Monday, 29 August 2022

Nenad Bjelica Sacked as Coach of NK Osijek

August 29, 2022 - Nenad Bjelica has been dismissed from his coaching duties at NK Osijek. 

The club announced the news on Monday afternoon:

"We will inform the public about the decision to appoint a new coach in a timely manner.

The President of the Osijek Football Club, Mr. Ferenc Sakalj, dismissed Mr. Nenad Bjelica from his duties as the Club's sports director and coach.

In the coming days, NK Osijek will make a decision on appointing a new coach, about which it will inform the public in a timely manner.

NK Osijek thanks Mr. Nenad Bjelica for his cooperation over the past two years." 

This news comes not even 24 hours after Osijek defeated Hajduk (2:1) in the SuperSport HNL 7th round at City Garden Stadium. 

Although he received the support of the club's president two weeks ago, many were convinced that it was only a matter of time before he parted ways with the coach. Their relationship was irreversibly damaged already at the end of last season, and the decision to terminate cooperation was postponed until today. With many bad results, Bjelica was under increasing pressure from the public. 

Bjelica arrived at Osijek at the beginning of September 2020 and led the team in 87 matches, recording 49 wins, 23 draws, and 15 losses.

In the first season, Osijek finished second place in the HNL, eight points behind the champion Dinamo, while in the second season, Osijek fell to third place, three points behind Hajduk, and ten behind the leader Dinamo.

Last season, Osijek was in the running for the championship title, almost until the very end, but Bjelica was at war with the management, which likely affected the atmosphere in the team. 

Osijek was relegated from the Conference League qualifiers this season, suffering a shocking defeat against Kazakhstani club Kyzylzhar SK in the 2nd qualifying round. Last season they lost in the 3rd qualifying round against CSKA Sofia.

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Thursday, 5 May 2022

New NK Osijek Stadium to Open in December 2022, Capacity Expanded

May 5, 2022 - All works on the new NK Osijek stadium will be completed by December this year, confirmed the chief supervising engineer Hrvoje Sučić.

Thus, Osijek will be home to the most modern stadium in Croatia and a camp with six football fields where students from the Osijek Football School will train, reports Sportske Novosti.

"Work is underway on all segments, from the external roads and parking lots with 890 places to the final layer on the auxiliary terrains, followed by the grass installation. As for high-rise construction, 95 percent of the reinforced concrete construction work has been completed. The last four rows of the southwest grandstand are expected to be completed in two or three weeks, which will complete the rough work of the entire stadium construction. Flat roof layers are also being installed, business premises are being built at the foot of the south, east, and north stands and installation work is being done on all four floors of the western building, which is probably the largest building currently being built in Osijek," said Sučić.

The stadium construction site is busy with full-time workers, or over 200 under the main contractor, Strabag. Still, there is also a rush of work in factories that produce all the accompanying equipment. Seats are being made in parallel; two video walls with a 9 x 5 m area will be placed on the southeast and northwest stand, roof lining, lighting, and speakers.

In a month, the facade installation towards the terrain will start, while the roof construction will be nearing completion. As for the pitch, installing heating and irrigation systems will begin soon. Sučić also explained that the stadium would withstand a stronger earthquake.

Recall, there were changes in the project itself. Facilities such as a jacuzzi and a sauna for VIP guests were removed from the west stand, making it possible to introduce accommodation facilities for football players. Finally, the capacity of the stadium has been increased to 13,005 seats.

Valentina Koprivnjak, a member of the NK Osijek Management Board, said that everyone in the club and the city "eagerly await the completion of this magnificent building."

"I must also say that we would not have had all this if it were not for the man who saved the club in 2015/2016 when we were in a situation where we could not even pay the pre-bankruptcy settlement installment. Lorinc Mészáros saved the club then, and everything you see is the absolute merit of this man, who provides us with strong financial and moral support for everything we do," said Koprivnjak.

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Saturday, 23 April 2022

NK Rijeka Wins 3:1, Osijek Misses Golden Chance to Reach First Place

April 23, 2022 - In the derby of the 32nd round of the Croatian First League, the football players of NK Rijeka defeated Osijek 3-1 at home in Rujevica. NK Osijek missed out on a great opportunity to clinch the top of the table and would move into third place if Hajduk wins on Sunday.

