Austria

Capital: Vienna
Population: 8.2 million
Currency: Euro
Official Language: German
Borders: Germany (North), Slovakia (North/East), Hungary (East/South), Italy (South/West), Switerzerland (West), Liechtenstein (West)
GNP per Capita: $27,920 (9th in world)
Main Airport: Wien-Schwechat – Vienna

Lying in the heart of Europe, Austria is dominated by the Alps in the west, and flat fertile plains in the east.  Created in 1918 after the collapse of the Hasburg empire, it was absorbed into Hitler’s Germany in 1938, regaining independence in 1955.  Was one of the founder members of the Euro.

The Austrian Football Bundesliga is the highest-ranking national league club competition in Austrian football. It is the competition which decides the Austrian national football (soccer) champions, as well the country’s entrants for the various European cups run by UEFA.

The Austrian Bundesliga, which began in the 1974-75 season, has been a separate registered association since December 1, 1991. At present it is composed of two divisions – the Bundesliga and First League, known as “tipp3-Bundesliga powered by T-Mobile” and “ADEG 1st league” for sponsorship reasons

The Austrian league is characterised by a number of small regional teams from towns such as Linz and Mattersburg mixed with those who have occasionally graced Europe such as Sturm Graz, Rapid Vienna and Austria Vienna (now known as Austria Magna).  There has been a tendency in recent years to sell everything including the kitchen sink to the first sponsor that comes along and so expect some of these names to change on a yearly basis.  It is refreshing to still see a number of sides such as Rapid Vienna and Innsbruck shun the Euros and keep their traditional names, but they tend to be the exception rather than the rule.  The league has been dominated over the past two seasons by the Red Bull cash in Salzburg, but the tide does seem to be changing with SV Ried, LASK Linz and Mattersburg leading the new order in Austrian Club football.

Games in the top Bundesliga division tend to be played on a Saturday at 5pm, with matches in the lower leagues either Friday or Sunday.  Tickets are available at the gate for all games – it is a long time since a domestic game sold out, and even the best supported Red Bull Salzburg tend to struggle to fill the lower tier of their stadium.  In the past few years as an experiment the Vienna derby between Rapid and Austria Magna has been played at the Ernst Happel National Stadium, although there are no early plans to repeat this for the coming season.

Last season the league was a two horse race for most of the year with Red Bull Salzburg and Rapid Vienna fighting out for top spot.  The title in the end went to the Red Bulls, a reverse of 2007/08 when the Green and Whites from the Capital won, and a long awaited return to the Champions League (although still at the qualifying stage) awaits them in August.  Austria Vienna came 3rd and will compete in the Europa Cup, whilst Sturm Graz completed a remarkable return from near bankruptcy with a 4th place finish.  At the other end Altach and Mattersburg were relegated.

Bundesliga Champions since 2000:-

2009 FC Red Bull Salzburg
2008 Rapid Vienna
2007 FC Red Bull Salzburg
2006 Austria Vienna
2005 SK Rapid Wien
2004 Grazer AK (GAK)
2003 Austria Vienna
2002 FC Tirol Innsbruck
2001 FC Tirol Innsbruck
2000 FC Tirol Innsbruck
1999 Sturm Graz

Many thanks to WorldStadiums.com and Stadiumguides.com for allowing repoduction of the stadium photos below.

For more details on the locations of the stadiums, go to Footiemap.com which has a details view of the stadium’s location as well as links directly through to the clubs websites.

For an up to date list of fixtures, click here .

The following clubs played in the Austrian Bundesliga in 2009/10.  For more details on Graz, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Salzurg and Vienna scroll down to end of page.

SV Josko Fenster Ried
Volksfestplatz 2
4910 Ried im Innkreis
Tel: +43 7752 81100
Web:http://www.svried.at
Stadium: Fill-Metallbau Stadion
7,600 Capacity – 4,300 seats
Seats – €13 Standing – €10

2006/07 season’s surprise runners up were SV Ried (named Josko Fenster after the club’s main sponsor), based in the Linz region of Austria.  The team is based on home grown Austrian talent which is very unusual for the Bundesliga.  Last season was the club’s best ever performance – previously they only had 2 x second division titles to their name – the last one was in 2005.  NEAREST AIRPORT – LINZ

SV Baulwelt Koch Mattersburg
Sportverein Mattersburg
Michael-Koch-Strasse 50
Postfach 41
Mattersburg
Tel: +43 2626 625 10
Web: http://www.svm.at
Stadium: Pappelstadion
15,500 Capacity – 5,500 seats
Seats – €19 Standing – €16

Main sponsor is Bauwelt Koch. Last season under the leadership of Franz Lederer, Mattersburg surprised many by finishing third in the league.  Included in their squad is German international Carsten Jancker and Macedonian captain Goce Sedloski.  Located in the north east of Austria in between Vienna and Graz close to the A23 autobahn.  There is a small club shop at the stadium.  NEAREST AIRPORT – GRAZ

FK Austria Magna
Franz-Horr Stadion
Matthias-Sindelar-Tribüne
Fischofgasse 14,
1100 Wien
Tel: +43 1 688 0150
Web: http://www.fk-austria.at
Stadium: Franz-Horr-Stadion
11,800 Capacity – 9,000 seats
Seats – €1 to €24 Standing – €12

Main sponsor is Magna who unsurprisingly also appear in the name of the club.  The team finished mid-table last season and include the Polish internationals Jacek Bak and Arek Radomski in their squad this season.  The club are located in the southern fringes of Vienna, adjacent to the E59 ringroad.  The nearest tram stop is Reumannplatz on line 67.  NEAREST AIRPORT – VIENNA / BRATISLAVA

