FC Luzern

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FC Luzern
Full name Fussball-Club Luzern
Nickname(s) Die Leuchten (The Luminaries)
Founded 12 August 1901; 116 years ago
Ground Swissporarena, Lucerne
Ground Capacity 17,000
Chairman Philipp Studhalter
Manager Markus Babbel
League Swiss Super League
2016–17 Swiss Super League, 5th
Website Club website

Fussball-Club Luzern, commonly known as FC Luzern (German pronunciation: [ɛf ˈt͡seː luˈtsɛrn]), or simply abbreviated to FCL, is a Swiss sports club based in Lucerne. It is best known for its professional football team, which plays in the Super League, the top tier of the Swiss football league system, and has won the national title once and the national cup twice.[1][2]

The club colours are blue and white, derived from the City of Lucerne and Canton of Lucerne coats of arms. The club plays its home games at Swissporarena which was newly built in 2011 at the place of the old Stadion Allmend.[3]

FC Luzern was founded in 1901. It has non-professional departments for women's football, volleyball, boccia and gymnastics.[4]


Chart of FC Luzern table positions in the Swiss football league system

FC Luzern's greatest success was winning the Swiss Championship in 1989. The club has also won the Swiss Cup twice (1960 and 1992) and finished runners-up four times (1997, 2005, 2007, 2012).

With a total of 17 'moves', FC Luzern has the highest number of promotions and relegations to and from the national first tier since the establishment of a single nationwide top division in 1933.[5]

Promotions Relegations
9x (1936, 1953, 1958, 1967, 1970, 1974, 1979, 1993, 2006) 8x (1944, 1955, 1966, 1969, 1972, 1975, 1992, 2003)

The club’s birth[edit]

The first known attempt to found a football club in Luzern dates back to 6 May 1867 when an announcement was published in the newspaper Luzerner Tagblatt that advertised a meeting regarding the foundation of “FC Luzern” and invited “additional members”. Even though the call did not have great resonance, this loose group of football friends can be described as a forerunner to FC Luzern.[6]

In 1901, a second attempt was initiated by friends Adolf Coulin, Ernst Haag and Hans Walter who knew football from the Romandie where the game was already very popular. They met on 8 July 1901 with other football enthusiasts at Floragarten – a restaurant at Seidenhofstrasse near the train station – to arrange the establishment of FC Luzern. Only four days later on 12 July 1901, the first training was held at Allmend, a large green space south of the city centre that would later become the club’s home. The official foundation took place on 12 August 1901.[7]

The first game was held on 13 April 1902 away against SC Zofingen. In the 1–2 defeat, Albrik Lüthy became the first ever goal scorer for the club. The first match played on home ground was on 25 May 1902 with Zofingen as the opponent again. It ended with a 4–0 victory for the away side.[8]

Slow start (1903–1918)[edit]

On 13 September 1903 FC Luzern became an official member of the Swiss Football Association (SFA). At the time, teams were allowed to freely choose the division to play in and the club decided to compete in the third tier Serie C. Despite managing to win just a single game in the first season, the club chose to start in the Serie B for the 1904–05 season. After finishing second for three consecutive years from 1906 until 1909, Luzern was incorporated into the Serie A by the SFA in 1909. The task however proved to be too big for the side and Luzern finished the season at the bottom of the league table.[9]

Under new management, things turned to the better. For the first time, international matches were held. The first international opponent of FC Luzern was Unione Sportiva Milanense in 1911. The game which was played in Chiasso was lost 2–3. In the second international encounter FCL reached a 1–1 draw against FC Mulhouse and the first international win was a 4–2 against SV Stuttgart in 1912. [10] After disappointing performances in the domestic league, FCL finished bottom of the table in 1912 and 1913 and lost its right to remain in the Serie A.[11]

FC Luzern also struggled in the Serie B and was threatened to become the second club in the city. Between 1913 and 1915 FCL was beaten five times by city rival FC Kickers. For a time, even a merger with 1907 founded Kickers was a realistic scenario. It was rejected by only one vote.[12]

