NK Slaven Belupo, often referred to simply as Slaven and known internationally as NK Slaven Koprivnica, is a Croatianfootball club based in the city of Koprivnica in the north of the country. They play their home matches at Gradski stadion in Koprivnica.
The first football club in Koprivnica was founded back in June 1907, when a student team was formed and named Đački nogometni klub, which is Croatian for Students' Football Club. The name Slaven first appeared when a sports club named HŠK Slaven was founded by the members of the Friedrich family on 20 August 1912 and this is considered to be the foundation date of the present-day club. The club won the Croatian regional championship in 1920. Slaven was subsequently renamed HŠK Victorija, but was then disbanded due to financial difficulties and the city of Koprivnica was subsequently without a football club for four years, between 1926 and 1930.
Between 1930 and 1945, the club was known as HŠK Koprivnica, HŠK Danica and RNHŠK Sloga, before the name Slaven returned with the foundation of FD Slaven. Between 1953 and 1958, the club was known as SD Podravka and was then renamed NK Slaven. The name Slaven remained until today, with only the names of the club's principal sponsors being added to it. The club was thus known as NK Slaven Bilokalnik between 1992 and 1994, after which it was given its current name following a sponsorship agreement with the Koprivnica-based pharmaceutical company Belupo.
Slaven gained their first promotion to the Prva HNL in 1997 and have been playing in the league without relegation ever since. In 2000, they surprisingly finished fifth in the Prva HNL and qualified for the UEFA Intertoto Cup. In their first Intertoto Cup appearance, they managed to reach the third round of the competition before being eliminated by Czech club SK Sigma Olomouc after losing 2-0 at home and getting a goalless draw on the road. One year later, they repeated the success and were only stopped by renowned English club Aston Villa F.C. with a 3-2 aggregate defeat. In their next two Intertoto Cup appearances, they were even more successful as they reached the semifinals of the competition on both occasions, only to be eliminated after losing to renowned clubs Stuttgart from Germany and Lille from France respectively. Their last Intertoto Cup appearance in 2005 ended in the third round with a 4-0 aggregate defeat to Spanish club Deportivo La Coruña.
In 2007, the club reached the Croatian Cup final after beating defending Cup holders NK Rijeka 3-2 in the second leg of the semifinals, going on to play Dinamo Zagreb in the final. Although losing to Dinamo in the final, 2-1 on aggregate, Slaven took a place in the UEFA Cup qualifying for the first time in their history, since their opponents had already qualified for the UEFA Champions League by virtue of having won the Prva HNL.
Slaven reached the second qualifying round of the UEFA Cup 2007–08, beating Albanian side KS Teuta Durrës 8-4 on aggregate before being eliminated after a 4-2 aggregate defeat to Turkish club Galatasaray S.K.. In 2008, Slaven finished runners-up in the Croatian league, which is their best domestic result to date.
On 28 August 2008 NK Slaven Belupo qualified for the UEFA Cup 2008–09 by beating Aris of Greece 2-0 at their home stadium, to reach an aggregate score of 2-1, thereby achieving arguably the best result in the history of the club.