Baník Ostrava

Baniček saved thanks to ambitious Moravian millionaire

A fan’s guide – the club from early doors to today

Which club won the Czechoslovak league the year that the national team achieved its greatest triumph, the shock Euro win of 1976? Sparta Prague? Dukla? Slovan Bratislava?

Wrong. Baník Ostrava. Though ‘Baníček’ provided no players for the Czechoslovak squad – goalkeeper Pavol Michalík wasn’t capped until later that year – this first surprise title win signalled the start of a golden era for this working-class club from the industrial heartland of Czech Silesia.

From 1978 to 1983, Baník were near invincible under wonder coach Evžen Hadamczik. With his departure, the club lost impetus. 

Not relegated since 1966, Baník eventually lost top-flight status in 2017 but bounced back thanks to Moravian entrepreneur Václav Brabec. Saving Baniček, he poured hundreds of millions of crowns into his new venture. By 2019, Baník had made the Czech Cup final and were 90 minutes away from European qualification.

Městský stadion/Michal Kvasnica

Baník began life as SK Slezská (‘Silesian’) Ostrava, formed by miners in 1922. The club joined the professional Moravian-Silesian league then the top flight in 1937, stunning the aristocrats of Sparta Prague with a 3-2 win. A bitter rivalry lingers – in 2015, the authorities were forced to act following hooliganism during a game between the two.

Slezská changed their name to Sokol in 1948 and, in 1952, to Baník (‘Miner’), then changed grounds, moving to the former basalt mine of Bazaly in 1959.

Top flight for every season but one from 1951, Baník first picked up major silverware when they beat Teplice on penalties to win the Czech Cup in 1973. Shortly after, they beat VSS Košice to add the Czechoslovak Cup.

Městský stadion/Michal Kvasnica

In Europe, a Cup Winners’ Cup exit against future winners Magdeburg of East Germany was followed by a UEFA Cup run ended by eventual champions, Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Hiring former Škoda Plzeň manager Jiří Rubáš halfway through the 1975-76 campaign, Baník overhauled Slavia Prague on the dramatic last day of the season thanks to a win at… Škoda Plzeň.

By December 1977, Rubáš was gone. In his place came Evžen Hadamczik. After a career-ending injury at 22, Hadamczik had shown himself a hard-working young coach at regional rivals Opava.

Bringing Baník youth player Petr Nemec into midfield and Verner Lička from Opava as striker, Hadamczik also created a training facility and a rehabilitation unit. Maintaining strict discipline, Hadamczik soon saw results on the field of play.

Bazaly stadium/Andy Potts

After winning the Czechoslovak Cup, Hadamczik steered Baník to 74 unbeaten games straight at home in the league. With Bazaly impregnable, Baník gained revenge over Magdeburg in the Cup Winners’ Cup but lost out narrowly to Fortuna Düsseldorf in the semi-final.

Two years later, further goals from Nemec and Lička weren’t enough to stop Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals of the European Cup. Baník had won the league two seasons running, then claimed runners-up spots before Hadamczik bowed out in 1983 to take charge of the Czech Olympic team.

With Hadamczik gone, Baník remained a respectable force in the Czechoslovak, then the independent Czech game. Backed by their Chachaři ultras, Baník were one of the best-supported clubs in the Czech Republic. In the title-winning season of 2003-04, the team attracted an average home gate of more than 20,000, a huge level of support as industry declined in the post-Communist Czech Republic.

Baník Ostrava fans/Michal Kvasnica

The exodus of players to the West included Marek Heinz, top league goalscorer in 2004, who joined Mönchengladbach right afterwards – Milan Baroš had already left for Liverpool in 2002 and Pavel Srníček for Newcastle in 1991. Of their ten European campaigns after Hadamczik left in 1983, Baník won three of 14 ties, all in early rounds. Hooliganism marred many of them.

With little European TV money or funding from local industry, Baník were forced to sell their Bazaly ground to the City in 2013. Crowds remained closer to the 5,000 mark but by 2015 the game was up. Forced to groundshare the Městský stadion with local rivals Vítkovice, Baník were looking at second-tier football – and without a home of their own.

In May 2015 Baník escaped relegation by one place, the last game with Dukla poignant as it was the last to be staged at the Bazaly stadium. Fans marched from Ostrava’s New Town Hall over the river to the stadium, where an exhibition warm-up match featured stars from the Hadamczik era.

Ironically, it was just after the club’s salvation in 2016 by millionaire Václav Brabec, who had made his money in insulating materials, that Baník dropped down a division for the first time in half a century. It proved to be a blessing. Pipping local rivals Opava to the second promotion spot, Baník found their voice again.

