NK Olimpija Ljubljana

Nogometni klub Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovene pronunciation: [nɔɡɔˈméːtni ˈklúːp ɔˈlìːmpija ljubˈljàːna]; English: Olimpija Ljubljana Football Club), commonly referred to as Olimpija Ljubljana or simply Olimpija, is a professional football club, based in the city of Ljubljana, Slovenia. The club competes in the Slovenian PrvaLiga, the country's highest football division.

Olimpija Ljubljana
Full nameŠportno društvo Nogometni klub Olimpija Ljubljana[1][2][3]
Nickname(s)Zmaji (The Dragons)
Zeleno-beli (The Green and Whites)
Founded2 March 2005; 16 years ago (2005-03-02)
(as NK Bežigrad)
GroundStožice Stadium
PresidentMilan Mandarić
Head coachSavo Milošević
LeagueSlovenian PrvaLiga
2020–21Slovenian PrvaLiga, 3rd
WebsiteClub website

Founded on 2 March 2005, under the name NK Bežigrad, Olimpija began competing in the Slovenian fifth division during the 2005–06 season and managed to achieve promotion in four successive seasons, reaching the top division for the first time in 2009 after winning the 2008–09 Slovenian Second League. After seven years in the top division, Olimpija won their first major trophy when they were crowned champions in the 2015–16 season. They won another league title in the 2017–18 season; the same season, Olimpija also won the national cup, completing their first double.

Initially, the club played at the Bežigrad Stadium and the ŽAK Stadium during the club's stay in the second division and during the first year in the top division. In 2010, they moved to the Stožice Stadium with a capacity of 16,038.

Olimpija's nicknames are the "Green and Whites" (Slovene: Zeleno-beli), referring to their primary colours, and "The Dragons" (Slovene: Zmaji), referring to the dragon which is a symbol of Ljubljana and is represented on the city's coat of arms and on the club's crest.



First club crest in 2005

Olimpija Ljubljana was founded on 2 March 2005[1][6][7] as NK Bežigrad,[8][9][10] and was renamed NK Olimpija Bežigrad during their third season of existence.[3][11] The club was renamed again to ŠD NK Olimpija Ljubljana on 3 March 2008 after being granted the rights by the administrative unit of the City Municipality of Ljubljana.[2][11] The club regard themselves as the continuation of the four-times Slovenian Champions Olimpija, who went bankrupt and were dissolved following the 2004–05 season.[7][10] Legally, Olimpija Ljubljana is distinct and separate club as treated by the Football Association of Slovenia.[3][8][12]

Because of their association with the dissolved club, Olimpija Ljubljana was criticised on numerous occasions by several media outlets in the country, which questioned the legitimacy of their actions and even the fact that the club has a year 1911 inscribed on their crest.[3][7][9][10][11][13] They were also criticised by ND Ilirija 1911.[11][14] In 2013, the Financial Administration of the Republic of Slovenia publicly disclosed the list of tax debtors in the country and among those was also NK Olimpija Ljubljana, with a tax debt between €100,000 and €300,000.[3] The next day, Olimpija Ljubljana's officials made a public statement where they confirmed that the club in question (i.e. dissolved Olimpija) is a different legal entity and is not, by any means, connected with Olimpija Ljubljana and does not have any financial obligations to the state or any third parties.[3][15]

Early years (2005–2009)

Assisted by semi-retired club legends of the old Olimpija and other notable Slovenian players, the club started to compete in the lowest tier of Slovenian football and won the fifth division in their first year. In the next two seasons, Bežigrad was promoted to the Slovenian Second League, by winning both fourth and third divisions in consecutive seasons.[16] During their season in the fourth division the club changed its name for the first time and became known as Olimpija Bežigrad. This happened despite the claims of Joc Pečečnik, one of the wealthiest man in Slovenia and, at the time, owner of NK Interblock, that he is in fact the sole owner of the Olimpija name and brand.[17] During the 2008–09 season, the club changed their name once again, this time to Olimpija Ljubljana. In the same season, the club won the second division title and earned a promotion to the Slovenian top division. Throughout the path to the top division, Olimpija was supported by the fan group of the dissolved Olimpija, the Green Dragons. The success of the club, who earned a promotion from the fifth division to top division in only four seasons, was somewhat dented by a conflict between several players, coaching staff, club leadership and sponsors, which eventually led to a player-led boycott in the final round of the 2008–09 second division season.[18] Due to this event, the club began their first season in Slovenian top flight (2009–10) with a two points deduction.[18] In addition, several notable players, including Miran Pavlin and Amir Karić, left the club.[citation needed]

Promotion to Slovenian top division (2009–2015)

For their first ever 1. SNL campaign, several players were signed to replace the recent departures, along with a new coach, Branko Oblak. The club had a poor start, as the team, mainly composed of young players and a small number of veterans, only managed one win in the opening four matches. After their defeat against Maribor on 8 August 2009, the club announced that Oblak had agreed to terminate his contract, with assistant manager Safet Hadžić taking his place as caretaker.[19] The club's fortunes soon turned result-wise and Robert Pevnik was hired to take over as manager.[20] The club finished the season in fourth place.[21]

Olimpija in 2010
Olimpija participate in Professional Football Against Hunger charity campaign in 2012.

In the run up to the 2010–11 season, principal sponsor Izet Rastoder was elected president and Safet Hadžić took over as manager. The season started poorly, with a 5–0 aggregate defeat against Široki Brijeg in the UEFA Europa League qualifying round. This game was later alleged by German television station ARD to have been fixed.[22][23][24] It was later revealed that UEFA officially investigated the match and that three players of Olimpija were under investigation.[25] After another poor start which saw the club only manage two points in five matches, manager Safet Hadžić and director of football Simon Sešlar both left in August 2010.[26] Dušan Kosič then took over as manager with Aleš Čeh as his assistant.[27] On 26 January 2011, former Slovenian international Milenko Ačimovič became the director of football.[28][29] After a poor start into the season, the new director of football brought a couple of players with international experiences, among which was also a midfielder Dare Vršič.[30] During the second phase of the Slovenian championship the team started to show their potential and eventually finished their second 1. SNL season in fourth place, securing a place in the 2011–12 UEFA Europa League qualifications.[31] With the 3–0 home victory against Široki Brijeg on 7 July 2011, Olimpija achieved its first victory in UEFA competitions.[32] In addition, it was the first international club match played at the Stožice Stadium, opened in August 2010.[33] During the 2011–12 Slovenian PrvaLiga season, the club finished as a runner-up behind Maribor.[34]

National champions (2015 to present)

In June 2015, Milan Mandarić, a Serbian-American business tycoon, took over the club.[35] In his first season, the club won the Slovenian League title for the first time.[36] During the 2017–18 season, Olimpija won the double after winning the league title over Maribor with the same number of points, but with a better head-to-head record, and winning the national cup after defeating Aluminij 6–1 in the final.[37][38]

Name changes

  • NK Bežigrad (2005–2007)
  • NK Olimpija Bežigrad (2007–2008)
  • NK Olimpija Ljubljana (2008–present)

Club colours and kits

Olimpija's original kit

Since the club's foundation, Olimpija has been playing in the combination of green and white, which were also the main colours of the dissolved Olimpija. Today, the club plays in green kits at home and in white kits away.[39] Since 2014, the kit manufacturer is Nike.[40][41]


Stožice Stadium in 2021

Stožice Stadium is a football stadium located in Ljubljana with a capacity of 16,038 covered seats.[5] It was designed by Slovenian architects Jurij Sadar and Boštjan Vuga and is the biggest Slovenian football stadium.[42] It opened in August 2010 and lies in the Bežigrad district, north of the city centre.[4] Together with an indoor arena, it is a part of the Stožice Sports Park. The stadium also has 558 VIP seats and 97 spots for persons with disabilities.[5] Olimpija played its first match at the new stadium on 22 August 2010, in front of 7,000 spectators in a league match against Koper.[43] The record home attendance for any football club in Slovenia after its independence came in 2014, when 15,972 spectators gathered to watch Olimpija play against English Premier League side Chelsea in a friendly match.[4] The stadium is also used as the main venue for home matches of the Slovenia national football team, as well as for many cultural events such as music concerts.

Green Dragons in 2010


Olimpija's main supporters are called the Green Dragons, one of the two largest ultras groups in the country,[44] who also supported the old Olimpija until the club's dissolution in 2005 and went over to the new club in the same year, as they regard it as a successor of the original club. They mostly wear green and white symbols and clothing, which are the club's colours.


Olimpija's biggest rivalry is with NK Maribor, against whom they contest the Eternal derby (Slovene: Večni derbi). The original Eternal derby was contested by Maribor and Olimpija (which folded and was dissolved in 2005[45]) and today the continuation of the rivalry is considered as the matches between Maribor and Olimpija, established in 2005 as NK Bežigrad.[46][47] The rivalry traced its roots back to the early 1960s and the time of Yugoslavia when the first match between the two clubs was played.[48] The two teams represented the two largest cities in Slovenia, the capital city of Ljubljana and the second largest city Maribor, and both teams always had one of the largest fan bases in the country.[12] Traditionally Ljubljana represents the richer western part of the country while Maribor is the center of the poorer eastern part.[49] In addition, Ljubljana was always the cultural, educational, economic and political center of the country and Olimpija and its fans were considered as the representatives of the upper class.[50] Maribor, on the other hand, was one of the most industrialized cities in Yugoslavia[51] and the majority of its fans were the representatives of the working class, which means that the added tension to the rivalry was usually political, social and cultural as well.[citation needed] The old rivalry reached its peak in the final round of 2000–01 season when one of the most celebrated matches in Slovenian League history was played, when Olimpija met Maribor at their home stadium, Bežigrad. Both teams were competing for their fifth national league title. Olimpija needed a win for the title, while a draw was enough for Maribor. The atmosphere was electric days before the kick-off and the stadium with the capacity of 8,500 was completely sold out.[52] At the end, the match ended with a draw (1–1) and Maribor started to celebrate their fifth consecutive title.[53]

