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Società Sportiva Dilettantistica Palermo, known as Palermo Calcio or more simply Palermo, is an Italian football club based in the Sicilian city of Palermo. Originally founded on 1 November 1900, Unione Sportiva Città di Palermo was excluded from Serie B on 12 July 2019. A phoenix club was formed in July of the same year, and was admitted into in Serie D for the 2019-20 season.
|Full name||Società Sportiva Dilettantistica Palermo|
|Nickname(s)||I Rosanero (The PinkBlacks)|
Le Aquile (The Eagles)
|Founded||1900 (Anglo Palermitan Athletic and Football Club)|
1920 (US Palermo)
1941 (US Palermo-Juventina)
1987 (US Città di Palermo)
2019 (SSD Palermo)
|Ground||Stadio Renzo Barbera|
|Owner||Hera Hora S.r.l.|
|Head coach||Rosario Pergolizzi|
|2018–19||Serie B, 11th (excluded)|
The team achieved it's best sporting results in the 2000s, during which it had three 5th placed finishes in the Serie A (including two in a row) and reached the 2005–06 UEFA Cup's round of 16. The club also counts the Coppa Italia Serie C won in 1992–1993 as a major honour in their history.
Regarding their performances in continental competition, the club has five appearances in UEFA Cup/Europa League; in 2007 it also occupied 51st place in UEFA ranking. According to the monthly ranking by the IFFHS the highest ranking ever conquered was the 19th place, reached both in February and June 2006; according to another ranking of the same entity, the rosanero were the 121th best team in the world from 1 January 1991 to 31 December 2009.
With their appearances in 3 Coppa Italia finals - twice in the 1970's (1974 and 1979) and again in 2011) - and their 5 Serie B titles, alongside the many trophies won in the first twenty years of the twentieth century, Palermo is often considered to be one of the most important and successful clubs of Southern Italy.
Palermo were the first club founded in Sicily, the first in the South and the 7th oldest extant club in the country.
Since 2008, Palermo has had the right to be an ordinary member of the European Club Association, an international organisation that has taken the place of the abolished G-14 and is composed of the main football clubs of Europe with the purpose of ensuring a common protection of sports, legal and television rights in front of the FIFA.
Early history (1898–1947)Edit
There is some debate about the exact date the club was founded. Some authorities think it may have been as early as 1898 due to the existence of papers addressed to Joseph Whitaker, English consul in Palermo and originally believed to be first club president, about a Palermitan football team founded in the month of April of that year. Actually, there is a probable misinterpretation of some sources: in April 1897, the future founders of Palemo Calcio founded the association Sport Club. The most common and officially stated foundation date is 1 November 1900, as the Anglo Palermitan Athletic and Football Club. The club is thought to have been founded by Ignazio Majo Pagano, a young Palermitan colleague of Whitaker who had discovered football while at college in London in the UK, where the modern game of football originated. The initial staff comprised three Englishmen and nine natives of Palermo, with Whitaker as honorary chairman, Edward De Garston as inaugural president and with red and blue as the original team colours. The first recorded football match, played by the team on 30 December 1900, ended in a 5–0 defeat to an unidentified amateur English team. The first official match, played on 18 April 1901 against Messina Football Club, ended in a 3–2 win to the Palermitan side.
In 1907, the club changed its name to Palermo Foot-Ball Club, and the team colours were changed to the current pink and black. From 1908 until the final event in 1914, Palermo was featured in the Lipton Challenge Cup, organised by Scottish businessman Sir Thomas Lipton. The competition saw them face off against Naples; Palermo won the competition three times, including a 6–0 victory in 1912.
After a gap during World War I, the club was refounded in 1919 as Unione Sportiva Palermo, by a committee of young university students and sportsmen. During the early 1920s, the club mainly competed in the Campionato Lega Sud, a football league in Southern Italy, reaching the semi-finals in 1924 before being knocked out by Audace Taranto, Alba Roma and Internaples. The club was dissolved in 1927 due to financial problems, but was reformed one year later following a merger with Vigor Palermo under the name Palermo FootBall Club. Originally admitted to Prima Divisione (First Division), the equivalent of today's Serie C1, the team was promoted into Serie B in 1930 and finally reached Serie A in 1932. From its debut season in Italy's top division, Palermo relocated to a new home, the Stadio Littorio (Lictorian Stadium) in the Favorita neighbourhood, today known as Stadio Renzo Barbera. The club played Serie A until 1936, when they were relegated to Serie B and first played Catania in the Sicilian derby.
