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Official Review by Thomas Miller, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Gerhard Hanappi Stadion is located far away from the city centre in Vienna. It was named after a former Rapid Wien player, who became the architect for the stadium. It has been said that Vienna itself is a museum, but there are also a plethora of famous museums for tourists to see. For the younger crowd, the nightlife is incredible. Their Opera and coffee houses are world famous.
SK Rapid Wien (Rapid Vienna) is a member of the Austrian Bundesliga, and has won the championship an impressive 32 times in their history.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
It wasn't the best schnitzelsemmel I've ever had, but the wurst looked great! Speckstangerl is another favourite of mine that can be had here. I thought the selection was great and the prices weren't outrageous either (3-4.50 Euros). They've got two types of beer, including a lemon beer, for 3.30 Euros. There's a deposit for the cup so when you buy a drink don't forget to take it back and get your money returned. There were enough food stands to go around and as a result, the lineups weren't crazy.
The atmosphere was rowdy and though it wasn't a great opponent, the fans were into it in every section. There was even cheering in the press box. It's not a massive stadium, but once the sun went down and the lights came on, it really felt like a big time football match. The fans are really right on top of the field because there is no track surrounding the playing area.
Gerhard Hanappi Stadion is right next to a train station so there isn't a whole lot to do pre or post-game. However, there is a pub across the street from the south entrance and it was packed before and afterwards. Prices weren't bad, either; less than four Euros for most drinks.
The fans made the atmosphere. There was constant cheering, chanting, clapping and they had a keen awareness of game situations. Other than a few bad apples after the game, the type of people you can find in most major metropolitan areas, the Rapid fans were excellent. They also didn't let their team off the hook for mental errors, a sign of good fans.
After the game a few fans decided to hang out near the players exit, and riot police prepared for the worst. At a certain point some of the fans decided to walk towards the police line but full credit to the Austrian police, they were incredibly prepared and prevented any nonsense from happening.
There is underground parking and a park and ride at the train station, so parking is ample. That said, the stadium is right next to UBahn station HÃ 1/4 tteldorf, which can be easily accessed from most everywhere in Vienna. A ticket costs 1.80 Euros each way. I recommend tourists get a week, weekend or day ticket, depending on how long you will be in the city. The public transit system is great. Bathrooms were easily accessible but it was like peeing in a shower.
Tickets range from about 20-40 Euros, depending on the match. There are discounts available for students and children. Because it is such a rabid fan base, you will want to secure your tickets quickly. I was shocked at how entertained I was.
Though the Austrian Bundesliga is not a top-flight European league, the fans created an atmosphere that forced you to enjoy yourself, even though the game I saw was against a poor opponent (SV Mattersburg). I would go back in a heartbeat.
I loved the snack size Schnitzelsemmel, which was the best thing I have ever eaten. I really can't say enough about the fans, they were top class. I don't think the people who are looking for trouble are real Rapid Wien fans, anyways.
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