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Slovan Liberec

Slovan Liberec is a football (soccer) club from Czech Republic.

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About Slovan Liberec

FC Slovan Liberec is a Czech Republic association football club founded in the city of Liberec. The club is one of the most successful in the Czech Republic, having won two league titles and the Pohar CMFS since 1993. Slovan Liberec is also one of the richest clubs in the Gambrinus liga. The main sponsor is the glass making company Preciosa (corporation) nationality, until 1945, it was Germans who first established clubs and played their own league. The first Czech Republic football club SK Liberec was established after World War I, on 11 May 1919. In 1922, the originally German club FK Rapid Ober Rosenthal turned into the Czech Republic club SK Rapid Horní Růžodol. In the same year, another Liberec-based club - SK Doubí - was established, followed by AFK Stráž bezpečnosti in 1931. On 27 February 1934, SK Liberec took on the new name of Slavia Liberec so that the Czech (people) footballers could affirm their club's Slavic peoples character at a time when the Nazi regime in neighbouring Germany already represented a serious threat to the former Czechoslovakia as well as all of Europe.

The rivalry that once existed in Liberec between Rapid and Slavia can be compared to a smaller version of the rivalry between Prague's two most famous clubs, Sparta Prague and SK Slavia Prague. In 1938 the Munich Agreement was signed, in which representatives of the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Germany forced Czechoslovakia to withdraw from their border area and surrender it to Germany. After Liberec was incorporated into the German Reich, Czechoslovakia football in the city came to a halt for a full seven years.

Post-War Era

At the end of World War II and with the liberation of Czechoslovakia in 1945, Liberec took on the character of a Czechoslovakia city. The first post-war game was played in Turnov on 10 June 1945 by Liberec's football club Slavia. On 15 July 1945, representatives of Czechoslovakia football clubs from the border areas that had started up again met at the Radnice hotel. The result of the meeting was the verdict that each border-area club continue in the same league that it had played in up until 1938. After seven years of forced inactivity, Slavia Liberec was again included in Class I A and Rapid Horní Růžodol in Class II. In February 1948 the Communists seized power in Czechoslovakia. Under the new name of Kolora, Rapid Liberec, former Horní Růžodol, fought its way to be promoted to the premier league. Due to the poorly thought-out restructuring of Czechoslovak physical education and sports, Kolora remained in the second league - yet an administrative decision placed Slavoj Liberec, originally established as Čechie, in the premier league. At the time, Slavoj had only played in the regional league. This reorganization created a lot of bad blood in Liberec. After one season, Slavoj was relegated to the second league. Three years later, Kolora once again battled its way up to be promoted to the premier league, but the team could not manage to save themselves from relegation the following season. Whenever Kolora, which later played under the name of Jiskra, met up with Slavoj Liberec, the match was always important and a rough battle to the end.

Slovan is born

In 1958, the decision was taken to close the Jiskra and Slavoj clubs and merge the two into a single team that would have the potential to win a spot in the premier league. Although this plan stirred up very negative reactions among soccer and fans alike and despite the fact that members of Slavoj originally declared that they reject the plan, in the end they changed their minds. As a result, TJ Slovan Liberec was formed on 12 July 1958. With this name, the football club affirmed the Czechoslovakia character of the club as well as the region where it played. The very first competitor the newly created team faced was Spartak Praha Sokolovo, as the famous team Sparta Prague was called at the time. Slovan lost 0:3. Despite of all its efforts, for a long time Slovan Liberec was unsuccessful in its fight for a place in the premier league. At certain stages of its history, it was even relegated to the regional division or third league.

In the 1970s, Slovan managed to be promoted back to the second league, which at the time included five Bohemian, one Moravians (ethnic group) and ten Slovakia teams. Due to the vast distances, the soccer from Liberec even had to board planes to play against teams in Bardejov or Michalovce, located in the eastern parts of the country. In 1971, Slovan again failed in its attempt to be promoted to the premier league. Following this were two relegations and promotions back to the second league.

Modern Day Slovan

After overcoming the financial crisis that the club found itself in following the 1989 "Velvet Revolution", Slovan Liberec finally had the chance to gain promotion to the top league. Following the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, the six best teams in the second league were elevated to the newly created Czech Republic premier league. Slovan ascended to the first league with the formation of the Gambrinus Liga in 1993, and has maintained this position ever since. In the 1990s the club achieved a series of mid-table finishes.