In 1936, Palermo was forced by the fascist regime to change its strip to yellow and red, after the official colours of the local municipality. Meanwhile, economic difficulties arose, and in 1940 they were expelled by the Italian Football Federation because of financial problems. A merger with Unione Sportiva Juventina Palermo brought the foundation of Unione Sportiva Palermo-Juventina, which joined Serie C in 1941 and Serie B in 1942.
The club could not finish the 1942–43 season due to the arrival of WWII. At the same time the pink-and-black colors were chosen because Sicily became a "war zone". After the conflict, the club changed its name to US Palermo.
Post-war years (1947–2002)Edit
After World War II, the team returned to Serie A by winning the Serie B championship of 1947–48. The new Palermo squad featured players such as Czechoslovakian legend Čestmír Vycpálek who signed from Juventus alongside Conti, Carmelo Di Bella and Pavesi. Palermo played Serie A until they were relegated in 1954. Massive changes in the board, as well as the manager's job and the squad, proved successful and the club returned to Serie A in 1956. Palermo became a "yo-yo club", bouncing up and down between the top two Italian leagues. Several stars played for Palermo during this period, such as Argentine striker Santiago Vernazza (51 goals in 115 games with the Rosanero), goalkeepers Roberto Anzolin and Carlo Mattrel, Giuseppe Furino and Franco Causio. Palermo marked its best campaign in 1961–62 season, finishing in eighth place in Serie A. In 1963, however, they were relegated to Serie B, where they played for five seasons. Palermo played again in Serie A between 1968 and 1970.
In 1970, Renzo Barbera took over the club as the new chairman. After 1973, Palermo FBC remained firmly rooted in Serie B. Despite this, Palermo reached two Italian Cup finals, both of which they narrowly lost: in 1974 to Bologna on penalty shoot-outs, and in 1979 to Juventus after extra time. Barbera left the club in 1980 and Palermo were relegated to Serie C1 four years later. The 1985–86 season, however, which ended in the summer was the last for Palermo FBC as having just saved themselves from relegation, the club was expelled by the football federation due to financial problems. In the summer of 1987, after a year without professional football in Palermo, the club was re-founded bearing its current name, and began to play in Serie C2, which it promptly won.
In the 1990s, Palermo played between Serie B and Serie C1 with a few highs, such as its 1995–96 Serie B and Coppa Italia campaign, the latter ending in the quarter-finals, and a number of lows such as the 1998 relegation to Serie C2 after defeat in the play-offs to Battipagliese, later revoked by the federation to fill a vacant league slot.
In March 2000, Roma chairman Franco Sensi led a holding company to purchase Palermo and Sergio D'Antoni became the president of Palermo and Palermo were promoted to Serie B one year later after a dramatic final week of the season, with Palermo coming back from behind to take first place from league-toppers Sicilian rivals Messina. The first comeback season in the Serie B, with Bortolo Mutti as head coach, was an eventless one, with Palermo ending in a mid-table placement.
The Zamparini era: back to Serie A and European years (2002–2013)Edit
In the summer of 2002, Friulian businessman and Venezia owner Maurizio Zamparini acquired the club from Franco Sensi in a €15 million bid, with the clear intention to bring Palermo back to Serie A and establish the club as a Serie A regular with aims of participations to European competitions. Palermo failed in its first attempt to reach the Serie A in 2002–03 on the final week of the season, but later managed to achieve it after a hard but successful 2003–04 campaign which saw Palermo crowned as Serie B champions and promoted to Serie A after 31 years, under head coach Francesco Guidolin, who was hired in January 2004 as replacement for dismissed Silvio Baldini.
