SK Sturm Graz
|Full name||Sportklub Puntigamer Sturm Graz|
|Nickname(s)||Die Schwoazn, The Blackies|
|Website||Club home page|
So far, Sturm Graz has won the Austrian Football Championship three times (1998, 1999 and 2011) and participated several times in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. Their biggest rivals are neighbours Grazer AK.
- 1 History
- 2 Stadium
- 3 Fans and the Graz Derby
- 4 Achievements
- 5 European records
- 6 Players
- 7 Manager history
- 8 Club management
- 9 References
- 10 External links
SK Sturm Graz was founded in 1909, as a working men's team (as opposed to its town neighbours Grazer AK, founded in 1902). From 1921 to 1949 Sturm won the Styrian championship 11 times. When Austria was a part of the German Reich, the club first appeared in top-flight competition in the Gauliga Ostmark in 1942–43, coming last and being relegated. In 1949, Sturm entered the national league as the first non-Vienna-based team.
The first great success came under manager Otto Baric, when the club finished runners-up in the league in the 1980/81 season. In the 1983/84 season, the club battled through to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup, beaten only by Nottingham Forest through a penalty in extra-time.
1992—Start of a new era
In December 1992, Hannes Kartnig was installed as president, naming his close friend Heinz Schilcher as new manager. At the time, Sturm was languishing under enormous debts. Sturm qualified for the newly formed Zehnerliga, and Kartnig and Schilcher decided the best course of action would be to abstain from big-name signings, opting instead for a new start using young players from the club's youth setup. In 1993 Milan Djuricic became manager.
1994 to 2002—Osim and European football
In 1994, the Bosnian Ivica Osim took control of the up-to-now unsuccessful Sturm; this proved to be a crucial turning-point in the club's history. Osim succeeded in producing an effective and powerful team using the young and inexperienced players at his disposal, strengthened with a few experienced leading players. The team's first success was as runners-up in the league in 1995; a year later, they won their first title, beating Admira Wacker in the cup-final, but wobbling in the league to finish runners-up yet again.
In 1998, SK Sturm Graz won its first Austrian Bundesliga title, pulling away from the field early on and winning the title with seven games in hand. Sturm set two records during this season; they remained unbeaten in their first twelve matches, and then for another nineteen matches later in the season. At the end of the season they amassed 81 points, an Austrian record total, winning the title with 19 points ahead of Rapid Vienna. This season also saw the development of the "magic triangle" of Mario Haas, Hannes Reinmayr and Ivica Vastic.
1999 saw SK Sturm Graz retain the title, securing the treble as they did so (league, cup and super cup), in addition to appearing in the qualification for the Champions League. Here, however, a scoreless draw with Spartak Moscow proved to be the only success. The 1999/2000 season saw Sturm in the Champions League for a second time, finishing third in its group. FC Tirol wrested the title from Sturm's grasp, but the runners-up spot achieved was sufficient for a third trip into the Champions League.
Sensationally, Sturm Graz won its Champions League Group D (against Galatasaray, Rangers and AS Monaco), reaching the second round for the first time. The league campaign was less successful – a fourth place finish, the worst under Osim.
After the Champions League exploits, several key players out of the twelve who later left were not suitably replaced. Worse still, this hasty squad redevelopment devoured almost all the profit made from the European campaign. Only a small fraction of the money was invested in youth development, to establish an academy. Despite this, the newly assembled team again finished in second place in the league, but failed at the qualification hurdle for the Champions League. This, together with increasing criticism from the President precipitated the departure of Osim after eight years at the helm.
2002 to 2009 – Consolidation
Franco Foda and Gilbert Gress (7 defeats in 9 games) both enjoyed short and fruitless stints as coach, before former sweeper Michael Petrovic took control in autumn 2003. He presided over a gradual introduction of young talent, securing the team's place in the top flight in both 2004 and 2005, finishing in seventh spot.
Since 2005 Sturm Graz has been facing financial problems and on September 1, 2006 a petition of bankruptcy was filed by the tax authorities. Because of the financial situation Sturm was forced to use young players, who were soon sold to reconsole the club. Also 2006 coach Michael Petrovic left the club and Franco Foda took his place.
2009 to present day – New successes
After a 4th rank in 2009, the Blackies qualified for the group stage of the Europe League 2009/2010. Their opponents were Galatasaray, Panathinaikos and Dinamo Bucureşti.2010 the Blackies won the ÖFB-Cup in Klagenfurt in front of 25,000 of its own fans against SC Wiener Neustadt. That was the highest number of fans ever travelling to a match in a different state.
2010/2011 Sturm won the Austrian Championship. A highlight of the season was a qualifying game against Juventus Turin in the Europe League.
