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NK Bravo

Ljubljana’s second club makes Euro debut in 2024-25

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

The second team in Slovenia’s capital of Ljubljana, NK Bravo make their European debut in 2024-25, five years after being promoted and 18 since being founded. Ironically, it was a shock win at city rivals Olimpija on the last day of the 2023-24 campaign that granted Bravo passage to Europe, and meant that the 2023 champions had to cede their Europa League spot to their hated enemy, Maribor, and settle for the Conference League.

For Bravo, it’s all gravy. Based at the Šiška Sports Park, aka Športni park Ljubljana, aka ŽAK, a municipal ground of just over 2,000 capacity, this community club is moving up to share the national stadium of Stožice with Olimpija.

Opened before the former national stadium of Bežigrad in the 1930s, the Sports Park was home to the most prominent clubs in the capital. Even Olimpija were based here between the closure of Bežigrad and the unveiling of Stožice in 2010. The ground is most associated with NK Ljubljana, whose history dates back to before World War I. They later played as railway club Železničar after World War II – which is where the Ž in ŽAK comes from.

NK Ljubljana collapsed in 2005 after seven PrvaLiga campaigns, just before the rise of local club Interblock, also based at ŽAK. Reaching the top flight in 2006, they won two Slovenian Cups in 2008 and 2009 and appeared twice in Europe. A short-lived merger with Bravo in 2010 ushered in the swift demise of the senior side.

Bravo had been formed in 2006 after parents of schoolchildren local to the north-western city district of Šiška badgered sports journalist Darko Klarič into setting up a club. It’s been gradual but successful journey ever since. It was Bravo’s home record of 13 wins in 15 games in 2018-19 that swept them into the PrvaLiga for the first time, causing celebratory scenes not witnessed since Interblock and NK Ljubljana were enjoying their brief moments in the sun.

Running junior teams in ten age groups from U-17 level down, as well as the Ljubljana OPEN tournament for U-14s every June, Bravo still place great emphasis on youth, though recent success has meant chairman Luka Brezovec overseeing the arrival of experienced journeymen to bolster the first team. Top scorer in 2023-24, Matej Poplatnik, had spells at Livingston and Raith Rovers before earning his first cap for Slovenia at the age of 31.

Stadium Guide

The field of dreams – and the story behind it

From 2024-25 and for as long as Bravo are holding their own in Slovenia’s PrvaLiga, the club will be playing at the national stadium, groundsharing with Olimpija. For details of the ground, transport there and bars around it, see the section on Stožice.

If Bravo move back to Šiška or are playing more modest opposition, then you’ll find the Šiška Sports Park a few bus stops north of the city centre. A running track surrounds a grass pitch and single main stand, facing a few open rows of seating along the opposite sideline. For most domestic fixtures, away fans are allocated sector F of the main stand furthest from the club bar – for bigger ones, and European games, it’s Sector A.

Capacity is now around 2,300 but was at 2,000 when Slovenia played two low-key internationals here in the 1990s.

getting there

Going to the stadium – tips and timings

See Stožice for details on how to reach the national stadium. To reach the Šiška Sports Park, head to Bavarski dvor, a short walk from Ljubljana main station (turn right and walk 250 metres to the next main junction). 

From there, bus 14 runs every 15-30mins to Podmilščakova five stops/6mins away. Cross the street of the same name and look out for a thin pole in red white and yellow by the opposite bus stop for town. Behind it is a path leading to the back of the stadium 5mins away.

getting in

Buying tickets – when, where, how and how much

Admission is a nominal few euros on the day – attendances are low and availability never an issue. The club does operate online sales, an across-the-board €10 charged for admission, €5 for under-15s.

Where to Drink

Pre-match beers for fans and casual visitors

See Stožice for details on the nearest bars around the national stadium. 

For the Šiška Sports Park, if you’re alighting at Podmilščakova, walk 100 metres then take the second right, Dravska, to the end. Opposite stands cosy K(P)Apica, a Bosnian-run shrine to Yugoslavia, with portraits of Tito, Željo pennants from Sarajevo and old Laško beer ads on display.

At the ground, the Bravo Bar is equally excellent, decorated with pennants and scarves from Bolton to Rad Belgrade. Two TVs and table football provide entertainment while terrace tables overlook the pitch.

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