SpVgg Greuther Fürth

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SpVgg Greuther Fürth
SpVgg Greuther Fürth logo (2017).svg
Full name Spielvereinigung Greuther Fürth e. V.
Nickname(s) Kleeblätter (Shamrocks)
Founded 23 September 1903; 115 years ago (1903-09-23)
Ground Sportpark Ronhof
Capacity 18,000
Chairman Fred Höfler
Manager Damir Burić
League 2. Bundesliga
2017–18 15
Website Club website
Current season

SpVgg Greuther Fürth (German pronunciation: [ˈʃpiːlfɛɐ̯ˈʔaɪ̯nɪɡʊŋ ˈfʏʁt]) is a German football club in Fürth, Bavaria.

In the 2012–13 season, the club played in the Bundesliga for the first time, having won promotion from the 2. Bundesliga;[1] it was relegated back to the 2. Bundesliga at the end of the season.


Spielvereinigung Fürth[edit]

The origins of SpVgg Fürth are in the establishment on 23 September 1903 of a football department within the gymnastics club Turnverein 1860 Fürth. The footballers went their own way as an independent club in November 1906, after they did not get enough support from TV Fürth. The team played in the Ostkreisliga and took divisional titles there in 1912, 1913 and 1914 before moving on to participate in the Süddeutsche (South German) regional playoffs for the national championship round.[2] Right from the beginning, there was a great rivalry between the SpVgg Fürth and the 1. FC Nürnberg, predicated on the historical rivalry between the two neighbouring cities. The club grew rapidly, and by 1914, it had 3,000 members and was the largest sports club in Germany. When the club built their own stadium, Sportpark Ronhof, in 1910, it was the biggest stadium of Germany in that time.

National champions[edit]

Fürth won their first national title in 1914 under English coach William Townley. They faced VfB Leipzig – the defending champions with three titles to their credit – in the final held on 31 May in Magdeburg. A 154-minute-long thriller, the longest completed game in German football history (The 1922 Final was abandoned after 189 minutes due to darkness), ended with Fürth scoring a golden goal to secure the title.[3] The team had a solid run of successes through the 1920s and into the early 1930s, beginning with an appearance in the national final in 1920 against 1. FC Nürnberg, which was the dominant side of the decade. The rivalry between the two clubs was such that a star player with SpVgg was forced to leave after he married a girl from the city of Nuremberg. In 1924, for the first and only time, the German national side was made up exclusively of players from just two sides – Fürth and 1. FC Nürnberg – and players of the two teams slept in separate rail coaches.

SpVgg showed regularly on the national stage, advancing to the semi-finals in 1923 and 1931. They claimed two more championships – in 1926 and 1929 – with both of those victories coming at the expense of Hertha BSC. Through this period, the club played five finals in the Süddeutscher Pokal (en:South German Cup), coming away as cup winners on four occasions. On 27 August 1929, the association was joined by FC Schneidig Fürth.

German football was re-organized in 1933 under the Third Reich into 16 top flight Gauligen. Fürth became part of the Gauliga Bayern, but their success over the next dozen seasons was limited to a division title there in 1935, alongside regular appearances in competition for the Tschammerpokal, predecessor to today's DFB-Pokal (German Cup).

Postwar play[edit]

Historical chart of Greuther Fürth and predecessors' performance after WWII

After the war the team struggled through three seasons in the Oberliga Süd (I) before slipping to the Landesliga Bayern (II). SpVgg quickly recovered itself and returned to Oberliga play the next season. They won the title there in 1950 and went on to the national playoffs, advancing as far as the semifinals before being eliminated 1–4 by VfB Stuttgart. In 1954, two players from the SpVgg, Karl Mai and Herbert Erhardt, were members of the "Miracle of Bern" team that won Germany's first World Cup.