Goals for Rijeka were scored by Robert Murić ('19, PEN), Haris Vučkić ('36), and Josip Drmić ('48), while Antonio Mance ('65) reduced the score difference to 3-1, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

Both teams started attacking intensely at the beginning of the game, as several of Osijek's introductory attempts were defended by Rijeka's goalkeeper Labrović. In Rijeka's first dangerous attempt, Drmić's shot in the 9th minute was stopped by Osijek's goalkeeper Ivušić. NK Rijeka took the lead 10 minutes later. Čeberko recklessly played the ball with his hand in his own area, so referee Zebec pointed to the white dot, and Murić scored the penalty kick. By the end of the first half, Rijeka was a much better opponent and in the 30th minute Selahi shook the crossbar with a powerful shot, but six minutes later there was no save for Ivušić's goal. Drmić calmed down the ball very well in the visiting area and assisted Vučkić, who hit it under the crossbar with a powerful shot from eight meters.

At the beginning of the second half, Rijeka scored its third goal. Murić ran through the right wing, sending a sharp ground ball for Drmić, in an attempt that was not difficult to increase the advantage of his team. After that, Osijek went on a full offensive and seemed that in the 57th minute they should have been awarded a penalty kick. Solano was caught napping as Kleinheisler lifted a ball over him following a free-kick, but the ball hit the bar, rebounding into the keeper's arms. The situation was also reviewed through the VAR and the decision surprisingly remained in force, although the footage clearly shows a blow to the Hungarian's foot. However, the guests reduced the score difference to 3-1 in the 65th minute when Mance received the ball 25 meters from the goal, took two steps forward, and shot, and the ball hit Smočić's block on the way to the net and deceived Labrović.

With this defeat, Osijek missed the opportunity to take the top of the table, remaining second with 64 points, two less with a game more than leaders Dinamo, who are visiting Gorica on Sunday, and two more with a game more than third-placed Hajduk, who are visiting Slaven Belupo on Sunday. Rijeka is fourth with 58 points.

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Sunday, 27 March 2022

NK Osijek's New Pampas Stadium Completion Pushed Back until End of 2022

March 27, 2022 -  The new deadline for constructing Pampas stadium, which NK Osijek will use, has been moved to December 31, 2022.

The stadium was initially supposed to be completed in June 2020, but it has already been moved twice at the investors' request and was finally supposed to be completed in June 2022. As it became clear that due to problems in the construction, the stadium would not be completed this summer, the City of Osijek once again decided to meet the investor on a new deadline, reports Nacional.hr.

“NK Osijek asked the city to extend the deadline for constructing the Pampas stadium and camp until December 31 this year. The price of the entire project is 60 million euros," Sportske Novosti reported on the position of the city leaders.

The construction of the stadium was initially led by Eurokamen, but in March this year, their contract was terminated on the grounds that "due to the dynamics of the contractor's work, the entire project and the completion of the stadium was endangered." At the same time, Strabag d.o.o. was chosen as the main contractor to complete the stadium, assisted by Pharos 95. Kft.

"NK Osijek Football School unilaterally terminated the contract with Eurokamen d.o.o. to execute the first phase of works on the construction of the sports and recreational building of the Football School and NK Osijek. The investor regrets that the company Eurokamen d.o.o. will not complete the works. Still, such a move was necessary because the dynamics of the contractor's work would jeopardize the entire project and the stadium's completion," said the club.

The stadium, which will have a capacity of about 12,000 seats, together with the auxiliary fields, was initially supposed to cost 35 million euros, but due to construction difficulties and rising prices for construction materials, it will be necessary to allocate significantly more funds, mainly from the Hungarian government.

The stadium project has four phases and began in September 2019.

You can see the construction site from a few weeks ago below:

 

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Sunday, 27 February 2022

NK Osijek 75th Birthday Jersey Presented ahead of Dinamo Derby

February 27, 2022 - The NK Osijek 75th birthday jersey will be worn in Sunday's derby against Dinamo before it is available in limited numbers to purchase on Monday. 