SK Puntigamer Sturm Graz
Triester Strasse 359
8055 Graz
Tel: +43 316 771 771 0
Web: http://www.sksturm.at
Stadium: UPC Arena
15,230 Capacity – All Seater
Seats – €14 to €27

The previously named Arnold Schwarzenegger stadium has now been renamed after a bust up with the Governor of California.  SK Sturm had a poor season last time out, finishing in 6th place – just a few seasons after gracing the Champions League three seasons in a row.  Their main sponsor is Puntigamer who have signed a naming deal with the club.  The club have won the Bundesliga on two occasions – the last time was in 1999.   NEAREST AIRPORT – GRAZ

Cashpoint SCR Altach
Schweizerstrasse 8
6844 Altach
Tel: +43 5576 79911
Web: http://www.scra.at
Stadium: Cashpoint Arena
9,000 Capacity – 1,100 Seats
Seats – €16 Standing – €13

Another blatant example of a club selling their soul as SCR Altach adopted the Cashpointname through a sponsorship deal a number of years ago.  Their small stadium is currently going through a major programme of redevelopment to make it all seater.  The stadium is located a few miles north of Vaduz in Liechenstein almost adjacent to the A14 Autobahn.  NEAREST AIRPORT – FRIEDRICHSCHAFEN / ZURICH

LASK Linz
Ziegeleistrasse
4020 Linz
Tel: +43 732 603 332
Web: http://www.lask.at
Stadium: Stadion der Stadt Linz
20,097 Capacity – All Seater
Seats – €17 to €24

Last seasons newcomers to the Bundesliga were LASK Linz who won the second division at a canter in 2006/07.  It is also refreshing to see that they have not sold out their name or their stadium yet.  Linz is the second biggest city in Austria and is located in the north west of the country.  The city is served on a daily basis by Ryanair from London Stansted.  The stadium is a 10 minute walk from the Hauptbahnhof, although a number of buses also run up the hill from the station.  NEAREST AIRPORT – LINZ

SV Stadtwerke Kapfenberg
Franz Fekete Stadion
J-Brandlgasse
258605 Kapfenberg
Tel: +43 3862 220 70
Web: http://www.ksv-fussball.at
Capacity: 12,000 – 2,000 seats
Admission – €12 Seats €8 Standing
Kapfenberg are the new boys in the Bundesliga for 2007/08 as they won the Red Zac league last season and will replace Wacker Innsbruck.  The small club from Styria will struggle in the top division against the clubs with bigger budget but they will enjoy the experience.  NEAREST AIRPORT – GRAZ

Red Zac Erste Liga – The Austrian Second Division Teams

SCS bet-at-home.com
The bet-at-home.com Arena
Vor der Au
4690 Schwanenstadt
Tel: +43 7673 30283
Web: http://www.sc-scwanenstadt.at
Capacity: 5,000 – 1,000 seats
Admission – €12 Seats €10 Standing

DSV Leoben
Stadion Donawitz
Annabergstrasse 10
8700 Leoben
Tel: +43 3842 213 91
Web: http://www.dsv-leoben.at
Capacity: 7,000 – 2,700 seats
Admission – €12 Seats €10 Standing

SC Austria Lustenau
Reichhofstadion
Schützengartenstrasse 21
6890 Lustenau
Tel: +43 5577 86250
Web: http://www.austria-lustenau.at
Capacity: 8,800 – 3,000 seats
Admission – €14 Seats €11 Standing

FC Gratkorn
Sportstadion der Marktgemeinde
Sportsplatzgasse 7
8101 Gratkorn
Telephone: +43 3124 223 44
Web: http://www.fcgratkorn.at
Capacity: 3,000 – 2,600 seats
Admission – €12 Seats €8 Standing

FC Lustenau
Reichhofstadion
Schützengartenstrasse 21
6890 Lustenau
Tel: +43 5577 63061
Web: http://www.fc-lustenau.at
Capacity: 8,800 – 3,000 seats
Admission – €14 Seats €11 Standing

FK Austria Magna Amateure
Franz-Horr Stadion
Matthias-Sindelar-Tribüne
Fischofgasse 14,
1100 Wien
Tel: +43 1 688 0150
Web: http://www.fk-austria.at
Capacity: 11,800 – 9,000 seats
Admission – €9 Seats €7 Standing

SC/ESV Parndorf
Heidebodenstadion
Am Sportsplatz 1
711 Parndorf
Tel: +43 1 74032 749
Web: http://www.sc-esv-parndorf.at
Capacity: 3,500 – 1,000 seats
Admission – €10 Seats €8 Standing

SV Stadtwerke Kapfenberg
Franz Fekete Stadion
J-Brandlgasse 25
8605 Kapfenberg
Tel: +43 3862 220 70
Web: http://www.ksv-fussball.at
Capacity: 12,000 – 2,000 seats
Admission – €12 Seats €8 Standing

SV Harreither Bad Aussee
Panoramastadion
Banhoffstrasse 169
8990 Bad Aussee
Tel: +43 3622 54550 10
Web: http://www.svbadaussee.at
Capacity: 3,000 – 1,000 seats
Admission – €12 Seats €10 Standing

ASK Trenkwalder Schwadorf
Richard Gebert Stadion
Am Sportsplatz
2432 Schwadorf
Tel: +43 2230 3321
Web: http://www.ask-schwadorf.at
Capacity: 5,000 – 1,000 seats
Admission – €12 Seats €10 Standing

FOOTBALL IN GRAZ

GRAZ – STURM PUNTIGAMER GRAZ / GRAZ AK – UPC ARENA: 15,400 ALL SEATER

About The UPC Arena
The UPC Arena is the new name for the more famous Arnold Schwarzenegger Stadion – named of course after the city’s most famous son.  However, the “Terminator”/Graz love-in ended in December 2005 after a huge row broke out when Arnie in his role as Governor of California refused to stop the execution of a prisoner on death row.  The town council of Graz were furious and during the following days, Schwarzenegger revoked the right of the town to use his name.

