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SK Sturm Graz

SK Sturm Graz is a football (soccer) club from Austria.

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About SK Sturm Graz

SK Sturm Graz is an Austrian association football club, based in Graz, Styria (state), playing in the Austrian Bundesliga. The club was founded in 1909 and the club colours are black and white.

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 under the management of Ivica Osim.

History

Foundation

SK Sturm Graz was founded in 1909, as a working men's team (as opposed to their 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. 1949 Sturm entered the national league as first not Vienna-based team.

1981– First Success

The first great success of the club was celebrated under manager Otto Baric, when the club finished runners-up in the league in the 1980/81 season. A year later, the club battled through to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup, beaten only by Nottingham Forest through a dubious penalty in extra-time.

1992 – The 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 were languishing under enormous debts, a chronic lack of money and a general sporting malaise. 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, and opt instead for a new start using young players from the club's youth setup. In 1993 Milan Djuricic became manager, and together with his "kindergarten" team managed to stay up.

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 FC Admira Wacker Mödling in the cup-final, but wobbling in the league to finish runners-up yet again.

In 1998, SK Sturm Graz won their 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 FC 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 their 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 their Champions League Group D (against Galatasaray S.K. (football team), Rangers F.C. and AS Monaco FC), reaching the second round for the first time. The league campaign was less successful – a fourth place finish, the worst under Osim.

After their 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 Mihailo Petrović (footballer) 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.

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 S.K. (football team), Panathinaikos FC and Dinamo Bucureşti.
2010 the Blackies won the ÖFB-Cup in Klagenfurt in front of 25.000 own Fans against SC Wiener Neustadt. That was the highest number of Fans ever travelling to a match in a different States of Austria.

2010/2011 Sturm sensationally won the Austrian Championship, after the favorited teams had come to stumble. But the 2010/2011 season had already started with a highlight: Sturm Graz played against Juventus Turin in the Europe League qualifying.

2011/2012 Sturm entered the Champions League qualifying as a seeded team in the 2nd round.

Stadium

The traditional home of the team for many years was the Gruabn, which held over 12,000 people – almost exclusively standing – and which achieved cult status with many fans. The stadium 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 their local rivals, Grazer AK. Since February 2006 the stadium is called UPC-Arena.

Achievements

- Austrian Football Bundesliga
- Austrian Cup
- Austrian Supercup
- 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): UEFA Champions League 1998–99, UEFA Champions League 1999–2000, UEFA Champions League 2000–01
- UEFA Cup (11 participations): Inter-Cities Fairs Cup 1970–71, UEFA Cup 1974–75, UEFA Cup 1978–79, UEFA Cup 1981–82, UEFA Cup 1983–84 (Quarter Final), UEFA Cup 1988–89, UEFA Cup 1991–92, UEFA Cup 1995–96, UEFA Cup 1999–2000, UEFA Cup 2002–03
- UEFA Intertoto Cup (1): UEFA Intertoto Cup 2008 (Winners)

European records

- Q= Qualifying
- P= Preliminary
- PO = Play-Off

Notable players

- Ivica Vastić
- Filip De Wilde
- Francisco Rojas
- Božo Bakota
- Davit Mujiri
- Franco Foda
- Mehrdad Minavand
- Mehdi Pashazadeh
- Giuseppe Giannini
- Kazimierz Sidorczuk
- Ranko Popović
- Darko Milanič
- Andrés Fleurquin

Manager history


- Leopold Kruschitz (1945–46)
- Josef Molzer (1946–49)
- Ludwig Durek (1950)
- Franz Czernicky (1951–52)
- Karl Decker (1952–54)
- Janos Gerdov (1954)
- Hans Gmeindl (1955)
- Rudolf Strittich (1955–56)
- Josef Blum (1956–58)
- Ludwig Durek (1958–60)
- Szép János (1960–61)
- Ott Mühlbauer (1961)
- August Rumpf (1961–62)
- Lörinczy Lajos (1962–63)
- August Rumpf (1963)

- Rudolf Suchanek (1963–64)
- Karl Adamek (1965–66)
- Franz Fuchs (1966–67)
- Karl Kowanz (1967)
- Gerd Springer (1967–70)
- Szép János (1970–71)
- August Rumpf (1971)
- Adolf Remy (1971–72)
- Karl Schlechta (1972–77)
- Günter Paulitsch (1977–80)
- Otto Barić (1980–82)
- Gernot Fraydl (1982–84)
- Robert Pflug (1984)
- Hermann Stessl (1984–85)
- Ivan Marković (1985)

- Franz Mikscha (1985–86)
- Walter Ludescher (1986–88)
- Manfred Steiner (1988)
- Otto Barić (1988–89)
- August Starek (1989–91)
- Robert Pflug (1991–92)
- Ladislav Jurkemik (1992–93)
- Milan Đuričić (1993–94)
- Ivica Osim (1994-02)
- Franco Foda (2002–03)
- Gilbert Gress (2003)
- Mihailo Petrović (footballer) (2003–06)
- Franco Foda (2006–)

Club Management

Administration

- President: Christian Jauk

Coaching Staff

- Coach: Franco Foda
- Asst. Coach: Thomas Kristl
- Goalkeeping Coach: Kazimierz Sidorczuk
- Youth and Amateur Team Coach: Didi Pegam




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