FK Željezničar Sarajevo

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Club crest
Full name Fudbalski Klub Željezničar Sarajevo
Nickname(s) Željo
Plavi (The Blues)
Founded 19 September 1921; 92 years ago (1921-09-19)
Ground Grbavica Stadium
Ground Capacity 12,000
Chairman Almir Gredić
Manager Admir Adžem
League Premier League
2013–14 4th
Website Club home page
Current season

Fudbalski Klub Željezničar (English: Football Club Željezničar) is a professional football club based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The name Željezničar means "railway worker", given because it was established by a group of railway workers.

Željezničar, was founded in September 1921 in Sarajevo and is the most prominent and successful football team in Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the time of the former Yugoslavia, FK Željezničar were national champions once in 1971–72 season, finishing as the runner-ups in 1970–71 season (and reaching a Quarter-Final stage of inaugural year of the UEFA Cup competition) as result, all under the command of Milan Ribar, and also finishing third two times in 1962–63 and 1983–84 season. They also played once in the finals of the Yugoslav Cup in 1980–81, losing to another Bosnian side, Velež. The manager was Ivica Osim, under whose command the club also reached its biggest overall European success in the UEFA Cup semi-final in 1984–85, when they lost to Videoton.

Today Željezničar is one of the most famous members of the Football Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Its success includes winning one title during when the championships were based on ethnic principles in 1997–98 season under the command of Enver Hadžiabdić (who also brought the Bosnian Super Cup in 1998), and four titles in the Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina. They claimed also five national cups during this way with the first being in 1999–00 under the second spell of Enver Hadžiabdić but he didn't stay long enough to also claim the Bosnian Super Cup in 2000, which was done by his successor Hajrudin Đurbuzović. This was also his second spell in Željezničar, while in his very short first spell at the end of 1996–97 season he was the runner-up in the national cup. The club has never qualified for UEFA Champions League as best club could reach was 2002–03 Champions league third qualifying round, losing to England side Newcastle United.

According to the IFFHS list of the Top 200 European clubs of the 20th century, an organization recognized by FIFA, Željezničar is the highest ranked Bosnian club, sharing the 110th position on the list with AZ Alkmaar and Vitória F.C..[1]


Željezničar was formed by group of railway workers. During the early 20th century, there were several football clubs in Sarajevo. They were rich and usually backed by various organizations. The most of them on ethnic principles: Bosniaks, Serbs, Bosnian Croats, Bosnian Jews. But Željezničar was a club for common people, people interested in football and fun. Since it was a financially poor club, they used to organize dance nights and all the profit made was later used to buy shoes and ball(s).

Financial problems were not the only ones. Multiethnicity of the club was seen as a threat by many, so Željezničar was suppressed in various ways. Despite that, club managed to survive, and even beat stronger and wealthier clubs.

In 1941, World War II came to Sarajevo, and every football activity was stopped. Many footballers were members of the resistance troops, and some of them were killed. After the war, Željo was formed again, and in 1946. it won the Bosnian championship. That secured them a place in the final tournament with champions of other Yugoslav republics. Soon after, Sarajevo citizens formed a new club FK Sarajevo, club that become an eyesore to Željezničar fans The Maniacs all to this days. That had a devastating influence on the club, so it needed several years to come back to first division. For most of the time, Željezničar played in the top level. It was relegated four times (last time in 1976/77 season), but every time (except the first one in 1947) it would return quickly.

Biggest success came in 1971/1972 season when it won a championship title, the only title in Yugoslav period. In 1980/1981 season, Željezničar has reached Yugoslav cup final, but lost to another Bosnian side Velež Mostar. Biggest international result was recorded in 1984/1985 season. FK Željezničar, with Ivica Osim as a coach, reached semifinals of the UEFA Cup where they were playing against Hungarian team Videoton. Two minutes from time, Željezničar had a result that would give them a place in final and two matches with big Real Madrid. Then the moment of disaster came and Hungarians scored a killer goal. Entire Yugoslavia was crying that night. Just one of things that proves special place Željezničar has in people's hearts. Not only in those who are supporting it, but everyone.

