FC Admira Wacker v SV Ried
Bundesstadion Südstadt / Austrian Bundesliga / 20th August 2016
You just have to love the name ‘ FC Admira Wacker Mödling’ – it just sort of sounds quite funny. If you seek more reasons to like them, then I’ll add in that they beat Cardiff City 3-2 (over two legs) in the European Cup Winners Cup in 1992. Well done Admira Wacker on that triumph and apologies for leaving the congratulations 24 years late. Today, I was to find out what visiting the Wackers (not actually their nickname sadly) was like.
Admittedly, Admira Wacker were my second choice for my Saturday afternoon football. The frontrunners were the more renowned Austria Wien, but after they progressed in the Europa League (knocking out my current hometown club, Spartak Trnava, in the process) their fixture was moved to a Sunday. I had felt a bit uneasy about visiting Austria Wien anyway, as by default Rapid Wien – their big rivals – were sort of be ‘my Austrian team’ (everyone has one, right?) This merely spawned from the fact that I had purchased a Rapid Vienna 2007 away shirt for £10 in Swansea’s chain of Sports Direct in my uni days; it was cheap and I thought I’d look ‘hipster’ wearing it when we played 5-a-side. I believe the football gods were keeping me away from Austria Wien as to not betray my Rapid shirt. Anyway, enough about the giants of Austria and Rapid Wien – today was Admira Wacker’s day…
I had been a Welshman living abroad for almost a week by the time I found myself back in central Vienna, after a very fun Friday night out on the town the night before. So far, I had not lived up to the stereotype of a ‘Brit abroad’ and so I felt I’d get it out-of-the-way now: I visited an Irish Bar. Flanagan’s was heaving on this late morning, as New Zealand v Australia was on TV in the rugby. I wasn’t really interested, but I was certainly interested in one part of the bar: the Punk IPA tap. In my home of Trnava, Punk IPA appears to be non-existent, so I’m going to have to get used to life without it (although I did find it in Bratislava two days before). I felt I should bathe in Punk IPA at every opportunity from now on – even though it’s very expensive on the continent it seems. No-one comes to Vienna to spend the day in an Irish pub though, so with Punk drunk, it was onwards across the road I went, to the bar that had been most recommended to me by others since I had announced I was going to Vienna. A big thank you to all those that did – 1516 proved to be my favourite bar of the weekend.
Similar to 7 Stern Brau the day before, 1516 brew all their own beers. Their largely female staff are all very knowledgeable about the ale too and there is a very friendly vibe to the place. More importantly for me, I could watch football (Stoke and Manchester City today) underneath a whole host of random European football scarves. If I thought this place was brilliant before, I then discovered they had sour beer and it’s fair to say I adore sour beers. ‘1516 Andy’s Gose. Bämmelah ze Sour Saxon’ – I promise that’s the beer’s full name – was superb. So good in fact, I stayed for three whilst I watched Stoke get dismantled by Manchester City.
Just like day one of my weekend in Vienna, I ignored the public transport heading to the train station and decided to walk to the train station – taking a new route this time as I continued to explore Vienna. I must have lost about a stone walking the couple of miles to the station as it was stupendously hot in Vienna as we hit mid-afternoon.
I arrived at Vienna Hauptbahnhof and had myself a little wait until the train south to Mödling. Fortunately, there was a sports’ bar called Admiral in Vienna’s train station and a great sports’ bar at that. The bar was plastered with huge screens showing afternoon football across Europe – including Jeff Stelling and the Soccer Saturday gang back in the UK. It felt like I was in some sort of European football surveillance headquarters. Whilst I watched Jeff get enthusiastic about every meaningless game back home, one train worker to my left was having some sort of meltdown, as he watched his team, Dynamo Dresden, go a goal down to the much maligned RB Leipzig.
I had had enough of trying to watch about 10 games at once and it was time for my train out of the city. As always, I got excited as a double-decker train pulled up to the platform (I really have to get used to these now and stop getting a buzz on when I get on one) and soon I was arriving at Wien-Meidling station. A quick change over here – on to another double-decker train – and I was arriving into Mödling station, 20-25 minutes after leaving Vienna. It was in Mödling I’d be finding Admira Wacker.
Pleasant enough was Mödling, but there didn’t seem to be too much going on here, so onwards I went through the small suburb until I found myself heading down a long road seemingly leading to nowhere. However, once it veered left onto another long main road, the floodlights of Admira Wacker’s Bundesstation Südstadt came into view and after an excitable, pacey walk, I quickly arrived under the Admira Wacker badge lodged on the side of the block of concrete known as the club’s Haupttribune (main stand for you non-German speakers).
