Sportklub Sturm Graz is an Austrian professional association football club, based in Graz, Styria, playing in the Austrian Football Bundesliga. The club was founded in 1909. Its colours are black and white.

SK Sturm Graz
Full nameSportklub Sturm Graz
Nickname(s)Die Schwoazn, The Blackies
Founded1 May 1909; 114 years ago (1 May 1909)
GroundMerkur Arena
15,400 (international games)
ChairmanChristian Jauk
ManagerChristian Ilzer
LeagueAustrian Bundesliga
2022–23Austrian Bundesliga, 2nd of 12
WebsiteClub website
Current season

In its history, Sturm Graz has won the Austrian football championship three times, in 1998, 1999 and 2011, and participated several times in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. Their biggest rivals are Graz neighbours Grazer AK. They share their Stadium, the Merkur Arena, with Grazer AK. This is a very controversial topic as Sturm Graz Fans groups have been fighting for years for a „Zwei-Stadien Lösung“ (2 Stadium Solution). The Shared stadium creates many unnecessary problems that would be solved with a second one.

History Edit

Historical chart of Sturm Graz league performance

Foundation Edit

SK Sturm Graz was founded in 1909 as a workers team, as opposed to its neighbours Grazer AK, founded in 1902. Between 1921 and 1949, the team enjoyed considerable success in winning the regional Styrian championship 11 times.[citation needed]

The Anschluss in 1938 made Austria part of the German Third Reich and Austrian clubs became part of German football competition. Sturm played in the opening round of the 1940 Tschammerpokal, predecessor to the modern-day DFB-Pokal. They then qualified to play in the Gauliga Ostmark, one of Germany's top-flight regional leagues, in 1941. The team withdrew part way through the 1941–42 season and was relegated after an 11th-place result in the following campaign.[1]

In 1949, Sturm entered the Austrian national league as the first non-Vienna-based team.

1981: First success Edit

The first great success came under manager Otto Barić, when the club finished runners-up in the league in the 1980–81 season. In 1983–84, the club battled through to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup, beaten only by Nottingham Forest through a penalty in extra-time.[2]

1992: Start of a new era Edit

In December 1992, Hannes Kartnig was installed as president, naming his close friend Heinz Schilcher as new manager. At the time, Sturm was languishing under enormous debts. Sturm qualified for the newly formed Zehnerliga, and Kartnig and Schilcher decided the best course of action would be to abstain from big-name signings, opting instead for a new start using young players from the club's youth setup. In 1993, Milan Đuričić became manager.

1994 to 2002: Osim and European football Edit

In 1994, the Bosnian Ivica Osim took control of the up-to-now unsuccessful Sturm; this proved to be a crucial turning-point in the club's history. Osim succeeded in producing an effective and powerful team using the young and inexperienced players at his disposal, strengthened with a few experienced leading players. The team's first success was as runners-up in the league in 1995. One year later, they won their first title, beating Admira Wacker in the cup final, but wobbling in the league to finish runners-up yet again.

In 1998, Sturm won its first Austrian Bundesliga title, pulling away from the field early on and winning the title with seven games in hand. Sturm set two records during this season; they remained unbeaten in their first 12 matches, and then for another 19 matches later in the season. At the end of the season, they amassed 81 points, an Austrian record total, winning the title with 19 points ahead of Rapid Wien. This season also saw the development of the "magic triangle" of Mario Haas, Hannes Reinmayr and Ivica Vastić.

The year 1999 saw Sturm Graz retain the title, securing the treble as they did so (league, cup and super cup), in addition to appearing in the qualification for the UEFA Champions League. Here, however, a scoreless draw with Spartak Moscow proved to be the team's only success. The 1999–2000 season saw Sturm in the Champions League for a second time, finishing third in its group. FC Tirol wrested the domestic title from Sturm's grasp, but the runners-up spot achieved was sufficient for a third trip into the following season's Champions League.

Sensationally, Sturm Graz won its Champions League Group D (against Galatasaray, Rangers and Monaco), reaching the second round for the first time. The league campaign was less successful – a fourth-place finish, the worst under Osim.