Fürth remained a first division side until the formation of the Bundesliga in 1963. The club did not qualify as one of the sixteen teams that made up the new unified national first division and they found themselves playing second division football in the Regionalliga Süd, where they were generally a mid-table side whose best finish was third-place result in 1967. The club played in the 2. Bundesliga from its inception in 1974 until 1983 with their best performance a fourth-place result in 1978–79. They slipped to playing in the tier III Bayernliga, with a short three-year spell in the fourth division Landesliga Bayern-Mitte in the late 1980s. At this time, the club started to have large financial problems. In 1990, Fürth celebrated a 3–1 victory in the opening round of the DFB-Pokal play over first division side Borussia Dortmund before going out 0–1 to 1. FC Saarbrücken in the second round. They returned to the Bayernliga (III) in 1991 and the Regionalliga Süd (III) in 1994. But still, the club's financial issues became bigger, and they were forced to sell their ground to the local businessman Conny Brandstätter. As the financial problems continued to grow, the president of SpVgg, Edgar Burkhart, arranged a deal with Helmut Hack, president of TSV Vestenbergsgreuth, to let TSV join the SpVgg and changing the name of the Spielvereinigung to the name SpVgg Greuther Fürth, which is still in use. The SpVgg so had the chance to get back in both financial and on-pitch success, while TSV could grow bigger in the city of Fürth, then it would have been possible in the village of Vestenbergsgreuth.

Historical logos of SpVgg Fürth and TSV Vestenbergsgreuth
Logo used until 2017

TSV Vestenbergsgreuth[edit]

Meanwhile, the small village team of TSV Vestenbergsgreuth was established 1 February 1974 and debuted as a fourth division side.[2] They advanced into the Amateur Oberliga Bayern (III) in 1987, just as SpVgg Fürth was descending to play in the division the more junior club had just escaped. TSV took part in the national amateur playoff round in 1988 and 1995. Their best performance came in the 1995 DFB-Pokal when they upset Bayern Munich 1–0, and then beat FC 08 Homburg 5–1, before being eliminated in the third round of the competition by VfL Wolfsburg on penalty kicks.

SpVgg Greuther Fürth[edit]

At the time when Vestenbergsgreuth's football branch was incorporated in 1996, in which TSV's football players came over to Fürth, both clubs were playing at about the same level in Regionalliga Süd (III). The SpVgg was runner-up behind long-term rival 1. FC Nürnberg in the division the next year, and so earned promotion back to the 2. Bundesliga after 18 years, and played in the second tier at the first time since 1979. At this time, the Sportpark Ronhof, now called Playmobil Arena, faced the first major redevelopment since the post-war years and the construction of the old main stand in 1950. They built new stands on three of the four sides of the pitch, a roofed seating stand on the opposite side of the main stand, an uncovered terrace in the north end, and an uncovered mixed standing and seating area in the south of the stadium, as well as installing floodlights in the Ronhof the first time ever. With the modernized stadium and a clever transfer strategy, they have consistently finished in the top half of the 18-team table in the 2000s, despite having one of the lowest budgets most of the time. On 1 July 2003, the club added former workers' club Tuspo Fürth to its tradition through a merger. In 2008, the stadium faced another redevelopment, as the standing terrace in the north got a roof, and a VIP building was installed near to the old main stand. With this work, the main stand became the last piece of the stadium that has not been redeveloped. In that time, Fürth has come close to renewing its ancient rivalry with Nürnberg at the Bundesliga level, narrowly missing promotion in each of the first two seasons of the 2010s. On 23 April 2012, Fürth finally gained promotion to the Bundesliga in the 2011–12 season, they eventually went on to win the 2. Bundesliga. With promotion, the 1998 built south stand was demolished, and a new one was installed, gaining a capacity increase from 14,500 to 18,000, as well as providing a roof on the south for the first time.

However, Fürth had a difficult first season in the Bundesliga as the club amassed only four victories in the 34-game campaign, one of them at the ground of their rivals FC Nuremberg, when the de-facto relegated site won 1–0, giving the fans of the Kleeblatt a peaceful feeling about the relegation. The club also set an infamous record by becoming the first club in Bundesliga history to not win a single home game during the regular season.[4] The club finished last in the league and was relegated back to the 2. Bundesliga.