Since Bosnian and Herzegovinan independence[edit]

After the breakup of Yugoslavia, another war. Grbavica stadium was occupied and football was off again. Players like Mario Stanić, Rade Bogdanović, Gordan Vidović, Suvad Katana and many others went abroad to escape the horror of war. Somehow, club managed to rise again. At first, young players were practicing indoors in school gyms. Stadium was at the first / front lines, destroyed, and yet they played in the Bosnian war championship held in 1994. Fourth place is not so important as much as the presence.

The war ended in 1995 so a regular championship was formed. Željezničar have since won five titles, one more striking than the others. In 1998. championship, a play-off was held and the final match saw two big rivals at the opposite sides, playing for the trophy. FK Sarajevo played well, their shots were cleared from the goal-line twice. In the 89th minute, one ball was intercepted on the left side, and after a couple of passes it came to Željezničar forward Hadis Zubanović who scored a dramatic winner.

After the two more titles in 2001 and 2002, Željezničar was runner-up three consecutive times. As the best Bosnian club, they played in European cups every year. Biggest result (for the Bosnian club football as well since the independence) came in 2002. when Željezničar reached the third qualifying round of UEFA Champions League. Newcastle United was too strong, so the group stage will have to wait for some other time.

Next seasons were not successful and fans would probably like to forget them as soon as possible. Financial problems, frequent coach changes, and weak club management above all, resulted with bad results and supporters' disappointment. Upcoming privatization and stadium ownership issue are the main cause of problems. Supporters were boycotting the club and the attendance is lowest in years. However, everyone is hoping better times will come. In 2010 the team had a lot of changes including the chairman and the coach President FK Željezničar Sabahudin Žujo and Nijaz Brković. With Amar Osim coming back as a head coach the team started to play much better than previous years. In the mid season the team was on the middle of the table. However the second half of the season was much better the players started to come together. They started to win on the road only losing one game in Tuzla vs FK Sloboda Tuzla. As the season went along the supporters stopped boycotting and returned where they belong. FK Zeljeznicar averaged the most fan base in the league. Željezničar became the Bosnian champions for the fourth time (fifth overall) in their history, giving them the most championships of any team in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The team also reached the finals of Bosnian Cup where they lost to Borac on the away goal rules.

In season 2010/2011 Željezničar have won their fourth cup of Bosnia-Herzegovina. They have advanced to the final beating Široki Brijeg on 3:0 aggregate. In the final they clash with rival from former Yugoslav League Čelik. First game was played at Grbavica Stadium which finished 1:0 in favor of the home team. Second game was played at Bilino Polje Stadium which Željezničar won 3:0 and won 4:0 on aggregate. That concluded Željezničar's season in they automatically gives them to compete in Europa League. Željezničar celebrated their 90th birthday with a trophy.

They are the only club that were able to defend the title in Premier League, being champions in 2000–01 and 2001–02 season under the command of the son of Ivica Osim, Amar Osim. Under his command, Željezničar also won the 2000–01 national cup, which completed the double, the first time any club in Bosnia and Herzegovina archived that, securing him also the trophy of Bosnian Super Cup of 2001. In 2001–02 they were runner-ups in the cup, but they were not able to defend the title of the Bosnian Super Cup even though they won the league as it was discontinued. He was expelled from the club in October 2003 after the club was runner-up in 2002–03 season, won the 2002–03 national cup and reached the club's biggest European success since they compete as part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, that is the 2002–03 Champions league third qualifying round which they lost against Newcastle United and continued they journey in UEFA Cup, losing to Málaga from a penalty they scored in the second leg. The two seasons after Amar Osims departure, Željezničar both ended as runner-ups. After they secured competition in 2005–06 UEFA Cup through their league position, they failed to get the licence for European competition, therefor missing to compete in it and the financial gain from UEFA, which resulted in clubs many problems and the next four seasons Željezničar struggled in the middle of the league.

