Liechtenstein

Capital: Vaduz
Population: 31,000
Currency: Swiss Franc and Euro
Official Language: German
Borders: Austria (North and East), Switzerland (South and West)
GNP per Capita: $52,200 (2nd in world)
Main Airport: No airport – nearest is Zurich (approximately 50 miles west)

Perched in the Alps between Switzerland and Austria, Liechtenstein is rare among small states in having both a thriving banking and manufacturing centre.  It is closely allied to Switzerland although it has its own ruling royal family.

FC VADUZ – The Rheinpark Stadion – Capacity – 8,000 All Seater

The Stadium – The Rheinpark Stadion
One of the most picturesque grounds in the world sandwiched between the Swiss Alps and the River Rhein.  During a late summer evening, sitting in the main stand the quality of the football often takes second place to the amazing views.  In late 2006 the stadium was finally completed, with four separate stands offering some superb views of activities both on and off the pitch.

With the opening of the smaller stand on the Rhein, the ground gain the necessary UEFA status to hold big internationals – the first of these was the game versus England in the qualifying tournament for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.  Where crowds are expected for big games, the ground can accommodate more spectators by erecting a temporary stand at the north end of the stadium.  The stadium was opened in 1998 with a game between FC Vaduz and the then-current German Bundesliga champions Kaiserslautern.  Previous to this, the national side played in Eschen-Mauren which is home to FC Balzers who play in the Swiss 4th Division.  The stadium has a capacity of 6,000.

Who Plays There? FC Vaduz – http://www.fcvaduz.li
Liechtenstein’s most successful ever club side currently play in the second tier of the Swiss League – the Challenge League, and have come close to promotion to the top division on a number of occasions in the past few years – most notably when they lost the playoff in 2004 and 2005.

The club were originally formed in 1932, and were admitted into the Swiss League structure a year later.  They have actually played at the top level before, reaching the Swiss first division in 1960 and staying there for 13 seasons before relegation in 1973.  In 1992 the club were allowed to enter the European Cup Winners Cup for the first time when Liechtenstein were formally admitted into UEFA.  In that first season they lost 12-1 to Odesa of Ukraine – hardly an impressive start.  It would be a further three seasons before they would qualify again, and this time they managed to win their first ever tie beating Universitate Riga 5-3 on aggregate before losing heavily to Paris St Germain.  The club have qualified regularly for the UEFA Cup, winning the Liechtenstein Cup on no fewer than the last nine seasons.  This season they beat the once mighty Ujpest of Hungary 4-1 in the first round before losing on away goals to Basel in the second round.

The current squad, under the leadership of Swede Mats Gren is a mixture of nations, including Argentineans, Brazilians, Portuguese, Mexicans, Germans, French and of course a few home grown players such as international centre back Daniel Hasler and Marco Ritzberger.  The season hasn’t gone the way they would have wanted at the half way point as the team have drawn a number of key games where a victory would have been expected.  At the winter break they were in 6th place, six points of a play off spot. However, 13 wins out of their last 14 games saw them win the league n May in front of a crowd of over 4,500 and thus take their place in 2008/09 in the Swiss Supaliga.  They also won the Liechtenstein cup, securing UEFA Cup football again, after a 4-0 defeat of Balzers.

How to get to the Rhein Park Stadion
From the town centre, the stadium is just a 5 minute walk away.  Just follow the road away from the centre at the roundabout (there is only one – Lettstrasse) and the stadium will be visible at the end of the country road.  There are no public transport options to get to the ground.  There is a large car park at the stadium if you decide to drive there.  The nearest major city is Zurich which is reached within 45 minutes by car along the stunning Lake Zurich road.  When you reach the River Rhine on the A13 Autobahn follow the signs for St Gallen until you see the signs for Vaduz.  Cross the river at this point via RheinBrück and then around the corner into Zollstrasse.  At the mini-roundabout carry straight on into Rheinstrasse and the stadium is straight ahead of you.

How to get a ticket for the Rhein Park Stadion
From Swiss League games featuring FC Vaduz then you can simply turn up at the ground before kick off to get a ticket.  As the team have never yet reached the top division, crowds hardly flock to domestic games at the Rheinstadion.  In fact on a matchday there is an exodus of fans heading northwards to watch games at Bayern Munich and Stuttgart rather than watch the fayre on offer in the domestic league.  Tickets for league matches are either 20CHF for a place in one of the new end stands or 25CHF for the side stands.  They can be purchased from http://www.ticketcorner.com.

