HNK Rijeka

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HNK Rijeka
Logo HNK Rijeka.svg
Basic data
Surname Hrvatski nogometni klub Rijeka
Seat Rijeka , Croatia
founding 1946
president Damir Mišković
First soccer team
Head coach Igor Bišćan
Venue Rujevica Stadium
Places 8,279
league Hrvatska Nogometna Liga
2019/20 3rd place

The HNK Rijeka is a football club from the Croatian city ​​of Rijeka and currently plays in the first Croatian football league ( 1. HNL ). The name HNK stands for Hrvatski nogometni klub and means Croatian football club . Since September 2013, the association has been 70 percent owned by the Italian businessman and Pro-Recco owner Gabriele Volpi .


Forerunner of the HNK Rijeka in the KuK monarchy and in Italy

Football was played in Croatia by English workers in the port city of Rijeka as early as 1873.

During the time when Rijeka was part of the KuK monarchy and later Italy, football was of course also played. The "Italian" clubs Olympia Fiume (founded in 1904) and Gloria Fiume (founded in 1917 as Doria) merge in 1926 to form Unione Sportiva Fiumana, US Fiumana , founded in 1926 in what was then Fiume, west of what is now Rijeka. The US Fiumana plays in what was then Stadio Comunale del Littorio, Stadion Kantrida , which later became the home of HNK Rijeka. In the east (Sušak, part of the city of Rijeka since 1948) there has been the NK Orijent Rijeka since 1919 .

New establishment in Yugoslavia

The "Yugoslav" NK Rijeka (then known as "Kvarner") was founded at the end of July 1946. The members of the Rijeka Sports Circle (there were 20) spent three hours discussing the name and future of football in Rijeka. Two proposals were made: to unite the best athletes in one club with the name Lučki radnik (champions of the Rijekaliga 1945/46) or to found a new club under the name "Kvarner", which was also carried out. “Kvarner” began on a grand scale. In a friendly game on August 1st, Hajduk Split won in front of 6,000 spectators. The first goal in the club's history "Kvarners" scored Petronio. According to the then football rules of the sports association, it was customary to play a return game against the then competitor Unione sportiva operaia from Pula for entry into the first division . “Kvarner” lost 1: 2 in Rijeka , but in Pula they won 4: 1 and thus reached the first division for the first time in the club's history.

In the first division (1946/47 season) "Kvarner" played 26 games, one of which should be emphasized, the game against Hajduk Split (1: 1) in front of 9,000 spectators when Rijeka had just 42,000 inhabitants. In his first championship he was 9th with 21 points. Then there was a relegation game between Kvarner and Lokomotiva Zagreb . The reason for this was the reorganization of the first division by the association. In Zagreb won Lokomotiva 3: 2, also in Rijeka one was successful and beat the hosts with 2: 0th

Relegations to the 3rd division

The associated relegation to the second division (1947/48 season) was without question a heavy blow for the players. Never in the club's history has such a miserable season performance been offered again. As the penultimate with just ten points from 20 games, they rose again to the 3rd league ( Republička liga (10 clubs)). The team reinforcement during the season didn't help either.

In the following season (1948/49) they played again "not intoxicating" and only reached sixth place with 17 points. After another reorganization of the league, the club was then regrouped in the second division. A successful season was clearly strengthened.

At the beginning of 1952 the second league was abolished, Kvarner fell into a kind of regional league. Overpowering they reached first place and were allowed to relegate to the first division.

In the first relegation match, Slavija from Karlovac was beaten 3-2 away and 10-0 at home. They won 2-1 away against Metalac from Zagreb , while they lost 2-0 at home. In the last game against Proleter from Osijek , the NK lost 0: 3 away and 0: 1 at home. The climb was missed.

After a few years in an intermediate-zone league consisting of clubs from Slovenia and Istria , and the name change in 1954 to NK Rijeka , the club made a big comeback.