Almost champion and back to Serie B (1918–1936)[edit]

After five years in the second division FCL returned to Serie A in 1918 by beating FC Baden. Dionys Schönecker who joined FC Luzern from Rapid Vienna became the first professional manager for the club in 1921. His appointment was an instant success as FCL went on to win the central Swiss group of the Serie A and qualified for the final round of the championship. After beating eastern Swiss champions FC Blue Stars Zürich 2–1, Luzern faced Servette Geneva in a title decider on 25 June 1922 in Basel. The hotly favoured and experienced Genevans won 2–0 even though the match could not be played to the end after Servette fans stormed the pitch due to a false signal by the referee. The followers could not be persuaded to leave the pitch and the FCL side agreed to end the game to avoid further incidents.[13]

Luzern fell back into old patterns and only narrowly escaped relegation in the two subsequent seasons but was unable to avoid the drop in 1925. From 1925 to 1930 the club played in the second division and was often close to promotion. Within the SFA, the late 1920s and early 1930s were marked by failed attempts for league reform and chaotic association meetings. After formally securing promotion with its third consecutive second division title in 1929, FC Luzern was not allowed to participate in the national first tier until the spring of 1931. However, in 1931, a drastic reduction of clubs in the top division was implemented, meaning forced relegation for no less than 15 clubs among which FC Luzern was one.[14]

Barren years (1936–1959)[edit]

A change in fortune got FCL promoted to the newly created Nationalliga in 1936. Despite sanctions by the Swiss FA the team managed to finish the 1936–37 season fourth. It was to be the best final league position until 1976. In the following years which were heavily affected by the Second World War, FCL was not able to build on this success. Managers came and went but the club never ranked above the bottom four. When acclaimed international Sirio Vernati left Luzern in 1943, the team was deprived of its best player and got relegated in the spring of 1944.[15]

In the 1940s, FC Luzern became a typical second division club. In 1952–53 FCL again had a bad start to the campaign but improved significantly as the season progressed. Promotion could be secured in the final game against local rival SC Zug.

The boom only lasted for two years and Luzern got relegated again in 1955. The club board appointed young German manager Rudi Gutendorf whose managerial career would later span the entire planet. While Gutendorf saw the first years as a consolidation period, the team almost got instantly promoted after just one year in the second division. Promotion eventually came in 1958.[16]

The first trophy and the yo-yo years (1960–1979)[edit]

While league performances in the Nationalliga A were erratic throughout the first half of the 1960s, FC Luzern won its first major national trophy by winning the Swiss Cup in 1960. The final was played against FC Grenchen. FCL participated in the first ever edition of the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1960–61 but was comfortably defeated by ACF Fiorentina (0–3, 2–6).[17]

The success did not last long and the chronically bad financial situation and average league performances led to many managerial changes. The club got relegated once again in 1966 and FC Luzern developed a reputation as a yo-yo team. Promotion in 1967 was followed by relegation in 1969, promotion in 1970, relegation in 1972, promotion in 1974, once again relegation in 1975 and finally promotion in 1979. A total of eleven different managers stood at the sideline during this time, among them the 1960 cup winner, local legend and later manager of the Swiss national team, Paul Wolfisberg. His second managerial spell from 1978 to 1982 marks the beginning of one of the most successful periods in the club’s history.[18][19]

The golden years (1980–1992)[edit]

FC Luzern signed Ottmar Hitzfeld in the summer of 1980. It was Hitzfeld’s last station as a player before he started his successful managerial career in 1983. With several mid-table finishes throughout the early 1980s the club consolidated its position in the league. Friedel Rausch took over as a manager in 1985 and guided FC Luzern to their most successful era. In 1986, FCL finished third and qualified for the UEFA Cup for the first time in club history. After a remarkable 0–0 away draw against FC Spartak Moscow the home leg was lost 0–1 through a late winner for the Russian side.[20]

With a fifth place finish in 1987 and 1988, FC Luzern, being widely viewed as an underdog team, sensationally won the Swiss championship in 1989. It is the single biggest success in the club’s history to date. FCL clinched the title race with a 1–0 home win against Servette in front of 24’000 fans. The deciding goal was scored by German striker Jürgen Mohr.[21]

The league triumph was FCL’s passport to the European Cup – the club’s first and so far only appearance in this competition. FCL was without a chance against Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven and suffered another early halt to their European campaigns. Unable to defend the league title in 1990, Luzern qualified for the UEFA Cup and secured its first European win against MTK Budapest but lost to Admira Wacker Vienna in the next round.