With the return of Amar Osim in summer 2009, Željezničar once more succeeded to claim the championship in 2009–10 season, but failed to claim the double as they lost in the final of 2009–10 Bosnian cup to Borac on away goals yet remaining undefeated. In the following 2010–11 season, the club failed to defend the Premier League title, finishing third, however managing to win the national cup instead, their fourth, against Čelik in the final. During the 2011–12 season, they brought back the league title to Grbavica, their seventh domestic league title, three rounds before the end of the season, breaking many records on the way and also winning the 2011–12 Bosnian cup, claiming the second double in their history, both won under the coaching of Amar Osim.[2][3] As the result, Amar Osim became the most successful manager according to won trophies since the creation of the football club. He is responsible for nine trophies the club won. The club is yet to lose a single Bosnian Cup match since the first round of the 2008–09 Bosnian Cup season, having won two Cup finals and losing one on aggregate since 2008–09 season.

The club has produced many Yugoslav and Bosnian greats, including Ivica Osim, Mehmed Baždarević and Edin Džeko.

Željezničar has a fierce rivalry with their city-rivals Sarajevo, which is known as the Sarajevo derby, the biggest derby in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is contested regularly since both teams are part of the Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In season 2011/2012 Željezničar has won their 6th title in the teams existence. They won the title with three rounds left in the competition. They repeated the successful campaign in cup competition also when they won the title with 1-0 on aggregate against NK Široki Brijeg. That was the first double for any club since unified Bosnia and Herzegovina football competitions started in 2002-2003 season.


Main article: Stadion Grbavica
Stadium Grbavica today

When the club was founded, it had no stadium. There were several football grounds in Sarajevo, but other clubs didn't want to allow Željezničar to use it. So they used military training pitch called Egzercir. It wasn't actually a football ground. However, it was the closest thing they could get and it will be remembered as a club's first pitch. It was placed in part of the city known as Čengić Vila. In 1932. new ground was prepared in Pofalići (yet another part of Sarajevo), close to railway station. It wasn't much better than the last one, but it was built by the club and because of that it had a special meaning.

After the World War II, Željezničar played on Stadion "6. april" on Marijin Dvor (there is a building now behind Secondary school of technical sciences) until 18 June 1950. Authorities planned to build a street, so the club made another move to military stadium in Skenderija. Club staff was tired of all that moving and they decided to build its own stadium in Grbavica (also part of the city). Friends, supporters, members of the club and even military, all helped in construction. Stadium was officially opened on 13 September 1951. with the second league match between Željezničar and Šibenik. Željezničar won 4–1.

Ever since, Grbavica is the place of joy and sorrow for the club and its supporters. Symbolically, old railway was passing over the hill behind the stadium, and every time it would sound its whistle to salute the present masses. Stadium had a small stands on the East and South side, while the wooden stands with the roof were on the West side. Because of the reconstruction, Željezničar moved again in 1968 to city Koševo Stadium. They played there until 25 April 1976 and even won its only Yugoslav title in 1972 playing there.

Grbavica Stadium during the siege

Grbavica was opened again that year, and in the '80s modern northern stands were built. Unfortunately, war began in 1992 and Željezničar yet again needed to play on Koševo Stadium until 2 May 1996 when it came back to Grbavica. During the 1990s war the stadium suffered heavy structural damage. The stadium was located between the first front lines and endured heavy fighting. Bosnian Serbs' forces burned the wooden terraces. It was not until 1996 that a football match would be played here again. Symbolically, the first match after the war was the local derby. Wooden stands that burned up during the war will be rebuilt as part of a project for new modern stadium but is on hold waiting for financial back-up.

Before the war, stadium capacity was more than 20,000, but now it officially has 8,898 seated places, but some 8,000 more can fill the unseated parts of the stadium.

Name of the club[edit]

Željezničar was formed as RŠD Željezničar (Radničko športsko društvo, eng. Workers' sports society). Željezničar means railwayman or railway worker. Later it was known as FK Željezničar (Fudbalski klub, eng. football club), and was a part of SD Željezničar (Sportsko društvo, eng. sports society) which includes the clubs in other sports (basketball, handball, volleyball, chess, bowling, etc.) with the same name. In 1993, initial acronym was changed to NK (Nogometni klub, eng. football club). In Bosnian, both fudbal and nogomet are equally used as a word for football. The word fudbal is dominant in eastern and nogomet in western parts of the country. Since 2000, club's name is officially with initial FK again.


