals Swiss Cup success for Grasshoppers". UEFA. 20 May 2013. Archived from the original on 11 September 2018. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  4. ^ "The great Zurich divide". FIFA. Archived from the original on 30 May 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  5. ^ "GESCHICHTE DES GRASSHOPPER CLUB ZÜRICH". GCZ. Archived from the original on 7 January 2016. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  6. ^ "Sektionen". GCZ. Archived from the original on 15 June 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  7. ^ "Grasshopper Club Zürich". FIFA. Archived from the original on 7 October 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  8. ^ "White Papers – Resource Library". TechRepublic. Archived from the original on 18 January 2021. Retrieved 24 August 2006.
  9. ^ "Soccer-Grasshoppers win Swiss Cup, end 10-year trophy drought". Reuters. 20 May 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ Homewood, Brian (16 May 2019). "Relegation completes demise of most successful Swiss club". Reuters. Archived from the original on 27 June 2019. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  12. ^ Reidy, Paul (13 May 2019). "Relegated Grasshopper fans demand players surrender shirts". as.com. Archived from the original on 27 June 2019. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  13. ^ Thomas Schifferle (9 April 2020). "Chinesen übernehmen GC". Tages Anzeiger. Archived from the original on 7 January 2022. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  14. ^ "Wolves loan manager Seyi Olofinjana to join Grasshoppers". The Athletic. Archived from the original on 23 April 2021. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  15. ^ a b Thomas Schifferle (9 June 2021). "Giorgio Contini neuer Cheftrainer bei GC". Grasshopper Club Zürich. Archived from the original on 9 June 2021. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  16. ^ "GC ANNOUNCES CHANGES TO ITS MANAGEMENT". Grasshopper Club Zürich. 20 June 2022. Archived from the original on 1 July 2022. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  17. ^ "BERNT HAAS APPOINTED NEW SPORTING DIRECTOR OF GC ZURICH". Grasshopper Club Zürich. 1 July 2022. Archived from the original on 1 July 2022. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  18. ^ "PRÄSIDENT SKY SUN TRITT ZURÜCK". Grasshopper Club Zürich. 13 February 2023. Archived from the original on 13 February 2023. Retrieved 13 February 2023.
  19. ^ "Exklusiv: GC auf Trainersuche – Giorgio Contini hat gekündigt!". nau.ch. 19 March 2023. Archived from the original on 19 March 2023. Retrieved 19 March 2023.
  20. ^ "UPDATE ON THE COACH SITUATION". Grasshopper Club Zürich. 19 March 2023. Archived from the original on 19 March 2023. Retrieved 19 March 2023.
  21. ^ a b "BRUNO BERNER BECOMES THE NEW HEAD COACH". Grasshopper Club Zürich. 9 June 2023. Archived from the original on 10 June 2023. Retrieved 10 June 2023.
  22. ^ "MATT JACKSON NEW PRESIDENT OF GFAG". Grasshopper Club Zürich. 30 June 2023. Retrieved 30 June 2023.
  23. ^ "FA Cup winner Jackson begins progressive new role at Wolves". Wolverhampton Wanderers. 4 May 2021. Retrieved 30 June 2023.
  24. ^ a b "GC ZURICH APPOINTS STEPHAN SCHWARZ AS SPORTS DIRECTOR". Grasshopper Club Zürich. 27 March 2024. Retrieved 27 March 2024.
  25. ^ Zürich, Grasshopper Club. "Kader – Grasshopper Club Zürich". www.gcz.ch. Archived from the original on 27 July 2019. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  26. ^ "Kader". www.gcfrauenfussball.ch. Retrieved 13 September 2023.
  27. ^ Zürich, Grasshopper Club. "Squad – Grasshopper Club Zürich". www.gcz.ch. Archived from the original on 14 June 2022. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  28. ^ a b "Marco Schällibaum appointed new Head Coach at GC Zurich". Grasshopper Club Zürich. 10 April 2024. Retrieved 15 April 2024.
  29. ^ "ERMINIO PISERCHIA AND JÖRG STIEL NEW AT GC". www.gcz.ch. Grasshopper Club Zürich. 18 June 2021.
  30. ^ Zürich, Grasshopper Club. "Youth Performance Center – Grasshopper Club Zürich". www.gcz.ch. Archived from the original on 17 August 2022. Retrieved 8 July 2022.
  31. ^ a b "New faces in the Youth Department". www.gcz.ch. Grasshopper Club Zürich. 15 February 2024. Retrieved 16 February 2024.
  32. ^ "SASCHA MÜLLER NEW TALENT MANAGER AT GC ZURICH". www.gcz.ch. Grasshopper Club Zürich. 22 March 2023. Archived from the original on 22 March 2023. Retrieved 22 March 2023.
  33. ^ a b c "GC ZÜRICH STARTET SAISON MIT NEUEN NACHWUCHSTRAINERN". www.gcz.ch. Grasshopper Club Zürich. 4 July 2023. Retrieved 4 July 2023.
  34. ^ "Organisation – Grasshopper Club Zürich". www.gcz.ch. Grasshopper Club Zürich. Retrieved 30 June 2023.
  35. ^ "CHANGE IN THE COMMERCIAL DEPARTMENT AT GC ZURICH". Grasshopper Club Zürich. 21 May 2024. Retrieved 21 May 2024.

Further reading edit

External links edit

Fan sites