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 Kobe Wing Stadium, 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
Vissel Kobe.svg
Full nameVissel Kobe
Nickname(s)Ushi (cows)
Founded1966; 55 years ago (1966)[1]
GroundNoevir Stadium Kobe
Hyōgo-ku, Kōbe, Hyōgo
Capacity30,134
OwnerRakuten
ChairmanKatsuya Ishiyama
ManagerAtsuhiro Miura
LeagueJ1 League
2021J1 League, 3rd of 20
WebsiteClub website
Current season
Club crest (1995–2004)
First home colours (1995–2004)
Noevir Stadium, the home of Vissel Kobe

HistoryEdit

Beginnings in ChugokuEdit

The club was founded in 1966 as the semi-professional Kawasaki Steel Soccer Club in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture.[2] It was first promoted to the Japan Soccer League Division 2 in 1986, and stayed there until the JSL folded in 1992.[2]

Move to Kansai and professionalismEdit

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.[2] (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 has never been a contender 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, 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.[3] In May 2018, Vissel signed 2010 FIFA World Cup winner Andrés Iniesta from FC Barcelona.[4] In December 2018 Vissel Kobe managed to sign 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.

Rakuten years and first successes (2014–present)Edit

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.[5] This was Spanish striker David Villa's last professional match.[6] 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.[7] In 2021 they achieved an historic third place in the table, qualifying for the Asian Champions League yet again.

Record as J.League memberEdit

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 4th round
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 4th round
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 5th round
2008 18 10th 34 12 11 11 39 38 1 47 12,981 Group stage 5th round
2009 18 14th 34 10 9 15 40 48 -8 39 13,068 Group stage 4th round
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-offs 4th round
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 4th round
Key

  • Pos. = Position in league; GP = 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 season attendance reduced by COVID-19 worldwide pandemic
  • Source: J.League Data Site

HonoursEdit

League historyEdit

  • 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 recordEdit

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 SIPG
2–0
Quarter-finals   Suwon Samsung Bluewings
1–1 (a.e.t.)
(7–6 p)
Semi-finals   Ulsan Hyundai
1–2 (a.e.t.)

PlayersEdit

Current squadEdit

As of 24 August 2021[8]

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
3 DF   JPN Yuki Kobayashi
4 DF   BEL Thomas Vermaelen
5 MF   JPN Hotaru Yamaguchi (vice-captain)
6 MF   ESP Sergi Samper
7 MF   JPN Yuta Goke
8 MF   ESP Andrés Iniesta (captain)
9 FW   ESP Bojan Krkić
10 FW   JPN Yuya Osako
11 FW   JPN Yoshinori Muto
17 DF   JPN Ryuho Kikuchi
18 GK   JPN Hiroki Iikura
19 DF   JPN Ryo Hatsuse
20 MF   JPN Shion Inoue
No. Pos. Nation Player
21 FW   JPN Junya Tanaka
22 MF   JPN Daiju Sasaki
23 DF   JPN Tetsushi Yamakawa
24 DF   JPN Gōtoku Sakai
25 DF   JPN Leo Osaki
26 DF   JPN Nagisa Sakurauchi
27 MF   JPN Tatsunori Sakurai
29 FW   BRA Lincoln
30 GK   JPN Genta Ito
31 MF   JPN Yuya Nakasaka
32 GK   JPN Ryotaro Hironaga
37 MF   JPN Asahi Masuyama
41 FW   JPN Yutaro Oda
49 FW   BRA Douglas

ManagersEdit

Manager Nat. Tenure
Stuart Baxter   Scotland 1997
Hiroshi Kato   Japan 1997
Benito Floro   Spain 1998
Harumi Kori   Japan 1998
Ryoichi Kawakatsu   Japan 1999–2002
Hiroshi Matsuda   Japan January 2002 – December 2002
Hiroshi Soejima   Japan 2003
Ivan Hašek   Czech Republic January 2003 – December 2004
Hiroshi Kato   Japan 2004
Hideki Matsunaga   Japan January 2005 – April 2005
Émerson Leão   Brazil May 2005 – June 2005
Pavel Řehák   Czech Republic 2005
Stuart Baxter   Scotland January 2006 – December 2006
Hiroshi Matsuda   Japan January 2007 – December 2008
Caio Júnior   Brazil December 2008 – June 2009
Masahiro Wada (interim)   Japan July 2009 – August 2009
Toshiya Miura   Japan August 2009 – September 2010
Masahiro Wada   Japan September 2010 – April 2012
Ryo Adachi (interim)   Japan April 2012 – May 2012
Akira Nishino   Japan May 22, 2012 – November 8, 2012
Ryo Adachi (interim)   Japan November 9, 2012 – December 31, 2012
Ryo Adachi   Japan January 1, 2013 – December 11, 2014
Nelsinho Baptista   Brazil December 12, 2014 – August 16, 2017
Takayuki Yoshida   Japan August 16, 2017 – September 16, 2018
Kentaro Hayashi (interim)   Japan September 17, 2017 – October 4, 2018
Juan Manuel Lillo   Spain October 5, 2018 – April 17, 2019
Takayuki Yoshida    Japan April 17, 2019 – June 8, 2019
Thorsten Fink   Germany June 8, 2019 – September 22, 2020
Atsuhiro Miura[9]   Japan September 24, 2020 – present

Kit EvolutionEdit

FP 1st
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1997 - 1998
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1999 - 2002
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2003 - 2004
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2005 - 2006
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2007
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2008
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2009 - 2010
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2011
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2012
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2013
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2014
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2015
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2016
 
 
 
 
 
 
2017
 
 
 
 
 
 
2018
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2019
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2020
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2021 -
FP 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 -
FP other
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2014
クリムゾンFC
10周年記念
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2015
クラブ
20周年記念
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2017
神戸開港
150周年記念
 
 
 
 
 
 
2018 3rd
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2019 3rd
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2020
クラブ
25周年記念
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2021 3rd -

Affiliated clubsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "CLUBS & PLAYERS : J.LEAGUE.JP". jleague.jp. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ "Rakuten Acquires Football Club Vissel Kobe and Joins the J-League". Rakuten Official Website.
  4. ^ "Iniesta signs with Japan's Vissel Kobe". dailystar.com.lb. 24 May 2018. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  5. ^ "「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. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  6. ^ "Andres Iniesta leads Vissel Kobe to Emperor's Cup glory as David Villa ends career". Daily Mirror. 1 January 2020. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  7. ^ "Vissel Kobe win Japanese Super Cup after farcical shootout". Eurosport. 2020-02-08. Retrieved 2020-02-09.
  8. ^ "2021 Members". vissel-kobe.co.jp. Vissel Kobe. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  9. ^ "Football: Former Japan midfielder Atsuhiro Miura named Vissel Kobe boss". Kyodo News. 24 September 2020.
  10. ^ "J-League's Vissel Kobe announces business partnership with Thailand's Chonburi FC". goal.com. Mar 30, 2012. Retrieved November 29, 2013.

External linksEdit