In the 1957/58 season, Rijeka dominated the events in the "intermediate zone league" and again reached the relegation to the first division. In front of 14,000 spectators they beat Spartak Subotica 3-0, followed by two away games in Kruševac against Napredak Kruševac and in Subotica . Both games ended 0-0. The whole of football Rijeka gathered at the train station, one leg was already in the top division. In front of a record crowd of 17,000 spectators, the club defeated Napredak 6-2 in the second leg and thus moved into the first division.

At the end of the round, AS Roma (at the time leaders of the Serie A ) were defeated 2-0 in a friendly match in Rome.

One stayed mostly in the midfield of the 14-team first division. The team even achieved fourth place twice. You were also twice in the quarter-finals of the national cup. In 1968, however , NK Rijeka only reached the last place, but did not descend directly. Since the league was expanded to 18 teams this year, you had to go back into relegation. They lost 3-0 away against FK Sloboda from Tuzla , but at home the tables were turned with a 4-0 win. The joy did not last long, because in the next year they were finally relegated.

The second division was clearly dominated and reached a relegation place. But after a 0-0 in the first leg against Crvenka and a 2-2 away, the team lost the penalty shoot-out 5-6. In the next two years they were first in the league, but failed each time at NK Osijek and again at Crvenka in the relegation.

It was not until 1973/74 that the promotion succeeded after a secure first place in the league and no additional relegation.

Cup victories in Yugoslavia and European competitions

After successful seasons from 1976 to 1978, NK Rijeka has now also won his first title. In the cup final they defeated FK Trepča from Kosovska Mitrovica 1-0 after extra time. Also in the following year the NK was cup winner, this time against Partizan .

This was followed by the first European competitions for the club. You usually failed in the first or second round at clubs like SK Beveren or Lokomotiv Košice .

At that time you had to deal with correct sizes twice. As expected, the team failed both times, first in the quarter-finals of the 1979/80 European Cup Winners' Cup against Juventus Turin , then in 1984/85 in the second round of the UEFA Cup to Real Madrid . After the first leg against Real was sensationally won 3-1, it was still not enough to advance. In the second leg in Madrid, after three red cards for the NK and a questionable penalty for Real, the end with a 3-0 defeat followed.

The club held steady in the league until 1990, when the last season of the then Yugoslav league was played.

HNL, Cup and Euroleague since 1991

Since football in the form of a league could not take place in Croatia during the civil war , only a mini-tournament with four teams was held. These were Hajduk Split, HAŠK Građanski (formerly Dinamo Zagreb), NK Rijeka and NK Osijek . The tournament winner was Hajduk Split.

In the newly founded Croatian league (1991) (1. HNL) it was not easy to stay at the beginning. Residues from the old Yugoslav system were often clearly visible. The composition of the league changed annually from ten participants to twelve to 16, then back to 12. Decisions were often made in the middle of the competition and were then revised again, so that planning for the next season was difficult. During this time the NK Rijeka got its "H" to today's HNK Rijeka, in the course of the politically wanted "Croatization" during the Croatian war from 1991 to 1995.

After a few years, the league, which currently (2015/16) has ten clubs, stabilized. Here Rijeka has always been in the top division since it was founded.

The HNK Rijeka was runner-up in 1999. The 1998/99 season is widely regarded by Croatian fans as "fooled". In the last game of the championship, HNK Rijeka was denied a regular goal in the 89th minute, which was noted by Croatian President Franjo Tuđman (and avowed GNK Dinamo Zagreb and NK Croatia Zagreb fan and sponsor, who became champions in 1999) the words "there is a God" was commented on. The referee of that crucial game never whistled a game again. In 1994 the HNK Rijeka became vice-cup winner and in 2005 for the first time in the club's history Croatian cup winners. A year later they finished second in the championship and defended the trophy. In 2014, the HNK Rijeka won the cup for the third time and was runner-up in 2014 and 2015. 2017 won the first championship title in the club's history.

