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Official Review by Robert Pryce, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
FC Luzern, founded in 1901, competes in the Swiss Super League. They play at the newly built Swissporarena, where the opening game was played in 2011. The previous ground, the Stadion Allmend was the team’s home from 1934-2009. They spent two years at a temporary ground in between.
The capacity of the Swissporarena is 16,800 and the venue has a standing section behind the goal which holds 3,000 fans. The stadium was built where the old stadium was situated. It cost 60 million Euros to build and after a few delays opened in July 2011.
FC Luzern’s most successful period came in the late 80’s and early 90’s, winning their first league title in 88-89 season and a Swiss Cup in 1992.
Recently they have not had much success after being relegated in 2003, spending three years in the lower division but once again regained top flight status in 2006. They have also lost four recent Swiss Cup finals.
In their history, FC Luzern have won one Swiss Super League in the 1988-89 season and two Swiss Cups in 1960 and 1992.
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".
Inside the stadium there are a few basic food and drink vendors which sell the local beer, soft drinks and basic food items, including the main food of choice for most Swiss football teams, the bratwurst. Beer costs 5.50 chf (Swiss Francs) and can be drunk in the standing/seating area.
The FC Luzern faithful are known for being great supporters of their team on the road, and I was not at all disappointed to find that they are just as wonderful in creating atmosphere at home. They make plenty of noise and sing constantly throughout the game. The views from behind the goals are breathtaking with one of the many surrounding mountains viewable from the terraced section behind the goal and also from the more expensive Tribune C stand.
The stadium is usually full. Most recently I attended with a packed away stand full of Zurich fans making plenty of noise as well, even adding to the experience. I was worried the many flags and a few flares would obstruct the view but it was clear from mid terrace and up.
The Swissporarena is situated outside of the city centre, so there are not a lot of things to do close by. There is a beer tent outside the stadium selling everything you would find inside at the same price and is busy with fans. If you want to spend some quality time in the city centre, then it is easy to travel to and it is best to spend your time pre and post game in the city.
The centre is one of the most picturesque and beautiful places I have visited, surrounded by mountains and on Lake Luzern. There are not many places that can beat it for views. There are many bars and cafes along the lakefront to enjoy the views, and many shops in the historic part of the city. Luzern is also home of the famous Chapel Bridge, which is the oldest covered bridge in Europe. My favourite place to go before the game is the Pickwick Pub, right over the bridge and on the lakefront.
The Luzern fans are known to be some of the best fans in Switzerland. They are also known for some of the extravagant displays they put on before games. They are one of the better supported clubs in Switzerland, with an average attendance during the 2013-2014 season of over 10,000.
FC Luzern fans see the team's main rivals as FC St. Gallen and FC Sion. The fans are very accommodating and are easy to talk to about the game, team or football in general so don't worry about striking up a conversation with any of them. They may even buy you a beer!
There are limited parking spaces outside the stadium so my advice would be to travel via public transport. This helps as Switzerland has one of the best public transport networks in the world.
The bus station is directly outside the steps of the main train station, and shuttle buses run every 10-15 minutes with plenty of helpers on hand to ask where to catch the bus. Prices are 2.70 chf for a return ticket, however buses in zones 101/201/202/203 are free if you already have a game ticket in hand, and they are valid three hours before and after every game. The bus takes about 10 minutes to get to the stadium where it drops you off directly outside.
You can also catch the train to the stadium stop which is the 'Lucerne Allmend/Messe Station' from the main station which takes four minutes, but the walk is about 5-10 minutes to the stadium. This is also free with a match ticket.
When you decide to enter the stadium, there are plenty of entry gates where you just simply scan the bar code on the ticket to enter.
Tickets for standing room are 28 chf for adults and 14 chf for children. In the seating areas, the prices vary from 41 chf to 83 chf with children prices at 21 chf.
The 28 chf is well worth it to stand, and the atmosphere may look intimidating but is a lot of fun, so do not be put off. Tickets are easily purchased before the game at one of the ticket booths, or online via the club website. There are no obstructed views unless you are in the lower half of the standing area behind the goal where it is partially blocked by plenty of flags being waved.
The views are some of the best you will experience in any stadium around the world. You will not forget the snow capped mountains that can be seen wherever you turn especially on a stunning clear day, and that is well worth the trip alone.
There is a club shop with a range of official products which is situated at the opposite end of the stadium from where the majority will enter from public transport.
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