He has written enough about Austria’s sense of drama over the centuries. And somewhere between the work of Thomas Bernhard and the songs of Reinhard Fendreich and the goals of Hansi Krankl and Ralph Rangnick, a self-confessed Austrian fan even before he became national coach, he must have heard he was dealing with a critical, sometimes brilliant, sure-but unique audience must do it. . However, as the sun set behind the Ernst Abel Stadium on Monday evening, Austria set out to offer their new team president a rather unique start to a long evening. Even if the score at 1:2 against Denmark is wrong.
In the evening, the electricity went out in Vienna’s second district, Leopoldstadt. What was initially noticeable only at Abel Stadium was the lack of a video wall. Not so bad, others met an even worse fate: in the neighboring Prater, meanwhile, people were stuck in rides a hundred meters above the ground. After that, the flood lights in the stadium were no longer working, which is why the kick-off of the second match of the Nations League in Group A was postponed indefinitely.
Radetzky March, DJ Ötzi and Anton from Tyrol and Falco’s “Out of the Dark”
The 18,700 fans at Abel Stadium – not a particularly luxurious venue – then put together a very charming Austrian bridge programme. As it got darker with the passage of time, people clapped in tunes to “Life is life.” Then the flags were waved to the beat of Radetzky Marsh, and there was still enough power for DJ Ötzi. The national anthem says “People gifted for the beautiful” and although “Anton of Tyrol” is not a testament to that line, it was the highlight of the substitution program: La Ola rolled across the stadium as a wave of lights for the blue Danube Waltz, the atmosphere was breathtaking in Three to four times.
However, Blue Danube Waltz is only the closing in on the New Year’s Eve party, which is why Falco’s epic “Out of the Dark” was taped shortly afterwards – and of course the light returned exactly in these minutes.
So it was also possible to play football, which seemed to be a comeback. Rangnick and guest coach Kasper Hjolmand sent their players to warm up again, with the kids still awake. Another Radetzky practice later, at 10:15 p.m., an hour and a half later, blew the match whistle that should have provided more insight into whether a week for Rangnick was enough for further real development.
There was a lot to be said about it in the 90 minutes, as the Austrians fell behind in the 27th minute via a Pierre-Emile Hogberg goal, but then found good answers. The pressure worked (and led to 1:1 through Xaver Schlager, who took advantage of a goalkeeper error), the combos and running tracks looked perfectly trained, and David Alaba was able to bring his qualities to the match opener much better than he had under Rangnick’s predecessor Franco. Fouda. Austria was the better team in the second half. However, Marko Arnautovic missed the best opportunity to take the lead in his 100th international game – the Danes, who were very effective in front of goal, were able to do so late in the game: Jens Streiger Larsen’s 85th minute goal prevented Austria from going ahead. With a proper score, the drama of a late tie overtook the team this time around.
“If everything is going well now, it would also be abnormal,” Rangnick said afterwards, but at the press conference he openly praised his team – the poor turnaround of opportunities alone is a reminder of the failures of the past few years.
The stadium announcer gives a metaphor for the early days under Ralf Rangnick
Despite the defeat, after only a few days in Rangnick, a small wave of euphoria slowly loomed in Austrian football. The mood among the spectators was remarkably good after the match, just after midnight – late as never before in the long history of the Vienna Stadium. In the second leg against France on Friday, the entire Abel Stadium sold out for the first time in a long time. This may be due to the many well-known players on the world champion team, but also because the Austrians can calculate chances against very good teams under their new coach.
As a tentative recap of the first 10 days under Ralph Rangnick, legendary stadium announcer Andy Marek’s sentence from the opening is good. The spectators were only supposed to give hope that the match would go on — but sometimes, the power outages provided opportunities for football metaphors: “Sometimes,” said Marek, “the electricity is in areas where it wasn’t right before.”