It was the start of the Austrian season and Red Bull Salzburg were hosting Austria Wien at The Red Bull Arena on the outskirts of Mozarts home city. www.redbulls.com.
We took the train to the German border city of Freilasing and then the local train one stop and 3 minutes to the stadion station. The weather was very sunny and very hot as we walked the 200 metres to the stadion that was built for EURO 2008 in Switzerland/Austria. The visitors are from the capital city, and I have supported the team for many years, even when the purple clad team was called Austria Memphis after a tobacco company. Now, thankfully, the Austrian federation have banned such sponsorships and the club have reverted to their original name.
The fanswere treated to a long and spectacular pre-match show with hundreds of students with banners and flags in the nation's red and white colours and the Red Bull mascot, to mark 100 years of Austrian league football. There were about 13,000 fans, pretty good for the Austrian bundesliga. www.bundesliga.at with one corner jam packed with visiting fans all with flags, chants and banners. At the other end the Ultra Die Rot Bullen fans were in the standing section and in front of them was a platform with two yell leaders with a tannoy and loud voices.
It was a really great atmosphere except for many of the fans who were smoking, next to their children and wherever we moved we couldn't get away from the smoke. Then we had red flares set off by the Ultras. There were kids skills competitions outside and free programmes and fussball newspapers from Salzburger Nachrichen placed on every seat. Then we had a big wind after about 30 minutes and the newspapers on unoccupied seats flew onto the pitch. A big clear up operation at half-time for the ground staff.
A polytan FIFA 2 artificial surface was laid but has since been replaced by a beautiful grass pitch a year ago, which looks awesome to play on. As you may know we now have New York Red Bull, Red Bull Brazil, Red Bull Leipzig as well as Formula 1 racing Red Bull and the air racing team. RED BULL; which is a local drink company, bought the Salzburg club in 2005 and rebranded it. Due to Federation corporate sponsorship regulations they are officially labelled FC Salzburg.
Three days earlier they had won away 4-1 at SK Liepajas Metalurgs in Latvia in the Europa League and the long journey hadn't worried the Bulls. They dominated the play. Well, they should do, with by far the biggest budget in the league. Their players are from all over, Brazil, Argentina, Sweden, Germany, Finland, Netherlands, Uganda, Croatia, Slovakia, Uruguay, and a Dutch coach Ricardo Moniz, previously at Tottenham(as skills coach) and HSV Hamburg.
Two goals in two minutes in the 61st and 62nd minutes gained all 3 points. The first goal by Austrian Jakob Jantscher followed by a header from Brazilian Alan.
Top of the league and a perfect start to the 2011/12 season.