SK Sturm Graz

Sturm Graz
Full name Sportklub Puntigamer Sturm Graz
Nickname(s) Die Schwoazn, The Blackies
Founded 1909 (1909)
Ground UPC-Arena
Ground Capacity 15,400
Chairman Christian Jauk
Manager Franco Foda
League Austrian Bundesliga
2015–16 5th
Website Club home page

SK Sturm Graz is an Austrian association football club, based in Graz, Styria, playing in the Austrian 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—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.



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.

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 (German Cup). 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 Djuricic 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 AS 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.

2002 to 2009 – Consolidation

SK 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 the seventh spot.

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, replaced by Franco Foda.

2009 to present day – New successes

Former logo

After a fourth-place finish in 2009, the Blackies qualified for the group stage of the UEFA Europe 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 game against Juventus Turin in the Europe 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 Europe League, where they were grouped with Anderlecht, Lokomotiv Moscow and AEK Athens. At the end of the season, Sturm finished in fifth in the Bundesliga and 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. Luckily, Sturm managed to fourth in the final league table, albeit with the lowest amount 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.


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. Since February 2006, the stadium is called UPC-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 Borussia Dortmund, 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), 197 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 five 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 17 May 2007. So far, Sturm have won more derby matches than Grazer.

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.


  • Winners (4): 1996, 1997, 1999, 2010
  • Runners-up (4): 1948, 1975, 1998, 2002
  • Winners (3): 1996, 1998, 1999
  • Runners-up (2): 1997, 2002

European records

Season Competition Round Country Club Home Away
1970–71 UEFA Cup 1 Finland Ilves 3–0 2–4
2 England Arsenal 1–0 0–2
1974–75 UEFA Cup 1 Belgium Royal Antwerp 2–1 0–1
1975–76 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 1 Bulgaria Slavia Sofia 3–1 0–1
2 Hungary Szombathelyi Haladás 2–0 1–1
QF West Germany Eintracht Frankfurt 0–2 0–1
1978–79 UEFA Cup 1R West Germany Borussia Mönchengladbach 1–2 1–5
1981–82 UEFA Cup 1 Soviet Union CSKA Moscow 1–0 1–2
2 Sweden IFK Göteborg 2–2 2–3
1983–84 UEFA Cup 1 Romania Sportul Studenţesc 0–0 2–1
2 Italy Verona 0–0 2–2
3 East Germany Lokomotive Leipzig 2–0 0–1
QF England Nottingham Forest 1–1 (AET) 0–1
1988–89 UEFA Cup 1 Switzerland Servette 0–0 0–1
1991–92 UEFA Cup 1 Netherlands Utrecht 0–1 1–3
1995–96 UEFA Cup Q Czech Republic Slavia Prague 0–1 1–1
1996–97 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 1 Czech Republic Sparta Prague 2–2 1–1
1997–98 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup 1 Cyprus APOEL 3–0 1–0
2 Greece AEK Athens 1–0 0–2
1998–99 UEFA Champions League Q2 Hungary Újpest 4–0 3–2
Group C – 4th Russia Spartak Moscow 0–2 0–0
Italy Internazionale 0–2 0–1
Spain Real Madrid 1–5 1–6
1999–00 UEFA Champions League Q3 Switzerland Servette 2–1 2–2
Group D – 3rd, P France Marseille 3–2 0–2
England Manchester United 0–3 1–2
Croatia Croatia Zagreb 1–0 0–3
1999–00 UEFA Cup 3 Italy Parma 3–3 (AET) 1–2
2000–01 UEFA Champions League Q2 Israel Hapoel Tel Aviv 3–0 2–1
Q3 Netherlands Feyenoord 2–1 1–1
Group D – 1st, P Scotland Rangers 2–0 0–5
Turkey Galatasaray 3–0 2–2
France Monaco 2–0 0–5
Group A – 3rd Spain Valencia 0–5 0–2
England Manchester United 0–2 0–3
Greece Panathinaikos 2–0 2–1
2001 UEFA Intertoto Cup 2 Switzerland Lausanne Sport 0–1 3–3
2002–03 UEFA Champions League Q3 Israel Maccabi Haifa 3–3 0–2
2002–03 UEFA Cup 1 Scotland Livingston 5–2 3–4
2 Bulgaria Levski Sofia 1–0 0–1 (p 8–7)
3 Italy Lazio 1–3 1–0
2005 UEFA Intertoto Cup 1 Andorra Rànger's 5–0 1–1
2 Germany Wolfsburg 1–3 2–2
2008 UEFA Intertoto Cup R Belarus Shakhtyor Soligorsk 2–0 0–0
3 Hungary Budapest Honvéd 0–0 2–1
2008–09 UEFA Cup Q2 Switzerland Zürich 1–1 (p 2–4) 1–1
2009–10 UEFA Europa League Q2 Bosnia and Herzegovina Široki Brijeg 2–1 1–1
Q3 Montenegro Petrovac 5–0 2–1
Play Off Ukraine Metalist Kharkiv 1–1 1–0
Group F – 4th Romania Dinamo București 0–1 1–2
Turkey Galatasaray 1–0 1–1
Greece Panathinaikos 0–1 0–1
2010–11 UEFA Europa League Q3 Georgia (country) Dinamo Tbilisi 2–0 1–1
Play Off Italy Juventus 1–2 0–1
2011–12 UEFA Champions League Q2 Hungary Videoton 2–0 2–3
Q3 Georgia (country) Zestafoni 1–0 1–1
PO Belarus BATE Borisov 0–2 1–1
UEFA Europa League Group L – 4th Russia Lokomotiv Moscow 1–2 1–3
Greece AEK Athens 1–3 2–1
Belgium Anderlecht 0–2 0–3
2013–14 UEFA Europa League Q2 Iceland Breiðablik 0–1 0–0
2015–16 UEFA Europa League Q3 Russia Rubin Kazan 2–3 1–1


