SK Sturm Graz

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SK Sturm Graz
SK Sturm Graz logo.svg
Full nameSportklub Sturm Graz
Nickname(s)Die Schwoazn, The Blackies
Founded1 May 1909;114 years ago (1 May 1909)
Ground Merkur Arena
15,400 (international games)
ChairmanChristian Jauk
Manager Christian Ilzer
League Austrian Bundesliga
2022–23 Austrian Bundesliga, 2nd of 12
Website Club website
Soccerball current event.svg Current season

Sportklub Sturm Graz is an Austrian professional association football club, based in Graz, Styria, playing in the Austrian Football Bundesliga. The club was founded in 1909. Its colours are black and white.


In its history, Sturm Graz has won the Austrian football championship three times, in 1998, 1999 and 2011, and participated several times in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. Their biggest rivals are Graz neighbours Grazer AK, with whom they share their stadium, the Merkur Arena.


Historical chart of Sturm Graz league performance Sturm Graz Performance Graph.png
Historical chart of Sturm Graz league performance


SK Sturm Graz was founded in 1909 as a workers team, as opposed to its neighbours Grazer AK, founded in 1902. Between 1921 and 1949, the team enjoyed considerable success in winning the regional Styrian championship 11 times.[ citation needed ]

The Anschluss in 1938 made Austria part of the German Third Reich and Austrian clubs became part of German football competition. Sturm played in the opening round of the 1940 Tschammerpokal, predecessor to the modern-day DFB-Pokal. They then qualified to play in the Gauliga Ostmark, one of Germany's top-flight regional leagues, in 1941. The team withdrew part way through the 1941–42 season and was relegated after an 11th-place result in the following campaign. [1]

In 1949, Sturm entered the Austrian national league as the first non-Vienna-based team.

1981: First success

The first great success came under manager Otto Barić, when the club finished runners-up in the league in the 1980–81 season. In 1983–84, the club battled through to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup, beaten only by Nottingham Forest through a penalty in extra-time. [2]

1992: 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 was languishing under enormous debts. 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, opting instead for a new start using young players from the club's youth setup. In 1993, Milan Đuričić became manager.

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. One year later, they won their first title, beating Admira Wacker in the cup final, but wobbling in the league to finish runners-up yet again.

In 1998, Sturm won its 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 12 matches, and then for another 19 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 Wien. This season also saw the development of the "magic triangle" of Mario Haas, Hannes Reinmayr and Ivica Vastić.

The year 1999 saw 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 UEFA Champions League. Here, however, a scoreless draw with Spartak Moscow proved to be the team's only success. The 1999–2000 season saw Sturm in the Champions League for a second time, finishing third in its group. FC Tirol wrested the domestic title from Sturm's grasp, but the runners-up spot achieved was sufficient for a third trip into the following season's Champions League.

Sensationally, Sturm Graz won its Champions League Group D (against Galatasaray, Rangers and Monaco), reaching the second round for the first time. The league campaign was less successful – a fourth-place finish, the worst under Osim.

After the Champions League exploits, several key players out of the 12 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 club president, precipitated the departure of Osim after eight years at the helm.[ citation needed ]

2002 to 2009: Consolidation

Sturm Graz, 2010 cup winners Mannschaft des SK Sturm Graz beim Cupfinale 2010.jpg
Sturm Graz, 2010 cup winners

Franco Foda and Gilbert Gress (seven defeats in nine games) both enjoyed short and fruitless stints as coach, before former sweeper Michael Petrović 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 position.

Since 2005, Sturm has been facing financial problems and, on 1 September 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. Also in 2006, coach Michael Petrović left the club and was replaced by Franco Foda.

2009 to present day: New successes

Former logo Sturm Graz.png
Former logo

After a fourth-place finish in 2009, the Blackies qualified for the group stage of the UEFA Europa League in 2009–10. Their opponents were Galatasaray, Panathinaikos and Dinamo București. In 2010, the Blackies won the ÖFB-Cup in Klagenfurt in front of 25,000 of its own fans against Wiener Neustadt. That was the highest number of fans ever travelling to a match in a different state.

In 2010–11, Sturm won the Austrian championship. A highlight of the season was a qualifying match against Juventus in the UEFA Europa League.