The modern stadium was built in 1995, and opened with a local derby in 1997, and replaced the homely Gruabn stadium that had been home to the teams since 1909.  The new stadium was certainly a home from home.  An all seater arena, fully covered and with roof heaters to stop fans getting too chilly in the winter.  It is function to say the least, and views are good from all seats.  The stadium has hosted Champions League football on a number of occasions, and in these instances, temporary seating has raised the capacity above 16,000.

Who plays there?
The stadium is home to the town’s two professional clubs – SK Sturm Graz and Grazer AK.  Recent history has not been kind on either – both have spent periods in administration, and if it wasn’t for a controversial sponsorship deal in 2005, Sturm would cease to exist at all.

SK Sturm Graz were originally formed in 1909 as a working men team, but it wasn’t for 75 years that they made their mark on Austrian football when they finished runners up in the 1983 championship.  In the following season they entered the UEFA Cup for the first team.  In an impressive run, they reached the quarter finals, before they lost harshly on penalties to Nottingham Forest.  It took another 10 years of struggle in setting up one of the best academies in Austria before the club were again ready to hit the big time.  Under the leadership if Ivica Osim they finished runners up in 1995 and 1996, although in the latter they did win the Austrian Cup by beating Admira Modling.

In 1998 they won their first Bundesliga title, gaining a record number of points and wins during that historic season.  In 1999 they retained their title, as well as winning the Cup and SuperCup for an unprecedented domestic treble.  They also made their debut in the Champions League, after coming through a qualification round against the Hungarian’s Upjest.  They never looked like making an impression in a tough group featuring Inter Milan and Real Madrid (losing 6-1 and 5-1 to Madrid), and a single scoreless draw away to Spartak Moscow was their only success.  However, three sell out matches at the stadium showed the new found interest in the team.  In the 1999-2000 season they came from behind to beat Servette to move into the group stages again.  They faired slightly better than 12 months previously, beating Dinamo Zagreb and Marseille at home, although a final 3rd place finish was enough to take them into the UEFA Cup.

A hatrick of titles was halted by FC Tirol, but in 2000-01 they had their best ever European campaign.  They started the competition well, beating a strong Feyenoord 3-2 on aggregate to go into a group with Monaco, Glasgow Rangers and Galatasaray.  The home wins papered over some awful performances away from home as they lost 5-0 to both Monaco and Rangers, but it was enough to see them finish top and progress to the 2nd group stage for the first (and only) time in their history.  There, they met Manchester United again, Valencia and Panathinaikos.  Six points from their two games with the Greeks saw them finish in 3rd spot, although their defensive frailties were exposed again with another 5-0 defeat, this time at home to Valencia.

The following season things started to unwind for the club.  A second place finish in the league, and going out in the early stages of the Champions League.  Some of the good young players were allowed to leave the club, and their replacements could not deliver the kind of form that was required to compete with the likes of FC Wacker, Rapid Vienna and the new cash cows of Red Bull Salzburg.

In 2006 the club were forced to file for bankruptcy, and if it wasn’t for a series of strange decisions by the Austrian Football Federation, who would normally have automatically relegated the club, Graz were allowed to retain their Bundesliga place and signed a naming rights deal that saw their name change to SK Puntigamer Sturm Graz.  To add salt into the wounds of those teams (including their neighbours) who weren’t so fortunately dealt with, Graz stormed into the lead of the Bundesliga at the halfway point in the 2007/08 season.

Unfortunately, the more recent story of Grazer AK is not a happy one.  Just two seasons ago the club finished runners up in the Bundesliga, and seemed to have avoided the financial problems that had set in at Sturm.  They won the Austrian Cup in 2000, 2002 and the following season finished runners up in the Bundesliga – and thus earnt a place in the Champions League for the first time.  The club gained a place in history in the 2003/04 qualifying rounds as they lost to Ajax on the silver goal rule – the last game in European competition to be decided by this method.  The following season was the club’s high point, winning the Bundesliga title, the Austrian Cup and finishing runners up in the Super Cup.

Whilst they lost in the final qualifying rounds of the Champions League, a 1-0 win at Anfield against Liverpool will go down as their most famous victory ever.  The following season they were runners up again, and thus entered the Champions League for the third year in a row.

Less than 18 months after exiting the Champions League the club found themselves in the courts, fighting for their survival.  In an amazing twist, the Austrian FA decreed that the club should be docked a massive 28 points, which effectively saw them relegated at Christmas – a completely different story to that which befell Sturm less than a year earlier.

How to get there
The stadium is located in the south of the town, alongside the river and the main railway line, and less than 200 yards from the end of the A2 Autobahn.  The easiest way to reach the stadium is by catching the Trolley bus 4 (called Strassenbahns) from Jakominiplatz. Journey time is around 10 minutes.  For more details of the surrounding area go to Footiemap.com’s Austrian map.

Getting a ticket
Average attendances very greatly depending on who is playing at the UPC.  Sturm still get average crowds of over 11,500 and it is advisable to book a ticket in advance for the games against the likes of Red Bull Salzburg and Rapid Vienna.  Tickets can be purchased over the phone on +43 316 771 7710 or from the Strum website at http://www.sksturm.at. Tickets range in price from €20 in the seats behind the goal to €34 in the Tribunes.

For games featuring AK, tickets start from €10 and are sold at the stadium prior to the game.  With an average attendance of less than 3,000 at the moment prior booking is not required.