In a sudden change of fortune in 1991/92, FCL failed to qualify for the championship playoff group only due to goal difference and surprisingly suffered relegation after a hapless campaign in the relegation playoffs. Only days after the shock, Luzern won its third major trophy by beating FC Lugano 3–1 in the Swiss Cup final. Rausch left the club at the end of the season.[22]

Decline and resurrection (1993–2006)[edit]

Having returned immediately to the Nationalliga A in 1993 the club could not live up to the earlier successes and played a mediocre role in the following years with the exception of a cup final appearance in 1997 that was lost against champions FC Sion. The late 1990s and early 2000s were marked by frequent managerial changes and renewed financial struggles. The longstanding chairman Romano Simioni (1975–1998) was forced to step down after a prolonged power struggle between different factions in the club. This was followed by a chaotic and scandal ridden period of financial and sporting instability. In 1999, the club avoided the withdrawal of its playing license only with a last-minute rescue campaign to raise funds. In 2001, FC Luzern’s centenary year, the club’s ownership entity FC Luzern AG went into administration.[23]

After continuously precarious league performances FCL eventually got relegated in 2003. The fall went on and Luzern finished behind local rivals SC Kriens for the first time in the club’s history in 2004. FCL lost the Swiss Cup final in 2005 against FC Zurich. In 2006, under the management of former centre back René van Eck, the team won the Swiss Challenge League and secured promotion with a 31 match unbeaten run.[24]

The Super League era (2006-today)[edit]

FC Luzern appointed former Swiss international Ciriaco Sforza as manager and qualified for another Swiss Cup final that was lost against FC Basel in 2007. The Luzern board fell out of patience with Sforza in 2008 after winning only one point in six matches. Luzern avoided relegation after appointing Rolf Fringer and eventually beating FC Lugano 5–1 on aggregate in the relegation playoffs in 2009.[25]

The signing of star player Hakan Yakin in summer 2009 transformed the team into a successful side that finished third. The subsequent Europa League qualifiers were lost against FC Utrecht. After a mediocre 2010/11 season Fringer was replaced with former Swiss international Murat Yakin. FCL finished the 2011/12 season second – the highest finish since 1989 – but lost yet another Swiss Cup final for the fourth consecutive time. After a bad start to the 2012/13 season and the defeat against K.R.C. Genk in the Europa League playoff round, Yakin was replaced with Carlos Bernegger. In similar fashion as his predecessor, Bernegger failed to confirm a good first season performance and was replaced by former German international Markus Babbel after a bad season start and a disappointing Europa League qualifier defeat against St Johnstone F.C.. Under Babbel's management the club's performances stabilised as it finished fifth (2014/15), third (2015/16), and fifth again (2016/17). However, Luzern continuously failed to advance in Europa League qualifying rounds after aggregate defeats to U.S. Sassuolo Calcio in 2016 and NK Osijek in 2017.

Fans and rivalries[edit]

Although the club has only won three important national trophies, FC Luzern is one of the traditional football clubs in the country with a strong local supporter base. The club draws its support predominantly from Central Switzerland, leading the number of sold season tickets in the cantons of Lucerne, Obwalden, Nidwalden, Uri, Zug as well as in some parts of Aargau and Schwyz.[26] Since moving to the new stadium in 2011, FCL has always ranked within the top four in terms of average attendance in the Swiss Super League with an average crowd of 11,000 to 14,000.[27]

