|Full name||Nogometni klub Osijek|
|Nickname(s)||Bijelo plavi (the Blue Whites)|
|Founded||27 February 1947: 70 years ago|
|Ground||Stadion Gradski vrt|
|2016–17||Prva HNL, 4th|
Nogometni klub Osijek is a professional football club from Osijek in Eastern Croatia. Founded in 1947, it was the club from Slavonia with most seasons in the Yugoslav First League, and, after the independence of Croatia in 1992, it is part of the four clubs that were never relegated from the Croatian First League, the others being Dinamo Zagreb, Hajduk Split and Rijeka.
- 1 History
- 2 Stadium
- 3 Supporters
- 4 Rivalries
- 5 Kit manufacturers & sponsors
- 6 Honours
- 7 Recent seasons
- 8 European competitions
- 9 Rankings
- 10 First-team squad
- 11 Out on loan
- 12 Personnel
- 13 Football School
- 14 Notable players
- 15 Former managers
- 16 References
- 17 External links
The precursor to NK Osijek was founded on 27 February 1947, after a merger between two physical training associations: Slavonija and Bratstvo. The new entity was named Proleter. The first match that was played under that name dates back to 16 March that same year, when Proleter beat city-rivals Mladost by five goals to nil. The first competition in which the club participated in was the Osječko Okružno Prvenstvo, along with four other teams. The club got into the second national league soon after. Proleter achieved placement into the Yugoslav First League in 1953, having won the so-called Croato-Slovenian League. The best players from that side were Andrija Vekić, Franjo Rupnik, Dioniyije Dvornić, and Franjo Majer. Proleter played in the First League for three seasons, but were then relegated to the second division.
Proleter moved to current stadium Stadion Gradski vrt in autumn 1958 and changed its name to Slavonija as part of the unifying process of the boxing, athletics and Olympic lifting club in a newly founded sports association in 1962, while still being in the second league. Five years later the association disbanded and the club took on the name NK Osijek. The then-colours red and blue were switched to current colours blue and white.
In 1970, Osijek wins the 2nd North League championship, however, FK Borac Banja Luka beat them in the promotion play-offs. A year later, Bijelo-plavi try for promotion again, winning in a penalty shoot-out against HNK Rijeka, but end up being stopped by FK Vardar.
The next time Osijek reached the promotion play-offs was in 1973. NK Osijek made it to the final round, beating FC Prishtina. Following their victory, NK Osijek was set to meet NK Zagreb at Stadion Maksimir in Zagreb. A record-breaking 64,129 tickets were sold with approximately 20,000 of them going to citizens of Osijek. NK Zagreb proved victorious on the day, winning via a penalty shoot-out following a 2–2 draw after 90 minutes, Osijek denied promotion for a third time in four years.
In 1977, NK Osijek finally secures its return to the top flight by taking out the league championship.
NK Osijek managed to stay competitive in the Yugoslav League up until the Croatian War for Independence, except for the season of 1979/80, when Osijek fought back into the premier league after failing to stay in it. The club was present in the second part of the First League ladder in the 80’s, except for 1984, when the team placed 6th, headed by Davidovic, Lulic, Dzek, Lepinjica, Rakela, Karacic and the team captain Kalinic. In 1989, the team placed 8th with Davor Šuker leading the line for the side scoring 18 goals, taking out the league's best goalscorer award. Šuker is the only player in NK Osijek history to take out the award. During the last season of the YFL, NK Osijek finished ninth.
After the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the Croatian First Football League was formed and the first season was played in 1992. Due to the war, it was a shortened season played from February to June. NK Osijek was unable to play in Osijek due to the war, so they had to play in the cities of Đakovo, Donji Miholjac and Kutjevo. Osijek finished the 1992 Croatian First Football League season in 3rd placed, six points behind NK Zagreb and nine behind league champions HNK Hajduk Split. Osijek's top goalscorer was Robert Špehar, who finished the season with nine goals.
NK Osijek quickly became one of the top 4 Croatian Football teams. One of Osijek's best ever seasons came in the 1994–95 Croatian First Football League. The Bijelo plavi finished in third place, only six points behind first-placed Hajduk. Špehar scored 23 goals to become the league's top goalscorer. The greats of NK Osijek during that time were Robert Spehar, Zitnjak, Lulic, Beljan, Ergovic, Rupnik, Besirevic, Bicanic, and Labak.