The 2004–05 season, the first in Serie A for the Palermo club since 1973, ended with an excellent sixth place, securing qualification for the 2005–06 UEFA Cup for the first time in its history. Luca Toni broke the Palermo Serie A scoring record by notching up 20 league goals. In the following season, despite an unimpressive eighth place in the Serie A table, Palermo reached the last 16 in the UEFA Cup as well as the Coppa Italia semi-finals. The club was however admitted to play UEFA Cup again due to the 2006 Serie A scandal, with Palermo players Andrea Barzagli, Cristian Zaccardo, Simone Barone and Fabio Grosso being crowned 2006 World Cup winners. A number of impressive signings were made to establish an ambitious team, and a good beginning in the 2006–07 campaign appeared initially to confirm this. An 11-game winless streak, however, forced Palermo to fall down from third to seventh place, ending the season in fifth place and ensuring another UEFA Cup qualification. The club successively established as a force in the mid-table part of the Serie A league, also winning a Campionato Nazionale Primavera national title in 2009.
The following season started with new manager Walter Zenga, whose appointment from Sicilian arch-rivals Catania was greeted with surprise and dismay from supporters of both parties; Zenga's reign, however, lasted only 13 games, as he was dismissed on 23 November 2009 due to poor performances, ironically after a 1–1 home tie to Sicilian rivals and Zenga's former team, Catania, with former Lazio boss Delio Rossi being appointed at his place. Under the tutelage of Delio Rossi, results dramatically improved, and Palermo established a record of seven consecutive home wins, including prestigious wins against Italian giants Milan and Juventus, and emerging as serious contenders for a Champions League spot, which they ultimately lost to Sampdoria by only one point. Such season also launched new emerging stars such as midfielder Javier Pastore and goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu, who went on to become integral part of their respective international teams.
The 2010–11 season started with Delio Rossi still in charge of the club, and also marked Palermo's return into continental football in the form of the UEFA Europa League. Palermo reached their third Coppa Italia finals after defeating Milan 4–3 on aggregate on 10 May 2011, losing 3–1 to Internazionale in the final, in what is considered one of the peak moments of Zamparini's period at the club.
Zamparini's later years and Serie B return (2011–2018)Edit
For the 2011–12 season, Delio Rossi was replaced by former Chievo boss Stefano Pioli, who was, however, sacked before the Serie A kickoff after being eliminated by Swiss minnows FC Thun in the Europa League third preliminary round; new head coach Devis Mangia, with no managerial experience other than at youth team and minor league level; despite that, Mangia turned Palermo fortunes by leading the Rosanero in fifth place thanks to an impressive string of six consecutive home wins, thus deserving a long-term deal at the club. A string of poor results, however, led Palermo to three consecutive defeats, including elimination from the Coppa Italia and a disappointing loss in the Sicilian derby, persuading Zamparini to replace Mangia with the more experienced Bortolo Mutti. Palermo arrived 16th in that season.
For the 2012–13 season, Zamparini came with another staff revolution, appointing Giorgio Perinetti as the new director of football and Giuseppe Sannino as the manager, both coming from Siena. A complete squad restructuring, a total five managerial changes and some staff changes (including a short stint with Pietro Lo Monaco as sports director) did not help, and Palermo ended its season in 18th place, being thus relegated to Serie B after nine consecutive seasons in the top flight.
For the new Serie B campaign, Zamparini appointed former Milan and Italy international star Gennaro Gattuso as the new manager, despite him having little prior managerial experience; he was sacked in September 2013, the 28th sacked manager in 11 years. Fortune was reversed rather rapidly, however, as Palermo regained promotion back to Serie A for the 2014–15 season under the guidance of new head coach Giuseppe Iachini, with the Rosanero completing a record-breaking Serie B season with 86 points, one more than previous record holders Juventus, Chievo and Sassuolo (all of them in the 22-team Serie B format).
With Iachini confirmed in charge, Palermo played a rather successful 2014–15 Serie A season, narrowly missing on a UEFA Europa League spot also thanks to the all-Argentine striking force of Paulo Dybala and Franco Vázquez.
In 2015–16 season, Palermo started their season without Dybala after the youngster moved to Juventus; the Rosanero therefore relied on senior striker Alberto Gilardino to play as a partner of Vázquez. Another long list of managerial changes during the season (seven in total, with Davide Ballardini as the final one) marked a very troublesome season, during which Palermo escaped relegation on the last day of the league with the necessary win over Hellas Verona 3–2, securing 16th place.