After the Champions League exploits, several key players out of the 12 who later left were not suitably replaced. Worse still, this hasty squad redevelopment devoured almost all the profit made from the European campaign. Only a small fraction of the money was invested in youth development to establish an academy. Despite this, the newly assembled team again finished in second place in the league, but failed at the qualification hurdle for the Champions League. This, together with increasing criticism from the club president, precipitated the departure of Osim after eight years at the helm.[citation needed]

2002 to 2009: Consolidation Edit

Sturm Graz, 2010 cup winners

Franco Foda and Gilbert Gress (seven defeats in nine games) both enjoyed short and fruitless stints as coach, before former sweeper Michael Petrović took control in autumn 2003. He presided over a gradual introduction of young talent, securing the team's place in the top flight in both 2004 and 2005, finishing in seventh position.

Since 2005, Sturm has been facing financial problems and, on 1 September 2006, a petition of bankruptcy was filed by the tax authorities. Because of the financial situation, Sturm was forced to use young players who were soon sold to reconsole the club. Also in 2006, coach Michael Petrović left the club and was replaced by Franco Foda.

2009 to present day: New successes Edit

Former logo

After a fourth-place finish in 2009, the Blackies qualified for the group stage of the UEFA Europe League in 2009–10. Their opponents were Galatasaray, Panathinaikos and Dinamo București. In 2010, the Blackies won the ÖFB-Cup in Klagenfurt in front of 25,000 of its own fans against Wiener Neustadt. That was the highest number of fans ever travelling to a match in a different state.

In 2010–11, Sturm won the Austrian championship. A highlight of the season was a qualifying match against Juventus in the UEFA Europa League.

In 2011–12, Sturm played in the UEFA Champions League qualification rounds and managed to defeat Hungarian club Videoton and Zestafoni of Georgia. In the play-off, however, Sturm Graz lost against BATE Borisov, thus ensuring qualification to the group stages of the Europa League, where they were grouped with Anderlecht, Lokomotiv Moscow and AEK Athens. At the end of the season, Sturm finished fifth in the Bundesliga and head coach Franco Foda was fired after six years. With his replacement Peter Hyballa, Sturm played strong during the autumn months, but a poor spring resulted in Hyballa's dismissal before the end of the season. Sturm managed to fourth in the final league table, albeit with the lowest number of points ever sufficed for fourth place. This ensured Europa League qualification for the subsequent year. Darko Milanič, who won several titles with Maribor in Slovenia, took the reins of the club for the 2013–14 campaign.

Stadium Edit


The traditional home of the team for many years was the Gruabn, which held over 12,000 people – almost exclusively standing – and which was characterised by its narrow playing field and the proximity of the fans to the players. From 1997 to 2005, Gruabn was used just as a training ground and for youth and amateur matches. In 2005, the ground was sold to the city of Graz to relieve the club's financial difficulties. The year 1997 saw the club's move to the Arnold Schwarzenegger Stadium, shared between Sturm and its local rivals, Grazer AK. From February 2006, the stadium was called UPC-Arena. In July 2016, Merkur Insurance won the Sponsoring rights for the stadium. The stadium is now called the Merkur Arena.

Fans and the Graz Derby Edit

A study published in 2008 by the German market research institute Sport + Markt showed that Sturm have around 360,000 fans across Austria, which is only second to the number of Rapid Wien supporters.[3] In Europe, there are estimated to be 410,000 fans, which ranks them as the 117th-most supported club.[4]

There are several organised fan groups – the biggest and most well-known are Jewels Sturm and the Brigata Graz, which were both founded in 1994, and Grazer Sturmflut, founded two years later in 1996.

Sturm fans have a very strong friendship with fans of German 2. Bundesliga club Karlsruhe. They have also contacts with fans of Werder Bremen and fans from Pisa and Carrara in the Italian league. More recently, they have also had contacts with a group of Maribor ultras.

Sturm have a big rivalry with cross-town rivals Grazer AK, with whom they compete the Graz Derby. In 1974, there was big opposition from both sets of fans against a proposed merger to become "FC Graz." Since 1920, excluding the friendly matches (especially before the first official Styrian Cup in 1920), 197 matches have been played between the two, of which there were 185 encounters in the league (130 at the professional level and 55 at amateur level in the Styrian League); an additional five encounters in the Austrian Cup; one match in the Austrian Supercup; two meetings in the Tschammerpokal and four games in the Styrian Cup. The very first Derby took place in 1911, the last was dated 17 May 2007. So far, Sturm have won more derby matches than Grazer AK.