Osijek finished third in the 1997–98 Croatian First Football League, qualifying for the 1998–99 UEFA Cup. NK Osijek came up against R.S.C. Anderlecht. After a famous 3-1 victory at home in front of 15,000 supporters, Osijek lost 2-0 in Belgium and were knocked-out on away goals. In 1998-99, Osijek attained its first trophy, the Croatian Football Cup, following a victory over HNK Cibalia 2–0. A year later, West Ham United was playing away in Gradski Vrt, headed by Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand, Trevor Sinclair, Paolo Di Canio, Paulo Wanchope and Igor Štimac.
In the 2000–01 UEFA Cup, NK Osijek beat Brøndby 2-1 (2–1, 0–0) and Rapid Wien 4-1 (2–1, 2–0). In the 3rd round, Osijek beat Slavia Prague 2–0 at home, but lost 5–1 in Prague. Osijek finished third in the league once more. In the 2001–02 UEFA Cup, Osijek progressed past Dinaburg on away goals, beat Gorica in the first round, but then lost 3-5 to AEK Athens. In the 2003–04 HNL, Osijek had the first and second highest goalscorers in the division with Špehar scoring 18 and Goran Ljubojević scoring 16. The club then went through a long phase of mid-table finishes and mediocre results.
NK Osijek was almost relegated during 2013/2014. On the last match day, Josip Barisic managed to score and keep NK Osijek afloat against NK Hrvatski Dragovoljac. Osijek changed coaches on four occasions throughout the season. The following season, Osijek once more finished just one positions above the relegation playoff spot, finishing one point ahead of Istra.
In September 2015, Zoran Zekić was appointed as the first team head coach.
With the club faced with bankruptcy, Osijek went into private ownership for the first time in its history in February 2016. Hungarian entrepreneur Lőrinc Mészáros, along with Osijek citizen and businessman Ivan Meštrović, bought a majority of shares in the club. The duo went about stabilising the club, improving the playing squad and bringing back ambition to the city and its supporters. Much of the debt was restructured and paid off, securing the short and long-term future of Osijek, which had been brought into question prior to the takeover.
In the 2016–17 Croatian First Football League season, the first full season of the new ownership and management, Osijek finished in fourth place, its highest finish in ten years. At the end of February 2017, NK Osijek marked its 70th anniversary in the Osijek theatre.
Due to its strong finish in the 2016-17 season, Osijek qualified for the 2017–18 UEFA Europa League qualifying phase. Osijek defeated UE Santa Coloma 6-0 in the first qualifying round and FC Luzern 3-2 in the second qualifying round. Osijek then drew 23 time Dutch champion PSV Eindhoven. Against all odds, Osijek beat PSV 1-0 both home and away to go through to the playoff leg. Unfortunately the fairy tale came to an end in the play-off round, where Osijek lost on away goals to FK Austria Wien.
NK Osijek plays its home games on Gradski Vrt, where it played its first game on the 7th of September, 1958, against Sloboda. It was officially opened in 1980.
The current design comes in the year 1979. The upper western tribune is unfinished to this day. The current capacity lies at 18 856 spectator seats, with 980 of them being for standing audiences. Before the club had transferred to Gradski Vrt, Osijek played on a pitch next to the river Drava.
The fan club of NK Osijek is called Kohorta (cohort, named after the Roman army unit composed of 360 soldiers). It was founded in 1972 under the name Sokci, and carries the name Kohorta since 1988. Kohorta is usually situated on the eastern tribune of Gradski Vrt. Its seat is in the street of the University in Tvrdja, Osijek.
Slavonian derby match between the two largest Croatia Football Club from eastern Croatia, Osijek and Cibalia. Each new match these two great rivals, means a great match on the field, but also in the stands where the overruling of Kohorta from Osijek and Ultrasi from Vinkovci.
