Slovakia

Capital: Bratislava
Population: 5,379,455
Currency: Euro
Official Language: Slovakian
Borders: Czech Republic and Austria (West), Poland (North), Ukraine (East)and Hungary  (South)
GNP per Capita: $22,096 (40th in the world)
Main Airport: M. R. Štefánik Airport – Bratislava

The largest city is its capital, Bratislava. The second largest city is Košice. Slovakia is a member state of the European Union, NATO, UN, OECD, WTO, UNESCO and other international organizations.

The Slavs arrived in the territory of present day Slovakia in the fifth and sixth centuries AD during the Migration Period. In the course of history, various parts of today’s Slovakia belonged to Samo’s Empire (the first known political unit of Slavs), Great Moravia, Kingdom of Hungary, the Austro-Hungarian Empire or Habsburg Empire, and Czechoslovakia. An independent Slovak state briefly existed during World War II, during which Slovakia was a dependency of the Nazi Germany 1939–1944. From 1945 Slovakia once again became a part of Czechoslovakia. The present-day Slovakia became an independent state on January 1, 1993 after the peaceful dissolution of its federation with the Czech Republic.

Slovakia is a high-income advanced economy with one of the fastest growth rates in the EU and OECD. The country joined the European Union in 2004 and the Eurozone on January 1, 2009. As of 2010, Slovakia together with Slovenia are the only former Communist nations to be part of European Union, Eurozone, Schengen Area and NATO simultaneously.

The Corgoň Liga is the top division of Slovak football. There are 12 teams in the competition. At the end of the 2005/06 season three clubs were promoted from the Slovak First League, as the top division expanded to 12 clubs for the 2006/07 season. The Slovak Corgoň Liga was organized in 1993 once the country became independent from the former state of Czechoslovakia. ŠK Slovan Bratislava are the current Slovak Corgoň Liga champions.

The division is named after the Corgoň brewery, which is named after a famous statue of Corgoň in Nitra. According to IFFHS 2008 ranking, the Corgoň Liga is the 33rd strongest league in the world.

Champions 1994-2008

1994 Slovan Bratislava
1995 Slovan Bratislava
1996 Slovan Bratislava
1997 1. FC Košice
1998 1. FC Košice
1999 Slovan Bratislava
2000 Inter Bratislava
2001 Inter Bratislava
2002 MŠK Žilina
2003 MŠK Žilina
2004 MŠK Žilina
2005 Artmedia Bratislava
2006 MFK Ružomberok
2007 MŠK Žilina
2008 Artmedia Bratislava
2009 Slovan Bratislava

The following teams are competing the 2009/10 Championship:-

FK Dukla Banská Bystrica -Banská Bystrica – Stadium Capacity: 10,000
Bystrica is a key city in central Slovakia located on the Hron River in a long and wide valley encircled by the mountain chains of the Low Tatras, the Veľká Fatra, and the Kremnica Mountains. With 81,281 inhabitants, Banská Bystrica is the sixth most populous municipality in Slovakia. They have been twice winners of the Slovakian cup, the last time in 2005.

MŠK Žilina -Žilina – Pod Dubňom – Capacity:11,300
Žilina are one of the most successful teams in Slovak top division (since 1993). The club supporters are nicknamed Šošoni which translates as Shoshone in English and plays its home games at Stadium Pod Dubňom. The original stadium was built in 1941 although the ground had been in use since club’s foundation in 1909 . As of 2002, predominantly due to UEFA requirements, the club proposed an extensive renovation of the stadium, which has since been in constant process of redevelopment.  Current stadium consists of four separate stands and has recently been expanded (as of 2007), with major redevelopment on West Stand (new hospitality boxes, increased capacity, supporting pillars removed), including alterations on the North Stand (River Side – Kop) and South Stand (Railway Side – Away Supporters, Family Zone), as to extra tiers added all of which have been covered. Outward facing wall on North Stand is yet to be completed. Štadión pod Dubňom is also a venue to host international matches of Slovak national football team.

FC Artmedia Petržalka – Bratislava – Štadión Pasienky Capacity: 13,000
The club is playing its home matches at Štadión Pasienky. The club’s home ground, which is Štadión Petržalka, is not currently in use. The team wears white and black striped shirts.  The club, founded in 1898, initially played in the regional Hungarian league. Since the establishment of the top flight Slovak league in 1993Artmedia has been its constant member. The club achieved its biggest success in the mid 2000s, while playing under the coach Vladimír Weiss. The club won the Corgoň Liga title in 2005 and later qualified to the group stage of the Champions League, where it achieved the biggest success of all the Slovak clubs. Later, in 2008 the club won the double, but during the next season most of the squad left the club.  More details on watching football in Bratislava can be found below.