In 2011–12, Sturm played in the UEFA Champions League qualification rounds and managed to defeat Hungarian club Videoton and Zestafoni of Georgia. In the play-off, however, Sturm Graz lost against BATE Borisov, thus ensuring qualification to the group stages of the Europa League, where they were grouped with Anderlecht, Lokomotiv Moscow and AEK Athens. At the end of the season, Sturm finished fifth in the Bundesliga and head coach Franco Foda was fired after six years. With his replacement Peter Hyballa, Sturm played strong during the autumn months, but a poor spring resulted in Hyballa's dismissal before the end of the season. Sturm managed to fourth in the final league table, albeit with the lowest number of points ever sufficed for fourth place. This ensured Europa League qualification for the subsequent year. Darko Milanič, who won several titles with Maribor in Slovenia, took the reins of the club for the 2013–14 campaign.


UPC-Arena Merkur Arena.jpg

The traditional home of the team for many years was the Gruabn , which held over 12,000 people – almost exclusively standing – and which was characterised by its narrow playing field and the proximity of the fans to the players. From 1997 to 2005, Gruabn was used just as a training ground and for youth and amateur matches. In 2005, the ground was sold to the city of Graz to relieve the club's financial difficulties. The year 1997 saw the club's move to the Arnold Schwarzenegger Stadium, shared between Sturm and its local rivals, Grazer AK. From February 2006, the stadium was called UPC-Arena. In July 2016, Merkur Insurance won the Sponsoring rights for the stadium. The stadium is now called the Merkur Arena.

Fans and the Graz Derby

A study published in 2008 by the German market research institute Sport + Markt showed that Sturm have around 360,000 fans across Austria, which is only second to the number of Rapid Wien supporters. [3] In Europe, there are estimated to be 410,000 fans, which ranks them as the 117th-most supported club. [4]

There are several organised fan groups  – the biggest and most well-known are Jewels Sturm and the Brigata Graz, which were both founded in 1994, and Grazer Sturmflut, founded two years later in 1996.

Sturm fans have a very strong friendship with fans of German 2. Bundesliga club Karlsruhe. They have also contacts with fans of Werder Bremen and fans from Pisa and Carrara in the Italian league. More recently, they have also had contacts with a group of Maribor ultras.

Sturm have a big rivalry with cross-town rivals Grazer AK, with whom they compete the Graz Derby. In 1974, there was big opposition from both sets of fans against a proposed merger to become "FC Graz." Since 1920, excluding the friendly matches (especially before the first official Styrian Cup in 1920), 199 matches have been played between the two, of which there were 185 encounters in the league (130 at the professional level and 55 at amateur level in the Styrian League); an additional seven encounters in the Austrian Cup; one match in the Austrian Supercup; two meetings in the Tschammerpokal and four games in the Styrian Cup. The very first Derby took place in 1911, the last was dated 2 Nov 2023. So far, Sturm have won more derby matches than Grazer AK.

Other rivalries are with the two Vienna clubs (Austria Wien and Rapid Wien) due to the history of competition for trophies between the three clubs, and as with most ultras the fans have a strong dislike of Red Bull Salzburg, unhappy with the acquisition of Austria Salzburg by Austrian energy drink company Red Bull.