Kit manufacturers & sponsors
In the following table, defunct competitions are listed in italics.
|Yugoslav Second League Winners||5||1952–53, 1969–70, 1972–73, 1976–77, 1980–81|
|Croatian Cup Winners||1||1998–99|
|Croatian Cup Runners-up||1||2011–12|
|Best European results|
|UEFA Cup Third round||1||2000–01|
|UEFA Intertoto Cup Second round||1||2006|
|Mitropa Cup Third place||1||1981–82|
|UEFA Europa League Play-off round||1||2017–18|
|Season||League||Cup||European competitions||Top goalscorer|
|1992||1. HNL||22||12||3||7||33||28||27||3rd||QF||Robert Špehar||9|
|1992–93||1. HNL||30||11||7||12||40||42||29||6th||QF||Alen Petrović||10|
|1993–94||1. HNL||34||12||11||11||56||58||35||8th||R2||Antun Labak||16|
|1994–95||1. HNL||30||16||11||3||65||30||59||3rd||SF||Robert Špehar||23|
|1995–96||1. A HNL||32||16||4||12||51||32||52||4th||QF||UEFA Cup||QR||Igor Pamić||17|
|1996–97||1. A HNL||30||12||5||13||40||38||41||8th||SF||Dumitru Mitu||10|
|1997–98||1. HNL||32||14||6||12||42||38||48||3rd||R1||Petar Krpan||10|
|1998–99||1. HNL||32||14||6||12||51||39||48||4th||W||UEFA Cup||QR2||Stanko Bubalo||10|
|1999–00||1. HNL||33||15||8||10||55||49||53||3rd||QF||UEFA Cup||R1||Stanko Bubalo||13|
|2000–01||1. HNL||32||17||6||9||61||47||57||3rd||SF||UEFA Cup||R3||Nenad Bjelica, Marijan Vuka||9|
|2001–02||1. HNL||30||11||4||15||45||48||37||8th||SF||UEFA Cup||R2||Milan Pavličić||9|
|2002–03||1. HNL||32||10||9||13||32||51||39||8th||QF||Milan Pavličić||11|
|2003–04||1. HNL||32||11||6||15||50||57||39||4th||QF||Robert Špehar||18|
|2004–05||1. HNL||32||9||14||9||41||45||41||8th||SF||Karlo Primorac||11|
|2005–06||1. HNL||32||13||5||14||31||48||44||4th||QF||Josip Balatinac||6|
|2006–07||1. HNL||33||11||10||12||42||45||43||6th||R2||Intertoto Cup||R2||Stjepan Jukić||9|
|2007–08||1. HNL||33||16||6||11||43||34||54||3rd||R2||Vedran Nikšić||8|
|2008–09||1. HNL||33||10||11||12||40||41||41||7th||R1||Josip Barišić||8|
|2009–10||1. HNL||30||13||8||9||49||36||47||5th||QF||Josip Barišić, Ivan Miličević, Vedran Nikšić||8|
|2010–11||1. HNL||30||9||12||9||31||29||39||8th||QF||Ivan Miličević||5|
|2011–12||1. HNL||30||11||10||9||45||38||43||8th||RU||Antonio Perošević||7|
|2012–13||1. HNL||33||9||12||12||25||33||39||7th||QF||Europa League||QR2||Antonio Perošević, Zoran Kvržić||4|
|2013–14||1. HNL||36||8||9||19||38||64||33||8th||QF||Josip Barišić||6|
|2014–15||1. HNL||36||10||6||20||42||59||36||8th||R2||Antonio Perošević, Aljoša Vojnović||6|
|2015–16||1. HNL||36||7||13||16||27||49||34||8th||QF||Antonio Perošević||6|
|2016–17||1. HNL||36||20||6||10||52||37||66||4th||SF||Muzafer Ejupi||14|
- 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; QF = Quarter-final; SF = Semi-final; RU = Runner-up; W = Competition won;
|Competition||Pld||W||D||L||GF||GA||Last season played|
|UEFA Cup / UEFA Europa League||30||16||1||13||39||41||2017–18|
|UEFA Intertoto Cup||2||0||2||0||2||2||2006|
Source: uefa.com, Last updated on 24 August 2017.
Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against. Defunct competitions indicated in italics.
|1995–96||UEFA Cup||QR||Slovan Bratislava||0–2||0–4||0–6|
|1998–99||UEFA Cup||QR2||Anderlecht||3–1||0–2||3–3 (a)|
|1999–00||UEFA Cup||R1||West Ham United||1–3||0–3||1–6|
|2001–02||UEFA Cup||QR||Dinaburg||1–0||1–2||2–2 (a)|
|2006–07||UEFA Intertoto Cup||R2||Ethnikos Achna||2–2||0–0||2–2 (a)|
|2012–13||UEFA Europa League||QR1||FC Santa Coloma||3–1||1–0||4–1|
|2017–18||UEFA Europa League||QR1||UE Santa Coloma||4–0||2–0||6–0|
|PO||Austria Wien||1–2||1–0||2–2 (a)|
Last updated on 24 August 2017.
