HŠK Zrinjski Mostar
|Full name||Hrvatski športski klub Zrinjski Mostar|
|Nickname(s)||Plemići (The Noblemen)|
|Ground||Stadion pod Bijelim Brijegom, Mostar|
|Capacity||9,000 (seating only)|
|League||Premier League of BiH|
|2013–14||Premijer Liga BiH, 1st|
|Website||Club home page|
Hrvatski športski klub Zrinjski Mostar (English: Croatian Sports Club Zrinjski Mostar), commonly referred to as HŠK Zrinjski Mostar or simply Zrinjski, is a Croatian football club based in the city of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The club plays in the Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and has been one of the top teams in the country over the years.
It was formed in 1905, and is the oldest football club in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After World War II, all clubs that had participated in the wartime Prva HNL were banned in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Zrinjski being one of them. The ban lasted from 1945 to 1992. The club was reformed after the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It played in the Herzeg-Bosnia First League until 2000 when it joined the Premier League. The club is based at Stadion pod Bijelim Brijegom in Mostar.
In 2005, Zrinjski celebrated its first championship crown in the Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Today the football team is part of the Zrinjski Mostar sport society.
The beginning and early years
|Bijeli Brijeg Stadium|
|Bijeli Brijeg Hall|
In 1896 several distinguished Herzegovinians from Mostar had an idea to form a youth sports society named Hrvatski sokol (Croatian Hawk). At the time, this was not allowed, but in 1905 Croatian youth led by Professor Kuštreb succeeded. With the help of the cultural society Hrvoje they formed Đački športski klub (Student Sports Club). In 1912 it evolved to Gimnazijski nogometni klub Zrinjski (Gymnasium Football Club Zrinjski). It was named after the historic Croatian noble family Zrinski. Some of the first games they played were against sports team Osman from Sarajevo: the games ended 0–3 and 2–1. Club activist and player Ivo Ćorić wrote first reports about the club at that time. He named some of the players: Rudolf Brozović, Bruno and Edo Novak, Marko Suton, Željko and Ante Merdžo, Abid Pehlivanović, Slavko Jukić, Ivan Bošnjak, and Karlo Šmit. In 1914 at the outset of World War I, the club was banned. This ban lasted until 1917 when Zrinjski along with another Croatian sports club from Mostar, Hrvatski radnički omladinski športski klub (HROŠK), formed a new club called “Hercegovac”. Some of the HROŠK players were: Jure Zelenika, Nikola Paladžić, Miroslav Prpić, Mirko Vlaho, Ante Pavković, Kažimir Zubac.
In 1922 the original name Zrinjski was brought back and at that time, the team started to compete more seriously. They played against other Mostar teams, like Yugoslavian Sports Club (JŠK), Velež and Vardar, and also teams from all over Herzegovina, Bosnia and Dalmatia. In 1923 Zrinjski won the Mostar Championship with a 1–0 victory over JŠK. The players that played in that game were: Vjekoslav Vrančić, Kazimir Vlaho, Živo Bebek, Rudi Janjušić, Husein H. Omerović, Milivoj Smoljan, Pero Golić, Mijo Miličević, Muhamed Omeragić, August Kučinović and Franjo Štimac. In 1930s Zrinjski played games in Zagreb, Sarajevo, Banja Luka and even Montenegro. In 1936 Yugoslavian authorities did not allow Zrinjski to play at a tournament in Dubrovnik because they had Croatian colors on their jersey. In 1938 Zrinjski won a tournament against Velež, ŠK Sloga and ŠK Makabi. Also at that time they played three night games, with the lights they borrowed from the local mine. Some of the club presidents from 1905 to 1945 were Miško Mikulić, Drago Turkelj, Jakša Miljković, and Blaž Slišković.
In 1941 with the beginning of World War II and the creation of the Independent State of Croatia, the Prva HNL was also formed. Zrinjski joined the league along with SAŠK Sarajevo and NK Hrvoje from Banja Luka when Independent State of Croatia was admitted to FIFA. In the league Zrinjski played some historic games against Građanski Zagreb. In 1943 Zrinjski played against Jedinstvo, winning that match 2-1, which was probably the last before the club was banned.
After World War II, in 1945 the Yugoslav communist government banned the use of any nationalist names and signs. In addition, any club that had participated in the fascist regime's league was banned. Zrinjski was affected with that and the club was not allowed to operate for 47 years (1945–92).
After Bosnia and Herzegovina became an independent state, Zrinjski was reestablished. This happened in 1992 in Međugorje. Because of the ongoing war, for the first two years Zrinjski played only friendly games, mostly in Herzegovina and Croatia, but also in Canada and Germany. In 1994 Zrinjski, along with other Croatian clubs from Bosnia and Herzegovina helped create the Herzeg-Bosnia Football Federation. The club participated in its league for seven seasons, and was one best teams over the years. Some of the notable players at that time were Blaž Slišković and Slaven Musa, both FK Velez Mostar players before that. In 1998 Zrinjski participated in first playoffs with Bosnian teams. In 2000 the Premier League for the first time included Bosnian and Croatian clubs together and Zrinjski was one of the clubs competing in the league and still is today. Serbian clubs joined in 2002.
