Vissel Kobe (ヴィッセル神戸, Visseru Kōbe) is a Japanese professional football club based in Kobe, Hyōgo Prefecture. The club plays in the J1 League, which is the top tier of football in the country. The team's home stadium is Noevir Stadium Kobe, in Hyōgo-ku, though some home matches are played at Kobe Universiade Memorial Stadium in Suma-ku.

Vissel Kobe
ヴィッセル神戸
Full nameVissel Kobe
Nickname(s)Ushi (cows)
Founded1966; 58 years ago (1966)[1]
StadiumNoevir Stadium Kobe
Hyōgo-ku, Kōbe, Hyōgo
Capacity30,134
OwnerRakuten
ChairmanYuki Chifu[2]
ManagerTakayuki Yoshida
LeagueJ1 League
2023J1 League, 1st of 18 (champions)
WebsiteClub website
Current season
Noevir Stadium, the home of Vissel Kobe

History edit

Beginnings in Chugoku edit

The club was founded in 1966 as the semi-professional Kawasaki Steel Soccer Club in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture.[3] It was first promoted to the Japan Soccer League Division 2 in 1986, and stayed there until the JSL folded in 1992.[3] As their performance in the old second tier had been in the bottom nine clubs, they were put into the Japan Football League Division 2 (new third tier overall in the Japanese football league system) and stayed there until the tiers were reunited into a single second tier for 1994.

Move to Kansai and professionalism edit

In 1995, the city of Kobe reached an agreement with Kawasaki Steel, the parent company, to move the club to Kobe and compete for a spot in the professional J.League as Vissel Kobe. Vissel is a combination of the words "victory" and "vessel", in recognition of Kobe's history as a port city.[3] (Owing to its importance to the city of Kobe, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, parent company of former team patron Kawasaki Steel, remains a Vissel Kobe sponsor. Kawasaki Steel was eventually sold off to become part of JFE Holdings.)

Vissel Kobe began play in 1995 in the Japan Football League, a league below J.League, and the supermarket chain Daiei was slated as the club's primary investor. However, the economic downturn following the Great Hanshin earthquake forced Daiei to pull out and the city of Kobe became responsible for operating the club.

Despite finishing 2nd in the JFL in 1996, Vissel was promoted to the J.League (the champions, Honda FC, refused to abandon their corporate ownership and become a professional club) and began play in the top division of Japanese football in 1997. However, due to mismanagement, including the inability to secure investors and sponsors, Vissel was unable to contend for the league title. In December, 2003, mounting financial losses forced the club to file for bankruptcy protection.

Crimson Group years (2004–2014) edit

In January 2004, Vissel was sold to Crimson Group, parent company of online merchant Rakuten, whose president is Kobe native Hiroshi Mikitani. Vissel's first signing under the Mikitani regime, İlhan Mansız, who was acquired partly to capitalize on his popularity during the 2002 FIFA World Cup hosted in Korea and Japan, was a massive failure – the Turkish forward played just three matches before leaving the team because of a knee injury. Mikitani also alienated supporters by changing the team uniform colours from black and white stripes to crimson, after his Crimson Group and the colour of his alma mater, Harvard Business School. The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, a baseball team also owned by Rakuten but based in Sendai and Rakuten Monkeys, a baseball team in Taoyuan, Taiwan, wear the same colours.

Vissel finished 11th in the league in 2004, the same position as the previous year, and finished 18th and last place in 2005, resulting in automatic relegation from J.League Division 1, or J1, to J2. During the two-year span, Vissel had five different head coaches. 2006 was Vissel's first season in J2 after nine years in the top division of soccer in Japan. They finished 3rd in the 2006 season and were promoted to J1 after beating Avispa Fukuoka in the promotion/relegation play-offs.

During the period of 2007 to 2011 Vissel finished in the bottom half of the table each year. In 2012 they finished 16th, third from last, and were again relegated to J2. In 2013, Vissel finished in second place, 4 points behind Gamba Osaka, which secured their return to J1 for the 2014 season.

