NK Olimpija Ljubljana (2005)
|Full name||Nogometni Klub Olimpija Ljubljana|
|Nickname(s)||Zmaji (The Dragons)
Zeleno-beli (The Green-Whites)
|Founded||2 March 2005|
|Head Coach||Darko Karapetrović|
|2013–14||1. SNL, 7th|
|Website||Club home page|
|Active sport clubs of Olimpija|
Nogometni klub Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovene pronunciation: [nɔgɔˈméːtni ˈklúːp ɔˈlìːmpija ljubˈljàːna]; English: Olimpija Ljubljana Football Club), commonly referred to as Olimpija Ljubljana or simply Olimpija, is a professional association football club, based in the city of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Founded on 2 March 2005, under the name NK Bežigrad, the club currently plays in the Slovenian PrvaLiga, the country's highest division of football. Olimpija began competing in the Slovenian Fifth League during the 2005–06 season and have managed to achieve promotion in four successive seasons, eventually reaching the top division for the first time in 2009, after they have won the 2008–09 Slovenian Second League. Apart from winning the Slovenian fifth, fourth, third and second divisions, the club has no major success since its foundation; the closest they came to winning a major trophy was in the 2011–12 and 2012–13 seasons, when they were runners-up of the Slovenian PrvaLiga and in 2012 and 2013 when they were runners-up in the Slovenian Supercup.
The club's home ground is the Stožice stadium, which has a capacity of 16,693. The club played its opening match on the new stadium on 22 August 2010, in front of 7,000 spectators on a league match against Koper. Before that they have hosted their lower tier opponents at the Bežigrad stadium and at the ŽŠD stadium during the club's stay in the second division and during the first year in the top division.
Olimpija's nicknames are The Green-Whites (Zeleno-beli), referring to their primary colours, and The Dragons (Zmaji), referring to the dragon which is a symbol of Ljubljana and is represented on the city's coat of arms and on the club's crest.
Founded on 2 March 2005, under the name of NK Bežigrad, the club regard themselves as the spiritual continuation of the four times Slovenian champions Olimpija, who went bankrupt and was dissolved, following the 2004–05 season. However, legally the current Olimpija is distinct and separate club, and is not entitled to claim the history and honours won by the dissolved Olimpija. Football Association of Slovenia and the Association of 1. SNL do not recognize the titles and statistics before 2005. Neither does the legislation of the Republic of Slovenia. Other reliable sources give the foundation year of the club as 1911. 
After the launch of the club's official website in September 2010 the website initially stated: NK Olimpija Ljubljana is a new club that was formed on 2 March 2005, under the name of Bežigrad. In early 2011 the club changed the statement on their website and have rewritten the whole history paragraph, adding the history of the dissolved Olimpija and even of the Ilirija, Ljubljana based club established in 1911, in their article. Within the article the club celebrates 100 years of football in the city of Ljubljana and ignores the official standpoint of the Football Association of Slovenia and Association of 1. SNL and claims that it was demoted into the fifth league and that they have eventually returned to the 1. SNL after five seasons spent in the lower tiers of Slovenian football. They do, however, conclude the story with a statement that in 2009 they in fact started their first season in Slovenian top division, which they finished on fourth place. Because of their association with the dissolved club, Olimpija was heavily criticised on numerous occasions by Maribor based Večer daily newspaper, third largest in the country by circulation, which questioned the legitimacy of Olimpija actions and even the fact that the club has a year 1911 inscribed on their crest. In 2013, Ljubljana based and government owned Siol web portal has published an article where they have branded the new club as a cheap knockoff of the original one. Another Ljubljana based daily newspaper, the Dnevnik, also questions the inclusion of the year 1911 in the new Olimpija crest. For the same reason they were criticised by Ilirija, a football club established in 1911 and which history was unilaterally appropriated and claimed by the dissolved Olimpija. The Football Association of Slovenia officially recognizes Ilirija as the sole club established in 1911.
