Saturday 14 May 2022

Ground #366 - Franz Horr Stadion

Date: 17th April 2022
Location: Favoriten, Vienna, Austria
Ground: Franz Horr Stadium

My sixth new ground of 2022 was on Sunday 17th April at the Franz Horr Stadion in Favoriten, Vienna, Austria. The game was Austria Wien vs. Red Bull Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga.

The Franz Horr Stadion (also known as the Generali-Arena or Viola Park) is located in the Favoriten area in the south of Vienna. It sits adjacent to the A23 road to the west and housing to the south. There are three full-sized pitches to the north with some smaller pitches and apartment blocks to the east.  It is a stone's throw from Alles Landgut station on the U1 Metro Line. There has been a stadium on the site since 1925 though it has been home to Austria Wien since 1973. 

The stadium has had major renovations over recent years with the East, West and North Stands all uniform height. The North Stand is the only stand with three tiers with the top two levels allocated entirely to corporate boxes save for three rows of seating in front of the boxes themselves for hospitality guests. Other stadium facilities are located on the eastern side of the venue with the club shop and the Viola Sportsbar. 

The South Stand is the only single-tier stand remaining though the seating is split into upper and lower levels with a walkway between. There are some basic boxes along the back and media is seated in the upper area of this stand. There are wide concourse spaces in the corners and this is where food and drink sellers are positioned. Away fans have a segregated area in the north-west corner consisting of rail seating. There is additional rail seating in the upper deck of the West Stand, the upper North Stand and  both decks of the East Stand - the latter is where the Austria Wien ultras place themselves. The stadium has a total capacity of 17,500 though this is reduced to 15,000 for international and European matches. 

Red Bull Salzburg had effectively already racked up their ninth consecutive Austrian Bundesliga title losing just once in the 26 games played prior to this one. Austria Wien however still had something to play for with the club in amongst a close group of teams fighting over the Europa League and Europa Conference spots. The first half was a dismal spectacle with neither side managing a shot on target. The second half sprung into life in the 49th minute when the referee initially awarded Salzburg a penalty for a trip on the edge of the box. VAR was there to intervene and overturn the decision in favour of a free-kick. This free-kick was thrown into the box and Nicolas Capaldo's header came back off the post. This narrow escape for the hosts only lasted until the 52nd minute - a corner was nodded onto the back post by Kamil Piatowski and Chukwubuike Adamu was there to steer into the net from close range. Austria Wien were able to equalise from the spot in the 65th minute - it came about when Piatowski left an arm stretched out whilst missing a sliding tackle on Aleksander Jukic. The home player continued drawing a save from Philipp Koln and whilst no-one appealed the handball the subtle touch was spotted by VAR and a penalty was awarded. Jukic took the penalty and sent Koln the wrong way to make it 1-1. Austria Wien proved to be their own worst enemy though and in the 78th minute Can Keles gave the ball away in a dangerous position allowing Noah Okafar to get down the left wing and cross for Luka Sucic to tuck away from 12 yards. The final minutes were quite frantic - in the 82nd minute Benjamin Sesko's header was tipped just over by home keeper Patrick Pentz and in the 85th minute a dipping 25-yard effort by Nicolas Seiwald was tipped millimetres over the bar. Then in injury time Austria Wien got the ball into the net to equalise - everyone was waiting for Dominik Fitz to curl a free-kick from the byline into the middle but he went for a shot and it was weakly palmed into his own net by Koln. However on review Noah Ohio was standing in an offside position directly in front of the Salzburg keeper and VAR denied the home side an important point.

Result: Austria Wien 1-2 Red Bull Salzburg
Division: Austrian Bundesliga
Attendance: 9,659

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