On 6 December 2014, Rakuten Inc. bought the team from the Crimson Group.[4]

Rakuten years and first successes (2015–present) edit

In 2017 Vissel signed 2014 FIFA World Cup winner Lukas Podolski. He was the first international prominent player Vissel was able to sign since Michael Laudrup in 1996. Shortly after in May 2018, Vissel signed another World Cup winner: Andrés Iniesta from FC Barcelona.[5] In December 2018 Vissel Kobe managed to sign also David Villa from New York City FC. The Spanish striker scored 13 goals in 28 games. Alongside Sergi Samper and Andrés Iniesta, Villa was the third Spaniard in the team in that season in which the Emperor's Cup was won.

On 1 January 2020, first time finalist Vissel beat Kashima Antlers in the 2019 Emperor's Cup final at the recently opened New National Stadium to win the first title in the club history. The furthest Kobe had been in the Cup was the semi-finals of 2000 and 2017.[6] This was Spanish striker David Villa's last professional match.[7] Vissel also qualified for the 2020 AFC Champions League for the first time. On 8 February 2020, Vissel beat Yokohama F. Marinos to win their first Japanese Super Cup title and respectively their second national title ever.[8] In 2021 they achieved an historic third place in the table, qualifying for the AFC Champions League yet again.

On 25 November 2023, Vissel Kobe was confirmed as J1 League champions for the first time in history, following a 2–1 win over Nagoya Grampus in the second last week of the season. Kobe thus became the first Japanese football champions to be promoted to the top tier after the J.League era started, as well as the first to play third division football (the old Japan Football League Division 2) before winning the title.

Record as J.League member edit

Champions Runners-up Third place Promoted Relegated
League J.League
Cup
Emperor's
Cup
Season Div. Teams Pos. P W (OTW / PKW) D L (OTL / PKL) F A GD Pts Attendance/G
1997 J1 17 16th 32 6 (1 / 0) 21 (2 / 0) 43 78 -35 24 6,567 Group stage Round of 16
1998 18 17th 34 8 (0 / 1) 23 (2 / 0) 45 89 -44 25 7,686 Group stage 3rd round
1999 16 10th 30 9 (3) 4 12 (2) 38 45 -7 37 7,691 1st round 3rd round
2000 16 13th 30 10 (1) 1 16 (2) 40 49 -9 33 7,512 2nd round Semi-finals
2001 16 12th 30 8 (1) 7 10 (4) 41 52 -11 33 13,872 2nd round Round of 16
2002 16 14th 30 8 (2) 3 17 33 44 -11 31 10,467 Group stage 3rd round
2003 16 13th 30 8 6 16 35 63 -28 30 11,195 Group stage Quarter-finals
2004 16 11th 30 9 9 12 50 55 -5 36 15,735 Group stage 4th round
2005 18 18th 34 4 9 21 30 67 -37 21 14,913 Group stage 4th round
2006 J2 13 3rd 48 25 11 12 78 53 25 86 6,910 3rd round
2007 J1 18 10th 34 13 8 13 58 48 10 47 12,460 Group stage Round of 16
2008 18 10th 34 12 11 11 39 38 1 47 12,981 Group stage Round of 16
2009 18 14th 34 10 9 15 40 48 -8 39 13,068 Group stage Round of 16
2010 18 15th 34 9 11 14 37 45 -8 38 12,824 Group stage 3rd round
2011 18 9th 34 13 7 14 44 45 -1 46 13,233 1st round 3rd round
2012 18 16th 34 11 6 17 41 50 -9 39 14,638 Group stage 2nd round
2013 J2 22 2nd 42 25 8 9 78 41 37 83 11,516 3rd round
2014 J1 18 11th 34 11 12 11 49 50 -1 45 15,010 Quarter-finals 2nd round
2015 18 12th 34 10 8 16 44 49 -5 38 16,265 Semi-finals Quarter-finals
2016 18 7th 34 16 7 11 56 43 13 55 17,018 Quarter-finals Round of 16
2017 18 9th 34 13 5 16 40 45 -5 44 18,272 Quarter-finals Semi-finals
2018 18 10th 34 12 9 13 45 52 -7 45 21,450 Play-off stage Round of 16
2019 18 8th 34 14 5 15 61 59 2 47 21,491 Group stage Winners
2020 18 14th 34 9 9 16 50 59 -9 36 6,041 Quarter-finals Did not qualify
2021 20 3rd 38 21 10 7 62 36 26 73 7,120 Play-off stage Round of 16
2022 18 13th 34 11 7 16 35 41 -6 40 15,572 Quarter-finals Quarter-finals
2023 18 1st 34 21 8 5 60 29 31 71 22,405 Group stage Quarter-finals
2024 20 TBD 38
Key
  • Pos. = Position in league; P = Games played; W = Games won; D = Games drawn; L = Games lost; F = Goals scored; A = Goals conceded; GD = Goals difference; Pts = Points gained
  • OTW / PKW = Overtime wins / penalty kicks wins 1997 and 1998 seasons – 1999, 2000, 2001 & 2002 overtime wins only
  • OTL / PKL = Overtime losses / penalty kicks losses 1997 and 1998 seasons – 1999, 2000 & 2001 overtime losses only
  • Attendance/G = Average home league attendance
  • 2020 & 2021 seasons attendances reduced by COVID-19 worldwide pandemic
  • Source: J.League Data Site