European record

1970–71 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup 1 Flag of Finland.svg Ilves 3–02–4
2 Flag of England.svg Arsenal 1–00–2
1974–75 UEFA Cup 1 Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Antwerp 2–10–1
1975–76 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 1 Flag of Bulgaria (1971-1990).svg Slavia Sofia 3–10–1
2 Flag of Hungary.svg Szombathelyi Haladás 2–01–1
QF Flag of Germany.svg Eintracht Frankfurt 0–20–1
1978–79 UEFA Cup 1 Flag of Germany.svg Borussia Mönchengladbach 1–21–5
1981–82 UEFA Cup 1 Flag of the Soviet Union.svg CSKA Moscow 1–01–2
2 Flag of Sweden.svg IFK Göteborg 2–22–3
1983–84 UEFA Cup 1 Flag of Romania (1965-1989).svg Sportul Studențesc 0–02–1
2 Flag of Italy.svg Hellas Verona 0–02–2
3 Flag of East Germany.svg Lokomotive Leipzig 2–00–1
QF Flag of England.svg Nottingham Forest 1–1 ( a.e.t. )0–1
1988–89 UEFA Cup 1 Flag of Switzerland (Pantone).svg Servette 0–00–1
1991–92 UEFA Cup 1 Flag of the Netherlands.svg Utrecht 0–11–3
1995–96 UEFA Cup Q Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Slavia Prague 0–11–1
1996–97 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 1 Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Sparta Prague 2–21–1
1997–98 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 1 Flag of Cyprus.svg APOEL 3–01–0
2 Flag of Greece.svg AEK Athens 1–00–2
1998–99 UEFA Champions League Q2 Flag of Hungary.svg Újpest 4–03–2
Group C – 4th Flag of Russia.svg Spartak Moscow 0–20–0
Flag of Italy.svg Internazionale 0–20–1
Flag of Spain.svg Real Madrid 1–51–6
1999–2000 UEFA Champions League Q3 Flag of Switzerland (Pantone).svg Servette 2–12–2
Group D – 3rd, P Flag of France.svg Marseille 3–20–2
Flag of England.svg Manchester United 0–31–2
Flag of Croatia.svg Croatia Zagreb 1–00–3
UEFA Cup 3 Flag of Italy.svg Parma 3–3 ( a.e.t. )1–2
2000–01 UEFA Champions League Q2 Flag of Israel.svg Hapoel Tel Aviv 3–02–1
Q3 Flag of the Netherlands.svg Feyenoord 2–11–1
Group D – 1st, P Flag of Scotland.svg Rangers 2–00–5
Flag of Turkey.svg Galatasaray 3–02–2
Flag of France.svg Monaco 2–00–5
Group A – 3rd Flag of Spain.svg Valencia 0–50–2
Flag of England.svg Manchester United 0–20–3
Flag of Greece.svg Panathinaikos 2–02–1
2001 UEFA Intertoto Cup 2 Flag of Switzerland (Pantone).svg Lausanne 0–13–3
2002–03 UEFA Champions League Q3 Flag of Israel.svg Maccabi Haifa 3–30–2
UEFA Cup 1 Flag of Scotland.svg Livingston 5–23–4
2 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Levski Sofia 1–00–1 (8–7 p )
3 Flag of Italy.svg Lazio 1–31–0
2005 UEFA Intertoto Cup 1 Flag of Andorra.svg Rànger's 5–01–1
2 Flag of Germany.svg VfL Wolfsburg 1–32–2
2008 UEFA Intertoto Cup 2 Flag of Belarus.svg Shakhtyor Soligorsk 2–00–0
3 Flag of Hungary.svg Budapest Honvéd 0–02–1
2008–09 UEFA Cup Q2 Flag of Switzerland (Pantone).svg Zürich 1–1 (2–4 p )1–1
2009–10 UEFA Europa League Q2 Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg Široki Brijeg 2–11–1
Q3 Flag of Montenegro.svg Petrovac 5–02–1
PO Flag of Ukraine.svg Metalist Kharkiv 1–11–0
Group F – 4th Flag of Romania.svg Dinamo București 0–11–2
Flag of Turkey.svg Galatasaray 1–01–1
Flag of Greece.svg Panathinaikos 0–10–1
2010–11 UEFA Europa League Q3 Flag of Georgia.svg Dinamo Tbilisi 2–01–1
PO Flag of Italy.svg Juventus 1–20–1
2011–12 UEFA Champions League Q2 Flag of Hungary.svg Videoton 2–02–3
Q3 Flag of Georgia.svg Zestafoni 1–01–1
PO Flag of Belarus.svg BATE Borisov 0–21–1
UEFA Europa League Group L – 4th Flag of Russia.svg Lokomotiv Moscow 1–21–3
Flag of Greece.svg AEK Athens 1–32–1
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Anderlecht 0–20–3
2013–14 UEFA Europa League Q2 Flag of Iceland.svg Breiðablik 0–10–0
2015–16 UEFA Europa League Q3 Flag of Russia.svg Rubin Kazan 2–31–1
2017–18 UEFA Europa League Q2 Flag of Montenegro.svg Mladost Podgorica 0–13–0
Q3 Flag of Turkey.svg Fenerbahçe 1–21–1
2018–19 UEFA Champions League Q2 Flag of the Netherlands.svg Ajax 1–30–2
UEFA Europa League Q3 Flag of Cyprus.svg AEK Larnaca 0–20–5
2019–20 UEFA Europa League Q2 Flag of Norway.svg Haugesund 2–10–2
2021–22 UEFA Europa League PO Flag of Slovenia.svg Mura 2–03–1
Group B – 4th Flag of France.svg Monaco 1–10–1
Flag of the Netherlands.svg PSV Eindhoven 1–40–2
Flag of Spain.svg Real Sociedad 0–11–1
2022–23 UEFA Champions League Q3 Flag of Ukraine.svg Dynamo Kyiv 1–2 ( a.e.t. )0–1
UEFA Europa League Group F – 4th Flag of Italy.svg Lazio 0–02–2
Flag of the Netherlands.svg Feyenoord 1–00–6
Flag of Denmark.svg Midtjylland 1–00–2
2023–24 UEFA Champions League Q3 Flag of the Netherlands.svg PSV Eindhoven 1–31–4
UEFA Europa League Group D – 3rd Flag of Portugal.svg Sporting CP 1–20–3
Flag of Poland.svg Raków Częstochowa 0–11–0
Flag of Italy.svg Atalanta 2–20–1
UEFA Europa Conference League KRPO Flag of Slovakia.svg Slovan Bratislava 4–11–0
R16 Flag of France.svg Lille 0–3


