Introducing Matchday Two opponents NK Maribor.
1. NK Maribor are the most successful club in Slovenian football history, winning 11 Slovenian First League titles, eight Slovenian Cups and three Slovenian Super Cups.
2. The club won a record seven consecutive league titles from 1996/97 to 2002/03.
3. Legendary Maribor midfielder Stipe Balajic helped the club to five of these league titles. His shirt number 19 is retired from use as a symbol of thanks to his service to the club. In 2005 during his final game, a friendly against his former club Hajduk Split, Balajic was substituted in the 19th minute, again another symbolic gesture to a man who played 229 times for the club.
4. Another man with strong Maribor links is their new manager Ante Simundza who had three playing spells with the club (1991-96, 1997 and 1999-00) and made over 200 appearances, scoring 87 goals. Simundza became Head Coach on Monday, but has experience of coaching at the club when he was assistant from 2008 to 2011.
5. Maribor’s traditional colour is purple, influenced by the club’s first ever captain Oto Blaznik who drew inspiration from Italian club Fiorentina, one of the most successful sides in Europe at the time of Maribor’s founding in 1960.
6. Before Slovenia’s independence from Yugoslavia, Maribor played in the Yugoslav League structure, playing five seasons in the top flight following their Yugoslav Second Division title in 1966/67.
7. Since the establishment of the Slovenian First League in 1991, Maribor have had the highest average attendance in 18 of the 22 seasons, also holding the league’s highest attendance record of 14,000 in a game against Beltinci in June 1997.
8. Maribor became the first team in Slovenia to reach 1,000 league points when they beat Rudar Velenje 2-1 in July 2008.
9. Current captain Marcos Tavares has helped his side to four league titles during his time with the club, scoring 77 goals in 188 league appearances and winning the ‘Purple Warrior’ Player of the Year award twice, the only player to win it in consecutive years.
10. Maribor’s academy is hailed as the best in the country and in 2012 a record eight Maribor players were called up for Slovenia’s Under 17 squad for the UEFA European Under-17 Championships, showing a bright future for the club.
To see Latics in action in their first ever Europa League home game against NK Maribor please [click here] for ticket details, on sale until kick off!