|21 May 19||Vitesse|| ||-|| ||FC Groningen|
|15 May 19||FC Emmen|| ||1 - 0|| ||FC Groningen|
|12 May 19||FC Groningen|| ||3 - 0|| ||Fortuna Sittard|
|29 Apr 19||PEC Zwolle|| ||3 - 2|| ||FC Groningen|
|20 Apr 19||FC Groningen|| ||0 - 1|| ||Ajax|
Football Club Groningen (Dutch pronunciation: ) is a Dutch professional football club based in Groningen. The club plays in the Eredivisie, the highest football league of the Netherlands.
The club was founded in 1971 when predecessor GVAV changed its name to FC Groningen. Their home stadium was the Oosterpark Stadion from 1971 to 2005, while they currently play at the Euroborg (2006–present).
Their best result in the Eredivisie was third place in 1991 and 2006, and their worst result in the Eredivisie was relegation to the Eerste Divisie in 1974 and 1998. The club won the KNVB Cup in 2014–15.
The origins of football in Groningen
The origins of football in Groningen date back to 1887, when students of the city's gymnasium established the cricket and football club Be Quick. In 1895, Be Quick became a founder member of the first football league in the northern Netherlands (comprising the provinces Groningen, Friesland, and Drenthe). The league was named Tweede Klasse Noord (Second Northern Division). There was no First Northern Division, but the Dutch Football Association regarded the level of play in the northern league to be too low to be rewarded with First Division status. This meant that the northern champion could not participate in the nationwide championship play-offs with the other Dutch regional champions.
In 1897, the city of Groningen got its second football club with the foundation of Velocitas 1897, which became the labour-class rival of the elitist Be Quick. Be Quick and Velocitas remained the most successful football clubs in the city of Groningen until the mid-twentieth century, winning 26 northern championships between them (18 won by Be Quick and 8 by Velocitas).
By winning the KNVB Cup, FC Groningen qualified for the group stage of the 2015-16 UEFA Europa League, but could not make an impact in a group with Olympique Marseille, Sporting Braga, and Slovan Liberec. After the 2015-16 season, Van de Looi stepped down as head coach and was replaced by Ernest Faber. FC Groningen had a remarkably poor start of the 2016-17 season, but later recovered to finish 8th. This league finish meant the club qualified for the play-offs for Europa League qualification, in which they were eliminated by AZ Alkmaar in the first round.
Having no other teams of a similar size in its nearest proximity, FC Groningen lacks traditional rivals. SC Veendam was the nearest professional team to Groningen until the club dissolved in 2013, but as Groningen and Veendam were in different divisions during most of their histories, and Veendam had a significantly smaller following, a strong two-sided rivalry never developed.
In the 1980s, incidents between the hooligans of Groningen and Twente led to a fierce rivalry between the clubs' respective hooligan firms. Encounters between the two have often led to violence in and around the ground during the 1980s, 1990s and early years of the 21st century. After Groningen moved to the Euroborg in 2006, supporter violence around matches with Twente disappeared almost completely due to the superior safety conditions of the new ground. Although aversion against Twente remains to exist among Groningen's most fanatical following, the fierceness of this rivalry in general is considered to be something of the past. In a similar vein, yet significantly lesser fierce and long-lasting than the rivalry with Twente, the hooligan firm of Groningen has maintained rivalries with FC Den Bosch, PEC Zwolle, Cambuur Leeuwarden and NAC Breda. However, antagonistic feelings towards (the fans of) these clubs mostly were limited to the hooligans of the club and barely existed among the bulk of FC Groningen's following.
A feeling of hostility towards Ajax is more widespread among all factions of FC Groningen supporters. Although relatively insignificant from the perspective of the Ajax fans, home matches against Ajax are considered main events by most Groningen supporters. Remarkably, away matches against the Amsterdam side are not deemed equally important. This rather one-sided rivalry can be explained by a more general aversion of the inhabitants from the more rural and peripheral northern regions of the Netherlands towards people from the Randstad and Amsterdam, who are stereotyped as being arrogant and haughty.
Since the late 1990s, a more local rivalry has developed between FC Groningen and Heerenveen, which is based just 60 kilometers from the city of Groningen. Around this time, Heerenveen became a regular in the Eredivisie and no longer met regularly with its nearest and primary rival Cambuur Leeuwarden, which mostly was active in the second tier. Groningen and Heerenveen are seen as representing the two neighboring northern provinces of Groningen and Friesland, between which a more general rivalry exists. Therefore, the match between Groningen and Heerenveen is referred to as the Derby of the North.