Current squad

As of 23 July, 2016

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

No. Position Player
1 Austria GK Christian Gratzei
5 Austria DF Christian Schoissengeyr
6 Australia MF James Jeggo
8 Serbia MF Uroš Matić
9 Austria FW Deni Alar
10 Austria MF Marko Stanković
13 Austria MF Simon Piesinger
14 Greece DF Charalambos Lykogiannis
18 Austria MF Philipp Huspek
19 Austria DF Marvin Potzmann
20 Germany DF Christian Schulz
22 Austria FW Andreas Gruber
23 Austria DF Lukas Spendlhofer
24 Austria MF Marc Andre Schmerböck
No. Position Player
25 Austria MF Stefan Hierländer
26 Austria DF Fabian Koch
27 Austria DF Lukas Skrivanek
29 Austria MF Sascha Horvath
30 Austria MF Sandi Lovrić
32 Austria GK Tobias Schützenauer
33 Germany GK Daniel Lück
34 Nigeria FW Bright Edomwonyi
35 Austria DF Dario Maresic
37 Austria MF Kristijan Dobras
39 Austria MF Romano Schmid
40 Austria GK Fabian Ehmann
42 Austria FW Roman Kienast

Out on loan

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

No. Position Player
21 Austria MF Benjamin Rosenberger (to Austria Wolfsberger)

Retired numbers

3 Austria Günther Neukirchner, defender (1989–2006)

7 Austria Mario Haas, forward (1993–2012)

Manager history

Club management


Coaching staff


  1. Grüne, Hardy (2001). Enzyklopädie des deutschen Ligafußballs 7. Vereinslexikon. Kassel: Agon-Sportverlag. ISBN 9783897841475.
  2. "Liverpool's barrage gets semifinal spot". Montreal Gazette. United Press International. 22 March 1984. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
  4. Bericht zur Studie auf, abgerufen am 25. März 2009.
  5. Coupe Intertoto 2008. Listed are all 11 teams that won the Intertoto Cup, qualifying for the UEFA Cup.
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