The local derby is played with SC Kriens, whose stadium is located about 1.3 kilometers from FC Luzern's facilities at Allmend. Due to the restructuring of the Swiss football league system in the past years, the two clubs are currently separated by two leagues. On 12 August 2017 FC Luzern beat SC Kriens 1–0 in the opening round of the 2017–18 Swiss Cup. It was the first encounter between the two sides in an official contest since 2006.[28]

Although there are no traditional and deep rooted rivalries, periods of intensified sporting competition have sparked rivalries between FC Luzern and FC Basel in the mid-90s and with FC Sion in the mid-2000s. A majority of the fans, particularly Ultra groups, view FC St. Gallen as a major rival. Matches with FC Aarau are also by many considered as a local derby and attract big numbers of Luzern supporters, especially to away games.


Between 1934 and 2009, the club played its home games at the Stadion Allmend, which had a theoretical capacity of 25,000. For security reasons however, the Swiss Football Association did not allow more than 13,000 to attend in the final year of its existence in 2009. Until a new stadium was completed in 2011, FC Luzern temporarily played its home games in the Gersag Stadion located in Emmenbrücke.

In August 2011, the club moved into the newly built Swissporarena which is located at the place of the old ground. The opening game ended with a 0–0 draw against FC Thun.


The greatest success in the club's history was winning the championship in 1989 under the management of German head coach Friedel Rausch. Furthermore, the club played in six Swiss Cup finals, winning two by beating FC Grenchen 1–0 in 1960 and FC Lugano 3–1 (aet) in 1992. Most recently however, the club lost four finals in a row: In 1997 against FC Sion (4–5 pen), in 2005 against FC Zurich (1–3), and twice against FC Basel in 2007 (0–1) and 2012 (2–4 pen). Reaching the cup final in 2005 as a second-tier club, the promotion back to the Super League in 2006 and the achievement of reaching the cup finals again in 2007 and 2012 rank as the club's most recent successes.[29]

All-time league table[edit]

FC Luzern is currently ranked 9th in the all-time league table.[30]

European appearances[edit]

Season Competition Round Club 1st leg 2nd leg Aggregate
1960–61 European Cup Winners' Cup QF Italy ACF Fiorentina 0–3 2–6 2–9
1986–87 UEFA Cup 1R Soviet Union FC Spartak Moscow 0–0 0–1 0–1
1989–90 European Cup 1R Netherlands PSV Eindhoven 0–3 0–2 0–5
1990–91 UEFA Cup 1R Hungary MTK Budapest 1–1 2–1 3–2
1990–91 UEFA Cup 2R Austria VfB Admira Wacker Mödling 0–1 1–1 1–2
1992–93 European Cup Winners' Cup 1R Bulgaria PFC Levski Sofia 1–2 1–0 2–2
1992–93 European Cup Winners' Cup 2R Netherlands Feyenoord 1–0 1–4 2–4
1997–98 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 1R Czech Republic Slavia Prague 2–4 0–2 2–6
2010–11 UEFA Europa League 3Q Netherlands FC Utrecht 0–1 1–3 1–4
2012–13 UEFA Europa League PO Belgium KRC Genk 2–1 0–2 2–3
2014–15 UEFA Europa League 2Q Scotland St Johnstone 1–1 1–1 (aet) 2–2 (4–5 p.)
2016–17 UEFA Europa League 3Q Italy Sassuolo 1–1 0–3 1–4
2017–18 UEFA Europa League 2Q Croatia NK Osijek 0–2 2–1 2–3


Recent seasons[edit]

As of 11 July 2017.

