First Team Star
Nov 7, 2019, 6:54 PM
Team(s): Colchester United, Stocksbridge Park Steels, Borussia Dortmund & Essex CC
Post #1 of 1
Osterreich, Liechtenstein & Ceska Republika
As usual it’s taken a while to get around to writing up my last European jaunt, but as they say, better late than never. On Thursday, 10th October I headed once more to Stansted Airport. I arrived too early as is my wont. Dropped my bag, proceeded through the security check and headed to the Spoons for a traditional English breakfast. All went swimmingly until Ryanair intervened. I spent the proceeding hours watching flight FR2404 to Memmingen move up the departure board to the very top where it stayed until long after it’s scheduled departure time. We took off about two hours late and made up about thirty minutes in flight. I say made up but actually I think they just allow extra flight time so that they can usually pretend that they are early and super efficient. Not this day. Fortunately Memmingen is not a busy airport and passport control, baggage reclaim and bus transfer to the town station was completed in no time at all. I almost made my original train connection but didn’t have enough time to purchase my tickets. Not to worry there were plenty more trains. My train journey involved two changes, Memmingen to Kempen, Kempen to Lindau and Lindau to Feldkirch. The Hotel Garni Baren was just minutes from Feldkirch station.
The next day Friday I spent a leisurely morning wandering around Feldkirch’s medieval centre. Late morning I caught the #11 bus from outside Feldkirch station up to Liechtenstein alighting at the Schaan Quader stop for both my hostel and the Liechtenstein Fussballverband offices where I had been told I could purchase a ticket for next day’s Euro 2020 qualifier. What I hadn’t been told was that they only work a half day on Friday and the offices had closed shortly before my arrival. Not to worry. I checked into the hostel and then walked into Vaduz. It has to be said that there is not a lot to see in Vaduz but the location is stunning sitting below Schloss Vaduz, the residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein and surrounded by the majestic Alps. With blue skies and temperatures in the low 20s there couldn’t have been a more pleasant spot to sit outside a cafe downing Liechtensteiner Brauhaus Alpagold and Weiza beers. I called into the tourist office to ask about tickets for the international and was directed to the post office (!) opposite. The information was correct and ten minutes later I had my ticket. I then checked out the Rheinpark Stadion located on the banks of the river. The walk from Vaduz centre takes just fifteen minutes. That evening I returned to the pedestrianised Stadtle (small town) in Vaduz where a superb selection of food stalls had been setting up earlier in the day. With live music on an adjacent stage it was an excellent way to round off the day.
Saturday arrived and I was ready for a footie fix. I caught the #11 bus back into Feldkirch and visited the weekly market in the town centre. I then walked the 2.8 kms out to the Waldstadion.
The Waldstadion is a smart little stadium in the wooded outskirts of Feldkirch. The grass pitch is surrounded by a running track. It has a 700 seat stand that runs almost the full length of the pitch. You enter at the town end on the stand side of the stadium. To the right of the stand is a bar and food outlet serving sausages & chips, beer and soft drinks. Picnic tables with sun shades sit in front of the bar. The other three sides are grassed standing areas that can accommodate another 2000 spectators. There is a scoreboard at the town end.
Vorarlberger Fussball-Verband 3. Landesklasse
FC BW Feldkirch Juniors 2(0) Andelsbuch 7(3)
White Shirts & Shorts Blue Shirts & Shorts
Attendance 45 (H/C)
Admission Free No Programmes or Badges
Currywurst mit Pommes €6.50 Bier €3.50
I was expecting this to be a youth fixture but some of the players were definitely senior in years. The visitors dominated the game and comfortably led three-nil at the break with goals scored by Fink (7’) and Kleber (9’ & 32’). It was more of the same after the break with Kleber scoring three more (46’, 69’ & 73’) and Maser (49’) getting the other. Blau-Weiss scored two late consolation goals through Kraher (86’) and Giessauf (89’).
FC BW Feldkirch 1(1) FC Lustenau 1907 2(1)
White Shirts w Blue Trim / White Shorts Blue Shirts / White Shorts
Admission €6 No Programmes Team Sheets Free
The Vorarlbergliga is part of the 4th highest level of Austrian football which is called the Landesliga. However, inside Vorarlberg state, Landesliga is the name of the 5th tier which teams of Vorarlbergliga are relegated to. Got it? This time there was an admission charge and although I was already inside the stadium I was happy to pay. Team sheets with club news on the front were a bonus. This game proved to be a much closer affair. Blau-Weiss took the lead in the 34th minute when Kum shot from outside the box. The lead only lasted three minutes when the ball broke to Beck on the left of the penalty area and he fired Lustenau level. The game looked to be heading for a draw when three minutes from the end of normal time a defensive mix up led to Zengin having a simple tap in for the visitors who took all three points.
