Nogometni klub Osijek is a professional football club from Osijek in Eastern Croatia. Founded in 1947, it was the club from Slavonia with the most seasons in the Yugoslav First League, and, after the independence of Croatia in 1992, it is one of the four clubs that have never been relegated from the Croatian First League, the others being Dinamo Zagreb, Hajduk Split and Rijeka.
|Full name||Nogometni klub Osijek|
|Nickname(s)||Bijelo-plavi (The Blue-Whites)|
|Founded||27 February 1947|
|Ground||Stadion Gradski vrt, Osijek|
|Owner||Lőrinc Mészáros & Ivan Meštrović|
|2018–19||Prva HNL, 3rd of 10|
The precursor to NK Osijek was founded on 27 February 1947, after a merger between two physical training associations: Slavonija and Bratstvo. The new entity was named Proleter. The first match that was played under that name dates back to 16 March that same year, when Proleter beat city-rivals Mladost by five goals to nil. The first competition in which the club participated in was the Osječko Okružno Prvenstvo, along with four other teams. The club got into the second national league soon after. Proleter achieved placement into the Yugoslav First League in 1953, having won the so-called Croato-Slovenian League. The best players from that side were Andrija Vekić, Franjo Rupnik, Dionizije Dvornić, and Franjo Majer. Proleter played in the First League for three seasons, but were then relegated to the second division. .
Proleter moved to current stadium Stadion Gradski vrt in autumn 1958 and changed its name to Slavonija as part of the unifying process of the boxing, athletics and Olympic lifting club in a newly founded sports association in 1962, while still being in the second league. Five years later the association disbanded and the club took on the name NK Osijek. The then-colours red and blue were switched to current colours blue and white.
In 1970, Osijek wins the 2nd North League championship, however, FK Borac Banja Luka beat them in the promotion play-offs. A year later, Bijelo-plavi try for promotion again, winning in a penalty shoot-out against HNK Rijeka, but end up being stopped by FK Vardar.
The next time Osijek reached the promotion play-offs was in 1973. NK Osijek made it to the final round, beating FC Prishtina. Following their victory, NK Osijek was set to meet NK Zagreb at Stadion Maksimir in Zagreb. A record-breaking 64,129 tickets were sold with approximately 20,000 of them going to Osijek supporters. NK Zagreb proved victorious on the day, winning via a penalty shoot-out following a 2–2 draw after 90 minutes, Osijek denied promotion for a third time in four years.
In 1977, NK Osijek finally secured its return to the top flight by taking out the league championship.
NK Osijek managed to stay competitive in the Yugoslav League up until the Croatian War for Independence, except for the season of 1979/80, when Osijek fought back into the premier league after failing to stay in it. The club was present in the second part of the First League ladder in the 80’s, except for 1984, when the team placed 6th, headed by Davidović, Lulić, Džeko, Lepinjica, Rakela, Karačić and the team captain Kalinić. In 1989, the team placed 8th with Davor Šuker leading the line for the side scoring 18 goals, taking out the league's best goalscorer award. Šuker is the only player in NK Osijek history to take out the award. During the last season of the YFL, NK Osijek finished ninth.
After the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the Croatian First Football League was formed and the first season was played in 1992. Due to the war, it was a shortened season played from February to June. NK Osijek was unable to play in Osijek due to the war, so they had to play in the cities of Đakovo, Donji Miholjac and Kutjevo. Osijek finished the 1992 Croatian First Football League season in 3rd placed, six points behind NK Zagreb and nine behind league champions HNK Hajduk Split. Osijek's top goalscorer was Robert Špehar, who finished the season with nine goals.
NK Osijek quickly became one of the top 4 Croatian Football teams. One of Osijek's best ever seasons came in the 1994–95 Croatian First Football League. The Bijelo plavi finished in third place, only six points behind first-placed Hajduk. Špehar scored 23 goals to become the league's top goalscorer. The greats of NK Osijek during that time were Robert Spehar, Zitnjak, Lulic, Beljan, Ergovic, Rupnik, Besirevic, Bicanic, and Labak.
Osijek finished third in the 1997–98 Croatian First Football League, qualifying for the 1998–99 UEFA Cup. NK Osijek came up against R.S.C. Anderlecht. After a famous 3-1 victory at home in front of 15,000 supporters, Osijek lost 2-0 in Belgium and were knocked-out on away goals. In 1998-99, Osijek attained its first trophy, the Croatian Football Cup, following a victory over HNK Cibalia 2–0. A year later, West Ham United was playing away in Gradski Vrt, headed by Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand, Trevor Sinclair, Paolo Di Canio, Paulo Wanchope and Igor Štimac.