Getting Around
The Old Town is walkable, but there’s a good public transport system of buses and trams operating between 05.00 and 00.00 (midnight). Single tickets, valid for one hour, cost €1.70 and can be used on buses, trams and the Schlossbergbahn. A 24-hour ticket costs €3.70, 10-rides ticket €14.80.  Graz also has a network of cycle paths, the most popular being the Murradweg along the river. Bike hire is available from Kaiser Franz Joseph Kai 56.  Open Monday to Friday 07.00-20.00, Saturday 08.00-20.00, Sunday 13.00-20.00.

Nearest Airport – Thalerhof Int Airport (GRZ)
Telephone:              +43 316 29020
Website:                  http://www.flughafen-graz.at

Graz’s small airport is located around 12 miles south of the town centre and is only served from the UK by Ryanair from London Stansted.  The airline is currently planning to expand its operations significantly once the new terminal is opened in 2008, and passenger numbers reach the million mark.

The airport has a railway station within walking distance – exit the terminal and turn right which has regular service3s to Graz main station in around 12 minutes.  Buses also run regularly to the train station between 8am and 11pm, taking 30 minutes and costing €1.70.  A taxi should cost no more than €20.

FOOTBALL IN INNSBRUCK

Stade Tivoli Neu – Capacity: 32,000 All Seater

As part of the plans to host Euro 2008, Innsbruck’s modest Tivoli Neu stadium is having a major face lift which will take the capacity up from its current 17,100 to just over 30,000 in time for the for big kick off in June 2008.  The current stadium will be developed stand by stand, resulting in a smart uniform stadium with some of the best views of any stadium in Europe.

The end result will be a uniform stadium similar in design to the Stade de Geneva in Switzerland.  Four identical stands decked out in grey seats will offer 30,000 unobstructed views of the action on the pitch, and those in the south and east stands will also get an amazing view of the snow capped Tirol Mountains behind.  The stadium will also feature a number of restaurants, a fitness centre and a conference centre.  Quite what the club will do with 30,000 seats after the tournament is finished is unsure as currently FC Wacker only average around 5,500 for their home games.

The new stadium is due to host the Austrian national team in a friendly in October 2007 in a game versus Ivory Coast in a game that will officially open the ground.

Who plays there?
The Tivoli Neu is the current home of FC Wacker Innsbruck.  The were actually only formed in June 2002, rising out of the ashes of the bankrupt FC Tirol Innsbruck.  However, due to the legal complexities of the situation, the new club basically have no history prior to June 2002.

The club started in the regional leagues of the Tirol region for 2002/03 season, but soon moved up into the Red Zac Erste Liga, the second level of Austrian football.  At the end of the season the club merged with Wattens who had finished 3rd in the league, and thus were allowed to take their place in the Austrian Bundesliga – a situation that would not be allowed to happen in most other European leagues.  In 2004/05 the club finished 6th in the 10 team league.  The following season they didn’t fair much better, whilst last season they nervously looked over their shoulders for long periods before a decision was made only to relegate one team at the end of the season.

Wacker were bottom for periods of the season until Grazer AK went into administration and were docked 28 points, thus condemning them to relegation with many games left to play.  Therefore a 9th place finish wasn’t impressive but was enough to ensure another season of top flight football for the club.  The current squad in dominated by Austrians, with a sprinkling of overseas players including Nigerian top scorer Olushola Olumuyiwa Aganum.

Whilst the club have not ever had the opportunity to compete for any major honours, their previous entity FC Tirol Innsbruck won the Austrian Championship for three consecutive years from 2000.

2007/08 was an annus horribulus for the club as they finished in last place and will be playing in the Red Zac league in 2008/09.

How to get there
Innsbruck is only a small city and so the easiest way to reach the stadium is on foot.  It is located next to the Ice Hockey Stadium alongside the A12 Autobahn.  It is less than one kilometre from the main Hauptbahnhof.

If you are walking from here, come out of the station, turn left and follow Sterzinger Strasse southwards until it becomes Sudbahnstrasse.  After 200metres it will join Olympiastrasse.  Turn left here and follow this road over the railway and the river.  After 300metres turn right into Stadionstrasse.  If you want to use public transport then bus lines B, K and J run to the Tivoli stop from the old town and train station every few minutes.  For the Euro 2008 tournament when the stadium will host a number of games, special buses will run in the build up to games, and after the matches at regular intervals.  These will be free for match ticket holders.

For more details of the surrounding area click on Footiemap.com to access their Austrian map.

Getting a ticket
Tickets for every match at Euro 2008 have been sold out for many months, and the only way now of getting tickets is by applying through one of the nations football associations once they have qualified.  Whilst tickets for matches may become available after the draw is made on the 2nd December, it is unlikely that a further sale to the public will yield more than a few hundred tickets per venues.

If you are here to watch an Austrian Bundesliga game then you should have no issues turning up on the day to watch a game.  FC Wacker Innsbruck do sell tickets in advance via http://www.oeticket.com or by calling +43 512 588877-86.  Tickets cost €14 for a place in the Nord or Sud Tribune and €18 for a seat in the Ost or West stands.  Views are good from any spot although head for the Nord tribune to get a great view of the Tirol Mountains on a clear day.

Getting around
Innsbruck is a small city, and with a unique location almost sandwiched between the Tirol Mountains.  Public transport is a mixture of buses and trams.  The tram lines run through the old town and out to the surrounding villages.  The Innsbruck card, available from the Tourist Information Centre in Burggraben 3 covers all public transport as well as entry into the city’s main attractions and in the winter months the ski lifts, and costs €23.  Alternatively a single ticket for the tram or bus will cost €1.60.