2011/2012 Sturm played in the UEFA Champions League Qualification and managed to defeat Videoton FC and FC Zestafoni. In the play-off Sturm Graz lost against BATE Borisov and qualified for the group stage of the Europe League, where they played against RSC Anderlecht, Lokomotive Moskva an AEK Athens. At the end of the season Sturm was at the 5th rank of the Bundesliga and Coach Franco Foda was fired after six successful years. With the new coach Peter Hyballa Sturm played a good autumn, but a horrible spring and so he got dismissed within the season. Luckily Sturm managed to achieve the rank four in the end table of the 2012/2013 Season with the lowest amount of points, that ever sufficed for the fourth place. So Sturm Graz was entitled to play in the Europe League Qualification again. Darko Milanic, who won several titles with NK Maribor, is coaching the team in the season 2013/2014.
The traditional home of the team for many years was the Gruabn, which held over 12,000 people – almost exclusively standing – and which was characterised by its narrow playing field, and the proximity of the fans to the players. From 1997 till 2005, Gruabn was used just as a training ground and for youth and amateur matches; in 2005 the ground was sold to the town of Graz to relieve the club's financial difficulties. 1997 was the move to the Arnold Schwarzenegger Stadium, shared between Sturm and its local rivals, Grazer AK. Since February 2006 the stadium is called UPC-Arena.
Fans and the Graz Derby
A study published in 2008 by the German market research institute Sport + Markt showed that Sturm have around 360,000 fans across Austria, which is only second to the number of Rapid Vienna supporters. In Europe there are estimated to be 410,000 fans which ranks them as the 117th most supported club.
There are several organised fan groups - the biggest and most well-known are Jewels Sturm and the Brigata Graz which were founded in 1994, and Grazer Sturmflut founded 2 years later.
Sturm fans have a very strong friendship with fans of Karlsruher SC. They have also contacts with fans of Borussia Dortmund, Werder Bremen and fans from Pisa and Carrara. More recently they have also had contacts with a group of NK Maribor ultras.
Sturm have a big rivalry with cross-town rivals Grazer AK with whom they compete the Graz Derby. In 1974 there was big opposition from both sets of fans against a proposed merger to become FC Graz. Since 1920, excluding the friendly matches (especially before the first official Styrian Cup in 1920), 197 matches have been played between the two, of which there were: 185 encounters in the league (130 at the professional level and 55 at amateur level in the Styrian League); an additional 5 encounters in Austrian Cup; 1 match in Austrian Supercup; 2 meetings in the Tschammerpokal and 4 games in the Styrian Cup. The very first Derby took place in 1911, the last was dated 17 May 2007. So far Sturm Graz have won more derby matches than GAK. Due to the recent financial troubles and subsequent relegations GAK is more likely to revive the derby with Sturm's reserve squad as they begin to climb up the football pyramid.
Other rivalries are with the two Vienna clubs (Austria and Rapid) due to the history of competition for trophies between the 3 clubs, and as with most ultras the fans have a strong dislike of FC Red Bull Salzburg, unhappy with the acquisition of SV Austria Salzburg by Red Bull.
- Winners (4): 1996, 1997, 1999, 2010
- Runners-up (4): 1948, 1975, 1998, 2002
- Winners (3): 1996, 1998, 1999
- Runners-up (2): 1997, 2002
- Austrian Amateur Champions (1): 1934
- Styrian Regional Champions (11): 1921, 1923, 1925, 1934, 1936, 1937, 1941, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949
- Styrian Cup Winners (9): 1932, 1933, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949
- UEFA Champions League (3 participations): 1998, 1999, 2000 (2nd Group Stage)
- UEFA Cup (11 participations): 1970/71, 1974/75, 1978/79, 1981/82, 1983/84 (Quarter Final), 1988/89, 1991/92, 1995/96, 1999, 2002
- UEFA Intertoto Cup (1): 2008 (Joint Winner)
- Q= Qualifying
- P= Preliminary
- PO = Play-Off
- As of 23 April 2014
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
- President: Christian Jauk
- Coach: Darko Milanič
- Asst. Coach: Novica Nikčević, Stojadin Rajkovič
- Goalkeeping Coach: Kazimierz Sidorczuk
- Youth and Amateur Team Coach: Didi Pegam
- "Liverpool's barrage gets semifinal spot". Montreal Gazette. United Press International. 22 March 1984. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
- Bericht zur Studie auf kleinezeitung.at, abgerufen am 25. März 2009.
- Coupe Intertoto 2008. Listed are all 11 teams that won the Intertoto Cup, qualifying for the UEFA Cup.
- (German) Official Website
- Sturm Graz at UEFA.COM
- Sturm Graz at EUFO.DE
- Sturm Graz at Weltfussball.de
- Sturm Graz at Football Squads.co.uk
- Sturm Graz at National Football Teams.com
- Sturm Graz at Football-Lineups.com
- (German) Onlinenews about Sturm Graz
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