Blue is traditionally colour of railway workers in this part of Europe. Since the club was founded by the railway workers, blue was a logical choice. Standard navy blue colour was always on the club's crest, but it is a different story with kits. Sometimes they were light blue, sometimes regular blue, and sometimes navy blue as it is on the crest. Sometimes kits were blue and white vertical striped. For some games in 1999–2000 season, kits were striped horizontally, and in 2002–2003 season they were even dark grey, without any traces of blue. Away kit was always white.

On the left side of the kit, by the heart, stands a crest. Since the foundation of the club, standard elements of the crest were ball and wings, also a traditional railway symbol. These standard elements were changed in design several times in the past. Some other elements were added or excluded in some periods of history. For example, circle around the original crest was added in the 1990s. From 1945. to 1992. red five-pointed star stood in place of the ball, and words "The Maniacs", "Sarajevo", "1987" and others were moved form one part of the crest to another many times. Current design dates back to 2000.


Main articles: Sarajevo derby, Manijaci and Horde Zla
The Maniacs slogan: For entire life.

Many Željezničar supporters say that "Željo is a matter of philosophy, and Sarajevo a matter of geography". This saying explains the feelings of fans about their history, existence and even reason why they support Željezničar and not FK Sarajevo. Famous Sarajevo derby, known across the Southeast Europe, is generally considered as one of few with the best atmosphere. But there is one thing that separates it from similar ones in the region and rest of the world – fans of these clubs are enemies only for the time needed for game to be played. It is not rare that father and son, two brothers, or husband and wife, are on the opposite sides. They don't speak to each other that day. But when the game ends, provocations are something of a tradition, strangest bets are needed to be fulfilled. And everybody is waiting for the next one. Although, incidents between younger fans can be seen in recent years.

So far (as of 3 November 2012), 100 league matches were played. Željezničar won 30 times, Sarajevo won 30 times, while 40 matches ended with a draw. Goal-difference 120:117 in FK Sarajevo's favor. Since the independence, as a part of Bosnian championship, there were 37 games played. Sarajevo won 11 times, Željezničar won 9 times, with 17 draws. Goal-difference 37:32 for FK Sarajevo.

Also another notable rivalry started to shape in recent years. Since the season 2008–09, the time when Borac started to be standard in the Premier League once again, a great rivalry started to develop between the two teams. Starting from 2009–10 season the two teams mainly competed against each other for one of the title (the league title or national cup) and even the attendance almost got on pair with the Sarajevo derby. The rivalry also has a root in the fact that Sarajevo and Banja Luka are, by a good margin, the two biggest cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the first being also the capital of the whole country while the second takes the role as the de facto capital of Republika Srpska entity. Since independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina the teams met each other 22 times (6 of which are in national cup), although they played the first time against each other in 1947 Yugoslav Cup. In those 22 matches, Željezničar won 12 times, while Borac managed to win 7 times, with 3 matches ending in a draw. The goal difference is 31:19 in favor of Željezničar.

Current squad[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Croatia GK Marijan Antolović
2 Bosnia and Herzegovina FW Anes Nuspahić
3 Bosnia and Herzegovina DF Josip Kvesić
5 Bosnia and Herzegovina DF Aleksandar Kosorić
6 Bosnia and Herzegovina DF Kerim Memija
7 Bosnia and Herzegovina MF Sead Bučan
8 Bosnia and Herzegovina FW Riad Bajić
9 Bosnia and Herzegovina FW Nedo Turković
11 Bosnia and Herzegovina MF Srđan Stanić (captain)
13 Bosnia and Herzegovina GK Vedran Kjosevski
14 Bosnia and Herzegovina DF Faris Fejzić
15 Croatia DF Nenad Dedić
16 Bosnia and Herzegovina FW Vernes Selimović
17 Bosnia and Herzegovina DF Benjamin Čolić
18 Bosnia and Herzegovina DF Emrah Hasanhodžić
19 Bosnia and Herzegovina MF Enis Sadiković
No. Position Player
20 Bosnia and Herzegovina MF Damir Sadiković
21 Serbia DF Mladen Zeljković
22 Bosnia and Herzegovina DF Jasmin Bogdanović
23 Bosnia and Herzegovina MF Muamer Svraka
25 Croatia MF Tomislav Tomić
44 Bosnia and Herzegovina MF Eldar Hasanović
Bosnia and Herzegovina GK Emir Čutahija
Bosnia and Herzegovina DF Ismail Duraković
Bosnia and Herzegovina DF Kemal Osmanković
Bosnia and Herzegovina MF Edin Hadžović
Bosnia and Herzegovina MF Nedim Mekić
Bosnia and Herzegovina MF Dino Hasković
Bosnia and Herzegovina MF Senad Kašić
Bosnia and Herzegovina MF Amer Hiroš
Bosnia and Herzegovina FW Dženis Beganović
Bosnia and Herzegovina FW Ajdin Mujagić

