The Trip to Augsburg

After landing at Munich Airport, Martin Percival and I headed immediately to one of the local beer gardens before taking the train to Augsburg. ChrisPTenner met us outside the station and we walked the short distance to the hotel. After checking in, we sat outside for a very welcome beer with Ron Hill and Chris. At the next table was an R’s fan who informed us that he had been living in Holland for 30 years.

He soon joined us and it turned out that it was Robin MacWilliams who used to be involved with the Supporters Club football team and he also told us about his memorable trips around Europe in the 70’s/80’s. Apart from Alan Barnes (who everybody knows) he asked about Joe English and Peter Kingham and many others from back in the day. As so often happens with these encounters, the stories from the old days continued long into the night.

After breakfast the following morning, Moreno turned up and we went to the station to meet two of the German R’s, Udo Hu and Maik Steuerberg, for a beer. Later, a group of us headed off by tram to the ground. Some QPR fans had purchased their tickets in advance, but Robin and I hung out to make certain that we were situated in the Rangers section. When we arrived at the ground we had to queue up at a portakabin for tickets. Robin purchased a couple for just 7 euros each.

Inside the stadium the first person I bumped into was George, aka the Wolfman, who was with someone else I hadn’t seen for a while, Alfred from Austria. We laid out the Indy R’s flag and it was time for a beer. Rangers fans were also located in other parts of the ground and on view in the Stand to our right was Mel’s ‘Northolt/Greenford’ flag. Good to see Toboly who was with a mate of his who now lives in Bavaria.

FC Augsburg’s original home was the Rosenau Stadium up until 2009 and the new SGL Arena holds just over 30,000. It was a very relaxed atmosphere, fans were drinking and smoking inside the ground and the handful of stewards were very friendly. I only remember seeing one policeman who had briefly surveyed the crowd and left.

It was the home side who took the lead 17 minutes into the game. Rob Green should of been red carded after he had handled the ball outside the box. The resulting free kick was blasted into the Rangers wall and the referee decided that the ball had come off of Ryan Nelsen’s arm and pointed to the spot. Bance stepped up and made no mistake, placing the ball straight down the middle. Djibril Cisse equalised with 33 minutes gone, but 4 minutes later Anton Ferdinand headed into his own net after a mix-up with Rob Green.

Rangers played much better after the interval and 10 minutes or so into the second-half, it was that man Cisse who equalised with another well taken goal after good work by Junior Hoilett. Cisse almost did it 3 minutes earlier when his clever shot hit the crossbar after a superb pass from Adel Taarabt. On 77 minutes the travelling R’s fans were on their feet to welcome back the return of Alejandro Faurlin.

With a few minutes remaining, Rangers had a good shout for a penalty when Fabio da Silva was seemingly brought down.The referee wasn’t interested and it finished 2-2. I was surprised that more players weren’t introduced by Mark Hughes during the course of the match. There could of been something up to 300 R’s fans around the ground, which is decent when you consider the short notice etc and the farcical events leading up to the game the previous Saturday against the Turkish side Trabzonspor. Apparently Ron Hill and John Proudlock were lucky to get in to what looked like a training ground after the venue and kick-off time was changed on the day of the game.

Team: Green, Derry (Taarabt), Ferdinand, Nelsen, Onuoha, Park (Faurlin), Dyer (Wright-Phillips), Cisse (Zamora), Mackie, Fabio, Hoilett.

Subs Not Used: Murphy, Harriman, Connolly, Ehmer, Ephraim, Doughty, Sutherland.

Attendance: 13,154

After the game I witnessed a mini-version of ‘Beatlemania’ outside the ground. As the R’s players gradually made their way onto the team coach, a large group of teenage Korean girls hysterically screamed at the appearance Ji-Sung Park. Although seated on the coach, they continued to call for him. So to get into the spirit of the situation I decided to shout out from time to time: ‘Park, we love you’, which resulted in further hysteria and screaming from his fan club !