The additional intensity to the rivalry is the fact that both Maribor and Olimpija always had support on their matches from ultras groups called Viole Maribor,[54] supporting Maribor, and the Green Dragons who supports Olimpija.[55] The two groups are the largest in the country and it is not uncommon that the matches between the two clubs were sometimes interrupted by violent clashes between the two groups or with the police.[56] On many occasions, before or after the matches, the fans of the two clubs would also meet up and fight on the streets. One of the worst incidents, in April 2010 after a match, resulted in a stabbing of a member of the Green Dragons who, with a group of friends, got into a fight with members of the Viole in Ljubljana's railway station.[57] However, to date, there has not been any fatalities in the country related to football violence. Because the new Olimpija is supported by most of the fans of the previous Olimpija, many see the matches between Maribor and the new club as the continuation of the rivalry and refer to it by the same name.[58][59] The first match between Maribor and the new Olimpija took place on 24 October 2007 in a Slovenian Cup quarter-final match that was won by Maribor, 3–1.[60][61] At the time Olimpija was still competing under the name Olimpija Bežigrad.[61] Overall, Maribor has been the team with more success in head-to-head matches.[62]


Current squad

As of 29 July 2021[63]

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
4 DF  SVN Denis Šme
6 MF  SVN Vitja Valenčič
7 MF  SRB Radivoj Bosić
8 MF  SVN Nino Pungaršek
9 FW  SVN Mustafa Nukić
10 MF  SVN Timi Max Elšnik (captain)
11 FW  MNE Mihailo Perović
16 FW  SVN Gal Kurež
17 DF  SVN Matic Fink
20 DF  GHA Eric Boakye
22 DF  SVN Erik Gliha
23 MF  SVN Nik Kapun
25 MF  SVN Svit Sešlar
28 FW  SRB Sava Petrov
No. Pos. Nation Player
29 FW  CRO Dino Špehar
37 MF  SVN Enrik Ostrc (on loan from Troyes)
41 GK  SVN Nejc Vidmar
48 DF  SVN Jan Andrejašič
62 DF  SVN Michael Pavlović
69 GK  SVN Matevž Vidovšek
70 DF  SVN Antonio Delamea Mlinar
77 FW  BIH Almedin Ziljkić
79 FW  SVN Žan Baskera
88 DF  SVN Uroš Korun
90 MF  BIH Tomislav Tomić
97 FW  GNB Aldair Baldé
99 MF  SVN Stefan Petrović
DF  SRB Đorđe Crnomarković




Season-by-season record


Champions Runners-up Promoted
Season Division P W D L F A Pts Pos Cup Supercup Competition Result Name Goals
League Other Top scorer
2005–06 Div 5 ↑ 17 16 1 0 82 9 49 1st N/A Zoran Ubavič 17
2006–07 Div 4 ↑ 22 19 3 0 91 13 60 1st N/A Miran Pavlin
Zoran Ubavič
2007–08 Div 3 24 20 3 1 79 13 63 1st QF Davor Bubanja 16
2008–09 Div 2 26 17 5 4 69 25 56 1st R16 Miran Pavlin 15
2009–10 Div 1 36 16 7 13 51 33 53[A] 4th R16 Sebastjan Cimirotič 9
2010–11 Div 1 36 15 10 11 59 43 55 4th QF UEFA Europa League QR Adnan Bešić
Davor Škerjanc
2011–12 Div 1 36 19 8 9 60 38 65 2nd R16 UEFA Europa League QR Dare Vršič 27
2012–13 Div 1 36 21 7 8 73 35 70 2nd QF F UEFA Europa League QR Nikola Nikezić 16
2013–14 Div 1 36 12 6 18 38 56 42 7th SF F UEFA Europa League QR Nik Omladič 10
2014–15 Div 1 36 17 10 9 55 32 61 4th QF Andraž Šporar 13
2015–16 Div 1 36 22 8 6 75 25 74 1st QF Rok Kronaveter
Andraž Šporar
2016–17 Div 1 36 17 9 10 49 35 60 3rd F N/A UEFA Champions League QR Leon Benko 14
2017–18 Div 1 36 23 11 2 61 17 80 1st W N/A UEFA Europa League QR Abass Issah 12
2018–19 Div 1 36 20 9 7 73 47 69 2nd W N/A UEFA Champions League
UEFA Europa League
Rok Kronaveter 21
2019–20 Div 1 36 20 7 9 73 44 67 3rd R16 N/A UEFA Europa League QR Ante Vukušić 27
2020–21 Div 1 36 16 11 9 45 35 59 3rd W N/A UEFA Europa League QR Andrés Vombergar 14


