Thursday 17 September 2010: Europa League – Red Bull Salzburg v Manchester City.
They are back ladies and gentlemen…Robbie and Take That!…No, of course I didn’t mean them – I meant the European nights! How excited are you? How excited am I? Well pretty excited, I’ve already used four exclamation marks! Make that five.
You all remember our last campaign in Europe, with the wonderful atmosphere at Eastlands against Hamburg being a highlight of mine, don’t you? Elano’s wonderful game when he hit the woodwork so many times the ball must have received a few splinters! Well, it’s back and with a bang and we are back where we are meant to be (at the least).
The draw has been made and we find ourselves in a group very winnable but also very easy to mess up. We’ve shrugged off the competition of the Romanians and now find ourselves in the group stages until near Christmas time. So I will have a look at the three teams we find ourselves against beginning with Wednesday night’s opponents.
Red Bull Salzburg
I will not lie to you – it was much more hard work finding the top players for Salzburg than Juventus, but this man was the first on this list. He is a young Austrian midfielder who has had a rapid start to the season with 3 goals in 4 games. Obviously it is early on but if he can maintain that form he will be a good one to watch.
He is a defender who doesn’t score many but is firmly in the starting line up almost each and every game. The 24 year old Austrian isn’t the tallest though at 5’11’ so we could see City field a tall team against him to vitalize
David Mendes de Silva
He is new at the club for this year and had recently played in the Eridivisie league with the likes of Ajax and AZ. He plays as a defensive midfielder and bosses it well as he had apparent interest in the transfer period from non-other than…Barcelona. He has 7 caps to his name for the Netherlands and is experienced. A tough one to get past but I know a certain Dutch defensive midfielder that may be harder.
Formed 13th September 1933
Stadium Red Bull Arena
With 31,895 seats to its name – the Red Bull arena (of many) is a big one indeed. It was a much smaller capacity but was made bigger for the Euro 2008. It has previously used artificial turf however since this summer it is now using natural grass.
League: Austrian Bundesliga
The History of Salzburg
Salzburg is a team that don’t have a great deal of history and are relatively unheard of. However, in 2005 a great deal of history all swarmed at once for me to tell you of…As luck may have it. Before 2005 the Austrian side were known as SV Austria Salzburg. That is the name the fans would chant, that is the name on the badge, and that is the name…that was changed.
As in 2005 Red Bull came in to take over the club! In went their money – out went the team name (to now call them Red Bull Salzburg) and their traditional colours!
Can you imagine if a company bought our Manchester City, stuck their brand in front of our name and changed our traditional City blue!? We’d be livid! And as were the Salzburg fans as they were being ignored by Red Bull, so off they went to create a new football club. SV Austria Salzburg was created! Yes, you heard right – it’s the old team name – with the old team badge and they are chugging along the leagues as we speak! Really for some fans it feels the same team but leagues below! Life’s a…
I’ve got to be honest with you – before I wrote this I thought Red Bull were a drink to give you wings and there was an American football team…Sorry – an American soccer team – that also went by the same name (eugh – I hate saying soccer) but how wrong I was. Red Bull manages to sponsor and campaign all over the world in hundreds of different ways! Windsurfing, snowboarding, skateboarding, cliff-diving, freestyle motocross, formula 1, break dancing, video games, bla bla blaaaaaa! They have it all!!
Any sport you name they most probably have something to do with it – and this happened to football. They have four teams – in Austria, Germany, USA, and Brazil – that have ‘Red Bulls’ in their name after their take over. The kits are almost all the same, they are all connected on one website (yes – I googled them – we all need to research), the mascots are the same; the stadiums have the same names bla bla blah! Of course – they are giving money into these teams and all have done pretty well (New York Red Bulls for example recently signing Thierry Henry) but in my opinion this is wrong!
Away from the takeover, their football has been very good indeed. They have won the Austrian Bundesliga from 2007 to now and they could be stiff opposition, however I can see nothing but a win here for City. Time will tell.
DID YOU KNOW! Giovanni Trapatonni was in charge for the Red Bulls between 06-08 and left for the Ireland job.