The usual array of food kiosks and benches could be found here with several fans already basking in the glorious sunshine with prematch beers. I immediately headed for the club shop for my usual European scarf (now I live in Slovakia, I’ve decided only scarves outside Slovakia, the UK or on special occasions are applicable for the Lost Boyos scarf collection). My Admira Wacker scarf is easily the strangest and ‘campest’ of my football scarf ensemble. It’s like bloody silk! But on this scorcher of an evening, I guess I didn’t want wool tied around my neck. So with my new silk Admira Wacker scarf and after a quick beer outside, I headed for the corner of the ground with my €15 ticket for the standing terrace.
I’d been told repeatedly that Admira Wacker are a bit of a ‘nothing club’ compared to the big two of Rapid and Austria Wien in the city – or even as well-loved as the lower league First Vienna and the club I had visited the day before, Wiener SK. However, they may not be as historic or as revered as the others, but I had a thoroughly enjoyable evening with the Admiraner.
Despite perhaps not being as well-known as the aforementioned Viennese teams, Admira Wacker are still one of the big guns of Austria football. They have 9 titles to their name, although most of those came in the 20s and 30s with the last one coming in 1966 under the name of Admira Vienna. The club have been known as Admira Vienna for most of their history, which began in 1907, but like many clubs their name comes from an amalgamation of several locals clubs: chiefly Admira Vienna, SC Wacker Vienna and VfB Mödling. The club have only been Admira Wacker Mödling since 1997 (although they were also named after their businessman owner, Richard Trenkwalder, and called FC Trenkwalder Admira for a few years).
The club has overseen several famous European victories (mainly in the UEFA Cup/Europa League) such as beating the Inter Milan side of the 70s over two legs and, of course, beating Cardiff City 3-2 over two legs in the 92/93 European Cup Winners’ Cup. They’ve actually just crashed out of Europe a couple of weeks ago, after losing 4-1 to Czechs Slovan Liberec in Europa League qualification. This Saturday evening though was very much a domestic affair, as Admira were taking on SV Ried, a club from nearer the German border.
I hadn’t expected too much from the ground, but it was better than I expected without being magnificent. 3 sides of the ground are open and singled-tiered – although currently spectator-free and covered over for now, apart from the opposite corner to our’s where the noisy gathering of Ried fans could be found. The Main Stand is your usual two-tiered stand, although it seemed bigger than it actually was thanks to the low stands flanking it. I was in the corner to the left of the main stand, where I was told there would be ‘atmosphere’.
It all started rather quiet as the clock ticked towards kick-off, although panic gripped me as I realised I had left the EU adaptor for my phone in the sports bar in Vienna Banhnhof. Fortunately, there was to be a hero of the day as my phone’s battery stumbled towards death. As I ordered beer and sausage, I described my woe to the lad working there and he soon went and found me a charger from the ‘members only’ clubhouse, before kindly offering to charge it behind his stall. It turned out that the lad didn’t even work for the club and actually worked for a catering company that goes all round Viennese football grounds selling their goods. This was Jan and what a nice guy he was. We discussed football for a bit, before he spoiled my happiness by informing me that Swansea had conceded a late goal to go down 2-0 to Hull City at home. Oh well, I would drink more here at Admira Wacker to drown my woes.
As soon as the teams emerged from the building in the corner of the ground, the Admira Wacker Ultras seemed to suddenly assemble and soon they were drumming away and chanting away with all this being led by the megaphoned ‘conductor’ atop the small platform in the corner. There was not many of them, but they were making a lot of noise. As were the Ried fans, who seemed miles away over the opposite corner, but were highly noticeable thanks to them all seemingly topless and waving green, black and white flags.
The game got underway and I watched atop the terrace curve whilst chatting with Jan – who clearly wanted to chat more, but also didn’t want to get in trouble with his supervisor for not giving his work his full attention. The last thing I wanted to do was get a young lad fired having been in Vienna just under 36 hours, so I let him be. To the walkway behind the goals I headed (the seats in the stand had been completely covered up).
The game was not particularly interesting and soon I was making more friends. Having asked him to take a photo of me, I got speaking to a German chap who had headed to Austria for some football…well, that’s not quite true. It turned out his daughter wanted a shopping trip to Vienna and so he came along for some groundhopping and was here tonight and had even, just like me, gone to Wiener SK the night before. Easily one of my favourite things about football is meeting people like Krischan – an 1860 München fan – and trading football stories. Randomly he asked had I ever been to Leyton Orient. “Sadly, yes.”
My German is usually good enough to work out what people are saying at least, but I was struggling to understand the Admira Wacker fans’ chants – they looked to be having a good time though.They hadn’t had too much to sing about in fairness with Stephan Zwierschitz’s close range header, which he should have scored, being the only notable chance.