A brisk walk back into town and another #11 bus ride and I was back in Vaduz within the hour.
UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier Group J
Rheinpark Stadion, Vaduz
Liechtenstein 1(0) Armenia 1(1)
Blue Shirts / Red Shorts White Shirts & Shorts
Admission CHF32.45 Programme Free
Schublig Sausage CHF7.50 Beer CHF5.50
The Rheinpark Stadion has a capacity of 7584. There are four stands with red, blue & yellow seats. The mountain views take some beating. Match programmes were plentiful and free inside the turnstiles. Swiss sausages were excellent and some German hoppers from Dresden that I was chatting to vouched for the alcoholic content of the beer. Going into this Euro 2020 Qualifier Armenia could have gone second with a win. Liechtenstein were encouraged by a rare away point in their previous qualifier in Greece. Cheered on by a large following of expat Armenians, the visitors dominated much of the first half but only managed the one goal. It came in the 19th minute and was a 30 yard strike from Tigran Barseghyan who plays his club football for FC Kaisar in Kasakhstan. After the break the visitors could have added to their tally but then, against the run of play in the 72nd minute, a Liechtenstein breakaway led to a shot that Armenian keeper Brandle could only parry. Yanick Frick following up put away the rebound to level the score. Despite Armenia’s best efforts that is the way it ended and the home team and their supporters celebrated back to back points in competitive games.
Sunday was a day of travelling. I made an early start to catch the #11 bus one last time. Then it was train from Feldkirch to Linz and after a short break another from Linz to Praha hl.n., also known as Prague main train station. My accomodation the Hotel Zlata Vaha was a short 10 minute walk from the station.
Monday was yet another glorious sunny day and was ideal for sightseeing. It was nearly 30 years since I was last in Prague in January,1990 just weeks after the Velvet Revolution. To say things had changed would be an understatement but the sights were still the same – Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, Wenceslas Square and the Astronical Clock. The main difference is the thousands of tourists taking selfies in front of these landmarks.
I met my friend who lives and works in Prague at my hotel late afternoon. Both a hopper and an ale enthusiast he took me an excellent locals’ pub on Havlickova near the Praha Masarykovo Nadrazi train station. The pub had an excellent selection of beers and the U23 Czech Rep v Scotland on the TV. Unfortunately we couldn’t dwell too long as the evening’s game was an early kick off. We caught a 26 tram the 7 stops to Sparta (Generali Arena) that took about ten minutes and cost CZK24.
Generali Arena, Prague
Czech Republic 2(0) Northern Ireland 3(3)
Red Shirts / Blue Shorts Green Shirts / White Shorts
Admission CZK400 Programmes Free
Pikantni Klobasa CZK45 Staropramen CZK65
The Gernerali Arena the home of Sparta Prague was previously known as the Stadion Letná and has a capacity of 18185. The stadium was reconstructed in 1994 and is now a two tier all seated stadium. There are no floodlight pylons with the lights mounted on the stand roofs. Match programmes were free and were being given out outside the ground. The programme was a double issue for both the England Euro Qualifier and the Northern Ireland International Friendly. An assortment of sausages were available from the consession stands. I went for a spicy Pikantni Klobasa.
International Friendly games can be drab affairs but I’ve struck lucky in the last couple of seasons (Belgium 3 Mexico 3 and Netherlands 2 Peru1) and this game was another cracker. I’m not sure whether the Czechs still had hangovers after beating England a few days earlier but they were overrun by the Irish before the break. The visitors took a 8th minute lead when Paddy McNair turned in a cross from the left. In the 23rd minute a goalmouth scramble after a corner was poked in by Johnny Evans. In the 38th minute McNair beat the offside trap rounded the Czech keeper and slotted in, nil-three! The Czech coach must have given his players the osetreni vlasu at half time as they were a different team after the break. In the 67th minute Vladimir Darida finished an excellent passing move to make it one-three. A minute later Alex Kral, the Czech David Liuz lookalike, broke into the box and fired in two-three, game on! The Czech’s tried their best but Northern Ireland defended well and just about deserved the win. It was excellent entertainment.
Back home on Monday, but as flights from Prague to Stansted were hundreds of pounds (all the England & Northern Ireland supporters heading home?) I caught a train to Berlin. I spent an enjoyable afternoon in Berlin before catching a late evening flight from Schonefeld to Stansted for a much more reasonable price. That was yet another top trip. Don’t ask about November!
(This post was edited by sheffgeoff on Nov 7, 2019, 7:04 PM)