Players with Dual Nationality

Notable players & managerial history[edit]

Notable players

Managerial history

European record[edit]

UEFA Champions League
Season Competition Round Opponent Home Away Agg.
1972–73 UEFA Champions League 1R England Derby County 1–2 0–2 1–4 Symbol delete vote.svg
2001–02 UEFA Champions League 1Q Bulgaria Levski Sofia 0–0 0–4 0–4 Symbol delete vote.svg
2002–03 UEFA Champions League 1Q Iceland Akranes 3–0 1–0 4–0 Symbol keep vote.svg
2Q Norway Lillestrøm 1–0 1–0 2–0 Symbol keep vote.svg
3Q England Newcastle United 0–1 0–4 0–5 Symbol delete vote.svg
2010–11 UEFA Champions League 2Q Israel Hapoel Tel Aviv 0–1 0–5 0–6 Symbol delete vote.svg
2012–13 UEFA Champions League 2Q Slovenia Maribor 1–2 1–4 2–6 Symbol delete vote.svg
2013–14 UEFA Champions League 2Q Czech Republic Viktoria Plzeň 1–2 3–4 4–6 Symbol delete vote.svg
UEFA Europa League
Season Competition Round Opponent Home Away Agg.
2011–12 UEFA Europa League 2Q Moldova Sheriff Tiraspol 1–0 0–0 1–0 Symbol keep vote.svg
3Q Israel Maccabi Tel Aviv 0–2 0–6 0–8 Symbol delete vote.svg
2014–15 UEFA Europa League 1Q Montenegro Lovćen 0–0 1–0 1–0 Symbol keep vote.svg
2Q Republic of Macedonia Metalurg
Season Competition Round Opponent Home Away Agg.
1971–72 UEFA Cup 1R Belgium Club Brugge 3–0 1–3 4–3 Symbol keep vote.svg
2R Italy Bologna 1–1 2–2 3–3 Symbol keep vote.svg
3R Scotland St. Johnstone 5–1 0–1 5–2 Symbol keep vote.svg
QF Hungary Ferencváros 1–2 2–1 3–3 Symbol delete vote.svg
1984–85 UEFA Cup 1R Bulgaria Sliven 5–1 0–1 5–2 Symbol keep vote.svg
2R Switzerland Sion 2–1 1–1 3–2 Symbol keep vote.svg
3R Romania Universitatea Craiova 4–0 0–2 4–2 Symbol keep vote.svg
QF Soviet Union Dinamo Minsk 2–0 1–1 3–1 Symbol keep vote.svg
SF Hungary Videoton 2–1 1–3 3–4 Symbol delete vote.svg
1998–99 UEFA Cup 1Q Scotland Kilmarnock 1–1 0–1 1–2 Symbol delete vote.svg
2000–01 UEFA Cup QR Poland Wisła Kraków 0–0 1–3 1–3 Symbol delete vote.svg
2002–03 UEFA Cup 1R Spain Málaga 0–0 0–1 0–1 Symbol delete vote.svg
2003–04 UEFA Cup QR Cyprus Anorthosis Famagusta 1–0 3–1 4–1 Symbol keep vote.svg
1R Scotland Heart of Midlothian 0–0 0–2 0–2 Symbol delete vote.svg
2004–05 UEFA Cup 1Q San Marino Pennarossa 4–0 5–1 9–1 Symbol keep vote.svg
2Q Bulgaria Litex Lovech 1–2 0–7 1–9 Symbol delete vote.svg
Inter-Cities Fairs Cup
Season Competition Round Opponent Home Away Agg.
1970–71 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup 1R Belgium Anderlecht 3–4 4–5 7–9 Symbol delete vote.svg
International Football Cup
Season Competition Round Opponent Home Away
1965–66 International Football Cup GS Poland Gwardia Warszawa 2–1 1–2 Symbol delete vote.svg
GS Czechoslovakia Baník Ostrava 3–1 1–1
GS East Germany Lokomotive Leipzig 2–2 0–0
  • Željezničar became prohibited from international competition by the Yugoslav FA, so Leipzig advanced to the knock-out rounds instead.
Mitropa Cup
Season Competition Round Opponent Home Away Agg.
1963–64 Mitropa Cup QF Austria Austria Wien 4–1 2–0 6–1 Symbol keep vote.svg
SF Hungary Budapest 1–1 0–1 1–2 Symbol delete vote.svg
1964–65 Mitropa Cup QF Czechoslovakia Slovan Bratislava 2–1 1–3 3–4 Symbol delete vote.svg
1967–68 Mitropa Cup 1R Czechoslovakia Jednota Trenčín 1–0 0–0 1–0 Symbol keep vote.svg
QF Czechoslovakia Spartak Trnava 2–2 1–2 3–4 Symbol delete vote.svg
1968–69 Mitropa Cup 1R Hungary Budapest Honvéd 1–0 1–0 2–0 Symbol keep vote.svg
QF Czechoslovakia Baník Ostrava 4–0 1–1 5–1 Symbol keep vote.svg
SF Czechoslovakia Sklo Union Teplice 1–1 1–2 2–3 Symbol delete vote.svg