On Sunday at 18:00, Osijek will welcome Dinamo in the fight for the HNL title. Osijek also celebrates its 75th birthday in the Dinamo derby. On that occasion, the Slavonian club released a new, limited edition jersey that the players will wear only against Dinamo.

The celebratory jersey is inspired by jerseys from the late 1980s and boasts recognizable white and blue colors.

"A unique feature of Sunday's match will be the birthday jersey in which Osijek will play, created exclusively for the match, which will mark the 75th anniversary of our club. Inspired by jerseys from the late 1980s and with recognizable white and blue colors, Sunday's derby will give a touch of some somewhat forgotten times.

This limited edition jersey to celebrate NK Osijek's 75th birthday will be available from February 28 at the Sportoro store in Avenue Mall. The quantities of these birthday jerseys are limited, and the price is 500 kuna," Osijek informed.

NK Osijek announced its birthday on its website earlier this week:

"The derby at City Garden is of great importance in every way, as is evidenced by the sold-out tickets.

Apart from its great importance in terms of competition, the match between Osijek and Dinamo will be exciting and is eagerly awaited for several other reasons. On Sunday, the only Slavonian first division team will celebrate its 75th birthday, which is also important because it is a jubilee anniversary. The central part of the celebration is the derby at City Garden. 

Sunday's match will also be the jubilee thousandth in the fight for points in the HNL. How convenient it is that the championship's two best-placed teams, separated by only one point in the standings, will play in that match. A great derby in every way, probably the biggest so far in the mutual meetings between Osijek and the multiple-Croatian-champion Dinamo. Of course, the fan atmosphere will be crazy, which is best shown in that all tickets have been sold, which were available to football fans in limited quantities due to epidemiological conditions. 

We remember February 29, 1992.

When we mention the number 1000 in the context of the total number of NK Osijek matches in the Croatian league, it is nice to recall the first one, played on February 29, 1992, in Đakovo. Due to the imminent danger of war, we could not be the hosts at our stadium at that time, and Osijek's first opponent was Zagreb. Thanks to Špehar's goal in the 7th minute, in front of about 3,000 spectators, we celebrated 1:0, which remained in the club's history. Coach Stjepan Čordaš then decided on a team consisting of: Ilica Perić, Ivica Kulešević, Zoran Kastel, Alen Petrović, Davor Rupnik, Tomislav Steinbruckner, Željko Pakasin (since 82. Stijepan Vranješ), Davor Bajsić, Nenad Bjelica, Robert Špehar and Antun Labak (from 46. Slaven Vrbanić)."

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Friday, 18 February 2022

Red Bull to Sponsor New 'Pampas' Osijek Football Stadium?

February 18, 2022 - Slavonian media has announced that Red Bull is interested in putting its name on the new Osijek football stadium, which would be the first in Croatia to bear the name of a general sponsor.

It is still unknown when the new Osijek stadium on Pampas will open. The modern 12,000-capacity stadium broke the deadlines in which it was supposed to be completed - and it is expected that the stadium should be completed and ceremoniously opened later this year, reports Index.hr.

Osijek hopes that the stadium could be completed soon enough for Osijek to play in the eventual qualifications for European competitions in the summer, but there is no guarantee that will happen.

However, there is new information from Osijek about the stadium's stage of construction and who could buy the right to sponsor the stadium.

"The Osijek club and its fans will soon get much more comfortable conditions for playing and watching matches, not to mention the camp that will be next to the stadium and offer five-star training conditions to the first team and the Football School.

The exclusive ideas that the then-president Ivan Meštrović had were removed from the project, such as watching matches from the jacuzzi or the restaurant's terrace that would open onto the west stand.

This is no longer the case, much-needed rooms for players have been added to the space with the jacuzzi, and there have been significant changes in the camp itself. Namely, the original project did not envisage auxiliary fields with grandstands, which was not ideal. In the end, stands will be built along with two fields, which will undoubtedly make it easier to watch friendly matches and all younger categories," Glas Slavonije writes.

