After my brief stay in Slovakia, Friday took me across the border into Austria for the beginning of a weekend of groundhopping across three levels of Austrian football.
For the evenings entertainment I headed west from Vienna to the city of Linz. Blau Weiss Linz were hosting FC Liefering in a First Division game. The club play their home games at the 21,000 capacity Linzer Stadium, which is a lovely uphill walk from the city centre!
Blau Weiss are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year after being officially founded on 1st August 1997. The club was founded as a joint venture between supporters of two old clubs.
The original FC Linz club was founded in 1946 as the football team of the local steel factory going under the name SV Eisen und Stahl until 1949 when the club changed it's name to SK VÖEST Linz. The club won the Bundesliga title in 1974 and qualified for the European Cup, where they lost to Barcelona.
The club were relegated in 1988 but won promotion back to the top flight in 1991, however by this time the steel works had withdrawn funding and the club was now called FC Stahl Linz. They dropped the Stahl in 1993 but by 1997 FC Linz was merged with and dissolved by local rivals LASK Linz.
Another factory club, SV Austria Tabak, who were founded in 1934 as the works team of the Linz tobacco factory, were also facing the prospect of an uncertain future. The grants given to the club were set to be withdrawn after the privatisation of the tobacco industry and there was also the prospect of the Linz factory being closed down (it eventually did in 2009).
Both sets of supporters came together under the Blau Weiss name, representing the colours of both clubs. The "new" club did not start at the bottom and began again in the Landesliga by taking over the licence of SV Austria Tabak.
The club are now in the second tier of Austrian football and tonight were taking on Salzburg based FC Liefering. If you are unaware, Liefering are a feeder club for Red Bull Salzburg and it was a rather youthful looking side that took to the field for the visitors.
Blau Weiss Linz took the lead just before half time when they were awarded a penalty and Thomas Hinum made no mistake with the spot kick (pictured left).
Liefering were fastest out of the block in the second and two quick fire goals from Enock Mwepu (51 & 54) put them in control. Dominik Szoboszlai (66) made it 3-1 and it was comfortable for the visitors. Blau Weiss applied some very late pressure but Tobias Pellegrini's 90th minute goal was mere consolation.