Qarabağ FK

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Not to be confused with FC Qarabag Khankendi.
Qarabağ FK
Qarabağ FK
Full name Qarabağ Futbol Klubu
Nickname(s) Atlılar (The Horsemen)
Founded 23 July 1951; 63 years ago (1951-07-23)
(as Məhsul)
Ground Tofiq Bahramov Stadium,
Baku, Azerbaijan
Ground Capacity 31,200
President Abdulbari Gözal
Manager Gurban Gurbanov
League Azerbaijan Premier League
2013–14 1st
Website Club home page
Current season

Qarabağ Futbol Klubu, commonly known as Qarabağ, is an Azerbaijani football club from Agdam, but based in Baku since 1993 due to the Nagorno-Karabakh war, playing in the Azerbaijan Premier League.

Formed in 1951, Qarabağ were founding members of the Azerbaijan Premier League in 1992. A season later they won their first league championship, becoming the first non-Baku based club to win the Azerbaijan Premier League title. Qarabağ is one of the two teams in Azerbaijan, along with Neftchi Baku which has participated in all Azerbaijan Premier League championships so far.

Qarabağ plays its matches at the Tofiq Bahramov Stadium in Baku, which also serves as the venue for Azerbaijan national football team matches.

In 2014, the club won the Premier League, their first league title for 21 years.[2] Qarabağ have won the Premier league title twice, and the Azerbaijan Cup three times.[3] In same year, Qarabağ became the second Azerbaijani team to advance to the group stage of a European competition, beating Twente in the play-off round of the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League.


Early years (1951–1991)[edit]

The club was founded on 1951 as Qarabağ after completion of building of Aghdam city stadium, there began serious efforts towards creating a professional football team. As a result of this has been created FK Qarabağ, initially acted under the name of Mehsul which has taken part in the championship of Azerbaijan in 1966 for the first time.[4] In that year the club took 4th place in the local championship.

Qarabağ continuously participated in the local championship for four years in a row. Within these years – 2nd place was the best result achieved in 1968. However, after 1968 due to careless and lack of financial support the team did not participate in the championships for a long period.[4] In 1977, the team has been given birth again under name Shafaq. In 1982 Shafaq was unique representative of Aghdam in football. Between the periods of 1982–87 the squad acted under the name "Cooperative society". In 1988, Qarabağ has won the champions title in Azerbaijan SSR local championship under its current name.[4]

Effects of war and financial struggles (1991–2008)[edit]

In 1993, during the Nagorno-Karabakh war, the city of Aghdam came under Armenian control, and the team was forced to move from Imarat Stadium to Baku, while club's head coach Allahverdi Bagirov died in the war.[5][6][7] Financial problems have appeared at the club and club was living its hardest moments between 1998 to 2001 period. However, it did not stop the club to become the first ever Azerbaijani team that achieved a victory away from home in European competitions by defeating Israeli side Maccabi Haifa 2–1 in the 1999 UEFA Intertoto Cup thanks to a double strike from club legend Mushfig Huseynov. Qarabağ has also represented Azerbaijan in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and UEFA cup competitions many times.

All these problems were solved in 2001, after one of the largest holding companies of Azerbaijan, Azersun Holding began to sponsor the team. The squad has played under the name of Qarabag-Azersun for two seasons, however returned its original name in 2004.[8]

Gurban Gurbanov era (2008–present)[edit]

Gurban Gurbanov the most successful Azerbaijani manager in European competitions.

In 2008, former Azerbaijani football star Gurban Gurbanov was appointed as a head coach after the unexpected departure of Rasim Kara to Khazar Lankaran one week before the start of the 2008–09 season. Led by Gurban Gurbanov, Qarabağ have gone against the common strategy in Azerbaijani football, eschewing foreign signings in favour of nurturing local talent.[9] Gurbanov brought with him the similar style of play to tiki-taka, which characterised by an abundance of short passes, long periods of build-up and by players interchanging positions.[10]

Under Gurbanov, Qarabağ become one of the most successful Azerbaijani football clubs in Europe (with 3 continuous wins) and one which played UEFA Europa League play off-round by beating Rosenborg in UEFA Europa League, also eliminated Honka of Finland.[11][12] The achievements in European competitions also made Gurban Gurbanov as one of most successful Azerbaijani managers in country's football history.[13]