It has long been known that negotiations are underway with a new general sponsor who should buy the stadium's name as part of a long-term package. The club has been reluctant to reveal details for some time before the deal is contracted, but, as Index.hr learned, negotiations are at a serious stage.

Slavonian media writes that a giant wants to put its name on Osijek Stadium - Red Bull. The well-known producer of energy drinks already has stadiums bearing his name in Salzburg, Leipzig, and New York. Osijek could also join this elected society.

Osijek will go public with the name of the general sponsor when the cooperation agreements are signed, which should bring additional financial stability to the club. If the negotiations are successful, Osijek Stadium will be the first in Croatia to bear the name of a general sponsor. It will be one of the most modern football buildings in the region.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Wednesday, 16 February 2022

NK Osijek Shakes Up HNL Transfer Deadline with Kristijan Lovrić Signing

February 16, 2022 - NK Osijek managed to stir up the final hours of the HNL transfer window by bringing the high-in-demand Kristijan Lovrić from Gorica to City Garden. 

The First HNL transfer window has been concluded - and it ended with a bomb and the unexpected transfer of Kristijan Lovrić from Gorica to Osijek. 

The 26-year-old winger has played 21 games in the First HNL this season. Lovrić spent 1,803 minutes on the pitch, which was enough for him to score seven goals and five assists. He added three appearances and three goals in the Cup. His market value according to Transfermarkt is five million euros.

Gorica should earn around two million euros for Lovrić, and the player signed with Osijek for four and a half years.

"After three and a half years, 120 appearances, 54 goals, and 29 assists in the HNK Gorica jersey, Kristijan Lovrić left our club and became a player of NK Osijek," Gorica announced on its Facebook confirming the news. 

Lovrić arrived as a replacement for Petar Bočkaj, who moved to Dinamo Zagreb on Christmas Eve for 2.5 million euros. After the arrival of Mijo Caktaš this winter, Lovrić is the second big reinforcement for Osijek, who are now even more ready to fight with Dinamo, Hajduk, and Rijeka.

Along with Petar Bočkaj, Dinamo also brought Azerbaijani Mahir Emreli from the Warsaw Legia, and released left-back Marin Leovac to Osijek.

Along with Lovrić, Osijek brought Mijo Caktaš, who terminated his contract with Saudi club Damac. Kristian Fućak, Vinko Petković, Alen Grgić, Antonio Mance, and Diego Barri arrived with Caktaš.

Hajduk also had a successful transfer period. Midfielder Lukas Grgić, right back Dino Mikanović, stopper Ferro and forward Nikola Kalinić have joined the team. Among the significant departures is stopper Kristian Dimitrov to the Romanian CFR Cluj. Hajduk earned half a million euros by selling Marin Jakoliš to Angers, France.

Rijeka brought stopper Sava-Arangel Čestić from Cologne, Germany, free of charge. Colombian right-back Andres Solano from Atletico Madrid's B team also arrived. Rijeka was left without an important first-team player Ivan Tomečak who went to Paphos, Cyprus. 

Source: Gol.hr

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Thursday, 12 August 2021

Europa Conference League: Rijeka Tops Hibernian for Playoffs Spot, Osijek Eliminated

August 12, 2021 - In the UEFA Europa Conference League 3rd qualifying round, Rijeka tops Hibernian to move to the playoffs, while Osijek and CSKA draw to knock the Croatian club out of the competition. 

Rijeka beat Hibernian 4:1 in the Conference League's 3rd qualifying round and advanced to the playoffs. The first match between Rijeka and Hibernian in Edinburgh ended 1:1. 

Pavičić crowned Rijeka's better game in the first half with a goal in the 36th minute. Hibernian opened the second half with a goal in the 56th minute to shock the home team. After a Hibernian exclusion forced them to play with a man down from the 66th minute, Rijeka returned thanks to a goal by Abass in the 68th minute, and McGinn pushed Rijeka into the next round with an own goal in the 73rd minute. Bušnja confirmed Rijeka's playoff spot with a goal in the 90th minute. 