Admira were on top as the half came to a close, but apart from a few close long shots, there was not too much for the 1800 in attendance to get excited about.
Half-time: Admira Wacker 0 – 0 SV Ried.
I was already predicting this one to be a 0-0, so I bought more beer for me and Krischan to brace myself for a stalemate, whilst also retrieving my phone from Jan. What a guy.
Some young wannabes tried starting chants from the platform, as the second half got underway, before the ‘big dog’ of the fans came and usurped them and took his rightful place. The fans were certainly better second half as the game slowly began to improve too. Now the home team were very much on top, as the away team spent the half clearly in wait to spark off a counter-attack.
We watched on from the back of the curve as Admira Wacker battled for a winner, but it just was not happening for them When they hit the bar, I turned to Krischan and said that that was it and instead we occupied ourselves sticking my Lost Boyos stickers and his 1860 stickers (‘High Society’ apparently) around the curve. But then, it happened…one of the greatest counter -attacks and assists in Lost Boyos history…
The clock struck 90 and Ried suddenly came to life. Soon they were bursting forward at the home goal and they seemed to be outnumbering the defence. A superb low curling ball was played into the box, but was heroically cleared away by a brilliant sliding tackle from a defender and the ball was seemingly heading for a throw-in. However, the goalie, Manuel Kuttin, had other plans and, after a brief hesitation, he went chasing after the ball 25 yards from his goal. With the ball looking certain to go out of play, I declared Kuttin a nutjob, but at the last inch, he launched a punt into the air and towards the opposing penalty box. No-one quite believed it, including the Ried goalie and defender who got in each other’s way in their panic, leading to Lukas Grozerok to creep in between them on the edge of the box and score into an empty net. Oh, the scenes.
The terrace was going crazy, as were the players with most of them celebrating with goalkeeping hero and assist king Kuttin. Even if it’s a team you don’t support, and as long as it is not Cardiff City, nothing beats the feeling of being there amongst fans for a 90th minute winner and the sheer ecstasy and pandemonium that ensues with it. Obviously, more so if it is your club.
Moments later the final whistle was blowing and that was it. What a way to win a game.
Full-time: Admira Wacker 1 – 0 SV Ried.
As is customary at most clubs in this part of Europe, the players came over with their arms around each other to thank the fans. In a nice touch too, they unveiled a banner thanking a fan (maybe club worker too?) who I assumed was celebrating her 90th birthday from what the banner read – I may be wrong though. The fans clearly love ‘Trude’ anyway as they all cheered and turned to a lady not far from us, who I assumed was the famous ‘Trude’.
Before I left for my train, I was treated to a fat man on the platform bellowing a call and repeat chant into the silent Mödling night. This went on until there was the cue for the fans to start drumming again and for the players to perform a silly victory dance, whilst the club mascot, some sort of bear, danced around the corner flag. A lovely way to exit as I rushed out and began the quick walk back to the train station to make my train back to Vienna (Mödling seemed alright, but I didn’t really fancy waiting around there for the next train in an hour).
Soon enough, I was back for a few more beers in 1516, which was now heaving. It was a pleasant blend of nationalities with some Brazilians watching the Olympic football final between Brazil and Germany, whilst I convinced an American brother and sister of the joys of sour beer (as always, one loved it, one hated it). There was almost silence in the bar for the penalty shootout between the Brazilians and Germans, but I think everyone was happy for the gang of Brazilians in the bar as Brazil beat the Germans on penalties (yep, the Germans did actually lose a penalty shootout).
My weekend in Vienna was coming to an end and I had had a proper blast. My Wiener SK experience had thrown me a niche football club with the whole punk football mantra, whilst this evening had provided me with some passionate ultras and a superb way to win a game of football. I’ll go to better grounds than Admira Wacker’s, I’ll come across better fans than Admira Wacker’s and I’ll definitely see better games than this one at Admira Wacker – tt was fun though and that’s all that matters. As as was Vienna in general. With the Austrian capital now only 90 minutes from my Trnava home, I have no doubt I’ll be back.
With the sound of Brazilians cheering, I exited 1516 and headed out into the Viennese night…
Oh, and happy birthday to my Mam for the day, who’s present was listening to me talk to here outside Admira Wacker’s ground about the joys of Kuttin’s assist. What a present. What a son.
(Furthermore, for any of those who were really worrying, my EU adaptor was still in the plug socket when I got to the sports’ bar. Phew.)
Highlights: finding Punk IPA, 1516, Admira Wacker fans, meeting good football people, that Kuttin assist at the end, last-minute winner.
Low Points: not much nearer the ground, dull game (until the 90th minute).
See all my photos from my day in Vienna and at Admira Wacker here.