Honours edit

League history edit

  • Chugoku Soccer League: 1978–85 (as Kawasaki Steel Mizushima)
  • Division 2 (Japan Soccer League Div. 2): 1986–91 (Kawasaki Steel Mizushima until 1987; Kawasaki Steel afterwards)
  • Division 3 (Old JFL Div. 2): 1992–93 (as Kawasaki Steel)
  • Division 2 (Old JFL): 1994–96 (Kawasaki Steel 1994; Vissel Kobe since 1995)
  • Division 1 (J.League): 1997–2005
  • Division 2 (J.League Division 2): 2006
  • Division 1 (J.League Division 1): 2007–12
  • Division 2 (J.League Division 2): 2013
  • Division 1 (J1 League): 2014–present

Total (as of 2014): 16 seasons in the top tier, 11 seasons in the second tier, 2 seasons in the third tier and 8 seasons in the Regional Leagues.

Continental record edit

Season Competition Round Club Home Away Aggregate
2020 AFC Champions League Group G   Johor Darul Ta'zim
5–1
Cancelled
1st
  Suwon Samsung Bluewings
0–2
1–0
  Guangzhou Evergrande
0–2
3–1
Round of 16   Shanghai Port
2–0
Quarter-finals   Suwon Samsung Bluewings
1–1 (a.e.t.)
(7–6 p)
Semi-finals   Ulsan Hyundai
1–2 (a.e.t.)
2022 AFC Champions League Play-off round   Melbourne Victory
4–3 (a.e.t.)
Group J   Shanghai Port
Cancelled
  Kitchee
2–1
2–2
1st
  Chiangrai United
6–0
0–0
Round of 16   Yokohama F. Marinos
3–2
Quarter-finals   Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors
1–3 (a.e.t.)

Current squad edit

As of 17 January 2024.[9]

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   JPN Daiya Maekawa
2 MF   JPN Nanasei Iino
3 DF   BRA Matheus Thuler
4 DF   JPN Tetsushi Yamakawa
6 MF   JPN Takahiro Ogihara
7 MF   JPN Yosuke Ideguchi
9 FW   JPN Taisei Miyashiro
10 FW   JPN Yuya Osako
11 FW   JPN Yoshinori Muto
14 MF   JPN Koya Yuruki
15 DF   JPN Yuki Honda
16 MF   JPN Mitsuki Saito
17 MF   JPN Tatsunori Sakurai
18 MF   JPN Haruya Ide
19 DF   JPN Ryo Hatsuse
21 GK   JPN Shota Arai
No. Pos. Nation Player
22 MF   JPN Daiju Sasaki
23 DF   JPN Rikuto Hirose
24 DF   JPN Gōtoku Sakai
25 MF   JPN Yuya Kuwasaki
26 FW   BRA Jean Patric
30 MF   JPN Kakeru Yamauchi
31 MF   JPN Yuya Nakasaka
33 DF   JPN Justin Homma
37 DF   JPN Shogo Terasaka
38 MF   JPN Juzo Ura
39 GK   JPN Shioki Takayama
44 MF   JPN Mitsuki Hidaka
50 GK   JPN Powell Obinna Obi
55 DF   JPN Takuya Iwanami
81 DF   JPN Ryuho Kikuchi
96 MF   JPN Hotaru Yamaguchi (captain)