The season-by-season performance of the club over the last eleven years:[32]

Season Rank P W D L F A GD Pts Cup EL
2006–07 8 36 8 9 19 31 58 −27 33 Runner-up
2007–08 6 36 10 14 12 40 49 −9 44 R16 -
2008–09 9* 36 9 8 19 45 62 −17 35 SF
2009–10 4 36 17 7 12 66 55 +11 58 QF
2010–11 6 36 13 9 14 62 57 +5 48 R16 3Q
2011–12 2 36 14 12 8 46 32 +14 54 Runner-up
2012–13 8 36 10 12 14 41 52 −11 42 1R PO
2013–14 4 36 15 6 15 48 54 −6 51 SF
2014–15 5 36 12 11 13 54 46 +8 47 R16 2Q
2015–16 3 36 15 9 12 59 50 +9 54 SF -
2016–17 5 36 14 8 14 62 66 −4 50 SF 2Q

Rank = Rank in the Swiss Super League; P = Played; W = Win; D = Draw; L = Loss; F = Goals for; A = Goals against; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points; Cup = Swiss Cup; EL = UEFA Europa League.
in = Still in competition; — = Not attended; 1R = 1st round; 2R = 2nd round; R16 = Round of sixteen; QF = Quarterfinals; SF = Semifinals; 2Q = 2nd qualifying round; 3Q = 3rd qualifying round; PO = play-off round.
*Avoided relegation by beating FC Lugano 5 – 1 on aggregate in the relegation play-offs.


Current squad[edit]

As of 14 August 2017[33]

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

No. Position Player
1 Switzerland GK David Zibung
5 Brazil DF Lucas
6 Switzerland MF Remo Arnold
7 Switzerland DF Claudio Lustenberger
8 Switzerland MF Olivier Custodio
9 Australia FW Tomi Juric
11 Switzerland MF Pascal Schürpf
13 North Korea FW Jong Il-gwan
14 Switzerland DF Nicolas Schindelholz
15 Germany DF Marvin Schulz
17 Switzerland DF Simon Grether
19 Switzerland MF Christian Schneuwly
20 Switzerland FW Shkelqim Demhasaj
21 Switzerland GK Jonas Omlin
No. Position Player
22 Switzerland GK Simon Enzler
24 Switzerland FW Ruben Vargas
25 Switzerland DF Yannick Schmid
27 Switzerland DF Christian Schwegler
30 Switzerland FW Cedric Itten (on loan from Basel)
31 Kosovo MF Hekuran Kryeziu
33 Switzerland DF Stefan Knezevic
34 Switzerland DF Silvan Sidler
35 Switzerland MF Filip Ugrinic
36 Kosovo MF Dren Feka
37 Switzerland MF João Oliveira
42 Kosovo MF Idriz Voca
68 Switzerland MF Francisco Rodríguez


As of 17 August 2017.

Current technical staff[edit]

Name Function
Markus Babbel Head coach
Patrick Rahmen Assistant coach
Michael Silberbauer Assistant coach
Swen König Goalkeeper coach
Christian Schmidt Fitness coach
Norbert Fischer Fitness coach
Remo Meyer Director of Football
Dante Carecci Team manager


Head coaches since 2006[edit]

No. Coach from until days Points per game
1 Switzerland Ciriaco Sforza 1 July 2006 10 August 2008 771 1.15
2 Switzerland Jean-Daniel Gross (interim) 11 August 2008 17 August 2008 6 -
3 Switzerland Roberto Morinini 17 August 2008 27 October 2008 71 0.88
4 Switzerland Rolf Fringer 27 October 2008 2 Mai 2011 917 1.51
5 Germany Christian Brand (interim) 2 May 2011 30 June 2011 59 0.80
6 Switzerland Murat Yakin 1 July 2011 19 August 2012 415 1.57
7 Poland Ryszard Komornicki 20 August 2012 2 April 2013 225 1.00
8 Switzerland Gerardo Seoane (interim) 4 April 2013 8 April 2013 4 -
9 Argentina Carlos Bernegger 8 April 2013 6 October 2014 546 1.44
10 Germany Markus Babbel 13 October 2014 - - 1.51*

* By the end of the 2016/17 Season

Head coaches until 2006[edit]


Current board[edit]

Investor group
Name Function
Philipp Studhalter President
Josef Bieri Vice-president
Bernhard Alpstäg Board member
Samih Sawiris Board member
Hans Schmid Board member
Marco Sieber Board member
Chief Executive
Name Function
Marcel Kälin CEO


Former notable players[edit]


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External links[edit]