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Although it certainly felt miserable stepping off a coach in Luzern a rainy morning after eleven hours journey home from possibly our best chance ever to qualify for the Europa League we should be thankful.
We should be thankful we do not live in Genk, a town so ugly that the crows fly upside down when they have the misfortune to pass it. It has no redeeming feature, we thought maybe it was totally destroyed during the wars, but no, it was built this way. There is absolutely nothing to do or see in Genk, there was a rumor that one bar once had a pool table, but it was impossible for us to verify this claim. Today the most popular building with visitors to Genk is the railway station - a frequent request at the counter is 'just give me a f**king ticket, I do not care where to'. Genk is not even a town; it is a mere collection of ugly houses that just happen to stand next to each others. In fairness we do think that the people we met in bars of Genk were rather nice.
We should also be thankful we do not have to endure a stadium 'dj' as the one Genk has employed. Imagine the music Papa Smurf would have chosen arranging a disco party on an acid trip. Blasted out at full volume before and after the game, so loud it’s impossible to even talk. We can only imagine it was to make it less obvious that the absolutely amazing travelling FC Luzern support totally out sang the unfortunate inhabitants of the ugliest town in Western Europe.
Now, there was also a game. We knew that the Genk side, formerly known as KFC Winter slut (!) was only average - not even close to our last European opponents FC Utrect. Though always threatening on the counter attack we were in control of the first leg we deservedly won 2-1. A draw was all we needed.
Early part of the game was rather similar to the first leg, we had a reasonable amount of possession and Genk felt beatable but we still had to be mindful about their attackers. It was all going reasonable well until Rangelov sees the red mist and kicks an opponent after a duel. We get the usual theatrical fall and the referee runs over to his linesman. Straight red. Cheers Dimitar, a totally pointless sending off which will make it extremely hard to qualify.
Game changes totally and we are now trying to park the Chelsea team bus in front of our goal. We rarely manage to string more than a few passes together in a very crowded central midfield. Our tactic is reduced to hoofing up long balls and hoping for the best. The only way we will score is on a set piece or a terrible individual mistake from our opponents. We manage to hold out until half time. The mood in the away end rises again.
More of the same in the second half. We look the lesser team now and before long Genk scores. Oh crap, thanks again Rangelow. Still, its not impossible, we just need a goal. Let's keep hoofing up the ball and hope for the best. The winterslag is now in control. She scores again after a good individual effort where Hyka is left standing behind.
Strangely, the away support gets even louder. We can still make it with a bit of luck, and we nearly, nearly do. With 94 minutes on the clock the KFC keeper makes an incredible save to deny a goal from Janko Pacar. We are defeated on the pitch but just as against Utrecht we win 3-0 on the terraces. The deafening Smurf Disco party ensues and we do our best applaud the team off the pitch.
Finally - we would like to thank the local police force - both for their calm attitude to policing the town centre and also for bringing up the helicopter to welcome us. A great honor.
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First of all, if you hadn't noticed it, our football writing career has slowed down a bit recently, maybe Murat’s football made us a bit sleepy. The good news is we just woke up.
We made our way down to the ground to start challenging for our SECOND European trophy this season (the first one being the very prestigious 'first top flight club to sack the manager this season')
It was the first European game played in Luzern for15 years. Due to these circumstances we expected a full stadium. Surprisingly there were only about 8000 people in the stadium. But it turned out that quality beats quantity when it comes to the support at Allmend
The circumstances were special, we had a very bad start to the season, and only two days previously Murat Yakin had been sacked. Polish coach Ryszard Komornicki took over and had the difficult task of preparing the team for this international game on such a short notice. K.R.C. Genk is a team from Belgium and finished last season in third place. The season before they were the champions of Belgium and qualified for the Champions League where they played Chelsea, Valencia & Leverkusen. On the paper, Genk is favourite in this play-off round and has the better chances to go through to the group stage.
We did not expect a lot from this evening, we were just happy to have an international game in the city. We’ve spent the afternoon in town and had some beers with some friendly and sympathic Genk supporters. There was a lot of police in town, but as far as we know there were thankfully no trouble between the supporters. The Genk supporters (around 700-900) meet up around the Reuss. As far as we know there biggest issue was the price of the beer in Luzern and the so called “Dutch piss” they got for it. After spending the afternoon in town and some more beers at Zone we went to the stadium.
Despite the non alcoholic beer rip-off available (even worse than the 'Dutch piss') it turned out to be a great night. FC Luzern started how we expect to start on a home game, with a lot of pressure from the first minute. The effort paid off and Rangelov scored already after seven minutes. It was the first time this season the FCL gone in front. Unfortunately Genk scored just four minutes later. But this seemed to have no influence on the team and especially not on our support. Murat-free FCL fought on and created a lot of good chances which unfortunately never resulted in any further goals.
The Genk away sector was full, they turned up with a good away mob and made some proper support in the first half. The second half was a bit quiet from their side. Maybe they got a bit tired from the 10 hour trip and the non alcoholic beer.
Our team started the second half like they finished the first one. A lot of offensive efforts and fighting spirit. This is how we want to see FCL play. The players rediscovered how to play football in a way that was missing while in Murat’s claws. We probably created as many chances as we did in all the last six games put together. In the 71th minute Adrian Winter scored the 2-1 after a nice pass from Lezcano (yes, honestly, he really did). The goal celebration was just mind-blowing!
Not only the team seemed to perform beyond what we have been used to, the Luzern home support was probably the best in the new stadium ever. It seemed that the FCL fans were just happy to have their FCL back. We sang about 90minutes in full power and even the usually more quite supporters at the sides were joined in. Even former JCBT star Cristian Ianu #17,who spent the game in sector C, was delighted and provided us with another great video.
We now have new hopes for the rest of this season in general and longer term we may actually even be able to turn Swisspor Lifestyle Arena into Fortress Allmend.
The game ended 2-1 and we still have a reasonable chance of going through to the group stage.
We can't wait for Thursday and hoping for a Sion-Cup-Semi-Final-Away-XXL-Style-Trip ! (hopefully only the great alcoholic Belgian beer will be served)
Super Luzern allez schalalalala,
Die schönschti Stadt am See schalalalalala!
Blau und Wiiis, ja das send eusi Farbeee!!!”