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
GK   JPN Yuya Tsuboi (on loan to Júbilo Iwata)
DF   JPN Yusei Ozaki (on loan to Ehime FC)
MF   JPN Shuto Adachi (on loan to Iwate Grulla Morioka)
No. Pos. Nation Player
MF   JPN Toya Izumi (on loan to Montedio Yamagata)
FW   JPN Niina Tominaga (on loan to Kamatamare Sanuki)

Vissel Kobe U-18 edit

As of 5 May 2023. The U-18 team of Vissel Kobe currently plays in the Prince Takamado U-18 Premier League, the top-flight league for U-18 clubs in the country. Only the registered players for the competition will be displayed.[10]

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   JPN Itsuki Tanigawa
2 DF   JPN Masatsugu Ae
3 DF   JPN Shunta Hirohata
4 DF   JPN Kaito Yamada
5 DF   JPN Justin Homma
6 DF   JPN Takuma Eguchi
7 FW   JPN Hayato Takayama
8 MF   JPN Teruya Imatomi
9 MF   JPN Shota Arisue
10 MF   JPN Shoi Sakamoto
11 FW   JPN Motonari Tanaka
12 GK   JPN Eito Tsuzaki
13 FW   JPN Tokiya Takamura
14 FW   JPN Oga Morita
16 DF   JPN Rentaro Inoue
No. Pos. Nation Player
21 GK   JPN Kosuke Yoshioka
22 DF   JPN Riku Ibaraki
23 FW   JPN Shoei Oka
24 DF   JPN Shido Matsuda
25 MF   JPN Yuan Iwamoto
27 MF   JPN Ran Yoshioka
28 MF   JPN Fuga Koizumi
31 GK   JPN Taiga Kameda
32 FW   JPN Sota Onishi
34 DF   JPN Yusei Shima
35 MF   JPN Taiga Seguchi
40 MF   JPN Aiku Nishikawa
43 MF   JPN Kento Hamasaki
46 MF   JPN Riku Fujimoto
48 FW   JPN Hayato Watanabe

Club staff edit

For the 2023 season.[11]

Position Name
Manager   Takayuki Yoshida
Assistant manager   Tomo Sugawara
First-Team coach   Kunie Kitamoto
Goalkeeper coach   Sidmar
Physical coach   Akira Umeki
  Hikaru Fujii
Development Coach   Yuji Miyahara
Analyst   Toshiki Yoshimura