Nearest Airport – Kranebitten Airport (INN)
Telephone:              +43 225 250
Website:                  http://www.innsbruck-airport.com

Innsbruck’s small airport comes alive in the winter when dozens of flights will arrive daily, bringing thousands of winter sports fanatics.  As Innsbruck is one of the few places in the world where you can step off a plane and be on the slopes in less than an hour, it is a very popular destination.  It is the main base for a couple of Austria’s regional airlines such as Welcome Air and Austrian Arrows.  The only airline that flies direct into Innsbruck from the UK is British Airways from London Gatwick.

Bus route F connects the airport to the central station every 15 minutes and the journey takes less than 20 minutes.  The central station has some excellent fast routes to other destinations such as Munich (1hour 45mins), Vienna (2hours) and Venice (4hours).

FOOTBALL IN KLAGENFURT

Hypo Group Arena Stadium – Capacity: 30,000 All Seater

About the Wörthersee Hypo Arena Stadion
Out of all of the stadiums constructed for Euro 2008, the new Wörthersee Stadium is the most eye-catching and innovative.  It is built close to the lake of the same name, in one of the most beautiful areas of Austria.  The complex will also include multi-sports facilities to include track and field arenas, fitness centre, as well as training facilities for all year round sports.  It is hoped that the stadium will attract a number of high profile European clubs for their pre-season training camps, as is the fashion nowadays.

The new stadium has 32,000 seats, all offering fantastic views of the action.  It has three stands with two tiers, with unusually the main stand being a lower one tier stand, although it does has a viewing gallery for VIPs.  The roof is translucent, allowing plenty of light to enter into the arena.  What is unique about this project is that after the tournament, parts of the stadium will be removed and transferred to other stadiums in Austria including Linz and Graz to increase their capacities.  The final capacity of the stadium will be reduced to 12,000 – making it the first stadium of its kind to be built in this way.  The concourse areas are wide and offer plenty of opportunities to get refreshments without missing the action.  Also, unusually for a stadium all areas of the seating are accessed from this concourse, so that both the upper and lower tiers enter at the same turnstiles.  The upper tiers offer a good view of the action, although the rake of the stand is very steep.

Who plays there?
As of the start of October 2007  the Wörthersee Stadion became home to SK Austria Kärnten, a club basically created out of the ashes of FC Superfund who had finished 6th in last season’s Bundesliga.  As it only can be in European football, the need to have a top flight team was too much for the local council, who went on a shopping spree that Abramovich would be proud of, and simply bought a club and moved them hundreds of kilometres to Klagenfurt.  So, as of September the club, complete with new name, kit and history will start a new era.  The original FC Kärnten  (known as FC Kelag Kärnten) based at the tiny Kurandtplatz stadium currently playing in the Red Zac 1st League (the 2nd tier of Austrian football) must be rubbing their heads in amazement. Their history has been pretty uneventful since their formation in 1920.  They did reach the Austrian Bundesliga in the 1960’s, after promotion in 1965.  They went on to stay in the top division for five seasons.

They returned again for periods during the 1970’s and 1980’s before finding some consistency in the early part of this century.  After winning the 2nd division in 2001, the club went on to win the Austrian Super cup in May 2001 thus qualifying for the UEFA Cup for the first time although a 4-0 defeat to PAOK Salonika was not the best debut they could have made.  However, the following season they made it through again after a 5th place finish in the Bundesliga.  This time they managed a victory, beating the Latvians Metalurgs before a 2nd round defeat to Hapoel Tel Aviv.  To cap another excellent season in 2003, they reached the UEFA Cup again, losing to Feyenoord in the 2nd round.  In 2004 the team were relegated back to the 2nd division where they have remained since, although their 2006 3rd place finish did give the fans hope of a return to the top division right up until the last few games of the season.  If they did manage to get promotion this season then expect them also to move to the new stadium.  As part of the ramp up events for Euro 2008, the stadium hosted the national team for the first time in a four team tournament featuring Switzerland, Chile and Japan in September 2007.

How to get there
The stadium is located 3km from the shore of Lake Wörther, and 2km from the city centre.  You can quite easily walk to the stadium, simply by following Siebenhügelstrasse out of the town centre.  It should take no more than 20 minutes.  Alternatively you can catch bus number 90 from platform 4 of the bus station in Heiligengeitsplatz, which run every 30 minutes and takes 10 minutes.  A single ticket costs €1.70.  After the game buses line up close to the stadium – however be warned – make sure you get on the right one otherwise you will end up at the park and ride close to Europark which is nowhere near the town centre.

For more details of the surrounding area go to Footiemap.com to see their Austrian map.

Getting a ticket
Tickets to see games at the Hypo Arena will be easy to pick up.  Over the past few seasons FC Kelag Kärnten have only managed to erage around 1,500 for their home matches, and so it should not be an issue at all turning up on the day of the game and gaining entry.  If you do want to buy tickets in advance, then you can book online athttp://www.fckaerten.com.  Tickets will range in price from €19 for a seat in the main stand, to €16 in any other part of the stadium.  At the Sportzentrum Fischl, the club charged €16 for a seat in the main stand, and €10 for a place on the terraces.  Tickets for matches during Euro2008 sold out during the public ballot in March 2007.

Getting around
Public transport in Klagenfurt is very poor, and the car is still seen as the best way to get around town.  Therefore expect ridiculous traffic jams at some points in the day.

Nearest Airport – Klagenfurt Airport (KLU)
Telephone:              +43 463 41 500
Website:                  http://www.klagenfurt-airport.at

The tiny Klagenfurt airport is located around 2miles from the city centre in the suburb of Annabichl.  Buses 42 and 45 run at regular intervals to the airport and the 15minute journey costs €2 each way.  Currently the airport is served by three airlines offering nine routes, the only one from the UK being Ryanair from London Stansted.

Across the border in Slovenia, both Maribor and Ljubljana airports are both within an hour’s drive of the city, although rail links are still very poor.