- Most appearances in UEFA club competitions: 17 appearances
- Top scorers in UEFA club competitions: 4 goals
UEFA club coefficient ranking
(As of 19 June 2017), Source: Bert Kassies website
- As of 4 September 2017 
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on loan
- As of 6 January 2016
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
|Assistant coach||Ronald Grnja|
|Assistant coach||Mario Kuić|
|Assistant coach||Ivo Smoje|
|Goalkeeping coach||Domagoj Malovan|
|Fitness coach||Marin Vučko|
|Kit manager||Željko Vincek|
Last updated: 4 August 2017
Source: NK Osijek official website
The Football School of NK Osijek was founded in 1982 as the Youth School. It was set in motion by Andrija Vekic, with the wish to recruit and create great players and coaches alike by creating a good and competitive atmosphere. Many players considered to be high-level were in that school.
Proleter, the precursor to NK Osijek, was headed by Gustav Lechner, Ernest Dubac, Antun Kasa, Milan Adamović, Andrija Vekić, Franjo Rupnik, Dionizije Dvornić. When the club attained first league status in 1953, those players spearheaded the city’s club. In 1958, Nikola Rudić, Mate Kasac, Josip Gutzmirtl, Ilija Katić, Branko Karapandža, Boris Čulina, Ahmed Zejnilagić were the star players. They were active in the 60’s as well, when Proleter became Slavonija. After that, the club was staffed by Šaban Jasenica, Ivica Rukavina, and a slew of other capable players. Later on, Pavo Majer, Mile Dumančić, Branislav Iličin, Petar Lončarić, Zdravko Rupnik, Stjepan Čordaš, Ljubomir Petrović, Ivan Lukačević, Ivica Grnja were part of the team. In 1977, “Luks”, “Struja”, “Charlie”, “Dumba” and more were considered star players by the citizens of Osijek. Lukačevic and Grnja went on to play in Canada to play for Toronto’s Croatia football team, along with Eusebio, who is on the top 100 list of best footballers from 2004, among Pele. Ivica Grnja has achieved a place in the hall of fame in Toronto. During the 80’s, Davor Šuker sticks out from the crowd as a high-level football player, having been the number one striker during the World Cup in France 1998. He has played in Sevilla, and most notably in Real Madrid. Šuker went on to be champion of Europe in 1998, having beaten Juventus with a score of 1-0. After the War for Independence, Željko Pakasin, Alen Petrović, Ilica Perić, Nenad Bjelica, and others were among the best NK Osijek had in its roster. A notable mention is Robert Špehar, who went on to be number one “cannoneer” of the HNL and played in many foreign clubs: Club Brugge, Monaco, Verona, Sporting, Galatasaray, Standard, etc.). Nenad Bjelica played on the national team during the EP in Portugal 2004. Petar Krpan, who played on NK Osijek from 1993 until 1998, played on the national team during the World Cup in France. Marko Babic, who played in the finals on Bayer Leverkusen against Real Madrid in 2002, also played on NK Osijek. Another player, Almir Turković, is considered one of the best dribblers among the fans.
To appear in this section a player must have:
- Played at least 150 league games for the club;
- Scored at least 50 league goals for the club; or
- Played at least one international match for their national or olympic team while playing for NK Osijek.
Years in brackets indicate their spells at the club.
This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
- UEFA.com. "UEFA Europa League - Osijek-PSV". UEFA.com. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
- UEFA.com. "UEFA Europa League - Osijek-Austria Wien". UEFA.com. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
- "Osijek profile". UEFA.com. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
- "1. momčad – igrači" (in Croatian). NK Osijek. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
- "Robert Špehar CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Miroslav Bičanić CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Bakir Beširević CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Davor Rupnik CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Damir Vuica CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Petar Krpan CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Mario Galinović CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Ivo Ergović CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Ronald Grnja CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Ivica Beljan CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Igor Pamić CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Dumitru Mitu CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Jurica Vranješ CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Josip Balatinac CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Stanko Bubalo CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Mato Neretljak CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Marin Skender CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Valentin Babić CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Ivo Smoje CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Josip Barišić CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- "Domagoj Vida CFS Profile". Croatian Football Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
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