Friday, October 03, 2008

Italy, Austria & Switzerland October 2008

Udinese 0 Borussia Dortmund 2 (Udinese won 4-3 on penalties)

In the UEFA Cup this was nearly a terrific comeback by Borussia. They had over 2000 fans, and could have had lots more if the Italians had allocated further tickets in time.

The stadium, a venue in Italia 90, was nowhere near full.
The locals sang their impressive song and produced a typically effective Italian-style 'presentation' prior to kick-off.

But as you would expect Udinese tended to sit back and see if the germans could create anything.
Generally they didn't much but did score twice at strategic times - at the end of each half - and both by Hungarian Hajnal.

Into extra time and no change before penalties decided the outcome - sadly for Hajnal his shot was saved.

Udinese just scraped the win with Lucovic scoring the clinching penalty.
As I walked the half an hour or so back to my hotel I stopped at a nearby Irish bar , enjoyed a pint and saw amongst the locals two Udinese players - drinking (coke) , relaxing with their friends and not being overly bothered.
A pleasant end to the day for most.

By train it takes over four hours to get to Leoben in Austria through some typical scenery.

The train was late but made up most of the delay once into Austria.

Leoben 3 Lustenau 2 in the Austrian '1st league'

Constant rain and cold to endure.

But it was a watchable, even contest between teams near the bottom of the table.

In a smallish stadium with a reasonable sized main stand and an open side opposite and not much at either end. Only 200 were there to see it.

The home side just edged it with the winner some 8 minutes before the end.

It took a very brisk walk, a couple of weiss beer and a weiner schnitzel (what else) to warm up this traveller.

Onto Graz , and a better day weather-wise.

In the very pleasant Hauptplatz this visitor enjoyed some 'sturm' a wine based drink whilst the locals mingled in the sunshine amongst the stalls . A violinist and guitarist made the moment even better.

Meanwhile another Sturm set about their opponents for :-

Sturm Graz 3 Austria Karnten 0

In the Austrian bundesliga , at the UPC Arena (ex Arnold Schwarzenegger stadium - likely the man himself was not present being somewhere warmer i guess)

The neat, compact, stadium was mostly full (almost 13,000) to see Sturm eventually overcome Karnten easily enough with one particularly cracking strike on the turn by Beichler.

Before that it had been a fairly even first half with few chances before a looping shot by Muratovic beat the goalie.

And in the second Sturm got on top.

Karnten had some enthusiastic support from their smallish group of fans whilst Sturm had their black & white support packed behind the right hand goal - they kept up a good level of noise most of the time.

From Graz to Linz via Selzthal through that typically impressive scenery in bright sunshine with the local, red capped, stationmasters coming out to greet the train as it passed.

LASK Linz 1 Altach 3

An older style stadium , with curved roofing, a track and a gap at the left hand end.

Linz had their 'ultras' opposite with no sign of any away fans in the 6,000 crowd.

Linz had a group of Croatians in their squad whilst Altach had Brazilian Ailton (ex-Werder Bremen etc)

This was not a good day at the office for Linz even though top scorer Mayrleb had equalised an early strike by Konrad.

In the second half Altach went ahead again through Koch and somewhat inevitably Ailton slotted the third. He should have scored more.

Lastly a 9 hour train ride, involving 5 changes , to Thun in Switzerland.

Thun 4 Gossau 1

In the Swiss Challenge League , Thun played three up front and despite Gossau getting one back won convincingly enough.

Their ground is a little quirky with a miniscule stand on one side next to an entrance displaying the Olympic rings. Partial low level terracing curves around.

Two larger stands are on the other side.

Gossau did have a smallish group of fans with the usual flags and the home fans did turn up in larger than expected (to this viewer) numbers , some 2800 in total.

For Thun Scarione scored from a free kick and Cattaruzzi got two , sub Moser another with only captain Knopfel replying for the visitors.

Fortunately the rain had stopped as I walked back to my hotel via the picturesque town centre.

A Long Island Ice Tea was a welcome end to the evening.

To see more pictures :-

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