FOOTBALL IN LINZ

The Stadium – Linzer Stadium – Capacity: 20,104 – 6,410 Seats

About The Linzer Stadion
The Linzer Stadion is one of the biggest club grounds in Austria today.  You can never call it a “friendly” venue, as it certainly isn’t designed for watching football in.  It has an athletics track that pushed the sightlines out, as we as having one completely open end (the south end).  The rest of the stadium is a single tier structure that sweeps around ¾ of the ground.  The stadium has a continuous roof which does stop the rain and snow, but the wind still hits the crowds from the south open end.

Due to the presence of the athletics track, sightlines are not particularly good, but the hardcore LASK fans in the north stand do create quite a good atmosphere on matchdays.

Who plays there?
LASK Linz are currently on a high in Austrian football.  After promotion back to the top flight at the end of the 2006/07 season, the club have continued their excellent form and as of the end of September, they sat in 2nd place above the likes of Red Bull Salzburg and Rapid Vienna.  The club can trace their roots back to the creation of a general sporting club in the city in 1899, although they only started playing football in 1908.

The club have never made an impact on the national league, although within the Upper Austrian region they were champions on 13 occasions.  Their best season was in 1965 when they won the Austrian Championship for the one and only time, as well as capturing the knockout cup as well.  In the following seasons they also reached the final on a couple more occasions.  They have played in Europe on a number of occasions, with their biggest victory being versus Inter Milan in 1985.

How to get there
The stadium is a short distance from the Hauptbahnhof, although the walk is up hill all the way and so where possible use public transport.  From the station catch bus 17, 19 or 46 and alight at the Stadion stop which is around a 5 minute trip.  From the city centre use bus line 45 which runs via Hessenplatz and Mozart Kreuzing.  A single ticket costs €1.60.  If you do want to walk from the station simply turn left out of the doors, cross the road at the major junction then walk right up the hill.  Signposts show you the way and it should take less than 15 minutes.

For more details of the surrounding area go to Footiemap.com to see their Austrian football map.

Getting a ticket
Tickets can be purchased in person from a number of outlets in Linz including some BP service stations (Lanwiedstrasse and Kremstalstrasse) as well as from the stadium.  You can also reserve tickets from the website (http://www.lask.at). Ticket prices range from €24 in sections A, B, C and D to €15 in the standing sections of 6, 7 and 8.  Tickets can be posted or collected from the portakabins on either side of the stadium on a matchday.

Linz have one of the bigger stadiums in Austrian football (in fact prior to Euro 2008 work carried out at the four host venues it was the biggest club venue), and even with the increased interest in the club generated by recent results has failed to lift the average attendances above the 10,000 mark, meaning there are plenty of tickets available on the day of the game.

Nearest Airport – Linz Blue Danube Airport (LNZ)
Telephone:              +43 722 16000
Website:                  http://www.linz-airport.at

Linz’s small airport is located 20km west of the city close to the Danube.  It is served on a daily basis by a Ryanair flight from London Stansted.  It is only an hour away by train from Vienna, which opens up further travelling opportunities.

To reach the airport you can either catch a twice hourly train from Linz Hauptbahnhof to Hoersching station where a shuttle bus meets each arrival and then transfers you to the airport in less than 5 minutes.  A shuttle bus also runs to the stop outside the Hauptbahnhof 30 minutes after flight arrivals and costs £2.30 each way. A taxi costs around €30.

FOOTBALL IN SALZBURG

THE BULLEN ARENA – CAPACITY: 31,100 ALL SEATER

About The EM Stadion
The EM Stadion is completely unrecognisable from just 18 months ago when it was known as the Wals-Siezenheim and home to SV Austria Salzburg.  However, with the investment both from the local government and from Red Bull, the stadium is now a much expanded 30,000 seater arena and home to the new Red Bull Salzburg club.  In fact it is hard to escape from the Red Bull theme on visiting the stadium for a domestic match, with Red Bull branded everything – including the name which will revert back to the Bullen Arena after the 2008 tournament.

The new look stadium was completed during the summer of 2007 as one of the venues for Euro 2008 and was officially opened with a friendly versus Arsenal in July 2007.  The stadium is one of a select few that is using the FIFA-approved artificial Ligaturf.  The previous 18,200 seater stadium has had an additional tier added to bring it up to the 30,000 requirements as a tournament host.  This was achieved by raising the 1,900-tonne roof by 10metres and slotting in the extra tier.

Views are excellent from any part of the stadium.  Whilst the Arena doesn’t have the scenic surroundings of the Tivoli stadium in Innsbruck, it is much more pleasant that some of the stadiums we have in this country. The stadium has some really unique features such as concession stands that serve fans both inside and outside the stadium from the same points, two huge screens and one of the loudest sound systems in Austria.  It also has a lighting system that wouldn’t look out of place at a disco.  Inside the stadium the concourses are wide and spacious, allowing fans a view of the action whilst they queue.  Access to the upper tiers of the stadium is via the staffolding towers dotted around the stadium.  Like the stadium in Klagenfurt, only three sides have two tiers, with the main West Stand having a row of Executive seating instead   Come June 2008 the whole area will have been completely transformed into a true football festival.

Who plays there?
Up until the end of March 2005 the Wals-Siezenheim stadium was home to SV Casino Salzburg, the three times champions of the Austrian Bundesliga.  However, in the sweep of a pen on a contract, over seventy years worth of history were erased when Red Bull bought the club on the 6th April 2005.  Along with the name change, the club were “forced” to adopt a new strip and a new management team.  The sale of the soul of the club was too much for many of the fans who formed their own club, buying back the original name SV Austria Salzburg and joining the regional leagues of the Salzburg region.  In their first season playing in the traditional violet and white strip of the former club they finished top of the league and thus started their long climb back up to the top in a similar fashion to AFC Wimbledon.