In the 2000–01 UEFA Cup, NK Osijek beat Brøndby 2–1 (2–1, 0–0) and Rapid Wien 4–1 (2–1, 2–0). In the 3rd round, Osijek beat Slavia Prague 2–0 at home, but lost 5–1 in Prague. Osijek finished third in the league once more. In the 2001–02 UEFA Cup, Osijek progressed past Dinaburg on away goals, beat Gorica in the first round, but then lost 3–5 to AEK Athens. In the 2003–04 HNL, Osijek had the first and second highest goalscorers in the division with Špehar scoring 18 and Goran Ljubojević scoring 16. The club then went through a long phase of mid-table finishes and mediocre results.
NK Osijek was almost relegated during the 2013–14 season. On the final match day, Josip Barišić managed to score and keep NK Osijek afloat against NK Hrvatski Dragovoljac. Osijek changed coaches on four occasions throughout the season. The following season, Osijek once again finished one position above the relegation play-off spot, finishing one point ahead of Istra 1961.
In September 2015, Zoran Zekić was appointed as the first team head coach.
With the club facing bankruptcy, Osijek went into private ownership for the first time in its history in February 2016 with Hungarian oligarch Lőrinc Mészáros and Croatian entrepreneur Ivan Meštrović buying a majority of shares in the club. The duo went about stabilizing the club, improving the squad and bringing back ambition to the city and supporters. Much of the debt was restructured and paid off, securing the short-term and long-term future of Osijek.
On 27 February 2017, the club celebrated its 70th anniversary in the Osijek theater. In the 2016–17 season, Osijek finished 4th, which was their highest league finish in nearly 10 years. The 4th place finish led to Osijek participating in the qualifying phase of the 2017–18 UEFA Europa League; with the club staging an extremely successful run to the play-off round, beating Santa Coloma, Luzern and PSV, the former champions of Europe, who won the 1987–1988 edition. The club's run was ended following a 1–2 home loss to Austria Wien, and despite the club winning the second leg 1–0, Osijek were eliminated on the away goals rule. Despite being eliminated, Osijek were praised and congratulated by Croatian press, fans and media for their historic run.
In the 2017–18 season, Osijek finished 4th again, securing a place in the UEFA competition. Osijek beat Petrocub Hîncești 2-1 at home after drawing the first leg in Moldova 1-1, and faced Rangers in the second qualifying round of the 2018–19 UEFA Europa League. Osijek lost the home leg 1-0.
NK Osijek plays its home games at Gradski Vrt, where it played its first game on the 7th of September, 1958, against Sloboda. It was officially opened in 1980.
The current design was made in the year 1979. The upper western tribune is unfinished to this day. The current capacity lies at 18 856 spectator seats, with 980 of them being for standing audiences. Before the club had transferred to Gradski Vrt, Osijek played on a pitch next to the river Drava.
In April 2018, NK Osijek President Ivan Meštrović released a detailed structure design for the new stadium. A new state of art stadium will be built at the Pampas neighbourhood in Osijek as a part of the new NK Osijek training centre. The capacity of the new stadium will be 12,000, with all of the seats covered. The stadium will be UEFA category four and is supposed to be finished in 2020. During the stadium construction, NK Osijek will play their home games at the current Gradski vrt stadium, which is in the future going to be used as the main stadium for the NK Osijek B squad.
The fan club of NK Osijek is called Kohorta (cohort, named after the Roman army unit composed of 360 soldiers). It was founded in 1972 under the name Sokci, and carries the name Kohorta since 1988. Kohorta is usually situated on the eastern tribune of Gradski Vrt. Its seat is in the street of the University in Tvrdja, Osijek.
The Slavonian derby match is between the two largest Croatian football clubs from eastern Croatia, Osijek and Cibalia. Each new match between these two great rivals, means a great match on the field, but also in the stands.
Kit manufacturers and sponsorsEdit
|2017–||Nike||Dobro, Mészáros és Mészáros Kft.|
In the following table, defunct competitions are listed in italics.
