Wednesday, August 01, 2007

FC Zürich – GC Zürich (26-09-2004)

Last Saturday I had to be in Zurich for work and to my great surprise and joy I found that the city derby between FC Zurich en Grasshopper-Club Zurich was played that Sunday afternoon. After a usy tram ride to the stadium, in part because of the car-free Sunday, I arrived shortly before kick-off. For CHF 35 (ca. 22.50 euro) I bought a ticket for the covered seating stand at the Tribune Ost (East Stand).

Stadion Letzigrund is the home of the Fussballclub Zürich and can host 19.400 people. It is more an athletics than a football stadium, having a horrible cinder track around the pitch. At the moment it is also simply an ugly building, but it is nominated to be completely renewed.

The stadium was quite well filled with officially some 10.800 people (considering he game was also live on Swiss tv). The visitors of “GC” (Grasshopper-Club) were with some 2.000, including a hardcore behind one of the goals. The atmosphere was electric from the start, despite the rather poor level of play. The Swiss league is probably best comparable to the Belgian, reasonably defensive, slow, and technically mediocre. I was particularly struck by the lack of tactical skills and the many different position takings of the players. Most players on the pitch were Swiss, but there were also some Africans, a Brazilian (Nunez), and a well-known Romanian (Filipescu).

I can be short of the game itself: the first half hour GC had a bit more of the game, but without creating many chances. Surprisingly, it would be FCZ that scored after some 30 minutes, after a mistake of the GC goalie. 1-0 was also the half time score. The second half started some 7 minutes later because of the dense clouds of smoke from the fireworks of mostly the away supporters. The GC fans would dominate most of the second half anyway, breaking through the fences twice (once with the help of a garbage container), demolishing the fence behind the goal, and fighting with the police outside of the stadium for much of the last 20 minutes of the game.

The home supporters remained untouched by the hooliganism of their city rivals, as their team scored the second and final goal of the game in the 80th minute. This meant that, for the first time in 20 years (7334 days!!), FCZ won a city derby at home again. As you can imagine, this was celebrated frantically by the home fans!

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