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Grasshopper Club Zürich
Grasshopper Club Zürich

Grasshopper Club Zürich, commonly referred to as simply GC, GCZ, or Grasshoppers, is a multisports club based in Zürich, Switzerland. The oldest and best known department of the club is its football team. With 27 titles, Grasshopper holds the records for winning the most national championship titles and for the most successes in the Swiss Cup tournament, 19 victories in the competition.[1] The club is the oldest football team in Zürich and maintains a substantial rivalry with FC Zürich.[2]

The origin of Grasshopper's name is unknown, although the most common explanation refers to its early players' energetic post-goal celebrations and that their style of play was nimble and energetic.[3]

After a number of appearances in European Cups and the UEFA Champions League, Grasshopper has become one of Switzerland's most recognizable football clubs. Today, in addition to its main football squad, the club has competitive professional and youth teams in rowing, ice hockey, handball, lawn tennis, court tennis, field hockey, curling, basketball, rugby, squash, floorball and beach soccer.[4]

History


Grasshopper was founded on 1 September 1886 by Tom E. Griffith, an English student. Using a 20 Swiss franc donation, the club acquired an English football shirt in blue and white colours (as worn by Blackburn Rovers). The English students were from Manchester Grammar School in Manchester. Arthur J. Finck was one of the students who was part of the group that founded the club. Its first match came in October that year against ETH and ended in a goalless draw. In 1893, Grasshopper became the first Swiss team to play in (what was then) Germany, defeating Strasbourg 1–0.

The first Swiss championships (then called "Serie A") were held in 1897–98 and were won by Grasshopper, as was the first championship played using a league system in 1899–00.[5] After two more titles in 1901 and 1905, Grasshopper had to withdraw from the Swiss championships in 1909 because they lacked a suitable playing ground. They rejoined in 1916.

After rejoining the Swiss championship in 1916, GC won their fifth championship in 1921. In 1925 started the era of the Hungarian manager Izidor "Dori" Kürschner, a former member of the coaching staff of the Swiss national team that won the silver medal at the 1924 Olympics. Under Kürschner in the 1920s, Grasshopper won the championship twice (in 1927 and 1928) and also the first two editions of the Swiss Cup in 1925–26 and in 1926–27.

Dori Kürschner stayed with Grasshopper until 1934, winning another championship in 1931 and two more Swiss Cups in 1932 and 1934. Then started the era of Austrian coach Karl Rappan who managed also the Swiss national team for several years during that time. The first title under Rappan came in 1937 and the second one in 1939. They also won the Swiss Cup in 1937 and 1938.

Despite the turmoils of World War II the Swiss championships were held during the 1940s with the Grasshoppers winning in 1942, 1943 and 1945. Until Karl Rappan left the team in 1948, the team also won another five Cups (in 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943 and 1946).

In 1952, Grasshopper won their 14th Swiss championship title and their 12th Swiss Cup. They managed to win the double again in 1956, but it turned out to be their last silverware for a long time, as they had to wait for 15 years until their next championship and for 27 years until their next Cup win. In 1956–57 Grasshopper participated for the first time in the European Cup which was founded in the previous season. They reached the quarter-finals where they were eliminated by Fiorentina.

Matches in European competitions in the 1950s:[6]

During the 1960s, Grasshopper won no championships and no Cups. The best result was a second place in 1968, which qualified them to play in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, the predecessor of the UEFA Cup. However they had no success at European level either, and they were eliminated in the first round.

Matches in European competitions in the 1960s:[6]

In 1971 Grasshopper finally returned to the top of the Swiss league. After the end of the season, GC and FC Basel were tied at the top of the table and thus a play-off match was played in Bern. In front of 51,000 spectators, GC defeated Basel 4–3 after extra time to win their 16th championship. Throughout the decade Grasshopper was among the best Swiss teams and the next championship win came in 1978.

Thanks to their top finishes in the league, GC was able to play in European competitions almost every year. In 1978–79 they defeated Real Madrid in the second round of the European Cup, but lost the quarter-final against the eventual winner, Nottingham Forest. But their biggest European success to date came in the 1977–78 UEFA Cup where they reached the semi-final against French side Bastia. After a 3–2 win at home, they traveled to Corsica for the second leg but lost 0–1 and were eliminated due to the away goal rule.

Matches in European competitions in the 1970s:[6]

The 1980s were a successful decade for Grasshopper. In the years 1982, 1983 and 1984, GC won the championship three times in a row, achieving the "title hat trick". In all three seasons, Servette from Geneva was their strongest rival, and in 1984 a championship-deciding game had to be staged in Bern because the two teams were equal on points after the regular season. GC won that match 1–0 by a converted penalty kick by Andy Egli in the 104th minute.

Grasshopper were also successful in the Cup competition: after winning in 1983 they also achieved a hattrick in the Cup, winning in 1988, 1989 and 1990. The last two of those wins were achieved with German manager Ottmar Hitzfeld. A notable success in European competitions came in 1980–81 UEFA Cup when GC reached the quarter-finals, but then were eliminated by French side Sochaux.

Matches in European competitions in the 1980s:[6]

In 1995–96 Grasshoppers became the first Swiss team to play in the UEFA Champions League. After defeating Maccabi Tel Aviv to qualify, they played in group D against Ajax, Real Madrid and Ferencváros. They won no matches but achieved two draws, one against Ajax and one against Ferencváros.

In the following year, Grasshoppers qualified a second time for the Champions League, this time after defeating Slavia Prague. In group A with opponents Auxerre, Glasgow Rangers and again AFC Ajax, a more positive result was achieved. After home wins over Rangers and Auxerre and an away win at Ajax, a draw in the last game at home against Ajax would have secured qualification for the quarter finals. However, the game was lost 0–1 and Ajax advanced instead.

With title wins in 2000–01 and 2002–03, the first decade of the 21st century started well, but since then no further successes were achieved. In 1997, Grasshopper incorporated and as of May 2005, it is formally organized as Neue Grasshopper Fussball AG. In doing so, Grasshopper became the first Swiss sports club to go public.[7]

On 20 May 2013, Grasshopper ended a ten-year trophy drought with a penalty shoot-out victory over FC Basel in the Swiss Cup final at the Stade de Suisse in Bern.[8] With a second-place finish in the 2012–13 Swiss Super League campaign, Grasshopper qualified for the Champions League for the first time in a decade, entering the competition at the third qualifying round.[9]

However the club entered a period of decline after their last championship in 2003. In 2011 they would likely have been relegated except for Sion's 36-point deduction and Neuchatel Xamax's expulsion from the league in January, and eight years later, in 2019, Grasshopper were relegated to the second division for the first time in 68 years.[10] The 2019 season included two abandoned matches due to Grasshopper fan behaviour.[11]

Matches in European competitions since 2002:[6]

Stadium and grounds


Since September 2007, Grasshopper-Club Zürich has played all of its home matches in the Letzigrund stadium which is the regular home ground of FC Zürich. After the completion of the new Stadion Zürich (currently in planning stage), both teams are expected to play there.

From 1929 to 2007, Grasshopper had their own home ground in the Hardturm stadium. Before 1929, home matches were played at various other venues.

Training facilities are located in Niederhasli, where in 2005 the club opened a comprehensive facility including five practice pitches, apartments for youth players and offices.

Honours


As of 3 August 2016

Players


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

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

Notable former players


Players for the Swiss national football team

Players with World Cup appearances for their national teams

Other notable former players:

Coaching staff


Current coaching staff

Managers since 1925

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