Saturday 10 December 2016

Five facts about Partizan

Published 18/08/2011 | 05:00

1 They have won their domestic league 23 times, and are aiming for a fifth successive title this season.

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2 Partizan have a rich European history. They played in the first ever Champions Cup game, a draw with Sporting Lisbon, in 1955 and reached the European Cup final in 1966, when they lost 2-1 to Real Madrid after taking the lead. They also became the first Serbian team to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League.

3 Their most notable former manager is German World Cup hero Lothar Matthaeus, who steered Partizan into the Champions League group stages in 2002/03 by eliminating Newcastle. However, he dramatically quit his position to take over as manager of the Hungarian national team.

4 Partizan have a strong hooligan element in their support, with a hardcore section of their following nicknamed 'The Gravediggers.' In 2008, a faction of that group were blamed for the death of a Toulouse fan who visited Belgrade for a Europa League tie. A year earlier, Partizan were thrown out of the UEFA Cup because of the manner in which their supporters behaved in Bosnia.

5 Two Partizan players were recruited to the Premier League this summer. Key defender Stefan Savic -- a Montenegro international -- joined Manchester City for £6m. Serbian international Radosav Petrovic joined Blackburn for an undisclosed fee.

DANIEL McDONNELL

Irish Independent

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