LIBERATING FOOTBALL TRAVEL

NK Domžale

Rumeni lay claim to two titles, two cups and counting

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

One of Slovenia’s most successful sides of recent years, NK Domžale only came to prominence under Serbo-Slovenian coach Slaviša Stojanović after the turn of the 21st century.

Before then, Rumeni (‘The Yellows’) were a modest outfit playing in the regional division in former Yugoslavia and the Slovenian league immediately after independence.

The club had operated under several names – Domžalski Internacionalni Športski Klub (DISK) after formation in 1921, NK Napredak Domžale in the mid 1990s, BS Technik Domžale in the late 1990s – before the arrival of Stojanović in 2002.

Športni park/Peterjon Cresswell

His playing career at Slovan and NK Ljubljana cut short in his late twenties, this former defender found immediate success as coach of youth teams at Slovan. In his first season at Domžale, he gained the club promotion to the PrvaLiga and, after bringing in former Slovan youth striker Ermin Raković, took them to runners-up spot in 2005 and 2006.

The following season, Domžale romped to a first title, losing only three games and winning the league by 17 points over holders Gorica. Providing the goals was international winger Andraz Kirm. At the heart of a cast-iron defence was current team coach Luka Elsner, who made a record number of appearances for the club.

Stojanović then arranged the loan of Croatian striker Dario Zahora, top league scorer the following season as Domžale won a successive crown.

NK Bar/Peterjon Cresswell

In Europe, enjoyed home wins over VfB Stuttgart and KF Tirana but Dinamo Zagreb put paid to Domžale’s hopes two seasons running.

Domžale took a while to adjust to the departure of Stojanović in 2008 but bounced back in 2010-11 to take runners-up spot and the Slovenian Cup. An goal from Brazilian midfielder Juninho, then two from striker Damir Pekić against his former club, gave Domžale a surprise 4-3 win over dominant Maribor in the final.

A winner that day, Luka Elsner was appointed club coach in 2013. Canny in the transfer market, Elsner has brought in winger Matic Črnic, a five-time title winner with Maribor, and Croatian Under-20 international striker Antonio Mance from Pula. Juninho has also returned from a stint in Baku.

A third-place finish in each of two consecutive seasons pointed to a possible return to form after the Stojanović era.

Stadium Guide

The field of dreams – and the stands around it

The municipal Športni park has been home to NK Domžale since the early Tito era. Built in 1948, it was modernised and expanded as the club became a regular feature in the top flight and European contenders. After the opening of the adjoining Mercator shopping centre in 2002, modernisation increased. Floodlights were installed shortly before Domžale’s first title-winning season in 2006-07.

Two covered stands now surround a running track. Capacity is 2,800.

getting there

Going to the stadium – tips and timings

The stadium is a 10min walk from Domžale-Center, the stop where buses arrive from Ljubljana. From the main road of Ljubljanska cesta, head down nearby Karatanska cesta, past the Mozart café, then bear right at the next junction into Kopaliska cesta. You’ll soon see the Mercator shopping centre come into view – the stadium is just behind.

If you’re coming in by train, head up Kolodvorska cesta at right-angles to the station, leading to Ljubljanska cesta and the main bus stop.

getting in

Buying tickets – when, where, how and how much

Tickets are sold on the day from the windows (‘Blagajna’) beside the terrace of the Pirat Snack Bar at the back of the Mercator shopping centre behind the main stand. Prices for domestic fixtures are set at €5-€10.

what to buy

Shirts, kits, merchandise and gifts

The club has no fixed store – a modest selection of scarves and souvenirs are sold on match days.

Where to Drink

Pre-match beers for fans and casual visitors

Tucked away behind Domžale’s training pitch and the tennis club, the Cirus Pub is worth the effort of finding it, a friendly little sports bar set beside an old discotheque. Nearer the stadium, you pass the Park restaurant at Kopališka cesta 3, with no football affinity apart from its location beside the ground. A summer terrace, outside barbecue and daily specials combine for a decent pre-match meal.

Opposite, across Kopališka cesta, the Pirat snack bar has its terrace beside the main ticket office – inside, all is predictably pirate-themed.

Pick of the bunch, the cabin-like NK Bar stands alongside the main entrance to the Park restaurant. A real fans’ hangout, it’s decked out in pennants from visiting sides hanging from the ceiling, match tickets on the tabletops and autographed players’ portraits. A fridge is filled with standard domestic beers. In case you need an early start, it’s open from 8am.

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