|Yugoslav Second League Winners||5||1952–53, 1969–70, 1972–73, 1976–77, 1980–81|
|Croatian Cup Winners||1||1998–99|
|Croatian Cup Runners-up||1||2011–12|
|Best European results|
|UEFA Cup Third round||1||2000–01|
|UEFA Intertoto Cup Second round||1||2006|
|Mitropa Cup Third place||1||1981–82|
|UEFA Europa League Play-off round||1||2017–18|
|Season||League||Cup||European competitions||Top goalscorer|
|1992||1. HNL||22||12||3||7||33||28||27||3rd||QF||Robert Špehar||9|
|1992–93||1. HNL||30||11||7||12||40||42||29||6th||QF||Alen Petrović||10|
|1993–94||1. HNL||34||12||11||11||56||58||35||8th||R2||Antun Labak||16|
|1994–95||1. HNL||30||16||11||3||65||30||59||3rd||SF||Robert Špehar||23|
|1995–96||1. A HNL||32||16||4||12||51||32||52||4th||QF||UEFA Cup||QR||Igor Pamić||17|
|1996–97||1. A HNL||30||12||5||13||40||38||41||8th||SF||Dumitru Mitu||10|
|1997–98||1. HNL||32||14||6||12||42||38||48||3rd||R1||Petar Krpan||10|
|1998–99||1. HNL||32||14||6||12||51||39||48||4th||W||UEFA Cup||QR2||Stanko Bubalo||10|
|1999–00||1. HNL||33||15||8||10||55||49||53||3rd||QF||UEFA Cup||R1||Stanko Bubalo||13|
|2000–01||1. HNL||32||17||6||9||61||47||57||3rd||SF||UEFA Cup||R3||Nenad Bjelica, Marijan Vuka||9|
|2001–02||1. HNL||30||11||4||15||45||48||37||8th||SF||UEFA Cup||R2||Milan Pavličić||9|
|2002–03||1. HNL||32||10||9||13||32||51||39||8th||QF||Milan Pavličić||11|
|2003–04||1. HNL||32||11||6||15||50||57||39||4th||QF||Robert Špehar||18|
|2004–05||1. HNL||32||9||14||9||41||45||41||8th||SF||Karlo Primorac||11|
|2005–06||1. HNL||32||13||5||14||31||48||44||4th||QF||Josip Balatinac||6|
|2006–07||1. HNL||33||11||10||12||42||45||43||6th||R2||Intertoto Cup||R2||Stjepan Jukić||9|
|2007–08||1. HNL||33||16||6||11||43||34||54||3rd||R2||Vedran Nikšić||8|
|2008–09||1. HNL||33||10||11||12||40||41||41||7th||R1||Josip Barišić||8|
|2009–10||1. HNL||30||13||8||9||49||36||47||5th||QF||Josip Barišić, Ivan Miličević, Vedran Nikšić||8|
|2010–11||1. HNL||30||9||12||9||31||29||39||8th||QF||Ivan Miličević||5|
|2011–12||1. HNL||30||11||10||9||45||38||43||8th||RU||Antonio Perošević||7|
|2012–13||1. HNL||33||9||12||12||25||33||39||7th||QF||Europa League||QR2||Antonio Perošević, Zoran Kvržić||4|
|2013–14||1. HNL||36||8||9||19||38||64||33||8th||QF||Josip Barišić||6|
|2014–15||1. HNL||36||10||6||20||42||59||36||8th||R2||Antonio Perošević, Aljoša Vojnović||6|
|2015–16||1. HNL||36||7||13||16||27||49||34||8th||QF||Antonio Perošević||6|
|2016–17||1. HNL||36||20||6||10||52||37||66||4th||SF||Muzafer Ejupi||14|
|2017–18||1. HNL||36||14||14||8||53||38||56||4th||QF||Europa League||PO||Haris Hajradinović||9|
|2018–19||1. HNL||36||18||8||10||61||36||62||3rd||SF||Europa League||QR2||Mirko Marić||18|
- League: P = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; Pts = Points won; Pos = Final position;
- Cup / Europe: PR = Preliminary round; QR = Qualifying round; R1 = First round; R2 = Second round; QF = Quarter-final; SF = Semi-final; RU = Runner-up; W = Competition won;
|Competition||Pld||W||D||L||GF||GA||Last season played|
|UEFA Cup / UEFA Europa League||34||17||3||14||43||45||2018–19|
|UEFA Intertoto Cup||2||0||2||0||2||2||2006|
Source: uefa.com, Last updated on 2 August 2018.
Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against. Defunct competitions indicated in italics.
|1995–96||UEFA Cup||QR||Slovan Bratislava||0–2||0–4||0–6|
|1998–99||UEFA Cup||QR2||Anderlecht||3–1||0–2||3–3 (a)|
|1999–00||UEFA Cup||R1||West Ham United||1–3||0–3||1–6|
|2001–02||UEFA Cup||QR||Dinaburg||1–0||1–2||2–2 (a)|
|2006–07||UEFA Intertoto Cup||R2||Ethnikos Achna||2–2||0–0||2–2 (a)|
|2012–13||UEFA Europa League||QR1||FC Santa Coloma||3–1||1–0||4–1|
|2017–18||UEFA Europa League||QR1||UE Santa Coloma||4–0||2–0||6–0|
|PO||Austria Wien||1–2||1–0||2–2 (a)|
|2018–19||UEFA Europa League||QR1||Petrocub Hîncești||2–1||1−1||3–2|
|2019–20||UEFA Europa League||QR2|
Last updated on 2 August 2018.