Other rivalries are with the two Vienna clubs (Austria Wien and Rapid Wien) due to the history of competition for trophies between the three clubs, and as with most ultras the fans have a strong dislike of Red Bull Salzburg, unhappy with the acquisition of Austria Salzburg by Austrian energy drink company Red Bull.

Honours Edit

European records Edit

  • Q= Qualifying
  • P= Preliminary
  • PO = Play-off
Season Competition Round Country Club Home Away
1970–71 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup 1   Ilves 3–0 2–4
2   Arsenal 1–0 0–2
1974–75 UEFA Cup 1   Royal Antwerp 2–1 0–1
1975–76 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 1   Slavia Sofia 3–1 0–1
2   Szombathelyi Haladás 2–0 1–1
QF   Eintracht Frankfurt 0–2 0–1
1978–79 UEFA Cup 1   Borussia Mönchengladbach 1–2 1–5
1981–82 UEFA Cup 1   CSKA Moscow 1–0 1–2
2   IFK Göteborg 2–2 2–3
1983–84 UEFA Cup 1   Sportul Studențesc 0–0 2–1
2   Hellas Verona 0–0 2–2
3   Lokomotive Leipzig 2–0 0–1
QF   Nottingham Forest 1–1 (AET) 0–1
1988–89 UEFA Cup 1   Servette 0–0 0–1
1991–92 UEFA Cup 1   Utrecht 0–1 1–3
1995–96 UEFA Cup Q   Slavia Prague 0–1 1–1
1996–97 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 1   Sparta Prague 2–2 1–1
1997–98 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 1   APOEL 3–0 1–0
2   AEK Athens 1–0 0–2
1998–99 UEFA Champions League Q2   Újpest 4–0 3–2
Group C – 4th   Spartak Moscow 0–2 0–0
  Internazionale 0–2 0–1
  Real Madrid 1–5 1–6
1999–00 UEFA Champions League Q3   Servette 2–1 2–2
Group D – 3rd, P   Marseille 3–2 0–2
  Manchester United 0–3 1–2
  Croatia Zagreb 1–0 0–3
UEFA Cup 3   Parma 3–3 (AET) 1–2
2000–01 UEFA Champions League Q2   Hapoel Tel Aviv 3–0 2–1
Q3   Feyenoord 2–1 1–1
Group D – 1st, P   Rangers 2–0 0–5
  Galatasaray 3–0 2–2
  Monaco 2–0 0–5
Group A – 3rd   Valencia 0–5 0–2
  Manchester United 0–2 0–3
  Panathinaikos 2–0 2–1
2001 UEFA Intertoto Cup 2   Lausanne-Sport 0–1 3–3
2002–03 UEFA Champions League Q3   Maccabi Haifa 3–3 0–2
UEFA Cup 1   Livingston 5–2 3–4
2   Levski Sofia 1–0 0–1 (p 8–7)
3   Lazio 1–3 1–0
2005 UEFA Intertoto Cup 1   Rànger's 5–0 1–1
2   VfL Wolfsburg 1–3 2–2
2008 UEFA Intertoto Cup 2   Shakhtyor Soligorsk 2–0 0–0
3   Budapest Honvéd 0–0 2–1
2008–09 UEFA Cup Q2   Zürich 1–1 (p 2–4) 1–1
2009–10 UEFA Europa League Q2   Široki Brijeg 2–1 1–1
Q3   Petrovac 5–0 2–1
Play-off   Metalist Kharkiv 1–1 1–0
Group F – 4th   Dinamo București 0–1 1–2
  Galatasaray 1–0 1–1
  Panathinaikos 0–1 0–1
2010–11 UEFA Europa League Q3   Dinamo Tbilisi 2–0 1–1
Play-off   Juventus 1–2 0–1
2011–12 UEFA Champions League Q2   Videoton 2–0 2–3
Q3   Zestafoni 1–0 1–1
PO   BATE Borisov 0–2 1–1
UEFA Europa League Group L – 4th   Lokomotiv Moscow 1–2 1–3
  AEK Athens 1–3 2–1
  Anderlecht 0–2 0–3
2013–14 UEFA Europa League Q2   Breiðablik 0–1 0–0
2015–16 UEFA Europa League Q3   Rubin Kazan 2–3 1–1
2017–18 UEFA Europa League Q2   Mladost Podgorica 0–1 3–0
Q3   Fenerbahçe 1–2 1–1
2018–19 UEFA Champions League Q2   Ajax 1–3 0–2
UEFA Europa League Q3   AEK Larnaca 0–2 0–5
2019–20 UEFA Europa League Q2   Haugesund 2–1 0–2
2021–22 UEFA Europa League Play-off   Mura 2–0 3–1
Group B – 4th   AS Monaco 1–1 0–1
  PSV Eindhoven 1–4 0–2
  Real Sociedad 0–1 1–1
2022–23 UEFA Champions League Q3   Dynamo Kyiv 1–2 (AET) 0–1
UEFA Europa League Group F – 4th   Lazio 0–0 2–2
  Feyenoord 1–0 0–6
  Midtjylland 1–0 0–2
2023–24 UEFA Champions League Q3   PSV Eindhoven 1–3 1–4
UEFA Europa League Group D   Sporting CP 14 Dec 1–2
  Raków Częstochowa 30 Nov 5 Oct
  Atalanta BC 26 Oct 9 Nov