For the 2016–17 season, Zamparini re-appointed Rino Foschi as director of football; he however resigned after just a month in charge and was replaced by former Trapani director Daniele Faggiano. Most senior players such as Gilardino, Sorrentino, Vázquez and Maresca were sold and mostly replaced with Alessandro Diamanti plus a number of young and quasi-unknown foreign players. Ballardini, who was originally confirmed as head coach, left his position after a draw at Inter Milan at the second matchday of the season and was replaced with Serie A newbie Roberto De Zerbi who ended his stay after seven league losses in a row, with former club captain Eugenio Corini taking over. More managerial and staff changes followed with little luck and, on 27 February 2017, Zamparini stepped down as chairman of Palermo after 15 years in charge, announcing he had agreed in principle to sell his controlling stake to an unspecified Anglo-American fund, led by Italian-American Paul Baccaglini who was named new club president on 6 March.
Palermo ended the season in 19th place, being relegated to Serie B. The takeover, originally scheduled to be finalized by 30 April 2017 and then delayed by 30 June, eventually collapsed after Zamparini, who in the meantime had appointed Bruno Tedino as new head coach for the 2017–18 Serie B campaign, rejected the final offer he received from Baccaglini. On 4 July 2017, Baccaglini resigned as Palermo chairmen, falling back into the hands of Zamparini, after the necessary funds were not in place.
Palermo's campaign in the 2017–18 Serie B aimed to an immediate promotion to the top flight, with Bruno Tedino as head coach and Fabio Lupo as director of football. The Rosanero ended the first half of the season in first place; however, a string a negative results led to the appointment of new manager Roberto Stellone, who however failed on winning promotion, ending the regular season in fourth place and eventually losing the playoff finals to Frosinone.
New ownerships, financial issues and Serie B exclusion (2018–2019)Edit
On 22 November 2018, the club formally confirmed a takeover agreement between Zamparini and an undisclosed investor. later confirmed to be Sport Capital Group Investments Ltd., with English businessman Clive Richardson, head of the new group, being named as new club chairman.
Following a January 2019 transfer session with no signings at all and tensions within the board, Clive Richardson (chairman) and John Treacy (director) left the club with immediate effect on 4 February 2019. Days later, the club was acquired by Daniela De Angeli (former managing director from the Zamparini days) and Rino Foschi (appointed as chairman) for a nominal fee, only for them to sell it back to hotel and tourism company Arkus Network S.r.l. later in May. The new owner, Sporting Network S.r.l., subscribed a €5 million capital increase to the club.
At the end of the 2018–19 Serie B, Palermo was the third-place team with 63 points, but was demoted to last place in Serie B FIGC on 13 May due to financial irregularities, which in turn meant relegation to Serie C. This ruling was revised on appeal, with the club docked 20 points instead.
However, on 24 June 2019, Palermo incorrectly submitted its application for the 2019–20 Serie B season by failing to provide a valid insurance policy for the new year. The club was formally excluded from Serie B on 12 July 2019.
A new club (2019–present)Edit
On 23 July 2019, in compliance of Article 52 of N.O.I.F., Mayor of Palermo Leoluca Orlando confirmed six declarations of interests had been presented for a new phoenix club to be admitted in Serie D for the 2019–20 season. The next day, Orlando announced to have chosen "Hera Hora srl", owned by entrepreneurs Dario Mirri (Palermo native, and Renzo Barbera's nephew) and Sicilian-American Tony DiPiazza, as the new owners.
Colours and badgeEdit
The official badge as of 2004 is a pink/black escutcheon with an eagle poised for flight within it, and the official club denomination "U.S. Città di Palermo" in capital letters on the top. The eagle represents the city of Palermo, as it is also part of the city's official coat of arms.
Palermo originally played with red and blue as its official colours since its foundation in 1898, but decided to switch to the current choice of pink and black on 27 February 1907, contemporaneously with the change of denomination to "Palermo FootBall Club".
The colour choice was suggested by Count Giuseppe Airoldi, a prominent founding member of the club. In a letter Airoldi wrote on 2 February 1905 to English club councillor Joseph Whitaker, he defined pink and black poetically as "colours of the sad and the sweet", a choice he asserted to be a good fit for a team characterised by "results as up and down as a Swiss clock", noting also the fact that red and blue were a widely used choice of colours at the time.