ŠK Slovan Bratislava – Bratislava – Tehelné Pole Capacity: 30,085
The club were founded in 1919 and had a fine record in Czechoslovakian football, winning the league eight times, the last being in 1992.  They then won the Slovakian championship in 1993, 1994 and 1995 before winning it for the last time in 1999.   After an exile of two seasons in the 2nd division, the team have returned to the top division for the 2006/07 season. The club became the third Central European team to win a major European trophy, winning theCup Winners’ Cup in 1969 (FTC won the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1965 as first, and Dinamo Zagreb in 1967 as second). ŠK Slovan Bratislava has forever entered history of football by other successes as well. When in 1976 former Czechoslovakiabecame the European champion in the Beograd finals, it was mainly thanks to seven Slovan players.  More details on watching football in Bratislava can be found below.

MFK Dubnica – Dubnica nad Váhom – Štadión Zimný Capacity: 5,450
MFK Dubnica was founded in 1926 and spent much of its early years playing in the regional Czechoslovakian leagues until 1977 where they were finally promoted to the national first division and finished a respectable 9th in their first season. The team continued in top flight football for 10 years before being relegated in 1987 and it would be at least another 10 years before the team would play at the highest national level again but this time in the independent state of Slovakia. In 1996 Dubnica gained its promotion from the Slovak second division to form part of a newly structured league consisting of one league and 15 other teams. Dubnica would then be relegated the following season, which would set a trend of swinging between the first and second divisions. 2005 saw a turn in fortunes for Dubnica, a 4th place finished earned them a place in Europe for the second time playing in the Intertoto Cup.

The first match saw them come up against Vasas SC of Hungary, the match ended 0-0 in the first leg but the second leg saw Dubnica duely despatch the Hungarian side 2-0 at home. This win next saw the club taken to Turkey to face tough competition in B.B. Ankaraspor but Dubnica upset the home team with a shock 4-0 win and defended this lead well in the second leg only to lose 1-0. Dubnica’s next match saw them take on the English team, Newcastle United F.C. but they proved to be too strong and failed to win either legs losing 3-1 and 2-0 respectively.

FK DAC 1904 – Dunajská Streda –  Mestský Stadion Capacity: 16,410
Based in the  town in southern Slovakia (Trnavský kraj). Dunajská Streda is the most important town of the Žitný ostrov (Csallóköz) region. It has a Hungarian ethnic majority and its population is 23,562They were West Group champions of Slovak Second League in 2007-2008 season and took FC Senec’s place in Slovak Superliga after merging with them.  Won the Slovakian and Czechoslovakian Cups in 1987.  Coach Tibor Meszlényi led the team to 1st place after 25 rounds, but due to some bad results is replaced by club-legend Peter Fieber who, together with assistant Július Simon (another club legend), leads the team to final victory in the 2006 season. The average attendance is 894.

MFK Košice – KošiceŠtadión Lokomotívy v Čermeli Capacity: 9,600
The club, founded in 1952, won the Slovak League twice, theSlovak Cup four times and the Czechoslovak Cup once. The most successful era of the club have been in 70’s and 90’s years of past century which they have spent mostly in the top tier of Czechoslovak and Slovak Football. The club have had two the UEFA Euro 1976 champions namely Dušan Galis and Jaroslav Pollák 1.FC famously became the first Slovak club to reach the lucrative UEFA Champions League Group Stages when they did so in the 1997-1998 season. Also during this Champions League campaign, 1. FC Košice, became the first club in the Champions League history to record a no points total in the group stage, losing 3 of their home matches and 3 of their away games.

1. FC Košice are best known outside their homeland for their two clashes with Manchester United in the 1997-1998 European Champions League group stages. United beat them 3:0 on both occasions. 2003-04 season, on the brink of financial collapse and relegation from the second division, the owners of 1. FC, were offered help by the president of Steel Trans Ličartovce Blažej Podolák, one of the favourites to advance to the premier league that season. Steel Trans also paid for the Čermeľ stadium in Košice, where all former 1. FC teams – now under the protective wings of Ličartovce – will play their matches. Košice, the second largest city in Slovakia, now had no club in the top two divisions (although many can remember two in the Czechoslovak federal league). Another great team from the past, FC Lokomotíva Košice, is in the third division. It was quite difficult to predict the future of football in the city, whose major stadium is in a catastrophic condition and whose football officials turn a deaf ear to cries for help.

Reformed on 17 June 2005, the club was renamed MFK Košice from FC Steel Trans Ličartovce. They ended the season gaining promotion back to the premier league.

