Ground: Stadion Letzigrund
Date: 3rd August 2011
Match: Zürich - Standard Liege 1-0 (UEFA Champions League, qualifying)
Attendance: 10 500
At first I planned to travel to Frankfurt on Wednesday morning and then watch Offenbach vs Sandhausen in the evening. When I discovered they are rebuilding their ground at the moment, combined with the fact Mainz were drawn away in the Europa League on the Thursday, I finally decided for a trip to Switzerland instead. There was FC Zürich vs Standard Liege in the Champions League qualifying on Wednesday evening and Thun vs Palermo in the Europa League on Thursday evening. To my surprise there was a direct train from Osnabrück to Zürich. The train left Osnabrück at 8.37 and at 17.00 (on time!) we rolled into Zürich Hauptbahnhof. The longest single train journey I have ever made. My hotel was a 15 minute (uphill) walk from the train station. Hotels in Switzerland are quite expensive but after such a long journey I wanted to stay at a decent hotel, although it cost too much. There was a tram station next to my hotel which made my travelling in Zürich very easy.
Despite being to Switzerland several times this was to be my first ever football match in the country. Stadion Letzigrund is perhaps most famous for hosting a Diamond League athletics meeting evey year. It has a capacity of 30 000 and this stadium was one of the grounds used in the 2008 European Championships. My tram journey to the stadium did not go as easy as planned. There were football fans at Löwenplatz blocking the route and the tram was re-routed. This confused me a bit but a friendly passenger told me where to leave the tram. I eventually made it to Letzigrund and once inside the stadium I, as I always do, started to take pictures of the ground. Apparently my research for this match was below par, my ticket was in the hard-core home fans section. One of them, looking really tough, walked up to me and said "You cannot take pictures in this section. We don´t like that" I replied I was only taking pictures of the stands and not of any fans. Since I spoke English he understood I was in the wrong section and said "OK, but no pictures from now on". I managed to take some, not as many as I had wanted, during the match anyway but it was obvious I had to be a bit careful. Apart from that it was a good experience to be in this section. Brilliant vocal support through-out the match. I was really impressed by the support from the FCZ ultras. The match itself was not too good though. First leg of this tie finished 1-1 so even if the match wasn´t too entertaining there was always the nerve of a European cup match. Zürich missed a penalty in the first half (and a Liege player was sent off) but it wasn´t until the 2nd half the goal was scored. 1-0 to Zürich and the home supporters could celebrate in style.
When the match finished there was heavy rain coming down but I quickly made it onto the tram and that tram stop next to my hotel was very convenient.
Zürich fans outside the ground
Standard Liege fans
View of Stadion Letzigrund