The club had to wait for the new jerseys for three months, because no pink flannel material was available in Palermo and the appointed tailoring company had to import it from England. The new shirts were first worn in a match against Sir Thomas Lipton's crew team; the match ended in a 2–1 win for Palermo. From 1936 to 1940, the team were forced to play in red and yellow jerseys due to an imposition by the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini (red and yellow being the official colours of the municipality of Palermo.) When the club was refounded in 1941 following a merger with Juventina Palermo, they started dressing in light blue shirts on the pitch, but switched back to the very popular pink and black only one year later.
Shirt sponsors and manufacturersEdit
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|Period||Kit manufacturer||Shirt sponsor[unreliable source?]|
|1987–90||Città di Palermo|
|1992–93||Giornale di Sicilia|
|1994–96||Provincia Regionale di Palermo|
|1996–97||Kappa||Giornale di Sicilia|
|1998–99||Palermo Provincia Turistica|
|2002–06||Provincia di Palermo|
|2011–12||Eurobet & Burger King|
|2012–2013||Puma||Eurobet & Italiacom|
|2013–2014||Palermocalcio.it & Sigma|
|2014–2015||Joma||RosaneroCares & CBM|
|2019||Gruppo Arena c/o Super Conveniente|
|2019–current||Kappa||Bisaten, Gruppo Arena, Ottica Lipari, ACI, DVP and Gagliano Gioielli|
Palermo plays its home matches at Stadio Renzo Barbera, opened in 1932, during the fascist regime, with the name Stadio Littorio (Lictorial Stadium). The inaugural match, won by Palermo 5–1, was played on 24 January 1932, against Atalanta. In 1936, the Littorio was renamed Stadio Michele Marrone after a fascist hero who died in the Spanish Civil War.
Initially it featured a racetrack, but without curved sections, only terraces and a stand. In 1948, following the end of World War II and the fall of the Fascist regime, the stadium was renamed Stadio La Favorita, after the Favorita neighbourhood where it was located. It was also restructured to remove the racetrack and add two curved sections, increasing its capacity to 30,000. In 1984 it was enlarged to 50,000. The new capacity was reached only twice: for a Serie C1 league match against Messina and for a friendly match against Juventus. On the occasion of the 1990 FIFA World Cup, the stadium was renovated, some new seats added, but the capacity reduced to 37,619. During the 1989 renovation works, five employees died following the collapse of a section of the stadium. In 2002 the stadium was renamed in honour of Renzo Barbera, legendary Palermo chairman in the 1970s.
In 2007 Palermo chairman and owner Maurizio Zamparini announced plans to move the club to a new state-of-the-art stadium possibly to be located in the ZEN neighbourhood of Palermo not far from the Velodromo Paolo Borsellino, a smaller stadium which had previously hosted some Palermo matches.
The majority of Palermo supporters come from the city and its neighbourhood. However, Palermo is also widely popular throughout Western Sicily, as well as among Sicilian immigrants in northern Italy, leading Palermo to have one of the largest followings in its away matches. Palermo supporters, mainly Sicilian emigrants, are also present outside Italy. For example, a number of Palermo fans living in and around the German city of Solingen have even founded a club named FC Rosaneri in honour of Palermo which, as of 2007, plays in the Kreisliga B league.
Support for Palermo is closely associated with a strong sense of belonging to Sicily; indeed, it is not uncommon to see Sicilian flags waved by fans and ultras during Palermo matches. Palermo fans are also twinned with Lecce ultras. This rivalry was strengthened by the acquisition of Fabrizio Miccoli, who is originally from the outskirts of Lecce and a well-known Lecce supporter who went on to become captain of Palermo and also the club's most prolific player, setting records for: most Serie A league goals (74, from 2007–2013); most goals in all competitions (81, from 2007–2013); and most Serie A league appearances (165, from 2007–2013).
Palermo's biggest rivals are fellow islanders Catania. Matches between Palermo and Catania are usually referred to as Sicilian derbies, despite the existence of a third Sicilian team, Messina, who played in Serie A alongside Palermo and Catania in recent years. Rivalry with Messina, although historically older, is less intense than that with Catania.
The 2006–07 return match between Palermo and Catania, played on 2 February 2007 at Stadio Angelo Massimino, Catania, is remembered due to the death of policeman Filippo Raciti who was injured during riots between the local police and the Catania supporters. This event led Italian Federation commissioner Luca Pancalli to suspend all football leagues and national team events in the whole country for a couple of weeks.