In 2010, the club made Azerbaijani record for the biggest win in a European competition during that time by beating Metalurg Skopje 4–1 in Baku as well as knocking out Wisła Kraków to reach the play-offs for the second year in succession.[14][15][16] In 2011, club renewed the same record by beating Banga Gargždai 4–0 in Gargždai.[17]

2011–12 season ended in disappointing style for Qarabağ as they finished in fourth place, leaving club without European competitions.[18] In 2013, Qarabağ reached UEFA Europa League play off-round for third time in their history.[19][20]

In May 2013, Qarabağ earned its second league title after 21 years.[21] A month later, after victory of Red Bull Salzburg club became first Azerbaijani side to achieve victory in third round of UEFA Champions League.[22][23] In August 2014, the club reached Europa League play off round, fourth time in last five seasons.[24]

In 2014, Qarabağ qualified for the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League group stage, being the second Azerbaijani team to advance to this stage in a European competition.[25] On 23 October 2014, after defeating 1-0[26] Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, the team became the first Azerbaijani club to win a Europa League's group stage game.[27][28]

Crest and colours[edit]

The crest on the club emblem is the symbol of the Karabakh. It is produced by English designers and based on the Karabakh horse.[29] The horse stems from the club's nickname The Horsemen; it was included on club programmes and scarves in the early period, although the crest was not included on the chest of the shirt until 2004.[30] After Gurban Gurbanov's appointment, Qarabağ's attractive style of play led fans to call the team Qafqazın Barselonası (Barcelona of The Caucasus), which associates with FC Barcelona's success in Europe.[10][31] The club sometimes called Qaçqın Klub (The Refugee Club) after club's conservative position on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and refugee problem in Azerbaijan.[10][32]

Shirt sponsors and kit manufacturers[edit]

Qarabağ's traditional kit allude to the club's location in Nagorno-Karabakh with the black and white representing light and darkness respectively. The club's kits are manufactured by Adidas and sponsored by Azersun, a food producing company from Baku.


Qarabağ in Tofiq Bahramov Stadium in 2014

Qarabağ's current home ground is Tofiq Bahramov Stadium in Baku, which has a capacity of 31,200 fans. The stadium is also used for the Azerbaijan national football team's matches.

The club have previously used Guzanli Olympic Stadium, which is situated in Quzanlı, the most populous municipality in the Agdam Rayon of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan. The Imarat Stadium which was club's original home stadium was destroyed by bombardments from Armenian military forces during the Nagorno-Karabakh War.[33][34][35]

In 2012, the construction of a new football stadium was announced. The Karabakh Stadium stadium expected to be completed in 2015.[36]

The largest number of spectators for the Qarabağ was recorded on July 30, 2014, in a 2014–15 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round match against FC Red Bull Salzburg which was ended in the favour of the Qarabağ with the result of 2-1 and attended by 32,000 fans.[37]


Although a large part of Qarabağ's support is drawn from the local Aghdam population, they remain immensely well supported in the rest of Azerbaijan. This is mainly due to their being the only team to represent war-torn Nagorno-Karabakh region in the league.[38] The club is a sole remnant of the past and a living symbol of hope and pride for over half a million Azerbaijani internally displaced people. In recent years, thanks to achievements on the pitch, the club has been able to inspire and initiate special youth projects enforcing stability and development in the IDP-settlements near the border of Nagorno-Karabakh.[39][40]

The club have few supporting groups such as Imarat and UltraAslan.[41][42] These groups often receive free tickets to Qarabağ's games, which helps Karabakh to have more support from fans.

Domestic league and cup history[edit]