Current squad

As of 8 February 2024

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

1 GK Flag of the Netherlands.svg  NED Kjell Scherpen (on loan from Brighton )
2 DF Flag of Scotland.svg  SCO Max Johnston
4 DF Flag of Slovenia.svg  SVN Jon Gorenc Stanković
5 DF Flag of Switzerland (Pantone).svg  SUI Gregory Wüthrich
6 DF Flag of Austria.svg  AUT Aleksandar Borković
8 MF Flag of Austria.svg  AUT Alexander Prass
9 FW Flag of Poland.svg  POL Szymon Włodarczyk
10 MF Flag of Georgia.svg  GEO Otar Kiteishvili
11 MF Flag of Austria.svg  AUT Manprit Sarkaria
14 MF Flag of Spain.svg  ESP Javi Serrano (on loan from Atlético Madrid )
15 FW Flag of Denmark.svg  DEN William Bøving
16 GK Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  CZE Vítězslav Jaroš (on loan from Liverpool )
18 FW Flag of Denmark.svg  DEN Mika Biereth (on loan from Arsenal )
19 FW Flag of Slovenia.svg  SVN Tomi Horvat
20 FW Flag of Norway.svg  NOR Seedy Jatta
21 MF Flag of Austria.svg  AUT Samuel Stückler
22 DF Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg  BIH Jusuf Gazibegović
24 DF Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  BEL Dimitri Lavalée (on loan from Mechelen )
25 MF Flag of Austria.svg  AUT Stefan Hierländer
27 DF Flag of Austria.svg  AUT Gabriel Haider
28 DF Flag of Austria.svg  AUT David Schnegg
31 GK Flag of Austria.svg  AUT Luka Marić
35 DF Flag of Austria.svg  AUT Niklas Geyrhofer
36 FW Flag of Mali.svg  MLI Amady Camara
38 FW Flag of Austria.svg  AUT Leon Grgić
40 GK Flag of Austria.svg  AUT Matteo Bignetti
42 DF Flag of Austria.svg  AUT David Affengruber
43 GK Flag of Austria.svg  AUT Henry Timothy Obi

Out on loan

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

GK Flag of Austria.svg  AUT Elias Lorenz(at ASK Voitsberg until 30 June 2024)
MF Flag of Austria.svg  AUT Vesel Demaku (at Rheindorf Altach until 30 June 2024)
FW Flag of Ghana.svg  GHA Mohammed Fuseini (at Randers until 30 June 2024)
FW Flag of Austria.svg  AUT Luca Kronberger (at Tirol until 30 June 2024)
FW Flag of Cape Verde.svg  CPV Bryan Teixeira (at Magdeburg until 30 June 2024)
DF Flag of Mali.svg  MLI Amadou Danté (at Zürich until 30 June 2024)

Retired numbers

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

3 DF Flag of Austria.svg  AUT Günther Neukirchner (1989–2006)
7 FW Flag of Austria.svg  AUT Mario Haas (1993–2012)

Coaching staff

First-Team Manager Flag of Austria.svg Christian Ilzer
First-Team Assistant Manager Flag of Austria.svg Uwe Hölzl
First-Team Coach Flag of Austria.svg Dominik Deutschl
First-Team Goalkeeper Coach Flag of Austria.svg Stefan Loch
Mental Coach Flag of Austria.svg Mathias Berthold
Athletic Coach Flag of Austria.svg Marco Angeler
Rehab Coach Flag of Austria.svg Bernd Prorok
Development Coach Flag of Austria.svg Günther Neukirchner
Chief Analyst Flag of Austria.svg Paul Pajduch
Managing Director Sport Flag of Austria.svg Andreas Schicker
Scout Flag of Austria.svg Bruno Friesenbichler
Flag of Austria.svg Christoph Leitgeb
Director of youth department/Stadium Announcer Flag of Austria.svg Thomas Raffl
Chief instructor Flag of Austria.svg Dietmar Pegam
Team Manager Flag of Austria.svg Martin Ehrenreich

Managerial history


Club management


Coaching staff

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