According to a survey of 2008, the team has about 1.47 million fans domestically, placing it among the top ten best-supported Italian teams. For example, at the Coppa Italia final played in Rome on 29 May 2011 against Inter, which Palermo lost 3–1, it was estimated that there were 45,000–50,000 fans from Palermo, easily outnumbering the Nerazzurri fans present.
On 13 July 2012, Palermo fans were recognised as the fairest in the 2011–12 season, winning the Fair Play Trophy "Gaetano Scirea" established by the Council of the Serie A.
- As of 7 September 2019
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
As announced in the first press conference on 3 August 2019.
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Below is a list of prominent head coaches who served at least two seasons, reaching at least a promotion or a tournament final during their stay with the club:
Over the years Palermo has had various owners and chairmen; here is a chronological list of the known chairmen:
- Coppa Italia
- Runners-up (3): 1973–74, 1978–79, 2010–11
- Serie B
- Champions (5): 1931–32, 1947–48, 1967–68, 2003–04, 2013–14
- Runners-up (2): 1955–56, 1958–59
- Serie C
- Champions (1): 1941–42
- Serie C1
- Champions (2): 1992–93, 2000–01
- Runners-up (2): 1984–85, 1990–91
- Serie C2
- Champions (1): 1987–88
- Prima Divisione
- Champions (1): 1929–30
- Coppa Italia Serie C
- Winners (1): 1992–93
- Runners-up (3): 1987–88, 1989–90, 1990–91
- Supercoppa di Lega di Serie C
- Runners-up (1): 2000–01
- Coppa Federale Siciliana
- Winners (1): 1920
- Whitaker Challenge Cup
- Winners (1): 1908
- Winners (5): 1910, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915
- As of 24 January 2016
Not including league playoff matches
- Most league goals – 74, Fabrizio Miccoli (2007–2013)
- Most Serie A league goals – 74, Fabrizio Miccoli (2007–2013)
- Most Coppa Italia cup goals – 7, Massimo De Stefanis (1979–1984)
- Most Europa League/UEFA Cup goals – 4, Franco Brienza (2000–2013), Abel Hernández (2009–2014)
- Most goals in all competitions – 81, Fabrizio Miccoli (2007–2013)
- Most goals in a season – 30, Luca Toni (2003–2004)
- Most league appearances – 349+, Roberto Biffi (1988–1999)
- Most European appearances – 15, Mattia Cassani (2006–2011)
- Most Serie A league appearances – 165, Fabrizio Miccoli (2007–2013)
- Current player with most league appearances – 148, Mato Jajalo
- Biggest win and biggest home win – 8–0 (v. Pro Patria, 5 November 1950)
- Biggest away win – 7–1 (v. Lecce, 23 October 1994)
- Biggest defeat and biggest away defeat – 0–9 (v. Milan, 18 February 1951)
- Biggest home defeat – 0–7 (v. Udinese, 27 February 2011)
- Highest number of points in Serie A league – 65 pt. (2009–10) 5th position
- Best series without home defeats – 26 (Palermo–Lecce 5–2, 15 March 2009 – Palermo–Cagliari 0–0, 29 August 2010)
- Greatest series of consecutive victories in Serie A league – 5 (2006–07)
|Campionato misto Centro-Sud||1||1945–46||1945–46|
|Coppa Italia Serie C||10||1984–85||2000–01|
|Supercoppa di Serie C||1||2000–01||2000–01|
ex UEFA Cup
|Coppa delle Alpi||1||1960||1960|
UEFA Cup / UEFA Europa LeagueEdit
|Group B||Maccabi Petah Tikva||N/A||2–1||1st|
|Round of 32||Slavia Prague||1–0||1–2||2–2 (a)|
|Round of 16||Schalke||1–0||0–3||1–3|
|2006–07||First round||West Ham United||3–0||1–0||4–0|||
|Group H||Eintracht Frankfurt||N/A||2–1||4th|
|2007–08||First round||Mladá Boleslav||0–1||1–0||1–1, 2–4 (p)|||
|Group F||Sparta Prague||2–2||2–3||3rd|
|2011–12||Third Qualifying Round||Thun||2–2||1–1||3–3 (a)|||
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