FC Nitra – Nitra – Štadión pod Zoborom – Capacity:11,384
Established in 1909, FC Nitra is one of the oldest football clubs in Slovakia. Nitra were promoted and relegated 4 times from the Czechoslovakian league with their longest stay being 5 years (1979-1984, 1986-1991). Nitra came close to clinching the title in 1962 only to lose out by 3 points to Dukla Prague. FC Nitra was the first football professional club in the former Czechoslovakia. Nitra was involved in the inaugural Slovakian championship in 1994 but was relegated to the second division after their first season. The following season they were promoted back to the first division, only for the same fate to occur and were again relegated. Roller coaster seasons became somewhat of an FC Nitra speciality during the early 90’s, until the promotions stopped in 2001 where fans had to wait five long seasons before seeing their club again return to the top flight where they finished with a respectable fifth place.

1. FC Tatran Prešov -PrešovTatran Stadion – Capacity: 5,410
Tatran Prešov is the oldest football team in Slovakia, founded on the 25th May 1898. The “Green and Whites” played 32 seasons in the Czechoslovakian top division. Tatran became the dark horse of Czechoslovakian football in 1960s and 1970s, but never won a title. The greatest league success still remains 2nd place in the 1965 and 1973 seasons and the club also came close in the Czechoslovakian Cup, losing twice in 1966 and 1992 finals. In start of 2010 year building progress will start. The New Tatran Stadium will have lower capacity (12 000), but it will be one of the most modern football stadiums in the Europe with newest technologies.

MFK Ružomberok – Ružomberok – Ružomberok Stadium Capacity: 4,817
Established in 1906, the club’s colours have been traditionally white, yellow and red, which are also featured on the town’s flag. However, the sponsor Mondi Business Paper SCP introduced new colours in 2005: orange, black and white. In 1993 the club gained promotion to the Slovak Second Division for the first time and a second promotion to the Corgoň Liga in 1997. The clubs trophy cabinet stayed empty until their centenary year, when in 2006 they lifted both the Corgoň Liga title and the Slovakian Cup with the help of 21 goals from the league’s joint top scorer Erik Jendrišek. Other stars of the team in this successful season were Jan Nezmar and Marek Sapara. The team was coached at that time by František Komňacký who in February 2007 went on to FC SKA Rostov-on-Don. The league win gained them entry into the Champions league second qualifying stage, there they met Swedish side Djurgårdens IF, Ružomberok lost the first leg 1-0 but managed to pull back the deficit to win 3-2 on aggregate. The next round saw them meet Russian champions CSKA Moscow, the team lost conceding 5 goals without reply.

FK Senica – Senica – Štadión FK Senica – Capacity: 4,500
Although she played FK Senica in season 2008/2009 4th Slovak football league in the next season 2009/2010 played in top competition. After the 08/09 season the club joined with the Inter Bratislava, which I forward from Corgon League into the league and won Senica excluding players with existing contracts and the opportunity to play in top competition. Some time could not name under which the team will play as Senica fails to request a change of name of the club and had to play under the name FK Inter Bratislava. After clarification, however, the Executive Committee of Slovak Football Association endorsed the name FK Senica.

FC Spartak Trnava – Trnava – Štadión Antona Malatinského Capacity: 18,448
The Golden era of Spartak began in the season of 1966/67. The team of legendary coach Anton Malatinský was top of the league by autumn, but by the end of the season had only finished in third place. Great success was achieved in the Mitropa Cup. Spartak beat teams like Budapest Honvéd FC, S.S. Lazio and Fiorentina A.C. and in final the defeated Újpest FC of Hungary. In the following season Spartak gained their memorable first title. They reached the semi-final of European Cup to face Ajax Amsterdam. It is their greatest success up until now. Under the management of Ján Hucko, the team also won a second championship. In 1970/71 and 1971/72, Trnava won their third and fourth championship titles under coaches Valér Švec and Anton Malatinský. The team also reached the quarter-final of European Cup in 1973 and 1974. The fifth and the last league title in 1972/73 beckoned the end of Spartak’s golden era.

FC ViOn Zlaté Moravce -Zlaté Moravce – Štadión FC ViOn Capacity: 4,000
From the club’s establishment in 1995 until 2004, they played in various regional competitions. In 2004 they were promoted to the Slovak Second Division, and then in the 2006/07 season were promoted to the Corgoň Liga, and won the Slovak Cup, beating FC Senec 4–0. This earned them place in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Cup 2007-08. Zlaté Moravce played their first European match on 19 July 2007 in the UEFA Cup at home against FC Almaty, winning 3–1. On 2 August 2007, they have tied in Almaty 1–1, qualifying to the second qualification round.

Many thanks to Worldstadiums.com for the above pictures.

FOOTBALL IN BRATISLAVA

Inter Bratislava – Pasienky Stadium – Capacity: 13,295 All seater

The Stadium – The Pasienky Stadium – Vajnorksá 100, Bratislava
Very similar in design to the National Stadium, with one single covered stand, an athletics track and curved ends behind the goals, the Pasienky stadium is showing its age.  Home attendances rarely hit the 3,000-mark meaning that it lacks real atmosphere.