Season Div. Pos. Pl. W D L GS GA P Cup Europe Top Scorer (League goals) Head Coach
1992 APL 4 36 24 7 5 76 26 55 FR - Azerbaijan Mahir Aliyev (9)
Azerbaijan Mehman Alishanov (9)
Azerbaijan Agaselim Mirjavadov
1993 1 18 9 7 2 23 11 25 W - Azerbaijan Mushfig Huseynov (6) Azerbaijan Agaselim Mirjavadov
1993–94 2 30 21 7 2 52 12 49 SF - Azerbaijan Mushfig Huseynov (17) Azerbaijan Agaselim Mirjavadov
1994–95 4 24 13 6 5 42 31 32 FR - Azerbaijan Mushfig Huseynov (14) Azerbaijan Agaselim Mirjavadov
1995–96 5 20 4 9 7 25 26 21 RU - Azerbaijan Mushfig Huseynov (9)
Azerbaijan Tarlan Ahmadov (9)
Azerbaijan Agaselim Mirjavadov
1996–97 2 30 23 2 5 61 25 71 SF CWC Qual. Azerbaijan Nazim Aliyev (17) Azerbaijan Elbrus Abbasov
1997–98 4 26 14 7 5 43 22 49 RU UC Qual. Azerbaijan Mushfig Huseynov (10)
Azerbaijan Yalchin Baghirov (10)
Azerbaijan Elbrus Abbasov
1998–99 4 36 20 6 10 50 29 66 FR CWC Qual. Azerbaijan Yalchin Baghirov (16) Azerbaijan Boyukagha Aghayev
1999–2000 8 22 5 10 7 21 25 25 RU IC R2 Azerbaijan Yalchin Baghirov (7) Azerbaijan Boyukagha Aghayev
Azerbaijan Shahin Shahuseyni
2000–01 9 20 5 4 11 19 34 19 FR - Azerbaijan Kanan Karimov (3) Azerbaijan Shahin Diniyev
2001–02 3 32 16 3 13 50 44 51 FR - Russia Dmitriy Kudinov (13) Azerbaijan Shahin Diniyev
2003–04 3 26 19 3 4 63 17 60 SF - Azerbaijan Samir Musayev (20) Azerbaijan Shahin Diniyev
2004–05 6 34 22 5 7 61 31 71 FR UC Qual. Azerbaijan Vadim Vasilyev (12) Azerbaijan Igor Ponomaryov
2005–06 5 26 12 4 10 32 32 40 W - Azerbaijan Samir Musayev (10) Azerbaijan Elkhan Abdullayev
Azerbaijan Boyukagha Aghayev
2006–07 8 24 6 9 9 20 27 27 FR UC Qual. Azerbaijan Vagif Javadov (4)
Azerbaijan Kanan Karimov (4)
Turkey Rasim Kara
2007–08 5 26 11 8 7 25 16 41 QF - Azerbaijan Vagif Javadov (6) Turkey Rasim Kara
2008–09 5 26 14 7 5 35 22 49 W - Republic of Macedonia Artim Šakiri (7)
Bosnia and Herzegovina Nidal Ferhatovic (7)
Azerbaijan Gurban Gurbanov
2009–10 3 42 17 18 7 37 30 69 QF EL PO Azerbaijan Rauf Aliyev (5)
Azerbaijan Ismayilov (5)
Azerbaijan Gurban Gurbanov
2010–11 3 32 17 7 8 41 22 58 FR EL PO Georgia (country) Georgi Adamia (18) Azerbaijan Gurban Gurbanov
2011–12 4 32 15 8 9 37 28 53 SF EL Qual. Georgia (country) Georgi Adamia (7) Azerbaijan Gurban Gurbanov
2012–13 2 32 16 11 5 43 26 59 SF - Brazil Richard Almeida (13) Azerbaijan Gurban Gurbanov
2013–14 1 36 21 9 6 65 21 72 QF EL PO Brazil Reynaldo (22) Azerbaijan Gurban Gurbanov

European record[edit]

Qarabağ against Eintracht Frankfurt, at Tofiq Bahramov Stadium (UEFA Europa League 2013–14 - Play-off round)
As of 19 May 2015
Competition Matches W D L GF GA
UEFA Champions League 4 3 0 1 7 3
UEFA Cup / UEFA Europa League 42 16 13 13 43 48
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 4 0 1 3 1 12
UEFA Intertoto Cup 4 1 0 3 2 11
Total 54 20 14 20 53 74



For a list of all former and current Qarabağ FK players with a Wikipedia article, see Category:FK Qarabağ players.

Azerbaijani teams are limited to nine players without Azerbaijani citizenship. The squad list includes only the principal nationality of each player; several non-European players on the squad have dual citizenship with an EU country.