We took the tram back into town and Robin quickly departed after looking out of the window and suddenly catching a glimpse of Andy Evans who he hadn’t met for many years. Moreno, Martin and I later went back to Munich. Moreno stayed on until Monday, but Martin and I flew back to Heathrow the following day and surprisingly the plane took off early. A very enjoyable weekend and hopefully something similar will be arranged for next year.

Steve Russell

(The above pics were taken by Martin Percival. All rights are reserved and his photos are used by the Independent R’s with his permission)

5 thoughts on “The Trip to Augsburg

  1. Hello mate, I’m off out to Munich for the beer festival end of September, I was out there for there world cup can’t remember the year. Anyway have you any advice, tips at all?
    I won’t be missing an R’s game don’t worry

  2. Creosote , rusty nails and biting ants – Augsburg 2 QPR 2

    When this trip was first announced I was gutted to miss it as it had been a long held dream to see
    Rangers abroad again after my only foreign trip in 1987. Money had been tight as we’ve had a lot of building work done on the house recently so it looked like I was going to have to miss out.Then about ten minutes later I looked in my work diary and found I was on annual leave and could indeed make the trip. But then I’d already booked to go to Poland and Sweden in the autumn to see England and was in desperate need of brownie points with the wife. So I booked it without consultation with Mrs Tenner. I had some overtime pending so it would hardly be missed in the disposable income department .
    So there I was on Friday 10th August finding myself walking the two miles to Sudbury Town at 3.45am to then catch a night bus to Baker St where I was to connect with the National Express coach to Stansted Airport for our 8am easyjet flight to Munich. As you do.
    On arrival at Munich it was easy to find the platforms for the train first to Munich city centre then to Augsburg as my travelling companion Ron Hill had made the very same journey the weekend before when he was here for the ill fated Trabzoznspor friendly. We arrived in Augsburg at 1.15pm and headed straight to the FCA Cafe (Augsburg FC Clubshop) which was 200 yards from the station. Two tickets purchased for the game we then walked the 150 yards to the Ibis Hoteland booked in. A quick shower apiece ( and no not together !) we then headed to the SGL Arena to have a look around and get the travel arrangements correct for the following day. On entering the building we got caught by security so I used my well used excuse of looking for a ‘toiletten bitte’. The guy told me to go in the lift one floor down with the two builsders who were in the lift. Having used the toilet I then found I was all alone in the stadium and outside the dressing rooms marked ‘heime’ and ‘gastes’. Down some stairs I could see lush green grass so I went down and out onto the pitch and took some photos before being found by security once again and claiming I was lost and had taken the wrong exit having left the toilet.
    Back upstairs in the lift I was then collared by a third security bloke who when realising I was English then thanked me for coming all the way from England !!!
    We then returned back to town by tram and went for some well earned nosebag and chose a lovely restaurant withj outside seating on the main street Bahnof Strasse. Well fed and refreshed with liquid we returned to our hotel for some evening beers as Mr Russell and Martin63 were joining us in about 2 hours time. Met five other Rangers sitting outside the bar and we had a brief chat about all things QPR. Then a guy sat on the next table and I could hear him talking German on his mobile, then he started talking Dutch. He finished the conversation in English !! He spoke to us and it transpired he was a Rangers fan who had travelled from Holland for his first game for four years. We were then joined by Steve and Martin at about 8.15 and we invited this guy to join our table. During a chat Alan Barnes name came up and the guy said ‘I remember him from the 70s, how is he these days ?’. He then mentioned a few names from the past then came out with ‘whatever happened to Joe English ?’. It turns out we were in the company of rob Mc Williams who was heavily involved with the Supporter s Club in the 70s and 80s and regaled us with stories of seeing Rangers in the UEFA Cup having been on all away trips bar one. The evening was very warm and we had to cool ourselves with pint after pint of top notch German biers with me and Ron choosing Hefe Weizen while Steve and Martin were on Donkeles until the early hours of the morning.
