Thursday 21st September 2023
Kick off – 17:45 BST
Klopp – one of the greatest football managers in the world. In his current position as Liverpool FC manager he has won the lot. Premier League, Champions league, Super Cup etc… Record scratch sound effect! Hang on a minute, he hasn’t won the Europa League! Charlaton! Klopp Out! FSG Out! Tea Ladies Out! Klopp blew his chance in 2016 to lift this coveted trophy but now he’s back and it’s time to go out there and complete the set, lay down a full house, the coup de grace.
I admit that when I hear the Champions League music I feel a bit sad that we’re not in it but avid readers of my posts will recall that I have sod all to do on Thursday nights (and Sundays for that matter) so I’m all up for a bit of Europa League action.
So, our first hurdle to second tier European glory is the mighty LASK. I admit, I initially thought that this was a range of furniture from Ikea but no, it is indeed an Austrian football team. Linzer Athletik-Sport-Klub to be exact. They’ve won the Austrian league only the once in their 115 year history, back in the 1964/65 season, in which they also won their only domestic cup. They currently sit 3rd in the Austrian Bundesliga and have amassed 14 points from 7 games. Funny thing about the Austrian Bundesliga is that the bottom six teams go into a set of relegation play-off matches. I don’t really know how this works but considering there are only 12 teams in the division there must be a lot of yo-yoing going on. LASK play their home matches in the Raiffeisen Stadium, which has a capacity of just over 17 thousand and is located in the city of Linz.
So what can away fans expect from an away trip to Linz? Well, for travelling fans Linz offers plenty of excitement for travelling supporters twiddling their thumbs until kick off. The first thing that jumps out is the Grottenbahn. According to some person on Trip Advisor, this is a little railway shaped like a dragon that takes you three times around a circuit where you can see gnomes and dwarves doing a variety of things. Afterwards you can walk around and see little exhibitions of fairytales in a miniature town. Other than that it’s all old buildings and churches. I must admit though, situated on the banks of the Danube it does look like a lovely place to visit.
Our squad is Strong for this competition, all the big guns are in there but I don’t think any of us will be surprised to see most of the traditional benchers starting in these early matches in what has been dubbed ‘The Group of Meh’.
Austria has it’s fair share of famous musicians, most notable of these being Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. His symphonies are still popular 267 years after his death and are played by orchestras worldwide today. Klopp likened Arsene Wenger’s style of football to an orchestra but as he went on to say… “But it’s a silent song. I like heavy metal more. I always want it loud.”
We’re in it so I want to win it.
Clamjamphrie – FOARsite Chief European Correspondent