Current squad[edit]

As of 7 October 2014

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

No. Position Player
1 Azerbaijan GK Farhad Valiyev
2 Azerbaijan DF Gara Garayev
3 Azerbaijan DF Tarlan Guliyev
5 Azerbaijan DF Maksim Medvedev
6 Azerbaijan DF Haji Ahmadov
7 Azerbaijan MF Namiq Yusifov (1st vice-captain)
9 Brazil FW Reynaldo
10 Republic of Macedonia MF Muarem Muarem
11 Brazil FW Danilo Dias
12 Azerbaijan GK Agaseyid Gasimov
13 Bosnia and Herzegovina GK Ibrahim Šehić
14 Azerbaijan DF Rashad Sadygov (captain)
17 Azerbaijan MF Vüqar Nadirov
No. Position Player
18 Azerbaijan MF Ilgar Gurbanov
20 Brazil MF Richard Almeida
21 Azerbaijan MF Tural Rzayev
23 Azerbaijan FW Tural Isgandarov
24 Albania DF Admir Teli (2nd vice-captain)
25 Albania DF Ansi Agolli
33 Azerbaijan DF Shahriyar Aliyev
41 Netherlands MF Leroy George
55 Azerbaijan DF Badavi Guseynov
70 Brazil MF Chumbinho
77 Azerbaijan MF Javid Taghiyev
99 Azerbaijan MF Namig Alasgarov
-- Spain MF Dani Quintana

Individual records[edit]

Lists of the players with the most caps and top goalscorers for the club, as of 21 November 2014 (players in bold signifies current Qarabağ player). Mushfig Huseynov is the club's all-time most capped player and top scorer with 125 goals in 320 games.[44]

Reynaldo is one of the most goalscoring players for the club.
Top Ten Highest Goalscorers
Player Period Appearances Goals
1 Soviet Union Azerbaijan Mushfig Huseynov 1989–99; 2003–04; 2005–07 320 125
2 Azerbaijan Samir Musayev 2002–06 85 44
3 Brazil Reynaldo 2012–present 51 31
4 Georgia (country) Georgi Adamia 2010–12 72 29
5 Azerbaijan Tarlan Ahmadov 1993–97; 2004 102 28
6 Azerbaijan Vugar Nadirov 2001–05; 2009–present 193 27
7 Azerbaijan Vagif Javadov 2007–10; 2012–13 110 25
8 Azerbaijan Nazim Aliyev 1996–97 44 23
9 Azerbaijan Rauf Aliyev 2006–13 131 23
10 Brazil Richard Almeida 2012–present 69 20
Maksim Medvedev is one of the most capped players for the club.
Top Ten Players With Most Appearances
Player Period Caps Goals
1 Soviet Union Azerbaijan Mushfig Huseynov 1989–99; 2003–04; 2005–07 320 125
2 Azerbaijan Vugar Nadirov 2001–05; 2009–present 193 27
3 Azerbaijan Maksim Medvedev 2006–present 180 5
4 Azerbaijan Namiq Yusifov 2006–07; 2008–present 174 1
5 Albania Admir Teli 2009–present 170 6
6 Azerbaijan Aslan Kerimov 1993–97; 2003–11 168 12
7 Azerbaijan Rashad Sadygov 2009–10; 2011–present 147 8
8 Albania Ansi Agolli 2010–present 140 3
9 Azerbaijan Rauf Aliyev 2006–13 131 23
10 Azerbaijan Vagif Javadov 2007–10; 2012–13 110 25

Club officials[edit]

The Board of Directors[edit]

Position Name
Vice-President Turkey Tahir Gozal
Managing Director Turkey Emrah Çelikel
Financial Director Turkey Murat Karaman
Facilities Director Azerbaijan Asif Asgarov
Press and Operations Officer Azerbaijan Nurlan Ibrahimov

Coaching staff[edit]

Position Name
Manager Azerbaijan Gurban Gurbanov
Assistant manager Azerbaijan Zaur Tagizade
Assistant manager Republic of Macedonia Čudomir Čakarov
Goalkeeper coach Azerbaijan Elkhan Hasanov
Doctor Azerbaijan Sadraddin Mammadov

Notable managers[edit]

For more details on this topic, see List of FK Qarabağ managers.