Goals: Pavičić 36', Abass 68', McGinn-og 73' Bušnja 90'/ Magennis 56'

In the fourth qualifying round, Rijeka will play against the Greek club PAOK Thessaloniki for a spot in the group stage. PAOK defeated Irish club Bohemian 2:0 on Thursday and thus made up for the goal behind (1:2) from the first match played in Dublin. 

The first playoff game will be played in Thessaloniki on August 19, and the return match in Rujevica is scheduled for August 26.

Osijek had a tougher job on Thursday night at City Garden Stadium and needed to come back from a two-goal deficit in the first match where CSKA won 4:2 in Sofia. 

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Slobodan Kadic

CSKA took the lead in the 33rd minute with a goal by Carey, and Osijek equalized through Škorić in the 45th minute. However, the match ended 1:1, which was not enough for Osijek to continue its run in the Europa Conference League.

CSKA will play in the playoffs against the winner of Viktoria Plzen and Welsh TNS.

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Tuesday, 25 May 2021

NK Osijek Celebrates Second Place in HNL (PHOTOS)

May 25, 2021 - NK Osijek celebrates their historic second-place finish in the Croatian First League (HNL). 

Osijek won in the last round of their historic HNL season and proudly ended their Croatian championship story in 2nd place. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Osijek said goodbye to its memorable club season with a familiar result over the last ten months - a victory. Although the points were not as imperative, given that Osijek already secured the second-place spot in the league before the final match, it was the cherry on top of a brilliant season. Osijek ended the Croatian championship by defeating Istra 1961 2:1 at City Garden.

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Slobodan Kadic

"Both this game and what happened, in the end, is another picture of everything we have achieved this season. Despite all the problems we had, we did not highlight them, only the positive ones. We believed in these guys, in each one individually. Congratulations to everyone on a great season, not only to the players and coaches but to all who work in the Club, as well as those who were here before us and contributed to the formation of such a team," said coach Nenad Bjelica.

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Slobodan Kadic

"The awards we received from the Club for the historic second place, as well as this contact with the fans, further embellished the whole story. I hope that next season we will be able to make this symbiosis supreme, and I believe that such synergy will lead us to new victories."

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Slobodan Kadic

Osijek said goodbye to four of its players who will not be in their ranks next season. Just before the match with Istra 1961, Ivica Kulešević, assistant sports director of Osijek and the club manager, handed out framed jerseys and paintings that will always remind Dmytro Lopa, Gutieri Tomelin, Ivan Santini, and Adam Gyurcso of the time spent at City Garden.

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Slobodan Kadic

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Thursday, 24 September 2020

Slovene Damjan Bohar Joins NK Osijek as Newest Reinforcement

September 24, 2020 -  Osijek is seriously rushing to the top of the ladder. And now, Damjan Bohar, a 28-year-old Slovenia national team player who signed a three-year contract, will also defend their colors. After Mura, Maribor, and Polish Zaglebie Lubin, NK Osijek will be the fourth club in his career.

"The only real offer for me was Osijek, and when I heard from coach Bjelica and when he explained to me what was expected of me and what his plans were, I immediately said that I wanted to come there. I will do my best to get into the rhythm of the team as soon as possible and achieve all these wishes that the coach has. I will certainly give my best every game as I gave in my former clubs to reach goals and, in the end, everyone was happy and satisfied. I like it best when a team attacks; I like when something happens in front of a rival’s goal. I have this mentality that I want to score or assist every time. I hope that it will start here as soon as possible," said Bohar with visible satisfaction, but also with the jersey that reads 39, the number he wore in all the clubs in which he played!

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Slobodan Kadic

Nenad Bjelica, Osijek's coach, expected that Bohar would come even before the match against Basel when Osijek said goodbye to Europe, but that did not happen.

"In his club so far, Bohar has scored a lot of goals and proved himself with numerous assists, turning into the best winger of the Polish Ersteklasa. Since the first day I was in this position, he has been a great wish of mine, primarily because of his quality and opinion that our winger scores too few goals, that they can’t guarantee us 10-15 goals per season, which Bohar has shown he can. He played in the Champions League in Maribor, he has great experience, he is ready, so I believe that he can be of great help to us in the next game," concluded Bjelica.

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Slobodan Kadic

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