SV Casino Salzburg were originally formed under the name Austria Salzburg in September 1933, although they had a pretty undistinguished history until they changed their name to Casino in 1978.  Under the new name the team won the Bundesliga in 1994, 1995 and 1997.  In 1994 the club also reached the UEFA Cup final, losing 2-0 to Inter Milan on aggregate.  In 1994/95 they reached the group stages of the Champions League, finishing third in a group containing Ajax, AC Milan and AEK Athens.  They almost appeared in the group stages again in 1997 when they lost to Sparta Prague in the final qualifying rounds.  The takeover certainly alienated most of the fan base as Red Bull published the slogan “Salzburg – the club with no history”.  They appointed Giovanni Trapattoni and Lothar Matthaus as the management team in May 2006 and in their first season the team won the league with 5 games to spare.  With funds available to invest in the team few would bet against them retaining this title in 2007/08.

How to get there
The stadium is located almost at the end of the runway of the airport, and is less than a kilometre from the terminal building alongside the A1 West Autobahn and opposite the Casino.  It is around 3km from the city centre.  Bus lines 1, 10 and 18 run from the central bus and railway station to the stadium stop in Stadionstrasse on the east side of the ground.  Journey time is less than 25 minutes.  Close to the stadium is the Europark commercial centre, which includes an Ikea and a massive shopping centre.

For more details of the surrounding area go to Footiemap.com to view their Austrian map.

Getting a ticket
Tickets can be purchased from the Bulls shop at the stadium from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday or until 2pm on a non-match day Saturday.  You can also call +43 662 43 33 32 and arrange to collect and pay for your tickets on a match day.  The websitehttp://www.redbulls.com has an online ticketing function which you need to register for to use.  The stadium before redevelopment was almost full on most occasions, although the new stands mean that tickets should be available for most games. Ticket prices range from €11 in the terraced area behind the goal to €22 in the East or West stand.  All seats offer excellent views of the action on the pitch.

Getting around
The best way to get around Salzburg is by foot. There is a network of buses which run to most places outside the city centre, ticket prices are €4.20 for a day pass.  Buses radiate out from the bus station on Südtirolerplatz.  The city also has a small S-Bahn network that runs to the outskirts.  You can purchase the Salzburg Card for €21 which covers all public transport and access to the main tourist sights and museums in the city.  This can be purchased from the Tourist office in Auerspergstrasse 6 (Tel: +43 662 889 870).

Nearest Airport – Salzburg Mozart Airport (SZG)
Telephone:              +43 662 8580 7911
Website:                  http://www.salzburg-airport.com

Salzburg’s Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart airport is the second largest in Austria.  As more and more airlines wise up to this fantastic weekend destination, passengers are sure to grow considerably over the next few years.  The airport is located just over a mile from the German border, and 2 miles from the city centre.   To reach the city catch the number 2 bus that runs every 10 minutes from outside Arrivals and takes 15 minutes and costs €1.80.

Currently the following airlines serve Salzburg on a daily basis from the UK.  British Airways from London Gatwick, Flybe from Exeter and Southampton, Ryanair from Liverpool, London Stansted and  Nottingham East Midlands, and ThomsonFly from London Gatwick, Bournemouth, Coventry and Doncaster Robin Hood airport.

FOOTBALL IN VIENNA

ERNST HAPPEL STADION – CAPACITY: 49,000 ALL SEATER

About Ernst Happel Stadion
The UEFA 5-Star Stadium in central Vienna is currently going through some modifications in time for the start of the 2008 European Football Championships which will see the stadium host Austria’s group matches, as well as three knock-out stage games and the Final.  The stadium is certainly a favourite with UEFA – it is actually the only sub-50,000 capacity stadium to have a 5 star status and has been used on four occasions as the venue for European Champions League finals, the last time being in 1995 when Ajax beat AC Milan.

The stadium has been on its present site since 1931 when it was constructed for the Workers Olympiad.  It originally had a capacity of over 70,000 and was actually expanded soon after the war to a massive 90,000.  The record attendance of 92,000 came during this period in a match versus Spain.  The capacity has been slowly reduced since, both for practical reasons (nobody likes playing in front of a half empty stadium) as well as for safety reasons to the current 49,844.  By the time the tournament kicks off next summer it will hold just over 53,000.

The stadium is an elliptical shape, with an athletics track separating the fans from the pitch.  The seats do not run down to pitch level at the moment – meaning that views are good from all places, although part of the work currently being carried out will involve constructing seating in this area.  The roof was added in 1986 and is very similar in design to the AWD Arena in Hannover, or the Gottleib Daimler stadion in Stuttgart – appearing to float above the stands.

Who plays there?
The stadium is used primarily by the national team as their first choice venue, although in recent years it has also been used by Fk Austria and Rapid for their Champions League matches. Derby matches between FK Austria and Rapid have also been played here over the past few seasons.

The main focus is obviously on Euro 2008 where the stadium will host seven games in the tournament – more than any other.  This includes Austria’s three group games, two quarter finals, a semi-final and the final itself on Sunday 29th June.

How to get there
The stadium is located on a large island which separates the River Danube and the Danube canal from the old town of Vienna.  It is also an integral part of the Prater Park, and the iconic wheel can be seen from a number of the seats.  The city is currently building a new U-Bahn station close to the stadium on line U2.  In the meantime fans should use the U-Bahn station Wien Praterstern on U1 which is only six stops from Südbahnhof.  Bus line 80a also runs to the stadium from the old town.

For more details about the locations of the stadiums in Vienna, go to Footiemap.comereto see their excellent Vienna map section.

