Ernst Happel Stadion
Ground: Ernst Happel Stadion
Date: 7th June 2013
Match: Austria - Sweden 2-1 (FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifier)
Attendance: 48 500
For several reasons I haven´t been to a Sweden away match since we beat Finland in Helsinki in October 2011. Nowadays international matches are played Fridays/Tuesdays which is a problem if you have a work like mine. Austria vs Sweden was no exception, Friday evening in Vienna. With Thursday 6 June being Sweden´s National Day I was free from work both Thursday and Friday the first week of June though. Finally another away match for me! I was supposed to travel to Vienna with a friend of mine on Thursday morning but for family reasons he couldn´t go though. As I checked in at the Austrian Airlines desk at Copenhagen airport I told them the second person in the booking wouldn´t come. As the aircraft was about to depart there was a delay. They called my friends name and asked him to contact the crew. Once again I had to explain the situation and five mintues late we could leave Copenahagen. The last week Austria has been hit by torrential rain and many parts (along rivers) have been severely flooded. Ernst Happel Stadion is situated next to the Donau (Danube) but when I arrived I realised the worst was over. Vienna was apparently very close to be flooded but the city managed to survive. During my visit it was mostly sunshine and no rain whatsoever .
After checking in at my hotel I decided to wander around in the city centre. First stop was Hunderwasserhaus, part of some art exhibition. The house was indeed looking funny. I then headed towards Stephansplatz and the impressive cathedral. The walk took me around 30 minutes but I enjoyed the nice weather and looking at people/buildings. As a member of the supporters club I had to pick up my ticket in Vienna. Collection point was a hotel close to the cathedral. Once there I waited for James, another Footballfans member. The Swedish FA showed unexpected flexibility and James was able to have my friends ticket. I had sent them James´ passport number and other details. We managed to get our tickets without any problems and headed towards a local restaurant. We spent something like three hours at the restaurant discussing football. The first day of this trip was coming to an end.
On Saturday morning I had a proper Austrian breakfast before heading towards Ernst Happel Stadion. My hotel was quite close to the ground and it only took me 15 minutes to reach Austria´s national stadium. Ernst Happel Stadion was built between 1929 and 1931 and was originally called Praterstadion. In 1992 the stadium was renamed in honour of Ernst Happel. The ground has a capacity of 48 500 for international matches but unfortunately there are running tracks. When I had completed the walk around the ground I went back to the underground. Next stop was Vienna International Centre (VIC) and the Donauturm. From the top of the tower I had an excellent view of Vienna. I then headed back to central Vienna to have lunch with James. The rest of the afternoon we visited Schloss Schönbrunn, Strandbar Hermann (where the Swedish fans were based) before ending up at a bar for a drink.
Kick-off was at 20.45 and two hours before kick-off I was yet again outside Ernst Happel Stadion. Our seats were in the third tier, row 6, behind the goal. Despite the running tracks we had a decent view of the pitch. As kick-off approached the atmosphere built up in the away section. In total 3 000 fans had travelled from Sweden to support the national team. When the players entered the pitch the atmosphere was at its peak and it is moment like this you miss out on (obviously!) when you are at home watching on TV. Unfortunately the match itself was disappointing for Sweden. We lost 2-1 and even if Austria didn´t seem that good they scored two goals and we didn´t. Huge disappointment in the away end as the final whistle went. After the match everything was perfectly organised at we could more or less walk straight to the underground taking us back to central Vienna. 30 minutes after the final whistle I was back at my hotel. I spent Sunday morning doing more sightseeing in Vienna before going home late in the afternoon. This was a very nice trip spoilt only by a poor Swedish display.
View of Vienna
View of Vienna
Stephansdom Stephansdom at night
Vienna International Centre
Swedish fans enjoying the weather
Rear of the North End
Rear of the West Stand
Outside Ernst Happel Stadion
View of play
View of play
View of Ernst Happel Stadion