Městský stadion/Michal Kvasnica

Welcoming back old boy Milan Baroš for his fourth and final spell at his alma mater, Baník attracted the fourth-highest gate in the top flight despite finishing 13th out of 16. To improve matters, Brabec brought in another former Baník luminary, Marek Jankulovski, who in turn brought ten years of top-class experience in Serie A to his new role of sporting director. 

A Baník left-back for much of the 1990s and for eight minutes of his comeback season in 2011 before a knee injury ended his playing career, the former Milan man pointed his beloved first club in the right direction. Finishing fifth in 2019, Ostrava just needed to beat Mladá Boleslav in a play-off to make the Europa League. An early goal by the visitors dashed Baník’s dreams, only a week or so after Ostrava had lost the cup final to Slavia Prague. 

Jankulovski and Baroš had one last season at Baník in 2019-20 before bowing out. Another returnee, 2004 title-winning goalkeeper Jan Laštůvka, remained an ever-present between the sticks in 2022-23 at the age of 40 as Baník again edged towards that long-sought European spot.

Stadium Guide

The field of dreams – and the stands around it

Abandoning their beloved Bazaly, Baník have been based at the Městský stadion in Vítkovice since the start of the miserable campaign of 2015-16.

Built between 1957 and 1959, in Baník’s heartland on the eastern, Silesian side of town, the Bazaly had replaced the club’s former home at Stará střelnice, known for its cinder pitch. Before then, this miners’ club was based at a makeshift ground in the industrial community of Kamenec.

Bazaly suited Baník perfectly. Set on a hillslope overlooking the diminutive Ostravice river, it sits in a natural bowl, not unlike The Valley in its glory days of vast uncovered terracing.

In Baník’s golden era of the early 1980s, Bazaly was almost entirely terraced but changing regulations forced the club the install seating directly onto the concrete. The ultras gathered at the scoreboard end.

Battles with rival fans, particularly Sparta Prague’s, saw sectors closed and the capacity reduced. The gates closed one last time at the end of 2014-15. Many boycotted the first games at Baník’s new shared home of Vítkovice’s Městský (‘Municipal’) stadion.

Created as a multi-sport area on the eve of World War II, the Městský today hosts the prestigious Golden Spike athletics meet every summer. Home of Baník’s city rivals Vítkovice when it opened, the stadium holds an all-seated 15,000, spectators separated from the pitch by a running track.

The lay-out is simple: Tribuna A, the main stand, is opposite Tribuna B. Behind each goal is Tribuna B and, nearest the main road of Závodní, Tribuna D.

getting there

Going to the stadium – tips and timings

The Městský stadion is beside the ČEZ Arena in Vítkovice south-west of town. From Ostrava main train station (hlavní nádraží or hl.n.), tram 2 runs every 10mins to Sport Aréna (15 stops, journey time 22mins, direction Vyškovice). It also calls at downtown Stodolní and Náměstí Republiky. You’ll need to stamp a 30min transport ticket, Kč20/€0.85.

To visit Baník’s once revered Bazaly stadium, take regular trolleybus 104 from Náměstí Republiky (via the Hobit pub by Českobratrská) to Stadion Bazaly 5 stops away. It’s less than 10min journey time, so the cheapest ticket (Kč14/€0.60) is valid.

getting in

Buying tickets – when, where, how and how much

Tickets are priced at an across the board Kč180/€7.55, Kč90/€3.80 for under-15s, free for under-6s. Availability isn’t a problem. 

There are other distribution points around town, such as the OC Futurum office at Novinářská 6A and the OC Forum Nová Karolina office at Jantarová 3344/4, as well as a branch of the Ostravsky informační servis at the main train station

Pay-on-the-day is the usual option, though.

what to buy

Shirts, kits, merchandise and gifts

The Fanshop Baník (daily 9am-9pm) on the first floor of the Nova Karolina mall at Jantarová 3344/4 in the city centre stocks the home shirt of white with blue sleeves, and change strip of plain blue, the club badge centred on the chest in both cases. 

T-shirts range from the bizarre – a child’s drawing of Ostrava city landmarks – to the stylish, a black-and-white shot of revered coach Evžen Hadamczik looking nervous on the bench. Other merchandise includes a set of six wooden coasters bearing the club logo and Baník’s very own energy drink.

There’s also a smaller outlet at the stadium.

Where to Drink

Pre-match beers for fans and casual visitors

Before games at the Městský, Baník fans meet at the Restaurace Eliáš, the other side of Závodní from Vítkovice station at the corner of Chalupnikova and Česká. A pretty beer garden surrounds a stand-alone house filled with restaurant tables and ice-hockey iconography. Pilsner Urquell washes down hearty Czech fare.

The basic Stadion Restaurace tucked on the Závodní side of the stadium serves beer and spirits. On match days, stalls set up in the stadium concourse, along tram-lined Závodní – there are also basic kiosks within the arena.