Getting a ticket
Tickets for all of the games in Euro2008 are sold out after the initial ticket sale by UEFA in March 2007.  Tickets will be available on the black market in June 2008, but as the stadium is hosting the home nation, expect them to be expensive.  For other national team games, tickets are more readily available via the official sitehttp://www.oefb.at.  If you want tickets to see any club games then these will be sold via the official club websites.

Getting around
Vienna has an excellent public transport network, made up of a mixture of U-Bahn, S-Bahn, Buses and trams.  The network is very dense in the city centre, and services are very frequent meaning that travelling around is simple and inexpensive.  The main line in the old town is the U-Bahn line 2 which rings the historical centre.  A day pass is the best option for visitors to the city.  These are available from all stations, and major stops from the red machines and cost €6.20.

GERHARD HANAPPI STADION – CAPACITY: 18,456 ALL SEATER

About Gerhard Hanappi Stadion
The Gerhard Hanappi Stadion is the second largest stadium in Vienna, and is located in the western part of the historic city centre.  Certainly for many visitors who are interested in a number of the more famous sites, the stadium is ideally located close to the Hagenpark (Zoo) and the impressive Schloss Schöbrunn complex.

The stadium is very similar in design to the Stade Gerland in Lyon – even down to the curved roof design.  It has four separate stands, the side ones being two tiered, whilst the ones behind the goals are simple single tiered with 20 or so rows.  Views are very good from all seats, although if you are in the Sud Tribune be prepared for the fact that the seats are very uncomfortable metal ones.

The stadium is one of the most atmospheric on matchdays in Austria despite its design.  Further development work was put on hold after a decision in 2003 was made not to use the venue for any of the Euro 2008 matches.  The stadium is named after the Austrian and Rapid Vienna player of the same name.

Who plays there?
The Stadium has been home to Sporklub Rapid Wien (more popularly known as SK Rapid Wien) since 1977, although the club first came into existence in 1898 as the Erster Wiener Arbeiter Fussball Club (First Worker’s Football Club of Vienna), although they renamed as Rapid less than a year later.  The club also have a distinct honour of having actually won League titles in two countries – they won the 1941 German Championship when they beat Schalke 04.

The club have gone on to be the most successful Austrian club side with 31 League titles, and 14 Austrian cups to date, the last of these honours was in 2005 when they broke a ten year barren spell by winning the league.

The club have also had more success in Europe than any other Austrian team, finishing runners up in the European Cup Winners Cup twice – first in 1985 to Everton in Rotterdam, and then again ten years later to Paris Saint Germain.  In terms of appearances in the Champions League the club have had moderate success.  In 1996 they finished bottom in a group containing Juventus, Manchester United and Fenerbahçe, picking up two points, and in 2005 they lost all six group games when placed with Juventus again, Club Brugge and Bayern Munich.

2006/07 was always going to be a hard season for the club, trying to compete with the cash-rich Red Bull Salzburg.  With a couple of games left in the season there was still a chance of a 2nd place finish.  However, the club in the end failed to win a game at relegation threatened Altach which in the end coasted them a place in Europe.

2007/08 was a much better season as the club finally returned to the Champions status and will be back in the Champions League in 2008.

How to get there
The stadium is located in the western part of the city centre and is almost opposite Hütteldorf S-Bahn and U-Bahn stations.  From the city centre you will need to get a U-Bahn to Westbahnof before changing onto S-Bahn line 45.  If you are coming from the old town then U-Bahn Line 4 terminates at Hütteldorf, although it is not the most direct route.  Allow yourself 25 minutes if coming on U4.  If you are arriving in town at the SudBahnhof then Catch U1 north two stops where it intersects with U4 and then head westwards.  A one day travel pass for all public transport in Vienna costs €6.20 and can be purchased from the red machines at any station.

For more details about the locations of the stadiums in Vienna, go to Footiemap.com to see their excellent Vienna map section.

Getting a ticket
Attendances for Austrian football are not great, and if it wasn’t for the recent Red-Bull fuelled marketing activity in Salzburg, Rapid would have the honour of the best supported team in the league.  Attendances still average over 13,000 (last season it was as high as 14,572) which is quite impressive considering the most capacity of the ground.  Tickets are therefore quite easy to pick up on the day of the game from the windows along Keisslergasse.

Alternatively you are able to buy tickets online from the club’s website athttp://www.skrapid.at or by phone on +43 1 544 5440.  Tickets for the most expensive seats in the Süd Tribune start from €22.  For a more neutral view then get a seat in the upper tier of the Nord Tribune for €18.

Getting around
Vienna has an excellent public transport network, made up of a mixture of U-Bahn, S-Bahn, Buses and trams.  The network is very dense in the city centre, and services are very frequent meaning that travelling around is simple and inexpensive.  The main line in the old town is the U-Bahn line 2 which rings the historical centre.

A day pass is the best option for visitors to the city.  These are available from all stations, and major stops from the red machines and cost €6.20.

Nearest Airport – Vienna International (VIE)
Telephone:              +43 1 7007 22233
Website:                  http://www.viennaairport.com

Vienna airport is located around 10 miles south east of the city centre.  The airport has recently opened its third terminal which is almost exclusively for budget airlines, although currently no budget airlines fly from the UK to Vienna.  Currently the airport serves London Heathrow with Austrian Airways and British Airways. The easiest way to reach the city centre from the airport is via train from the airport to WienMitte.  Trains run every 30 minutes and costs €3 each way.  There is also a fast train running from Mitte, although tickets are more expensive.  A taxi should take around 15 minutes and cost less than €20.

An alternative airport is located in Bratislava in neighbouring Slovakia some 45 miles away.  Both Sky Europe and Ryanair fly from London Stansted here on a daily basis.  A bus run by Terrorvision meets all inbound flights and transfers customers into Vienna in around 45 minutes.

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