UEFA rankings[edit]

Last updated: 01/07/2014Source






Especially short competitions such as the Super Cup of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Intercontinental Cup (now defunct), FIFA Club World Cup or UEFA Super Cup are not generally considered to contribute towards a Double or Treble, but they contribute to the bigger tuples.


  • Biggest ever league victory: Željezničar – Barkohba 18:0 (23 March 1925, Second Sarajevo division)
  • Biggest ever league defeat: 1:9 on several occasions
  • Biggest Yugoslav first division victory: Željezničar – Maribor 8:0 (29 August 1971)
  • Biggest Yugoslav first division defeat: Dinamo Zagreb – Željezničar 9:1 (29 September 1946)
  • Biggest Bosnian league victory: Željezničar – Krajina Cazin 8:0 (31 March 2001)
  • Biggest Bosnian league victory: Željezničar – FK Leotar Trebinje 8:0 (28 August 2010)
  • Biggest Bosnian league defeat: Zmaj od Bosne – Željezničar 9:1 (4 November 1995)
  • Most overall official appearances: Blagoje Bratić (343)
  • Most league appearances: Hajrudin Saračević (313)
  • Most overall official goals: Josip Bukal, Dželaludin Muharemović (127)
  • Most league goals: Dželaludin Muharemović (112)
  • Most league goals in a season by team: 113 (2000/2001)
  • Most league goals in a season by player: 31 (Dželaludin Muharemović in 2000/2001 season)
  • Most capped player: Mehmed Baždarević (54 caps for Yugoslavia, 2 caps for Bosnia and Herzegovina)


  1. ^ Europe's Club of the Century retrieved from, 13 September 2009
  2. ^ Fuad Krvavac (16 May 2012). "Željezničar clinch Bosnian-Herzegovinian Cup". Retrieved 16 May 2012. 
  3. ^ Fuad Krvavac (9 May 2012). "Željezničar regain Bosnian league title". Retrieved 9 May 2012. 

External links[edit]

Rank Team Points
229 Serbia Vojvodina 5.225
230 Kazakhstan Shakhter Karagandy 5.150
231 Bosnia and Herzegovina Željezničar 5.150
232 Georgia (country) Zestafoni 5.125
233 Belarus Minsk 5.050
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