Also in the summer of 2000 Zrinjski participated for the first time in a UEFA competition. They played in the Intertoto Cup against Swedish team Västra Frölunda IF. Zrinjski lost the first game in Sweden 1-0 and in Mostar led 1-0 after 90 minutes. At the beginning of overtime Zrinjski scored another goal and had the result that would send them to the next round, but the game ultimately ended with 3-2 Zrinjski victory and Vastra Frolunda went through because of away goals.
The new era
Before the 2003–04 season, some new board members entered the club, bringing better sponsors. Their primary goal was to make Zrinjski one of the top clubs in the country by its 100th anniversary in 2005. Zrinjski then took four players on loan from Dinamo Zagreb: Luka Modrić, Marko Janjetović, Ivica Džidić and Davor Landeka. After the season Džidić and Landeka stayed permanently. Although Zrinjski was nowhere near the top, the base for the next season was created. In summer of 2004, the club signed some of the best players in the league, such as Zoran Rajović, Dušan Kerkez, Velimir Vidić, and Sulejman Smajić. The team, led by coach Franjo Džidić won the title easily, with a significant point advantage over runner up Željezničar. Zoran Rajović was the league's leading scorer.
Many of Zrinjski’s star players were on one year contracts and left the team after the season. As a result, the team did not play well at the beginning of the season and was surprisingly knocked out of the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round by Luxembourg team F91 Dudelange. Zrinjski won the first game away 1-0, but lost at home after overtime 4-0. Not long after the beginning of the season Blaž Slišković was appointed as a head coach.
Zrinjski finished the 2005–06 season in third place, earning a place in the Intertoto Cup where Zrinjski knocked out Maltese team Marsaxlokk (3–0 home, 1–1 away) in the first round and lost to Israel team Maccabi Petah Tikva (1–1 away, 1–3 home) in the second round.
In 2006–07 season Zrinjski finished in second place, earning a UEFA Cup berth. During the winter break Zrinjski lost one of its best players Lamine Diarra, who transferred to Beira-Mar, but it signed former star player Zoran Rajović on a free transfer. Zrinjski also signed experienced midfielder Mario Ivanković from NK Brotnjo.
In 2007–08, Zrinjski lost in the first qualifying round to FK Partizan of Serbia, 11–1 on aggregate. However, Partizan was expelled from the competition due to crowd trouble, so Zrinjski progressed to the second round where they lost 2-1 on aggregate to FK Rabotnički of Macedonia. The domestic campaign saw them finish fourth, but a victory in the Cup of Bosnia and Herzegovina earned them a place in the UEFA Cup once again.
In the 2008–09 season, Zrinjski managed a 5–1 aggregate with over FC Vaduz in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Cup but lost 3–0 to SC Braga the next round. They also won the Premier Liga for the second time led by talismanic striker Krešimir Kordić who top scored with 13 league goals.
The league title meant that Zrinjski went into the second round of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League, just their second time in the competition. Unfortunately the side lost 1–4 on aggregate to ŠK Slovan Bratislava despite a 1–0 home leg win. A disappointing 2009–10 season in the league left Zrinjski in fourth place.
Zrinjski's participation in European football lasted longer in the 2010–11 season than in others, with the side beating both FC Tobol and Tre Penne before losing to Odense Boldklub in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League. Zrinjski fell further down the league table and once again managed just a seventh place finish, meaning the side would not play European football next season. In the 2011–12 season, Zrinjski improved only slightly, a sixth place finish again meant that the side would not participate in continental football the following season. The 2012–13 season was the worst in almost ten years with the club slumping to a ninth place finished but managed to qualify for European football through a strong cup performance, where they reached the semi final.
The 2013–14 season was one that will long stay in the memories and hearts of Zrinjski supporters. After a season long three way battle for the title between themselves, NK Široki Brijeg and FK Sarajevo, Zrinjski came out victorious to win their third ever Premier League title, their first since 2004–05.
Zrinjski Mostar's main rival is Velež Mostar, the other main football team in Mostar. The highly contested game between both teams is called the Mostar derby. Zrinjski first played against Velež Mostar in the 1920s and 1930s, but when Zrinjski was banned (1945–92) for playing in the fascist league, no games between the rival teams were played. During that period, Velež became a successful club in former Yugoslavia, and it was supported by a majority of Mostarian inhabitants. After Zrinjski's league ban was lifted, the team became one of the important symbols of the Croatian entity in Mostar, and it was mainly supported by Croats. The rival team, Velež, is mostly supported by local Bosniaks. The Mostar derby is highly contested, just as the Sarajevo-Željezničar derby. On 1 March 2000, Zrinjski and Velež played a friendly game, for the first time in over 55 years. The game took place in Sarajevo, and ended in a 2-2 draw. The first official game between both teams was played in Premier League of BiH at the Bijeli Brijeg Stadium on 13 August 2000, and was won by Zrinjski with 2-0.
