The final leg of this weekends triple led us back across the border to Luxembourg. After spending the morning wandering around the fabulous Stanislas Square, another UNESCO world heritage site, in the centre of Nancy we caught the train to Luxembourg City in order for our next football fix.
Cards on the table, you can write my knowledge of Luxembourg football on the back of a postage stamp so when discussions were taking place as to which ground to visit my input was limited. The choice basically came down to a game with the championship riding on it, Jeunesse Canach v F91 Dudelange, or a dead rubber at what looked liked the best ground, Racing FC Union Luxembourg v Progres Niederkorn. We all agreed on the latter.
After enjoying a spot of lunch in the main square (Place d'Armes) in the old town we headed on foot to the Stade Achille Hammerel, the home of Racing FC Union.
The club was formed in 2005 when three clubs from Luxembourg City came together as one club. These were Spora Luxembourg, Union Luxembourg and CS Alliance 01.
When you consider that all three of those clubs also came about as a result of mergers (Spora Luxembourg was formed by the merger in 1923 of Racing Club Luxembourg and Sporting Club Luxembourg; Union Luxembourg was formed by the merger in 1925 of US Hollerich Bonnevoie and Jeunesse Sportive Verlorenkost; CS Alliance 01 was formed by the merger in 2001 of Aris Bonnevoie and CS Hollerich) there certainly is a complicated historical timeline!
Therefore as a result the club can lay claim to 27 Luxembourg National division championships, though they have not won a title since the 2005 merger.
The Stade Achille Hammerel, bathed in glorious sunshine today, is a rather pleasant spot to watch a game of football. The large main stand is in the centre of two large banks of terracing. Opposite is another uncovered small terrace. The clubhouse in the corner was doing a brisk trade in Bofferding lager as fans quenched their thirst in the heat.
I had absolutely no idea what to expect in terms of the actual football, but I could go as far as to say it was one of the best games I have seen this season. With nothing at stake, both teams threw caution to the wind and produced an absolute thriller.
Tarek Nouidra (8) opened the scoring for Racing with a 25 yard screamer into the top corner before a delightful run and finish from Remi Laurent (10) quickly levelled things up. Laurent (16) and Sebastian Thill (32) then put Niederkorn 3-1 up.
Florik Shala (42) scored with a flick over the 'keeper before tapping in from close range (45) to ensure the game was all square at the interval. Despite the heat it was raining goals!
Laurent completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot (55) to restore Niederkorn's lead and, after the home side had missed a spot kick of their own, he made it 5-3 in the 78th minute.
Johan Bellini (86) pulled one back for Racing to set up a grandstand finish but they could not find an equaliser, which I think they definitely deserved.
There was plenty of time for some post match analysis to reflect on a fantastic weekend of football and the conversation revolved a repeat of this journey sometime next season. With some tremendous grounds in the Saarland region of Germany, the regular evening kick offs in France and Sunday games in Luxembourg it seems an absolute no brainer.
Until next season auf wiedersehen, au revoir and goodbye!
|Remi Laurent completes his hat-trick from|
the penalty spot