Throwback Derbies: The Zurich Derby 2004
Zurich, Switzerland is a unique European city associated with order, wealth, and tranquility. Interestingly supporters in Zurich carry on in the traditions of the rest of Europe, breeding a particularly distinct sub-culture. The “Zürichs Kranke Horde” (sick bunch of Zurich) is a hooligan group consisting of Grasshoppers Club Zurich and FC Zurich supporters. Despite this alliance in the extreme fringes of Zurich’s fan culture, the two clubs have an incredible history of rivalry and heated fixtures.
The Swiss capital is home to two of the nation’s olderst clubs; Grasshopper Club Zurich, established in 1886, and FC Zurich created a decade later in 1896. The two clubs have shared the same colours after GCZ temporarily resigned from Swiss football in 1909, leading FCZ to change from red and white to blue and white. Traditionally, GCZ was always considered the club of the middle class, while the more urban and working class districts are said to belong to FCZ.
The most heated derby between the two sides came on March 3rd, 2004 during the Swiss cup semi-final. Just 11 minutes into the game, GCZ was already losing 2-0. The Grasshoppers pulled back a goal through Mladen Petric, only to be outdone by Gygax who scored his second of three to put FC Zurich up 3-1 at the break. The beginning of the second half was a similar storyline, as Gygax and Cesar seemed to put the game out of reach at 5-2 with under 30 minutes left.
Few could have imagined what happened next, as GCZ managed to mount a come back, so epic, that it even dwarfs the 2005 Champions League final in the minds of Swiss football fans. Between the 83rd and 90th minutes Grasshoppers were unrelenting; scoring 3 goals in under 10 minutes to push the game into extra time. The Grasshoppers’ momentum carried into extra time as Richard Nunez netted their 6th. As the game ended the stands of the GCZ’s old Hardtrum Stadium erupted.
This game holds a special place in the lore of Grasshoppers fans. Their main supporters club in Zurich is actually called Sachs Foif or 6-5. We went to the Zurich derby for the round of 16’s in the Swiss Cup earlier this season, and discovered that the passion between the two sides is very much alive and well. Check out the highlight's from this incredible game via ZWÖLF magazine: