Who are Backa Topola? Serbians facing West Ham in Europe after remarkable rise

Backa Topola is a name that not many fans will have heard of ahead of their opening Europa League clash against West Ham tonight. 

The Serbian side are in London this week to face the Hammers in what will be a huge occasion for all at the club. 

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Backa Topola play at the TSC Arena in Serbia

They have never qualified for a European competition before, but they now have the chance to make their name known around the continent. 

Ahead of their trip to the London Stadium, talkSPORT.com takes a deeper look into Backa Topola’s story…

Who are Backa Topola? 

Founded in 1913, Backa Topola are the second oldest club in the Serbian SuperLiga. 

The club is also known as Fudbalski Klub TSC or FK TSC but is more commonly called Backa Topola due to the town they are based. 

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They have produced some of Serbia’s best talents with former Southampton and Ajax midfielder Dusan Tadic coming through their youth ranks. 

After spending their existence in the lower divisions of Serbia, Backa Topola have risen through the leagues in more recent years. 

FK TSC were playing in the third tier only nine years ago, gaining promotion to the Serbian First League, which is the second tier, in 2017. 

They spent a couple of seasons in that league before continuing their improvement, being promoted to the SuperLiga for the first time in 2019. 

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Backa Topola have since remained in the Serbian top-flight and claimed a place in the Europa League qualifiers in 2020, however, they didn’t reach the group stage. 

Zarko Lazetic will lead Backa Topola into Europe this season

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Zarko Lazetic will lead Backa Topola into Europe this season

Backa Topola achievements

  • 2014/15 – Promoted to Serbian League Vojvodina (third tier)
  • 2016/17 – Promoted to Serbian First League (second tier)
  • 2018/19 – Serbian First League champions
  • 2019/20 – First-ever season in Serbian SuperLiga
  • 2010/21 – Reached Europa League qualifiers
  • 2022/23 – Serbian SuperLiga runners-up
  • 2023/24 – Playing in first-ever European group stage

They then went on to achieve their best finish last campaign, finishing in second place behind Red Star Belgrade

This handed them a shot at reaching the Champions League but a heavy defeat to Braga over two legs saw them knocked out of the qualifiers. 

It wasn’t all bad news though, as despite the loss, they still secured a place in Europe. 

FK TSC, lead by young manager Zarko Lazetic, have now dropped into the Europa League group stage and will compete in this stage of a European competition for the first time ever. 

So, only six years after playing in the second tier of Serbian football, Backa Topola are now featuring among Europe’s elite. 

They have been drawn in a group alongside Conference League champions West Ham, Bundesliga outfit Freiburg and Greece’s Olympiacos. 

And their trip to the London Stadium will be the club’s biggest-ever fixture, with fans travelling to experience the momentous occasion. 

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Source From: Football News, Transfers, Opinion – talkSPORT

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