Early years (2005–2009)
Assisted by semi-retired club legends of the old Olimpija and other notable Slovenian players, the club started to compete in the lowest tier of Slovenian football and won the fifth league in their first year. In the next two seasons, Bežigrad was promoted into the Slovenian second division, 2. SNL, by winning both fourth and third leagues in consecutive seasons. During their season in the third division the club changed its name for the first time and became known as Olimpija Bežigrad. This happened despite the claims of Joc Pečečnik, one of the wealthiest man in Slovenia and, at the time, owner of Interblock football club, that he is in fact the sole owner of the Olimpija name and brand. During the 2008–09 season, the club changed their name once again, this time to its present form Olimpija Ljubljana and during the course of the season won the second division and earned a promotion to the Slovenian first league, 1. SNL. Throughout the path to the top division, Olimpija was supported by the fan group of the dissolved Olimpija, the Green Dragons. The success of the club, who earned a promotion from the fifth league to top division in only four seasons, was somewhat dented by a conflict between several players, coaching staff, club leadership and sponsors, which eventually led to a player-led boycott in the final round of the 2008–09 season, against Triglav. Due to this event, the club began their first season in Slovenian top-flight (2009–10) with a two-point minus. In addition to that, several notable players, e.g. Miran Pavlin and Amir Karić, and staff, e.g. Danilo Popivoda, left the club.
1. SNL Premiere (2009–)
For their first ever 1. SNL campaign, several players were signed to replace the recent departures, along with a new coach, Branko Oblak. The club had a poor start, as the team, mainly composed of young players and a small number of veterans, only managed one win in the opening four matches. After their defeat against Maribor on 8 August 2009, the club announced that Oblak had agreed to terminate his contract, with assistant manager Safet Hadžić taking his place as caretaker. The club's fortunes soon turned result-wise and Robert Pevnik was hired to take over as manager. The club finished the season in fourth place.
In the run up to the 2010–11 season, principal sponsor Izet Rastoder was elected president and Safet Hadžić took over as manager. The season started poorly, with a 5–0 aggregate defeat against Široki Brijeg in the Europa League qualifying round. This game was later alleged by German TV-station ARD to have been fixed . It was later revealed that UEFA is officially investigating the match and that three players of NK Olimpija are under investigation. After another poor start which saw the club only manage two points in five matches, manager Safet Hadžić and director of football Simon Sešlar both left on 23 August 2010. Dušan Kosič then took over as manager with Aleš Čeh as his assistant. On 26 January 2011, former Slovenia international Milenko Ačimovič became the director of football at the club. After a poor start into the season the new director of football brought couple of players to the club with international experience, among which was also Slovenia national football team midfielder Dare Vršič. During the second phase of the Slovenian championship the team started to show their potential and eventually finished their second 1. SNL season on fourth place, securing a place in the Europa League qualifications. With the 3–0 home victory against Široki Brijeg on 7 July 2011, Olimpija achieved its historic first victory in UEFA competitions. Dalibor Radujko was the scorer of the club's first goal in UEFA competitions. In addition, this was the first European club match played on Stožice Stadium, opened in August 2010. During the 2011–12 Slovenian PrvaLiga season the club finished as runners-up.
- NK Bežigrad (2005–2007)
- NK Olimpija Bežigrad (2007–2008)
- NK Olimpija Ljubljana (2008–)
Club colours and crest
Since the beginning of the club Olimpija has been playing with the combination of green and white, which were the main colours of the dissolved Olimpija. Today the club plays in white at home and in green colors away.
Olimpija's biggest rivalry is with Maribor, against whom they contest the Eternal derby (Večni derbi). The original Eternal derby was contested by Maribor and Olimpija which folded and was dissolved in 2004 and today the continuation of the rivalry is considered by certain Ljubljana based media and fans, mostly of the old Olimpija, as the matches between Maribor and Olimpija, established in 2005 as Bežigrad. The rivalry traced its roots back in the early 1960s and the time of SFR Yugoslavia when the first match between the two clubs was played. The two teams represented the two largest cities in Slovenia, the capital city of Ljubljana and the second largest city Maribor, and both teams always had one of the largest fan bases in the country. Traditionally Ljubljana represents the richer western part of the country while Maribor is the center of the poorer eastern part. In addition, Ljubljana was always the cultural, educational, economic and political center of the country and Olimpija and its fans were considered as the representatives of the upper class. Maribor, on the other hand, was one of the most industrialized cities in Yugoslavia and the majority of its fans were the representatives of the working class, which means that the added tension to the rivalry was usually political, social and cultural as well. The old rivalry reached its peak in the final round of 2000–01 season when one of the most celebrated matches in Slovenian League history was played, when Olimpija met Maribor at their home stadium, Bežigrad. Both teams were competing for their fifth Slovenian League title. The home team needed a win for the title, while a draw was enough for Maribor. The atmosphere was electric days before the kick-off and the stadium with the capacity of 8,500 was completely sold out. At the end, the match ended with a draw (1–1) and Maribor started to celebrate their fifth consecutive title.
The additional intensity to the rivalry is the fact that both Maribor and Olimpija always had support on their matches from Ultras groups called Viole Maribor, supporting Maribor, and the Green Dragons who supports Olimpija. The two groups are the largest in the country and it is not uncommon that the matches between the two clubs were sometimes interrupted by violent clashes between the two groups or with the police. On many occasions, before or after the matches, the fans of the two clubs would also meet up and fight on the streets. One of the worst incidents, in April 2010 after a match, resulted in a stabbing of a member of the Green Dragons who, with a group of friends, got into a fight with members of the Viole in Ljubljana's railway station. However, to date, there has not been any fatalities in the country related to football violence. Because the new Olimpija is supported by most of the fans of the previous Olimpija, many see the matches between Maribor and the new club as the continuation of the rivalry and refer to it by the same name. However, there are many fans, either the ones from Maribor or the ones from Ljubljana, that does not share the same view and does not share similar beliefs, including part of the media (i.e. RTV Slovenija, Delo, Večer). The overall statistics of the old and the new Olimpija are tracked separately by the Football Association of Slovenia and the Association of 1. SNL. The first match between Maribor and the new Olimpija took place on 24 October 2007 on a Slovenian cup quarter-final match that was won by Maribor, 3–1. At the time Olimpija was still competing under the name Olimpija Bežigrad. Overall, Maribor has been the team with more success on these matches.
Stožice Stadium is an association football stadium located in Ljubljana, Slovenia. It was designed by Slovenian architects Jurij Sadar & Boštjan Vuga and is the biggest Slovenian stadium. Opened in August 2010, it is one of two stadiums in the city and lies in the Bežigrad district, north of the city centre. The stadium was named after the area in which it is located, and the change of the name is possible in the future due to sponsorship rights. Together with an indoor arena, it is a part of Športni park Stožice, which measures 24.694 square metres. The capacity of the stadium is 16,693 covered seats; 16.038 seats, 558 VIP seats and 97 spots for persons with disabilities. NK Olimpija played its first match on the new stadium on 22 August 2010, in front of 7,000 spectators on a league match against FC Koper.
- Winners: 2008–09
- Winners: 2007–08
- Winners: 2006–07
- Slovenian Fifth League
- Winners: 2005–06
First team squad
As of 1 September 2014. The numbers are established according to the official website: www.nkolimpija.si
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
|Primož Gliha||2005–07||Fifth League, Fourth League|
|Janez Pate||1 July 2007 – 1 June 2009||Third League, Second League|
|Branko Oblak||1 July 2009 – 8 August 2009||/|
|Robert Pevnik||8 September 2009 – 26 May 2010||/|
|Safet Hadžić||1 July 2010 – 23 August 2010||/|
|Dušan Kosič||2 October 2010 – 12 December 2011||/|
|Bojan Prašnikar||12 December 2011 – 25 April 2012||/|
|Ermin Šiljak||25 April 2012 – 26 August 2012||/|
|Andrej Razdrh||27 August 2012 – 21 October 2013|
|Milorad Kosanović||21 October 2013–30 April 2014|
|Darko Karapetrovič||30 April 2014–|
The following Olimpija players (since 2005) have been capped at full international level whilst with the club. Years in brackets indicate their spells at the club.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to NK Olimpija (2005).|
- Official website (Slovene)
- Twitter profile
- Green dragons – Supporters (Slovene)
- NZS profile (Slovene)
- PrvaLiga profile (Slovene)
- UEFA profile
- Weltfussballarchiv profile
- Soccerway profile