In 2002, under the management of Ladislav Škorpil, Slovan Liberec became the first champions of the Czech Republic outside of Prague. As Czech Republic champions, they entered the 2002–03_UEFA_Champions_League Third_qualifying_round, but lost their first tie to that season's eventual tournament winners AC Milan (0–1, 2–1). Subsequently the team finished fourth in the league in Gambrinus liga 2002-03. Due to a league-wide corruption scandal in the Gambrinus liga 2004-05 season, the club was penalised with a six point deduction and went on to finish fifth with 46 points. In season Gambrinus liga 2005-06 Slovan recovered to achieve their second league title, confirmed their status as the leading Czech Republic team outside of Prague and broke the dominance of Sparta Prague and SK Slavia Prague.

In June 2007 popular coach Vítězslav Lavička resigned amidst problems with club management and disappointment with the team's 2006–07_UEFA_Champions_League Third_qualifying_round loss to FC Spartak Moscow. Liberec entered the 2006–07_UEFA_Cup First_round, where they defeated the Serbian champions Red Star Belgrade before being eliminated in the 2006–07_UEFA_Cup_group_stage Group_C. Performances next season under coach Michal Zach wouldn't meet the expectations of the club owners and Slovan experienced one of the worst seasons in its modern history, Zach's replacement by former coach Ladislav Škorpil failing to remedy the situation as the club finished sixth in the league. In the same season the team reached the final of the Pohár ČMFS, but lost in a penalty shootout against Sparta Prague. The Gambrinus liga 2008–09 season started with bitter European defeat in the UEFA Cup, as Slovan lost their 2008-09_UEFA_Cup Second_qualifying_round tie to Slovakian club MŠK Žilina. By contrast, the club began their domestic league season with positive results against both of the dominant Prague sides, beating champions SK Slavia Prague 2–1 and Sparta Prague 3–0. However a series of bad results against average opposition left the club down in 5th place by autumn. The spring saw Slovan opt for a more offensive approach and brought an improvement in results, with the club winning a derby against local rival FK Baumit Jablonec and beating an ambitious FK Mladá Boleslav side by 3 goals. Croatian striker Andrej Kerić scored 15 goals and became the league's top scorer as the club finished third, qualifying for the newly rebranded UEFA Europa League for the 2009–10 UEFA Europa League season.

Names and crest

TJ (Tělesná Jednota) Slovan Liberec was created in 1958. Since then the club's name has been changed on numerous occasions, reflecting changes in sponsorship. In the 1980s the club used the name TJ Slovan Elitex (a textile company) Liberec. In 1993 the name FC (Football Club) Slovan Liberec was announced, to be replaced later the same year with FC Slovan WSK Liberec (WSK was an abbreviation for Wimpey Severokámen). Only one year later in 1994, it became FC Slovan WSK Vratislav (Vratislav - a beer brand) Liberec. In 1995 Slovan returned to its "old name" FC Slovan Liberec.

The crest represents the colours of Liberec (blue & white) and the mountain Ještěd near Liberec with its famous Ještěd Tower on top.


- Gambrinus liga (Czech League)
- - Winners (2): Gambrinus liga 2001-02, Gambrinus liga 2005-06
- Pohár ČMFS (Czech Football Cup)
- - Winners (1): 2000
- UEFA Cup
- - Quarter-finals: UEFA Cup 2001–02
- UEFA Intertoto Cup
- - Finals: UEFA Intertoto Cup 2004

Performances in Gambrinus liga

Slovan in European competitions

Out on loan

Notable players

- Leandro Lázzaro
- Winston Parks
- Marek Čech (goalkeeper)
- Theodor Gebre Selassie
- Marcel Gecov
- Martin Hašek
- Miroslav Holeňák
- Tomáš Janů
- Jiří Jarošík

- Martin Jiránek
- Antonín Kinský
- Václav Koloušek
- Ladislav Maier
- Jan Nezmar
- Josef Obajdin
- Petr Papoušek
- Jan Polák
- Daniel Pudil

- Jiří Štajner
- Roman Týce
- Tomáš Zápotočný
- Baffour Gyan
- Ivan Hodúr
- Filip Hološko
- Peter Šinglár
- Jozef Valachovič

Notable managers

- Vlastimil Petržela (1992–95)
- Stanislav Griga (1998–99)
- Ladislav Škorpil (1998–04)
- Josef Csaplár (2001–03)
- Stanislav Griga (2003–05)
- Vítězslav Lavička (2004–07)
- Ladislav Škorpil (2007–09)
- Petr Rada (2010–11)
- Jaroslav Šilhavý (2011–)

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