Super Liga is the top football division in Serbia, founded in 2006.
Before the breakup of Yugoslavia (some) Serbian clubs played in Yugoslav First League. The competition was formed in 1923 and held the reputation of one of the best European leagues. It lasted until 2003. After the breakup in 1991 a new Yugoslavia has been formed with Serbia and Montenegro. Both countries kept the name of Yugoslavia until 2003 when they changed it to Serbia and Montenegro. From 2003 to 2006 the top football division in this country was called First League of Serbia and Montenegro or Meridian Super Liga. In 2006 Montenegro gained independence and that is the year when Serbian Super Liga was founded.
This season (2015/16) there have been major changes in the format of Serbian Super Liga. Until now 16 clubs were competing in a classic league system. Each club played against each other twice and the club with the most points after 30 game weeks won the title. But all this has now changed. Now there are 16 clubs and they will play with each other twice but after 30 game weeks no one will be crowned champion. After 30 game weeks the league will split in two parts: playoff (first 8 clubs) and playout (last 8 clubs) will begin. Before the start of playoff and playout all the points of the clubs will be cut in half and each club will play 7 more games. The club with most points after 37 (30+7) game weeks will be a champion.
The season of Serbian Super Liga begins in third week of July and ends in first week in June. The Champions qualify for UEFA Champions League Second Qualifying Round, the teams placed 2nd-4th qualify for UEFA Europa League First Qualifying Round depending on the winner of Serbian Cup. The bottom two clubs are relegated to First League Serbia and the winner and second placed team in First League Serbia are promoted to the Serbian Super Liga.
Number of teams: 16
Level on the pyramid: 1
Domestic cup: Serbian Cup
International Cup: UEFA Champions League (2nd qualifying round), UEFA Europa League (1st qualifying round)
Current champions: Partizan
Uefa Ranking: 27
Transfer window: 18th January – 12th February and 15th June – 31st August
Average stadium attendances: 2838
Number of players: 468
Foreign players: 79
Average age: 24.2 years
Partizan are the current Serbian champion and if we take into account just the Super Liga they have the record with 7 wins. Crvena Zvezda (Red Star Belgrade) have won it twice. If we look at the champions from 1923 when Yugoslav First Division was founded then Partizan and Crvena Zvezda are equal, both teams have 26 titles.
Partizan the only club in group stage of European cup
In this season Crvena Zvezda is playing well above expectations and after 12 game weeks they are at the top of the table with 32 points, 10 more than second placed Javor. Partizan is only 4th and they are 12 points behind Crvena Zvezda. However Partizan is the only Serbian club who has qualified for the group phase of any European cup. They qualified for the group phase of UEFA Europa League where they are first in their group after 2 game weeks. They have won games against AZ Alkmaar from Netherland and Augsburg from Germany, the forth club in the group L is Athletic Bilbao. Partizan started this year’s European journey in the qualifiers for Uefa Champions League but they lost in the playoff round against Bate Borisov on away goals. The other three Serbian representatives in Europe – Vojvodina, Čukarički and Crvena Zvezda – didn’t qualify. However Vojvodina managed a huge upset when they eliminated Sampdoria in the third qualifying round, winning first game in Italy 4:0 and losing second at home 2:0. In the playoff round Vojvodina lost against Viktoria Plzen. Crvena Zvezda lost in the first qualifying round against Kairat and Čukarički lost in second qualifying round against Gabala (in the first round they beat Domžale).
A lot of chances for young players
Due to many financial problems that the clubs in Serbian Super Liga faced in the past and are facing right now, almost every club turned to their youth academies for players. Average age of players in the top Serbian division is just 24.2 years and Serbian clubs are known for very good football academies. Academy of Partizan is one of the best in Europe and in last couple of years Partizan produced a lot of players. Their academy graduates play at the biggest clubs in Europe such as Stevan Jovetić, Adem Ljajić, Lazar Marković, Miloš Jojić, Stefan Savić, Aleksandar Mitrović etc. They currently have one of the biggest world talents Andrija Živković who won the FIFA Under 20 World Cup this summer along with his club teammate Ivan Šaponjić. The Academy of Crvena Zvezda is also famous for producing good players. The best talent ever produced in Crvena Zvezda youth system is 69 years old Dragan Džajić, newest history remembers Dejan Stanković and Nemanja Vidić, players that are still playing at the highest level include Dušan Basta, Boško Janković, Filip Đorđević, Nenad Tomović etc. Crvena Zvezda had four players in the team that won the FIFA Under 20 World Cup, Predrag Rajković, Filip Manojlović, Vukašin Jovanović and Marko Grujić. Crvena Zvezda, like Partizan, is also having one of the biggest world talents in their squad. His name is Luka Jović and he is playing in the striker position.
Fieldoo users in Super Liga
There are 79 foreign players in the league at this moment. Most of the foreigners are from countries of ex Yugoslavia – 21 from Montenegro, 14 from Bosnia and 8 from Macedonia. There are also 6 players from Ghana, 5 from Brazil, 3 from Cameroon, 3 from Nigeria etc. The biggest star in the league is Partizan player Andrija Živković who is on the radar of almost every best European club. His market value is around 4.000.000 € but his transfer fee could be a lot higher.
The Eternal derby
When we talk about Serbian Super Liga, we can not let out the biggest game in this country. The Eternal derby between Crvena Zvezda and Partizan. These two clubs are fierce rivals and the games between them are so much more than just football games for their fans – Delije (Crvena Zvezda) and Grobari (Partizan). The atmosphere at the stadium is phenomenal as both groups of fans want to outdo each other. But unfortunately a lot of times tension between fans of both clubs is just too high and there is a lot of riots in or around the stadium. We all hope for fewer events like these and for more talent to arrive from their respectful academies.
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