For international matches, due to Liechtenstein’s ranking in Europe, they are guaranteed to host at least one, if not two or three top teams during qualifying for either the World Cup or the European Championships.  In the last few years the stadium has hosted sell out games versus England, Turkey, Republic of Ireland, Portugal, Czech Republic and Russia.  For international games, tickets go onto sale seven days before the game from the Liechtenstein Football Association online at http://www.postcorner.li or by calling them on +423 23963 66.

For smaller games tickets are sold on the day of the game from the ticket booths at the south end of the stadium.  Ticket prices range depending on the opponents.  For a friendly against a low ranked team, such as the one played against Estonia in 2005 the price per ticket was 40CHF to 75CHF for a game versus a category one team such as Portugal.  The national association also issue season tickets starting from 150CHF for a set of games – such as they did for the Euro 2008 qualifying tournament.

Around the Rhein Park Stadion
The stadium’s unique location means that it retains its countryside feel on all sides.  The river Rhein runs close by the west side of the stadium, and around all other sides is countryside.  Any bars and cafes can be found in the town centre around 5 minutes away.

Getting around
Vaduz is tiny – drive for less than 2 minutes from the first sign you see for Vaduz and you will have missed it.  You can easily walk from one end to another in around 10 minutes.  A bus runs through the country, which will serve you if you need to explore.

Nearest Airport – Zurich International (ZRH)
Telephone:              +43 816 22 11
Website:                  http://www.zurich-airport.com

Unsurprisingly, Liechtenstein doesn’t have its own airport.  It does have a railway line that passes through the country with four stops including one on the southern border at Schaan-Vaduz.  It is bordered by Austria and Switzerland, and just a ten minute drive from the German border meaning that there are a number of airports within an hour’s drive.

Zurich International or Kloten Airport is located to the west of the city centre, and is one of the easiest airports to reach by public transport in Europe.  It is the largest airport in Switzerland, handling over 50 airlines and hundreds of flights a day.  It used to be the main hub for Swissair, but after their enforced bankruptcy in 2002, Lufthansa took over most of their slots.  To reach the city centre, use the airport’s own train station below the main terminal which runs to destinations across Switzerland and beyond as well as running to the city centre in less than 15 minutes up to four times an hour.  The following airlines currently fly to Zurich on a daily basis from the UK.

British Airways – London Gatwick and Heathrow
BA Connect – Bristol
Helvetic Airways – Manchester
Swiss International Airlines – London City, London Heathrow and Manchester

If you are planning on using public transport to reach Vaduz then you will need to change trains in Zurich and then again at Buchs-Schaan.  If you are coming by car then simply follow the signs for the A1which runs eastwards out of Zurich.  This will eventually meet the A3 at junction 4 and you need to simply follow this road as it runs parallel with Lake Zurich for around 80 kilometres until you reach the junction with the A13.  Head north on the A13 signposted to Munich and Vaduz for 12 kilometres until you reach the Vaduz junction.  Total journey time is 1hour 15 minutes.

Friedrichshafen Bodensee Airport (Code FRH)
Telephone:              +49 7541 284 01
Website:                  http://ww2.fly-away.de

Friedrichshafen is famous for being the home to the Zeppelin airship company, and today the airport is the most important production plant for this mode of transport.  The small airport is one of Ryanair’s European hubs, who fly here twice a day from London Stansted.  From the town centre there is an hourly Bodensee Oberschwaben Bahn train service and 7586 bus line (Monfortlinie/Friedrichshafen – Tettnang). Together with 7934 line bus (town fast service) and the IRE sprinter every another hour.

There are however, no direct public transport links to Liechtenstein from the town.  The best option is to hire a car.  From the airport simply follow the signs to the E54 eastwards until after 25 kilometres you reach the A96 Autobahn.  Follow this in the direction of Bregenz and Lindau onto the E43 and then shortly onto the A14 and travel over the Austrian border.  The road then becomes the E60 as you head south.

Thanks to http://www.colours-of-football.com for allowing us to use their graphics.

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