    Saturday morning we were joined by another R when Moreno Ferrari joined us having arrived on a train from Munich. He came with me and Ron as we were going to Augsburgs old ground , the Rosenau Stadion ,where FCA U23 (reserves )were playing a game while Steve and Martin went to the train station to meet up with some German Rs for a beer. We popped into the FCA Cafe again as Merino hadn’t been in there yet and while inside we bumped into another R who it turns out was NYPAUL from the IndyRs parish. Then off we went to the Rosenau stadion on foot. The map we had been given wasn’t to scale and therefore was totally useless. We were in the vicinity of the ground, there was even a road called Rosenau Strasse but could we see any floodlights ? Eventually we got help from a passer by who took us on a long and winding road through a heavily wooded forest cum park area. Eventually we found the place and we thanked our very helpful traffic warden.
    On reaching the ground we were informed it was 8 euros to go in but we only wanted to take a look so a lovely lady took us on a tour of the ground including the main entrance and we walked down the tunnel and out onto the pitch for some photos as the two sides were warming up on the pitch.
    It was now nearly lunchtime so headed back to the train station and hooked up with Steve & Martin again who were joined by some German Rs and a couple of young lads from Hanwell.
    Before heading off to the ground we posed in front of the picturesque water fountain which was in the square in front of the train station.The locals must’ve wondered what was happening as Steve unfurled his rather large Independent Rs flag.
    Then it was on the tram to the ground with the locals being regaled with a many shout of “ You Rs” and the Hanwell contingent burst out with ‘Germany ! Germany !we’re the famous Queens Park Rangers and we’re going to Germany’. Not sure they understood the difference between present and future tense but you had to be there. On the tram journey we were joined by a party of Koreans along with many Augsburg fans and we were the centre of attention with the locals who were amazed we had travelled over for a friendly.
    On arrival at the stadium grounds we bumped into Dave Robinson, Mel and Danny Gristwood who was nursing a dislocated elbow (ouch !).
    Martin and I were invited into the VIP area by his German friend Michael and his lovely 3 year old daughter Lola so we said ‘auf wiedersen’ to Steve and Rob and arranged to meet up after.
    On entering the ground I went in search of our seats but was distracted by the sight of beer being dispensed gratis to all ‘gastes’ in the VIP area. So I got the first round in while Martin acquired some teamsheets as there was no programme on sale. We took our seats and were amazed as we appeared to have the best seats in the house, sat on the half way line about ten rows behind the Rangers dugout. Rangers fans were situated diagonally across from us to our right and were making a right old racket. And many were carrying trays of beers to their seats !!!
    The weather was in the 80s but with hardly any humidity and a high roof only half the pitch was in the sun and thankfully it was the opposite side of the pitch.
    For the first 15 minutes we hardly got a touch of the ball and Augsburg were very energetic and were playing well. The first chance fell to their centre foward Aristide Bance when a diagonal ball down our left saw Fabio exposed and as the right winger got to the byline he drew the ball back but Bance blazed over from about 15 yards when he should’ve got the shot at least on target.
    About 5 minutes later a high ball in our box saw Green come to collect but then decide to punch. It was the wrong choice and his punch was poor and didn’t even clear the box but he had another go at it. If you thought his first punch was bad the second attempt was comical as he eventually collected the ball but carried the ball outside the 18 yard line then decided to drop the ball !! A freekick was awarded and we had 11 men behind the ball . The ball was hit with venom at the wall and Ryan Nelsen put his arms up in defence to protect his face and the ball hit the back of his arm and the referee awarded the penalty. Bance stepped up and smashed it down the middle with Green diving to his left. 0-1 17 mins.
