Stadion Crevna Zvezda - The Red Star Stadium - 51,328 Capacity
About Stadion Crvena Zvezda The Red Star Stadium or the Marakana as it has been more affectionately called since it opened is the most famous stadium in the Balkans. It is a traditional Eastern Bloc stadium built as a bowl, with an athletic track and the trademark prominent floodlights.
The stadium opened on the 1st September 1963, after the club and national team moved from the FK Novi Sad stadium which had been their home since 1927. Originally the capacity was around 75,000, and the biggest crowd the stadium saw was in autumn 1963 when Red Star played PK Partizan in front of over 77,000 spectators. During the next ten years the stadium was expanded to hold 110,000 with wooden benches covering the terraces. The stadium was originally very similar in appearance to the Zentraal stadium in Leipzig, and the Olympic Stadium in Kiev. In 1975 the stadium hosted its biggest ever club game as Red Star played the Hungarians Ferencvaros in the European Cup Winners Cup semi-final in front of a rumoured 108,000. The previous season the stadium had hosted the European Cup Final between Ajax and Juventus.
In 1976 the stadium hosted the semi-finals and final of the European Championships when Czechoslovakia upset the form guide by beating West Germany in the final. In the semi-final Yugoslavia lost to the Germans after extra time having led 2-0 for most of the game. The final historic game played in the stadium was in October 2005 when the old country of Serbia-Montenegro played their last ever game against Bosnia-Herzegovina before the country split into two. The stadium has some basic facilities for supporters, although the open bowl shape can make for some quite chilly conditions during the winter, despite the roof. The stadium also has a very good museum charting the progress of Red Star although the information is all in Serbian. The museum is open daily from 10am and is accessible from the main entrance of the stadium.
If you are in the city when Partizan are at home then you may want to catch a game there – the more intimate Stadium Partizana is located just north of the Red Star stadium and opposite the Tito Memorial complex. The ground holds around 30,000 although it is a very open stadium and so may be best avoided in the winter.
Who plays there? The Red Star stadium is unsurprisingly the home to the Balkans most famous and successful club – Red Star Belgrade, or Crvena Zvezda as they are known now. The club are the current Serbian champions after winning the domestic double at a canter from their local rivals FK Partizan. They are also the only club from the former Yugoslavian states to have won the European Cup, which they did in 1991 by beating Marseille on penalties in Bari.
The final is one of the least remembered in modern times due to the negative tactics employed by Red Star in playing for penalties, which surprised most observers as they had played so well up until the final, including a 4-1 victory over Glasgow Rangers, 6-0 over Dynamo Dresden and a 4-3 win over Bayern Munich. Some of the most famous players in Yugoslavian football have pulled on the red and white shirt of Red Star including Siniša Mihajlovic, Robert Prosinečki, Dejan Savićević and Darko Pančev all of whom played in that final in Bari. The club won the Yugoslavian Championship on 18 occasions, as well as the Yugoslavian cup 12 times. Since the break-up of the country, they have won the Serbian Championship on 6 occasions, and the cup every year bar three. Aside from that famous night in Bari in 1991 they also won the World Cup Championship in Tokyo by beating Colo Colo of Chile 3-0.
For such a successful team it is amazing to think that they were only formed in 1945 after the Second World War had finished by a group of students from Belgrade University. The club were admitted into the Yugoslavian League in 1948, and won the Domestic cup in their first season. Since their 1991 European victory, the club has had little luck in UEFA competitions. In 1992 they needed a victory in their last game away in Anderlecht to reach the final again, but a 3-2 defeat coupled with Sampdoria’s draw meant the Italians reached the final. However since then they have failed to make it past the qualifying stages, and have been surpassed in achievement by Partizan who have reached the Group Stages. However, in the 2007/08 Champions League they should at least reach the final Qualifying round with a game against the Estonian champions TMVK in round 2 in August.
Another part Red Star’s stadium has had in history was that it was the venue of Manchester United’s last game before the Munich air crash in 1958. The rivalry between Red Star and Partizan has certainly been intensified over the past decade or so. During the Balkans war the clubs took on an almost paramilitary significance and games between the two almost always ended in violence on the terraces.
How to get there The stadium is located in the south of the city, close to the E70 Motorway and in the heart of a nice middle-class residential area, characterised by smart detached houses with swimming pools. It is also close enough to the Central Station and Bus Station to be walk able. However, the Tram lines 2, 7 and 9 pass within 200metres of the stadium from the Station if you don’t feel like the walk down Nemanjina to the stadium. If you are going to see Partizan then you can follow these direction as well as the stadium is located less than 500 yards north of Red Star’s stadium.
The Partizan Stadium - 30,887 All Seater Home to Partizan Belgrade. Last season the club were expelled from teh UEFA Cup after the fans rioted at a game in Bosnia. Recently they have been very vocal in their demonstrations against the arrest of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic.
Getting a ticket Domestic football is not the best supported league in Europe to say the least. With a capacity of over 50,000 you will rarely see attendances over 7,000 for a league match, although attendances for games against FK Partizan can often attract over 30,000. However, whatever the game you will not have a problem picking up a ticket on the day. Ticket prices start from 20 Dinar for a place in the cheap seats, although it is best to avoid the hardcore Red Star fans behind the goal.
For National team games then tickets can be purchased in advance from the Serbian FA on +381 11 323 3447, email email@example.com or via http://www.tiketservis.com. For Partizan games check out their website at http://www. Partizan.net.
Getting around Public transportation in Belgrade is cheap and plentiful if not comfortable. The main methods of getting around are buses and trolley buses. Pick up a route map from the Tourist Information Centre and then simply buy a ticket from the kiosks in the street for 27 dinars, or for 40 dinars from the driver.
Nearest Airport – Belgrade Nikola Tesla (BEG) Telephone: +381 11 209 4000 Website: http://www.beg.aero
The busiest airport in Serbia is located around 11 miles west of the city centre in the small town of Surčin. British Airways and JAT Airways both fly daily from London Heathrow to Belgrade.
The easiest way to reach the city centre from the airport is by the Jat Airways coach which departs every hour to Slavija Square and the Central Railway Station. The fare is 160 dinars. Alternatively Bus Line 72 runs to the Station takes around 25 minutes and costs 35 dinars. A taxi will cost €9 for a fixed fee and should take 20 minutes – only used licensed taxis only though or book one on arrival by dialling 970 or texting to 9700.
The city has a comprehensive network of buses, trams and trolleybuses. Tickets cost 40 dinar for a single journey – make sure you punch your ticket when you board otherwise you can be fined up to €50. The major transport hubs are in Trg Republike and Trg Slavija.