By a third place in the 1. HNL 2008/09 the club reached the qualification for the UEFA Europa League , where, however, in the third qualifying round against Metalist Kharkov came out. After a strong season in the 1st HNL 2012/13 , the team was able to qualify for the Europa League again after finishing third in the league . After MŠK Žilina could be eliminated in the third qualifying round , the club surprised by progressing against VfB Stuttgart and reached the group stage. Here, however, the club was only able to take fourth and last place after four draws and two defeats. In the 2014/15 season, HNK Rijeka qualified again for the UEFA Europa League in the third round against Sheriff Tiraspol . After three defeats, one draw and two wins, Rijeka finished third in the group stage, just behind eventual Europa League winners, Sevilla FC . In the 2015/16 season, Rijeka was eliminated in the 2nd qualifying round for the Europa League, in 2016/17 in the 3rd qualifying round. In 2017/18, the club was allowed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League due to the championship title in the previous season , where it failed in the play-off round (the last qualifying round before the group stage) to Olympiacos . By reaching the play-off round, however, Rijeka was firmly qualified for the group stage of the Europa League.


The HNK Rijeka played its home games until 2015 in the Kantrida stadium west of Rijeka . It was built in 1925 and seats 10,600 people. It is noticeable that the stadium is located directly under a 50 m high rock wall. The visitors are protected from falling rocks by a steel net.

In September 2013 the president of the club, Damir Mišković announced plans for a new building. The current stadium is to be demolished and a new stadium will be built in the same place.

Since the 2015/16 season , the HNK Rijeka has been playing in the newly built Rujevica stadium with 8,279 seats. It is part of the club's new training center and will be used as the main venue until the new stadium is completed.


The ultra group of the club is called Armada Rijeka , their biggest rivals are the supporters of Hajduk Split, known as Torcida Split , which is also the club's biggest rival. There is also a rivalry with the supporters of Dinamo Zagreb, the Bad Blue Boys , the fans of NK Osijek, the Kohorta, as well as with the Demoni of NK Istra Pula. The city rival is the NK Orijent. There are often arguments between the ultra groups. It has often happened that the fans harm the club and that it had to pay fines for fan misconduct, including the use of pyrotechnic products, violence and racism . HNK Rijeka was sentenced by UEFA to pay 8,000 euros and to partially block the home stadium for the next match because its supporters against Betis Sevilla on October 3, 2013, among other things with racist behavior.

At the home game against Hajduk Split on September 28, 2013, the encounter was marked by serious rioting by the fans. After the fans of HNK Rijeka lit torches, the other side of the grandstand replied as well and began to throw the lit torches into the audience and onto the field. Eventually hundreds of fans rushed to the stands where Hajduk's fans were sitting. Some objects and chairs were thrown at the torcida, who answered in the same way. The game was interrupted and a large number of police officers surrounded the soccer field and the stands. When the police arrived, the Torcida tried to storm the field, but this was prevented.


  • 2 × Yugoslav Cup winners: 1978 , 1979
  • 1 × Yugoslav Cup finalist: 1987
  • 1 × Croatian champion: 2017
  • 6 × Croatian Football Cup : 2005 , 2006 , 2014 , 2017, 2019, 2020
  • 1 × Croatian Cup finalist: 1994
  • 1 × Croatian Supercup winner: 2014
  • 3 × best-placed Croatian club in the 1st Yugoslav League (1965, 1984, 1987)
  • 7 × Second best Croatian club in the 1st Yugoslav League
  • 1 × Winner Balkan Cup (1978)



Individual evidence

  1. Ownership ,; Accessed August 6, 2018
  2. Play-offs second legs. Retrieved August 24, 2017 .
  3. Pogledajte novi stadion na Kantridi. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on September 24, 2013 ; Retrieved September 25, 2013 (Croatian).
  4. Stadium Rujevica (English)
  5. ^ Fines for Nicosia, Rijeka and Frankfurt ( Memento from October 8, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Kleine Zeitung October 22, 2013
  6. Torcida i Armada divljale na Kantridi!

Web links