Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Austria August 2013

Three matches in Austria including the Vienna derby, a visit to the historic Hohe Warte stadium and a trip to Carinthia.

First beat first.

9th August 2013 First Vienna 1 Liefering 0   1st League  1,300

I’d taken a somewhat convoluted route from Luton to Bratislava then a low cost train ride to Vienna arriving at around 4.45pm.
Just enough time to check in at my hotel and get over to Heiligenstadt for the 6.30 kick off.

The historic Hohe Warte stadium is nearby.
It once held 85,000 for an Austria international back in the 1920s and its still possible to imagine large number of spectators thronging the vast slopes.

Some terrace still exists along the massive side - reminiscent of the old Valley or Stamford Bridge from bygone days.
Most however is overgrown or concealed by trees.

After a sweaty journey I enjoyed a pre-game schnitzel sandwich and a large, refreshing spritzer.

Despite unbeaten Liefering , a Salzburg feeder club, being top of the league and First being last this was an even contest with few good chances.

The decision on 3 minutes to award a penalty settled the outcome in what was a game lacking some quality and goalmouth incident.

Back via the S-bahn to Praterstern I relaxed with another spritzer while watching the thunderstorms.

Wallner woe.

10th August  Wolfsberger AC 1 Wacker Innsbruck 1  Bundesliga  4,600  (c.100 away)

A scenic train ride to Graz and a less comfortable bus trip on to Wolfsberg.

Where it was quiet and tranquil.

The Lavanttal stadium is a pleasant twenty minute stroll from the centre of town.
Despite the athletics track the ground has some character with excellent views of the surrounding wooded mountains and an old style stand with terrace below.

A semi-temporary section towards one end is allocated to the away fans but otherwise there is nothing behind either goal.

After the introduction of Mr. Universe we settled down to watch the home side have more play, especially from the right where Manuel Kerhe was often involved.
He would eventually set up Liendl for the headed opener.

Which was deserved.

But Innsbruck, after making a couple of changes at half time, came on stronger in the second period.
And the promising Lukas Hinterseer, playing deeper, was able to control a cross and volley in the equaliser after 63 minutes.

Then the focus was on international striker Roman Wallner, firstly when he rattled the bar with a right foot shot then when he blasted a penalty well over.
The pen. was awarded after substitute goalie Kofler had brought down a Wacker player, the goalie being somewhat fortunate, it seemed, to only get a yellow card.

Not so lucky was Michele Polverino who received a second card inside the last ten minutes.

Bizarrely there was only one minute of added time (virtually never happens in the Premier League) even then there was time for Lucas Segovia to head a good chance over the bar.

I strolled back to the centre in the thankfully mild weather and partook of some beer and pork medallions.

Choreo and Pyro but no goals.

11th August  Rapid 0 Austria Vienna 0  Bundesliga  16,700 (2,500 away)

And back to Vienna for the derby.

Rapid had not beaten Austria for 9 games and they made life difficult by having a man sent off after 26 minutes.

So in the end a draw was a reasonable result.
The men in green did hit the post in the second half and that was the closest either team came to breaking the deadlock.

As you might expect it was a frenetic match with lots of misplaced passes.
Austria certainly had the edge after the dismissal but Rapid came out with plenty of spirit in the second period, driven on by their ultras behind the goal.

Late pressure by the champions, with Hosiner on as substitute, was averted and honours ended even in the 306th Vienna derby.

No goals but there was choreography at both ends and copious smoke (often green) and flares, especially from the Rapid ultras.

For me a quick exit and back via the s-bahn to Praterstern for a chinese buffet.

And then homeward via Bratislava where the tourists strolled around the old town and admired the castle (as did your correspondent), in the warm weather.  

more pictures at

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Switzerland August 2013

Three games in Switzerland including Basel’s visit to St Gallen and a trip to the new stadium in Wil.

After the smoke clears - its a draw.

3rd August 2013  St Gallen 1 Basel 1  Swiss Super League  16,468 (c. 800 away)

St Gallen moved to the AGF Arena about four years ago.
A fifteen minute (free) bus ride west of the city it provides compact, covered accommodation with terrace sections for the home and away ultras.
Both sets provided plenty of (multicoloured) smoke and flares.

Often the ground was partially obscured.

The best action on the pitch was at the Basel end as St Gallen pressed forward.
A Karanovic header, well saved by Sommer, was followed later by an error by the goalie that should have been punished.
A goal line stop saved his blushes.

Mathys also went close before Basel went ahead, against the run of play, when Xhaka shot into the corner.

But eventually the home pressure told as Janjatovic volleyed in a Basel clearance for the deserved equaliser.

Overall the match had too many misplaced long balls and you felt Basel were overly cautious, relying on opportunities to arrive, which up to a point they did.

The late action perked up the contest, as did the ubiquitous pyro.


4th August 2013  Wil 2 Vaduz 1  Challenge League   2,385 (c. 80 away)

‘Footballs coming home’ announced the Wil ultras banner.
And Wil are back home in their redeveloped stadium with its neat rows of open terrace (no requirement for an all-seater here) that shone in the bright Spanish-like sunshine.

The home ultras, also noisily evident in the old town, did their thing and there was a decent number of fans from Vaduz behind the other goal.

The artificial pitch prompted passing and Wil did OK although at times both sides were guilty of too many mistakes.
One such error led to a penalty for the home side, but Macedonian striker Jahovic’s shot was saved.

Earlier he had given Wil the lead from a right wing cross.
That was equalised by North Korean Pak who converted a left wing cross at the second attempt

It is not too often you see a European match with North Koreans on both sides (right back Cha was in the home side)

Substitute Bozic, again following a goalie misadventure. shot in from a narrow angle for the winner.
Back in St Gallen I enjoyed a weizen beer, some Nasi Goreng and a caipirinha.
Incidentally there is a superb caipirinha bar near Marktplatz that supplies a production line of the Brazilian cocktail - a mega jar for 45 chf is an option (with extra straws)

Parity in Wohlen.

5th August  Wohlen 1 Lugano 1  Challenge League  1,500 (c. 20 away)

From St Gallen to Zurich then on via Lenzburg (with its impressive castle) to Wohlen.

Which was quiet on this Monday evening.

The local stadium, a fifteen minute stroll from the centre, comprises a single stand with plenty of room for expansion around the perimeter.
A small group from Lugano fans waved their flags in the second half behind one goal.

Their team played better possession football although the home side were always dangerous from set pieces.
Mattia Bottani was a lively forward for the visitors.

Wohlen finally went ahead on eighty minutes when Paiva converted after the Lugano goalie had parried a Cardiello shot.
But Lugano got their deserved leveller when Serbian sub. Dubajic got up to nicely convert a penalty after being fouled.

On a warm evening, despite some lightning in the background, the storms stayed away.

I selected beer for the return journey to Zurich.

more pictures at