The following season, despite not aiming for promotion, the club was a strong contender for a direct return to the Bundesliga. A third place in the final standings qualified the team for the promotion play-offs where it faced Hamburger SV. After a 0–0 draw in Hamburg, the club missed out on promotion on the away goal rule when the return leg ended 1–1. Since then, they struggle to be as strong as they were before the Bundesliga promotion, and they nearly got relegated to the 3. Liga in the 2014-15 season, when only a narrow win against later promoted Darmstadt on matchday 33, and other teams not winning on matchday 34 kept them in the league. In the same season, on early matchday 2, they gained a historic 5–1 home victory in the Frankenderby, their highest-ever home win in a derby. The following two years since then, the Spielvereinigung finished mid-table, with not having either fear of getting relegated or gaining promotion. In early 2016, the 1950-built main stand was demolished, and the construction of a new main stand started. This period of their newer history is characterized by the relegation of FCN in 2014, and both rivals playing each year since then. In the 2016-17 season, the Kleeblatt won both derbies the first time since the 70s, and finished above Nuremberg for the first time since the 1950s. Before the 2017–18 season, the construction of the new main stand was finished. With beating Fortuna Düsseldorf 3-1 on matchday 6, the Shamrocks managed to become leader of the all-time league table of the 2. Bundesliga.[5]

SpVgg Greuther Fürth II[edit]

Fürth also fields a strong reserve side which has played in the Oberliga Bayern (IV) since the 2001–02 season and finished second there in 2006–07. A second place in 2007–08 meant the team was qualified to play in the Regionalliga Süd in 2008–09.


1. FC Nürnberg is by far the SpVgg's biggest rival, going back to the early days of German football when, at times, those two clubs dominated the national championship.[6] Matches between both teams also called as "Frankenderby". Both competed against each other again in the 2012–13 Bundesliga season and the 2014–15 2. Bundesliga season.


SpVgg Greuther Fürth[edit]

Youth team[edit]


Recent managers[edit]

The club's managers since 1974 were:[7]

Manager Start Finish
Germany Alfred Hoffmann 1 July 1974 30 June 1975
Germany Hans Cieslarczyk 1 July 1975 30 June 1977
Germany Hannes Baldauf 1 July 1977 30 June 1980
Germany Dieter Schulte 1 July 1980 28 Feb 1981
Germany Heinz Lucas 1 March 1981 30 June 1981
Germany Hans-Dieter Roos 1 July 1981 15 Nov 1981
Germany Lothar Kleim 23 Nov 1981 30 June 1982
Germany Franz Brungs 1 July 1982 30 June 1983
Germany Günter Gerling 1 July 1983 30 June 1986
Germany Lothar Kleim 1 July 1986 28 Feb 1987
Germany Paul Hesselbach 1 March 1987 30 June 1989
Germany Günter Gerling 1 July 1989 9 April 1995
Germany Bertram Beierlorzer 10 April 1995 30 June 1996
Germany Armin Veh 1 July 1996 30 June 1997
Manager Start Finish
Germany Benno Möhlmann 15 Oct 1997 21 Oct 2000
Germany Paul Hesselbach 22 Oct 2000 19 Nov 2000
Germany Uwe Erkenbrecher 20 Nov 2000 30 Aug 2001
Germany Paul Hesselbach (interim) 1 Sep 2001 29 Oct 2001
Germany Eugen Hach 30 Oct 2001 5 Nov 2003
Germany Werner Dreßel (interim) 6 Nov 2003 29 Dec 2003
Germany Thomas Kost 30 Dec 2003 16 Feb 2004
Germany Benno Möhlmann 18 Feb 2004 30 June 2007
Germany Bruno Labbadia 1 July 2007 30 June 2008
Germany Benno Möhlmann 1 July 2008 20 Dec 2009
Germany Mike Büskens 27 Dec 2009 20 Feb 2013
Germany Ludwig Preis (interim) 21 Feb 2013 11 March 2013
Germany Frank Kramer 12 March 2013 23 February 2015
Germany Mike Büskens 23 February 2015 28 May 2015
Germany Stefan Ruthenbeck 12 June 2015 21 November 2016
Hungary Janos Radoki 21 November 2016 28 August 2017
Germany Mirko Dickhaut (interim) 28 August 2017 9 September 2017
Germany Damir Burić 9 September 2017

Recent seasons[edit]