Players Edit

Current squad Edit

As of 28 September 2023

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   NED Kjell Scherpen (on loan from Brighton)
2 DF   SCO Max Johnston
4 DF   SVN Jon Gorenc Stanković
5 DF   SUI Gregory Wüthrich
6 DF   AUT Aleksandar Borković
8 MF   AUT Alexander Prass
9 FW   POL Szymon Włodarczyk
10 MF   GEO Otar Kiteishvili
11 MF   AUT Manprit Sarkaria
14 MF   ESP Javi Serrano (on loan from Atlético Madrid)
15 FW   DEN William Bøving
17 FW   CPV Bryan Teixeira
19 FW   SVN Tomi Horvat
No. Pos. Nation Player
20 FW   NOR Seedy Jatta
21 MF   AUT Samuel Stückler
22 DF   BIH Jusuf Gazibegović
23 MF   AUT Vesel Demaku
24 DF   BEL Dimitri Lavalée (on loan from Mechelen)
25 MF   AUT Stefan Hierländer
27 DF   AUT Gabriel Haider
28 DF   AUT David Schnegg
29 FW   GHA Mohammed Fuseini
31 GK   AUT Luka Marić
35 DF   AUT Niklas Geyrhofer
38 FW   AUT Leon Grgic
40 GK   AUT Matteo Bignetti
42 DF   AUT David Affengruber
44 DF   MLI Amadou Dante

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
MF   AUT Christoph Lang (at Hartberg until 30 June 2024)
No. Pos. Nation Player
FW   AUT Luca Kronberger (at Tirol until 30 June 2024)

Retired numbers 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
3 DF   AUT Günther Neukirchner (1989–2006)
7 FW   AUT Mario Haas (1993–2012)

Coaching staff Edit

Position Name
First-Team Manager   Christian Ilzer
First-Team Assistant Manager   Uwe Hölzl
First-Team Coach   Dominik Deutschl
First-Team Goalkeeper Coach   Stefan Loch
Mental Coach   Mathias Berthold
Athletic Coach   Marco Angeler
Rehab Coach   Bernd Prorok
Development Coach   Günther Neukirchner
Chief Analyst   Paul Pajduch
Managing Director Sport   Andreas Schicker
Scout   Bruno Friesenbichler
  Christoph Leitgeb
Director of youth department/Stadium Announcer   Thomas Raffl
Chief instructor   Dietmar Pegam
Team Manager   Martin Ehrenreich

Managerial history Edit


Club management Edit

Administration Edit

  • President: Christian Jauk

Coaching staff Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ Grüne, Hardy (2001). Enzyklopädie des deutschen Ligafußballs 7. Vereinslexikon. Kassel: Agon-Sportverlag. ISBN 9783897841475.
  2. ^ "Liverpool's barrage gets semi-final spot". Montreal Gazette. United Press International. 22 March 1984. Archived from the original on 14 February 2020. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
  3. ^ "700.000 Österreicher sind Rapid-Fans". 18 September 2008. Archived from the original on 1 October 2009. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
  4. ^ Bericht zur Studie auf Archived 7 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved 25 March 2009.
  5. ^ Coupe Intertoto 2008 Archived 6 June 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Listed are all 11 teams that won the Intertoto Cup, qualifying for the UEFA Cup.
  6. ^ SK Sturm Graz Official Website: Geschichte Trainer Archived 18 December 2021 at the Wayback Machine (in German)

External links Edit