UEFA club coefficient rankingEdit
(As of 19 June 2017), Source: Bert Kassies website
- As of 11 June 2019
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on loanEdit
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
|Assistant coach||Karlo Primorac|
|Assistant coach||Zoran Marčetić|
|Assistant coach||Ivo Smoje|
|Goalkeeping coach||Domagoj Malovan|
|Fitness coach||Marin Vučko|
|Fitness coach||Dino Krolo|
|Chief scout||Marin Skender|
|Sporting director||Alen Petrović|
|Director of football||Hrvoje Barišić|
|Chief of medical staff||Nikica Tole|
|Kit manager||Željko Vincek|
|Kit manager||Ivica Vincek|
|Kit manager assistant||Zoran Stranjak|
Last updated: 20 May 2019
Source: NK Osijek official website
The Football School of NK Osijek was founded in 1982 as the Youth School. It was set in motion by Andrija Vekic, with the wish to recruit and create great players and coaches alike by creating a good and competitive atmosphere. Many players considered to be high-level were in that school.
Proleter, the precursor to NK Osijek, was headed by Gustav Lechner, Ernest Dubac, Antun Kasa, Milan Adamović, Andrija Vekić, Franjo Rupnik, Dionizije Dvornić. When the club attained first league status in 1953, those players spearheaded the city’s club. In 1958, Nikola Rudić, Mate Kasac, Josip Gutzmirtl, Ilija Katić, Branko Karapandža, Boris Čulina, Ahmed Zejnilagić were the star players. They were active in the 60’s as well, when Proleter became Slavonija. After that, the club was staffed by Šaban Jasenica, Ivica Rukavina, and a slew of other capable players. Later on, Pavo Majer, Mile Dumančić, Branislav Iličin, Petar Lončarić, Zdravko Rupnik, Stjepan Čordaš, Ljubomir Petrović, Ivan Lukačević, Ivica Grnja were part of the team. In 1977, “Luks”, “Struja”, “Charlie”, “Dumba” and more were considered star players by the citizens of Osijek. Lukačevic and Grnja went on to play in Canada to play for Toronto’s Croatia football team, along with Eusebio, who is on the top 100 list of best footballers from 2004, among Pele. Ivica Grnja has achieved a place in the hall of fame in Toronto. During the 80’s, Davor Šuker sticks out from the crowd as a high-level football player, having been the number one striker during the World Cup in France 1998. He has played in Sevilla, and most notably for Real Madrid. Šuker went on to be champion of Europe in 1998, having beaten Juventus with a score of 1-0. After the War for Independence, Željko Pakasin, Alen Petrović, Ilica Perić, Nenad Bjelica, and others were among the best NK Osijek had in its roster. A notable mention is Robert Špehar, who went on to be number one “cannoneer” of the HNL and played for many foreign clubs: Club Brugge, Monaco, Verona, Sporting, Galatasaray, Standard, etc.). Nenad Bjelica played for the national team during the EP in Portugal 2004. Petar Krpan, who played on NK Osijek from 1993 until 1998, played for the national team during the World Cup in France. Marko Babic, who played in the finals for Bayer Leverkusen against Real Madrid in 2002, also played for NK Osijek. Another player, Almir Turković, is considered one of the best dribblers among the fans.
To appear in this section a player must have:
- Played at least 150 league games for the club;
- Scored at least 50 league goals for the club; or
- Played at least one international match for their national or olympic team while playing for NK Osijek.
Years in brackets indicate their spells at the club.
This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
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- "Robert Špehar CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
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- "Bakir Beširević CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Davor Rupnik CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Damir Vuica CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Petar Krpan CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Mario Galinović CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Ivo Ergović CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Ronald Grnja CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Ivica Beljan CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Igor Pamić CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Dumitru Mitu CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Jurica Vranješ CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Josip Balatinac CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Stanko Bubalo CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Mato Neretljak CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Marin Skender CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Valentin Babić CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
- "Ivo Smoje CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Josip Barišić CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Tomislav Šorša CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
- "Domagoj Vida CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Hrvoje Kurtović CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
- "Mile Škorić CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 22 February 2018.