The recent season-by-season performance of the club:[8][9]

  • With the introduction of the Bezirksoberligas in 1988 as the new fifth tier, below the Landesligas, all leagues below dropped one tier. With the introduction of the Regionalligas in 1994 and the 3. Liga in 2008 as the new third tier, below the 2. Bundesliga, all leagues below dropped one tier. With the establishment of the Regionalliga Bayern as the new fourth tier in Bavaria in 2012 the Bayernliga was split into a northern and a southern division, the number of Landesligas expanded from three to five and the Bezirksoberligas abolished. All leagues from the Bezirksligas onwards were elevated one tier.
Promoted Relegated


Current squad[edit]

As of 9 September 2018[10]

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

No. Position Player
1 Germany GK Marius Funk
3 Germany DF Maximilian Wittek
4 Austria DF Lukas Gugganig
5 Sweden DF Richard Magyar
6 Japan MF Yōsuke Ideguchi (on loan from Leeds United)
7 Germany MF Levent Ayçiçek
8 Germany MF Elias Abouchabaka (on loan from RB Leipzig)
9 Germany FW Shawn Parker
10 Germany FW Daniel Keita-Ruel
11 Germany MF David Raum
13 Germany DF Marco Caligiuri
15 Germany FW Sebastian Ernst
17 Germany FW Fabian Reese (on loan from Schalke 04)
18 Germany MF Benedikt Kirsch
No. Position Player
19 Germany DF Roberto Hilbert
20 Ghana MF David Atanga (on loan from Red Bull Salzburg)
21 Slovenia MF Nik Omladič
22 Croatia DF Mario Maloča
23 Germany DF Paul Jaeckel
24 Germany DF Maximilian Sauer
25 Germany GK Leon Schaffran
29 Germany DF Tobias Mohr
30 Germany GK Sascha Burchert
31 Germany MF Daniel Steininger
37 United States MF Julian Green
38 Germany DF Maximilian Bauer
40 Germany MF Patrick Sontheimer
Germany GK Timo Königsmann

Out on loan[edit]

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

No. Position Player

Notable former players[edit]

Famous coaches[edit]

William Townley, had three turns as coach of SpVgg Fürth in 1911–1913, 1926–1927, and 1930–1932 and led the club to two championships.

Notable fans[edit]

In September 2012, former United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, whose family fled Nazi Germany in 1938, attended a SpVgg match against Schalke 04. He had promised to attend a game at the Ronhof stadium if the team were promoted to the top-flight Bundesliga. As a child, Kissinger had tried to watch games there, despite it being against his parents' wishes.[11] Kissinger is an honorary member of SpVgg, and for decades he kept himself informed about match results and held contact to the club. During his time serving in the White House in the 1970s, he reportedly asked his staff to have the team's weekend result ready for him on Monday mornings. He visited his hometown and the club several times and attended a Bundesliga match in 2012 during the team's first season in the Bundesliga.


  1. ^ "Greuter Fürth set to begin first-division debut". dw.de. 20 August 2012. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  2. ^ a b Grüne, Hardy (2001). Vereinslexikon (in German). Kassel: AGON Sportverlag. ISBN 3-89784-147-9.
  3. ^ "100 Jahre Meister: Das längste Spiel" (in German). weltfussball.de. 30 May 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  4. ^ "Runs, records and retirement". FIFA.com. 15 May 2013. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  5. ^ "Ewige Tabelle". weltfussball.de. 20 September 2017. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  6. ^ "Die Geschichte des Frankenderbys" (in German). Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 1 October 2010.
  7. ^ "SpVgg Greuther Fürth » Trainer von A-Z" (in German). Weltfussball.de. Retrieved 11 November 2008.
  8. ^ "Historical German domestic league tables" (in German). Das deutsche Fußball-Archiv.
  9. ^ "Ergebnisse" (in German). Fussball.de. Tables and results of all German football leagues
  10. ^ "2. Bundesliga – Das Team" (in German). SpVgg Greuther Fürth. Archived from the original on 13 November 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
  11. ^ "Bayern Munich wins convincingly". ESPN FC. 15 September 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2013.

External links[edit]