Slovenian PrvaLigaSlovenian Second LeagueSlovenian Third LeagueSlovenian Regional LeagueSlovenian Intercommunal Leagues

European campaigns

UEFA club competition record

As of 29 July 2021
UEFA competitions
Competition Pld W D L GF GA Last season played
UEFA Champions League 4 1 1 2 6 7 2018–19
UEFA Europa League 28 10 7 11 42 32 2020–21
UEFA Europa Conference League 2 1 0 1 1 1 2021–22
Total 34 12 8 14 49 40 N/A


All results (home and away) list Olimpija's goal tally first.

Season Competition Round Club Home Away Aggregate
2010–11 UEFA Europa League 1QR Široki Brijeg 0–2 0–3 0–5
2011–12 UEFA Europa League 1QR Široki Brijeg 3–0 0–0 3–0
2QR Bohemians 2–0 1–1 3–1
3QR Austria Wien 1–1 2–3 3–4
2012–13 UEFA Europa League 1QR Jeunesse Esch 3–0 3–0 6–0
2QR Tromsø 0–0 0–1[lower-alpha 1] 0–1
2013–14 UEFA Europa League 2QR Žilina 3–1 0–2 3–3[lower-alpha 2]
2016–17 UEFA Champions League 2QR Trenčín 3–4 3–2 6–6[lower-alpha 2]
2017–18 UEFA Europa League 1QR VPS 0–1 0–1 0–2
2018–19 UEFA Champions League 1QR Qarabağ 0–1 0–0 0–1
UEFA Europa League 2QR Crusaders 5–1 1–1 6–2
3QR HJK 3–0 4–1 7–1
PO Spartak Trnava 0–2 1–1 1–3
2019–20 UEFA Europa League 1QR RFS 2–3 2–0 4–3
2QR Yeni Malatyaspor 0–1 2–2 2–3
2020–21[lower-alpha 3] UEFA Europa League 1QR Víkingur Reykjavík 2–1[lower-alpha 1]N/A
2QR Zrinjski Mostar 2–3[lower-alpha 1]N/A
2021–22 UEFA Europa Conference League 2QR Birkirkara 1–0 0–1[lower-alpha 1] 1–1 (5–4 p)
3QR Santa Clara
  • 1QR: First qualifying round
  • 2QR: Second qualifying round
  • 3QR: Third qualifying round
  • PO: Play-off round
  1. The tie went to extra time.
  2. Lost on the away goals rule.
  3. Only one match per qualifying round was played due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


List of managers

Head coach Period Honours
Primož Gliha2005–2007Fifth Division, Fourth Division
Janez Pate1 July 2007 – 1 June 2009Third League, Second League
Branko Oblak1 July 2009 – 8 August 2009/
Robert Pevnik8 September 2009 – 26 May 2010/
Safet Hadžić1 July 2010 – 23 August 2010/
Dušan Kosič2 October 2010 – 12 December 2011/
Bojan Prašnikar12 December 2011 – 25 April 2012/
Ermin Šiljak25 April 2012 – 26 August 2012/
Andrej Razdrh27 August 2012 – 21 October 2013/
Milorad Kosanović21 October 2013 – 30 April 2014/
Darko Karapetrović30 April 2014 – 17 May 2015/
Marijan Pušnik10 June 2015 – 15 December 2015/
Marko Nikolić11 January 2016 – 18 April 2016/
Rodolfo Vanoli22 April 2016 – 31 August 2016First League
Luka Elsner2 September 2016 – 9 March 2017/
Marijan Pušnik9 March 2017 – 3 April 2017/
Safet Hadžić4 April 2017 – 2 June 2017/
Igor Bišćan2 June 2017 – 6 June 2018First League, Slovenian Cup
Ilija Stolica11 June 2018 – 31 July 2018/
Aleksandar Linta31 July 2018 – 27 August 2018/
Safet Hadžić28 August 2018 – 3 September 2018/
Zoran Barišić4 September 2018 – 12 December 2018/
Robert Pevnik8 January 2019 – 12 April 2019/
Safet Hadžić12 April 2019 – 15 June 2020Slovenian Cup
Dino Skender19 June 2020 – 8 January 2021/
Goran Stanković11 January 2021 – 8 June 2021Slovenian Cup
Savo Milošević16 June 2021 – present


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