Who Plays There?
The once great team of Inter Bratislava have fallen on hard times.  Currently bottom of the Slovakian league with 3 wins from their opening 20 games, their season hit a new low when they lost 7-1 to city centre rivals Artmedia in December 2005.  They last one the Slovakian championship in 2001, when they completed the domestic double for the second season in a row.  The team have over 15 season of European competition under their belt, including recent campaigns in 2001 when they lost to Lyon in the qualifying rounds.

How to get to the Pasienky Stadium
The stadium is a stone’s throw away from the Tehelme Pole Stadium to the north east of the city centre.  Buses 38, 103, 113 and 118 run from the city centre to the ground.  Alternatively, catch the metro to Nové Mesto station and then complete the journey by foot.

How to get a ticket for the Pasienky Stadium
Tickets for any game at the Pasienky are available on the day of the match, including those for the big inter city derbies between Slovan, Inter and Art Media.  For big European nights, expect the ticket prices to double or even treble.  Tickets for a normal league game start from just €8 for a place on a terrace.  A posh seat will set you back around €20.  Tickets can be bought on the day of the game from the booths along the Vajnorska main road.

Around the Pasienky Stadium
The stadium sits in parkland and a residential area.  Around the stadium there is very little in terms of refreshment areas, although on a match day a number of temporarily bars set up shop and sell their wares.  With the proximity to the stadium it is best to stick to the city centre for your pre-match drinking.

Slovan Bratislava- Tehelne Pole Stadium – 30,000 Capacty

About the Tehelne Pole Stadium – Junacka 2, Bratislava 83104
The ground is located around 4.5km north east of the city centre in the Nove Mesto area.  The stadium is easily reached by public transport from the city centre.  The national stadium is home to Slovan Bratislava, as well as the venue for Artmedia’s European games.

During the 2005 Champions League campaign, the pitch bore the brunt of the poor late Autumnal weather, and became almost unplayable in the game versus Porto.  With only one covered stand, a space on the open end is not quite as appealing in the cold wet winter than in the barmy spring and summer.  Normally, Artmedia would play their home league games at the junior stadium across the main road.  This stadium has a capacity of just 4,500.

Who Plays There?
If the fortunes of Inter are bad, then the current situation of Slovan Bratislava could hardly be worse.  The club were founded in 1919 and had a fine record in Czechoslovakian football, winning the league eight times, the last being in 1992.  They then won the Slovakian championship in 1993, 1994 and 1995 before winning it for the last time in 1999.   After an exile of two seasons in the 2nd division, the team have returned to the top division for the 2006/07 season

How to get to the Tehelne Pole Stadium
If you are coming by tram, then you need to get tram numbers 2, 4 or 6.  A number of buses also make the journey from the city centre including 39, 53, 61 and 63.  Buy your tickets for any public transport at the yellow dispensers at most transit stops.  Remember to stamp the ticket before you board the tram or bus.  A day pass will cost you Skr90.  A taxi will cost around 150Skr (£3.50).

How to get a ticket for the Tehelne Pole Stadium
For all domestic club games tickets are available on the day of the game.  Average attendances for Slovakian football is less than 4,000 and so you will have no problem in getting a ticket for a match from either the main ticket office, or direct at the turnstiles.  For big European games then information on when the tickets go on sale are posted on the club’s own websites.

Around the Tehelne Pole Stadium
The area around the stadium is characterised by dull looking housing blocks, and the main road into the city centre.  There are a few bars close to the stadium, but the best bet is to stay in the city centre before heading out to the stadium.

Getting around
Walking around the compact old town in Bratislava is like stepping back in time to the pre-war years.  Ancient trams still provide the mainstay of transportation, with local buses skirting around the outside. All stops have maps to help you find your way, although in most instances you will only need to use public transport to get to and from the airport.  A day pass for all transport can be bought from the yellow ticket machines and costs SKR 90.

Nearest Airport – Milan Rastislav Airport (BTS)
Website:                  http://www.airportbratislava.sk
Telephone:              +421 2 48 57 11 11

Bratislava’s airport is located 8km north east of the city centre and has recently opened its doors for a number of budget carriers.  Traditionally it had been used as an overflow to Vienna, located just over an hour away by public transport. However, the seeds of expansion were sown when the new terminal was completed in 1994.  To get to the city centre from Ivanka airport you can catch the number 61 bus to the central station – a single ticket costs around 20Skr (50p) and takes 20 minutes.  A taxi should cost around SKR 400 (£10) but agree the fare before departing.

Currently Ryanair serves Bratislava from London Stansted, Easyjet from London Luton andSky Europe from London Stansted and Manchester.  There are no direct flights with any national carriers at the moment.  However, other routes include BA or Air Berlin to Vienna airport, and then catching one of the frequent buses to Bratislava.

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