The following managers have all won at least one trophy when in charge of FK Qarabağ:

Name Period Trophies
Azerbaijan Agaselim Mirjavadov 1992–96 Azerbaijan Premier League, Azerbaijan Cup, Azerbaijan Supercup
Azerbaijan Elkhan Abdullayev 2005–06 Azerbaijan Cup
Azerbaijan Gurban Gurbanov 2008–present (2) Azerbaijan Premier League, Azerbaijan Cup


As of 7 May 2014, Qarabağ has won Azerbaijan Premier League twice, 3 Azerbaijan Cup and Azerbaijan Supercup trophies. The club is the first non-Baku based club to have won the Azerbaijan Premier League title.[45] Qarabağ is one of the two teams in Azerbaijan, along with Neftchi Baku which has participated in all Azerbaijan Premier League championships so far.[45]

Winners (3): 1993, 2013–14, 2014–15
Winners (3): 1993, 2005–06, 2008–09
Winners (1): 1994

In popular culture[edit]

Qarabağ featured on football simulation game Pro Evolution Soccer 2015.[46]


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  2. ^ Atayev, Oktay. "Qarabağ end 21-year wait for Azerbaijani title". UEFA. Retrieved 7 May 2014. 
  3. ^ "Azerbaycan'da şampiyon Karabağ". (in Turkish). 
  4. ^ a b c Official Qarabagh website: Club's Creation(Azerbaijani)
  5. ^ Gault, Matt. "Qarabag are exiled from their home but could shock the Champions League". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  6. ^ Müşfiqin "Qarabağ"dan böyük sevgisi yoxdur (Azerbaijani)
  9. ^ Ibrahimov, Erkin. "Qarabağ back and hoping for more". UEFA. Retrieved 27 July 2011. 
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  11. ^ В Баку в футбольном матче Лиги Европы «Карабах» обыграл «Русенборг» (Russian)
  12. ^ "Qarabağ" "Rusenborq"u diz çökdürdü (Azerbaijani)
  13. ^ Suleymanov, Mehman. "Qurban Qurbanov 1-ci, komandası 2-ci" (in Azerbaijani). APASPORT News Agency. Retrieved 6 August 2010. 
  14. ^ Карабах громит Металлург! (Russian)
  15. ^ "Villa and Rapid to meet again". Retrieved 6 August 2010. 
  16. ^ Aliyev, Elmir. ""Карабах" победил "Вислу" в Лиге Европы". Retrieved 5 August 2010. 
  17. ^ Kheyrullaev, Vugar. "Azərbaycan futbolunda görünməmiş hadisə Litvada gerçəkləşdi". Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
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  20. ^ "Karabağ, play-off turuna yükseldi". (in Turkish). Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
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  23. ^ "Red Bull Salzburg verliert Hinspiel gegen Karabach". (in German). Salzburger Nachrichten. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  24. ^ Еще один шанс, еще одна жеребьевка. (in Russian). Retrieved 7 August 2014. 
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  26. ^ Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk - Qarabağ FK : 0-1 (Match report)
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  30. ^ Azimo, Rustam. ""Карабахские скакуны" покоряют Европу, или Пара слов о матче "Карабах" – "Висла"". Retrieved 24 August 2010. 
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  33. ^ Vaxt olmayan yer (Azerbaijani)
  34. ^ Ermənilərin xarabaya çevirdiyi Ağdamın «İmarət» stadionu (Azerbaijani)
  35. ^ "Caqa" ikinci dəfə lotereyada uddu (Azerbaijani)
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  39. ^ OFF SIDE by Dirk-Jan Visser
  40. ^ Нефтяной фонд Азербайджана выделит около 100 млн. долларов на обустройство беженцев (Russian)
  41. ^ "Azarkeşlər bu dəfə də "Qarabağ"ı tək qoymadılar". (in Azerbaijani). Retrieved 21 August 2013. 
  42. ^ "Qarabağ" fanklubunun rəhbəri: "İmarət"in səsini bütün Avropa eşidəcək" (Azerbaijani)
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  44. ^ "Azerbaijan Premier League Stats". Retrieved 14 June 2014. 
  45. ^ a b ИСТОРИЯ И ДОСТИЖЕНИЯ. (in Russian). Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  46. ^ ""Qarabağ" PES-2015-də!". (in Azerbaijani). Retrieved 9 November 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]