The two fan groups which support each team are:
Both fanbases still represent a division among ethnic lines, as the Ultras are almost exclusively Croats and the Red Army are mostly Bosniaks. The ethnic connection of both fanbases leads to vigorous clashes at the Mostar derby. Furthermore, some extreme groups of the Red Army are left-wing-inspired, while extreme Ultras are right-wing-inspired, which further exacerbates their rivalry.
Other notable rivals of Zrinjski are Sarajevo clubs FK Sarajevo and FK Željezničar. Those clubs with famous history, along with Zrinjski are favorites for the top of the table almost every season. One of the other reasons for this rivalry is that Mostar is the center of Herzegovina, while Sarajevo is the center of Bosnia, and the capital of the entire country. Also there is a rivalry with NK Široki Brijeg, the other top team from Herzegovina. This rivalry started during Herzeg-Bosnia league (1994–00), and continued in Premier League.
Zrinjski’s fans are called Ultras. Ultras group from Mostar was founded in 1994.
Zrinjski plays its games on Stadion pod Bijelim Brijegom, (English: White Hill Stadium). The stadium was built in 1971 and was used by Velež until 1991. Stadium capacity today is 9,000 seats (former 25,000 standings), but in the 1970s and 1980s some games attracted over 35,000 spectators. It was the second largest stadium in Bosnia and Herzegovina (before placed the chairs) after Asim Ferhatović Hase Stadium in Sarajevo.
- As of 22 July 2014
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
- Blaž Slišković (1995–97)
- Vladimir Skočajić (2000)
- Vjeran Simunić (2001)
- Ivica Barbarić (2002–03)
- Stjepan Deverić (2003–04)
- Franjo Džidić (2004–05)
- Blaž Slišković (Aug 2, 2005–Oct 11, 2007)
- Dragan Jović (Oct 11, 2007–Sept 12, 2010)
- Marijan Bloudek (Sept 15, 2010–Nov 11, 2010)
- Slaven Musa (Nov 11, 2010–April 29, 2012)
- Draženko Bogdan (interim) (May 2, 2012–May 11, 2012)
- Dragan Perić (May 11, 2012–March 31, 2013)
- Branko Karačić (April 1, 2013–Dec 27, 2014)
- Mišo Krstičević (Jan 3, 2015–)
|2000||UEFA Intertoto Cup||1R||Västra Frölunda||2–1||0–1||2–2|
|2005–06||UEFA Champions League||1Q||Dudelange||0–4 (aet)||1–0||1–4|
|2006||UEFA Intertoto Cup||1R||Marsaxlokk||3–0||1–1||4–1|
|2R||Maccabi Petah Tikva||1–3||1–1||2–4|
|2009–10||UEFA Champions League||2Q||Slovan Bratislava||1–0||0–4||1–4|
|2010–11||UEFA Europa League||1Q||Tobol||2–1||2–1||4–2|
|2013–14||UEFA Europa League||1Q||UE Santa Coloma||1–0||3–1||4–1|
|2014–15||UEFA Champions League||2Q||NK Maribor||0–0||2–0||2–0|
1 UEFA expelled Partizan from the 2007–08 UEFA Cup due to crowd trouble at their away tie in Mostar, which forced the match to be interrupted for 10 minutes. UEFA adjudged travelling Partizan fans to have been the culprits of the trouble., but Partizan were allowed to play the return leg while the appeal was being processed. However, Partizan's appeal was rejected so Zrinjski Mostar qualified.
|Season||League||Cup||European competitions||Top goalscorer|
|2005–06||Prem||30||17||3||10||47||29||54||3rd||1/8||Champions League||QR1||Krešimir Kordić||5|
|2006–07||Prem||30||17||4||9||67||40||54||2nd||1/16||Intertoto Cup||R2||Zoran Rajović||11|
|2007–08||Prem||30||15||4||11||46||27||49||4th||W||UEFA Cup||QR2||Matija Matko||9|
|2008–09||Prem||30||18||3||9||50||37||57||1st||SF||UEFA Cup||QR2||Krešimir Kordić||13|
|2009–10||Prem||30||15||6||9||46||33||51||4th||SF||Champions League||QR2||Krešimir Kordić||10|
|2010–11||Prem||30||13||3||14||41||39||42||7th||QF||Europa League||QR3||Ivan Lendrić||16|
- League: P = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; Pts = Points won; Pos = Final position;
- Cup / Europe: PR = Preliminary round; QR = Qualifying round; R1 = First round; R2 = Second round; Group = Group stage; QF = Quarter-final; SF = Semi-final; RU = Runner-up; W = Competition won;
- "Partizan disqualified from UEFA Cup". uefa.com. Union of European Football Associations. 26 July 2007.
- "Partizan decision deferred". uefa.com. Union of European Football Associations. 31 July 2007.
- "Partizan disqualified from UEFA Cup". uefa.com. Union of European Football Associations. 7 August 2007. Retrieved 8 August 2007.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to HŠK Zrinjski Mostar.|
- Official website (Croatian)
- Zrinjski sports association website (Croatian)
- Ultras official website (Croatian)
- Profile at UEFA.com