Manager history edit

Manager Nationality Tenure
Start Finish
Stuart Baxter   Scotland 1 February 1995 31 January 1998
Benito Floro   Spain 1 February 1998 24 September 1998
Harumi Kori   Japan 25 September 1998 31 January 1999
Ryoichi Kawakatsu   Japan 1 February 1999 25 July 2002
Hiroshi Matsuda   Japan 1 July 2002 31 January 2003
Hiroshi Soejima   Japan 1 February 2003 31 January 2004
Ivan Hašek   Czech Republic 1 February 2004 30 September 2004
Hiroshi Kato   Japan 1 October 2004 31 January 2005
Hideki Matsunaga   Japan 1 February 2005 19 April 2005
Émerson Leão   Brazil 19 April 2005 14 June 2005
Pavel Řehák   Czech Republic 15 June 2005 31 January 2006
Stuart Baxter   Scotland 1 February 2006 4 September 2006
Hiroshi Matsuda   Japan 5 September 2006 11 December 2008
Caio Júnior (interim)   Brazil 11 December 2008 30 June 2009
Masahiro Wada (interim)   Japan 1 July 2009 5 August 2009
Toshiya Miura   Japan 5 August 2009 11 September 2010
Masahiro Wada   Japan 11 September 2010 30 April 2012
Ryo Adachi (interim)   Japan 1 May 2012 21 May 2012
Akira Nishino   Japan 22 May 2012 8 November 2012
Ryo Adachi (interim)   Japan 9 November 2012 31 December 2012
Ryo Adachi   Japan 1 January 2013 31 January 2015
Nelsinho Baptista   Brazil 1 February 2015 15 August 2017
Takayuki Yoshida   Japan 16 August 2017 16 September 2018
Kentaro Hayashi (interim)   Japan 17 September 2017 3 October 2018
Juan Manuel Lillo   Spain 4 October 2018 16 April 2019
Takayuki Yoshida    Japan 17 April 2019 8 June 2019
Thorsten Fink   Germany 9 June 2019 21 September 2020
Marcos Vives   Spain 22 September 2020 23 September 2020
Atsuhiro Miura[12]   Japan 24 September 2020 20 March 2022
Lluís Planagumà (interim)   Spain 21 March 2022 7 April 2022
Miguel Ángel Lotina   Spain 8 April 2022 29 June 2022
Takayuki Yoshida   Japan 30 June 2022 current

Kit evolution edit

Home kit - 1st
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1997 - 1998
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1999 - 2002
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2003 - 2004
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2005 - 2006
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2007
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2008
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2009 - 2010
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2011
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2012
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2013
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2014
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2015
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2016
 
 
 
 
 
 
2017
 
 
 
 
 
 
2018
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2019
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2020
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2021
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2022
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2023
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2024 -
Away kit - 2nd
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1997 - 1998
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1999 - 2001
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2002 - 2003
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2004
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2005 - 2006
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2007
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2008
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2009
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2010
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2011
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2012
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2013
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2014
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2015
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2016
 
 
 
 
 
 
2017
 
 
 
 
 
 
2018
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2019
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2020
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2021
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2022
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2023
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2024 -
Alternative Kit - 3rd
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2014
10th Anniversary
Crimson FC
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2015
Club's 20th
anniversary
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2017
Kobe Port's 150th
Anniversary
 
 
 
 
 
 
2018 3rd
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2019 3rd
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2020
Club's
25th Anniversary
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2021 3rd
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2022 3rd

Affiliated clubs edit

References edit

  1. ^ "CLUBS & PLAYERS : J.LEAGUE.JP". jleague.jp. Archived from the original on 31 July 2018. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  2. ^ "Chairman Change at Kobe". jleague.jp (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 31 May 2022. Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  3. ^ a b c Jリーグ – ヴィッセル神戸 [J.League – Vissel Kobe] (in Japanese). J.League. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  4. ^ "Rakuten Acquires Football Club Vissel Kobe and Joins the J-League". Rakuten Official Website. Archived from the original on 2018-12-03. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
  5. ^ "Iniesta signs with Japan's Vissel Kobe". dailystar.com.lb. 24 May 2018. Archived from the original on 2 June 2021. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  6. ^ "「天皇杯 JFA 第99回全日本サッカー選手権大会」優勝のお知らせ" (in Japanese). Vissel Kobe. 1 January 2020. Archived from the original on 1 January 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  7. ^ "Andres Iniesta leads Vissel Kobe to Emperor's Cup glory as David Villa ends career". Daily Mirror. 1 January 2020. Archived from the original on 1 January 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  8. ^ "Vissel Kobe win Japanese Super Cup after farcical shootout". Eurosport. 2020-02-08. Archived from the original on 2021-11-29. Retrieved 2020-02-09.
  9. ^ "Team Profile". vissel-kobe.co.jp. Vissel Kobe. Archived from the original on 25 July 2022. Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  10. ^ "U-18 選手・スタッフ" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 7 September 2022. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  11. ^ "Vissel Kobe Players & Staff" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 25 July 2022. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  12. ^ "Football: Former Japan midfielder Atsuhiro Miura named Vissel Kobe boss". Kyodo News. 24 September 2020. Archived from the original on 8 October 2020. Retrieved 6 October 2020.

External links edit