    It was just reward to be fair as we were playing second fiddle in every department.For the next ten minutes we were given a lesson in passing as we seemed to give away possession far too easily and Augsburg had more of the ball.After about 30 minutes I commented to Martin that Augsburgs keeper could sit with us and have a beer because I don’t think he’d actually touched the ball yet. Within a couple of minutes he was picking the ball out of the net. We worked the ball down our right and Cisse made a diagonal run across the defence as he had anticipated where the ball was likely to go. As he latched onto the ball on the edge of the box he smashed it first time leaving Simon Jentzsch helpless in the goal. It was a fine finish by our only bright spark so far as he had been making some clever runs but had no service up until now. The equaliser seemed to inspire us and our midfield of Park ,Dyer ,Mackie and Derry suddenly seemed to wake up and were now getting more involved.
    Then it was back to square one again on 38 minutes when the mother of all cock ups saw Ferdinand head into his own net. A hopeful punt by Augsburgs right midfielder Giovanni Sio into our box saw the keeper rightfully come off his line with Anton going to meet the ball when there was a clear call from the keeper but Antons header trickled past Green into an empty net from about 15 yards. Going by the reaction of Nelsen ,Green and Onuoha it clearly Antons fault and not Greens as some fans wanted as he seems to be our new scapegoat already.
    On 43 minutes Green came to our rescue when following some intricate work by Ottl he let fly from 20 yards and Green palmed the ball wide for a corner.
    HT 1-2 . Could’ve been more but Cisses goal had awoken us from our slumber.
    At ther start of the 2nd half Wright-Phillips and Taarabt replaced Derry and Dyer and there was no surpise in those decisions to be fair.
    The change was noticeable almost instantly as our midfield began to see a lot of the ball and the subs were playing their part as we kept the ball far better. On 51 Cisse made another great diagonal run as Taarabt weaved his magic in midfield.Looking up Adel planted the ball on a sixpence for the Frenchman who by now was on the corner of the box down the right. As the keeper came off his line to narrow the angle Cisse lifted the ball over him to the far post and from our vantage point it looked a goal all end up until it agonisingly hit the bar and went wide and was eventually cleared to safety.
    A couple of minutes later Cisse was found with an identical pass , thisd time by Hoilett, and as the ball sat up nicely Cisse smashed the ball in the net then ran to the right hand touchline to take the applause from the five Rangers sat in block D by the corner flag , including Ron ,Merino and Andy Evans.It was a superb finish from the games outstanding player.
    For the rest of the game we controlled the midfield but to be fair to Augsburg they made seven changes during the game so they lost their shape at times as subs were introduced and of the 18 players they used ^ were making their debuts.
    The only thing of note was a couple of running battles being carried out. Mackie was getting some unwanted attention from the left back but didn’t rise to the bait ,in fact he just kept laughing at him to wind the bloke up even more. Cisse was also getting involved with one of their centre backs Verhagh who was eventually taken off I think as a precaution. Cisse was replaced as well at the same time.
    Green was called into action again near the end when Augsburgs only shot in the second half was palmed over for a corner.
    Zamora replaced Cisse and there was a huge cheer from the away end when Alejandro Faurlin made a welcome appearance , replacing Park for the last 12 minutes.
    FT 2-2. It was a good test for the squad, the game was played in a decent atmosphere and my only worries was the way we were carved open time and again in the first 30 minutes. Fabio at left back got exposed on about 3 occasions with a simple ball down the channels, at times Nelsen was playing left back covering for Fabios ventures upfield and Antons own goal was comical and was down to a simple lack of concentration.
    Adel also gave the ball away too many times in the last 20 minutes and got a right rollicking from Hughes in the tunnel as he walked off the pitch at the end.

    A great trip and having waited 25 years for a decent European excursion I’d like to do this on an annual basis.

  3. Like Chris I’d been waiting since 1987 for the chance to see Rangers play abroad again. It was a terrific trip to Augsburg – couldn’t have gone any better. Good company, great weather, very easy travel – all in all a lot of fun and, although I can imagine that Asia will feature heavily in future tour itineraries, I do hope that we get the chance to see the Rs again before too much longer in countries like Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium etc.

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