April 15, 2024
Ardagger: The articulated lorry in the gate and a pallet holder

ÖFB Cup is when worlds collide. This is what happened again this year, when ambitious clubs from the lower house compete with teams from the Bundesliga.

All matches of the ÖFB-Cup from the 1st round>>>

The cup fever can be particularly felt this year at SCU Ardagger, which can compete with Bundesliga Croesus FC Red Bull Salzburg.

The 3,000-strong community club has had an almost unbelievable year.

“It wasn’t planned at all”

Contrary to their own expectations, the club started a run in the 1st state league of Lower Austria last season that never stopped and culminated in a surprising promotion to the Regionalliga Ost.

For the club from the Mostviertel it is the greatest success in the club’s history, after 23 years in the national league it rose to Austria’s third-highest division for the first time.

Sports director Wolfgang Riesenhuber describes the SCU Ardagger in LAOLA1-Speaks as a small association “where humanity and camaraderie are at the heart”.


In the last season, Ardagger was surprisingly crowned champion of the Lower Austrian state championship

The ascent was a surprise. “It wasn’t planned at all. The goal was to finish in the top four. We had no pressure and that was our big advantage,” explains Riesenhuber.

As a bonus, the “bulls” were also drawn into the cup. The first thought was: “Whoa, how can we do it again now,” the head of the organization Peter Zeitlhofer said in an interview LAOLA1.

Robert Weinstabl’s former assistant coach in Amstetten is responsible for organizing the cup event together with the OC team around chairman Markus Hagler.

This is of course “an absolute dream lot, because you have the best team in Austria as guests”.

Card requests? “Yes, Endless”

At the time of the draw, Ardagger was busy working on infrastructure. He was about to be rebuilt the grandstand of the local sports field.

“However, it was planned that our grandstand would be renovated. Due to the cup draw, everything now had to go a little faster,” explains Zeitlhofer.

The cup match is a big challenge for the small club. Sporty anyway, but equally organizational.

“We received endless requests for tickets,” says Zeitlhofer. The race for the match against the Champions League participants is huge.

That’s why the club goes to great lengths to create “a real football festival” for visitors. And to provide this opportunity to as many people as possible, special measures are being taken.


“At Salzburg it looks like there are 30 people sitting on the substitutes’ bench, but it’s becoming too little for any Austrian club.”

Organization boss Zeitlhofer winks at a space problem on the sideline

Work as far as the eye can see

Behind one of the gates you have a free space. “A provisional additional grandstand will be set up there. This will be stacked from pallets,” reveals Zeitlhofer.

On the opposite side is a slope, where gastronomic improvements will have to be made.

A separate platform is also under construction for Salzburg’s match analysts, from which they can carry out their work.

A total of 2,500 people should be able to attend the match. The “bulls” also help where needed, which Zeitlhofer is very grateful for.

“It’s a great collaboration with Salzburg, the club is well organised,” he praised.

There’s only one point where you have to be late, as Zeitlhofer says with a laugh: “At Salzburg it looks like 30 people are sitting on the substitutes’ bench, but that’s too little for every Austrian club.”

The most important thing is “that the people of Salzburg feel comfortable with us. If they leave satisfied, we are happy”.

Through continuity towards the goal (unplanned).

The fact that it has come to this in Ardagger is due to the continuous work in the club, as Riesenhuber explains.

“Michael Unterberger has been our coach for seven years. I and a few others have been with us for almost 25 years,” he says.

The team hasn’t changed much over the years. Only four new players were drawn into the regional league, all from the lower classes and region. “Our players are all from the local area,” added Zeitlhofer.


A lot of work was done on the grandstand during the summer, also with the help of an articulated lorry

“We have to make do with very little, for us the regional league is a completely different world. And in any case Salzburg is a completely different number,” said Riesenhuber.

Despite everything, the “bulls” obviously will not be defeated without a fight. “We want to keep the zero as long as possible and set one or two pin pricks,” explains the sporting director David’s goal against Goliath.

Last season, Ardagger proved that it’s not that farfetched. In the state championship, the team has conceded just 17 goals in 30 games, and just five on their home green!

Riesenhuber uses a phrase: “Forwards win games, defenders win championships and that’s how it was with us.”


“I have already advised the Salzburgers not to focus so much on the cup because of the triple burden.”

Zeitlhofer tries to convince the “policemen” with humor

Zeitlhofer with special tips for the “bulls” from Jaissle

The SCU game is characterized by “extremely running work and a lot of counter pressure. Salzburg will be surprised how fast we have players,” Riesenhuber emphasizes.

However, laughs the 60-year-old, “we’ll probably have to put a semi-trailer in front of the gate.”

Even the head of the organization Zeitlhofer, who is in constant contact with the “bulls” managers, has a ready tip for the Bundesliga Croesus. “I’ve already advised him not to focus so much on the cup because of the triple burden,” he says with a laugh.


The new grandstand of the Ardagger sports field

However, it’s to be feared that Jaissle’s team isn’t taking care of it. Anything but a Salzburg win would be a sensation à la Dudelange or Vaduz.

Best wishes for the cup, goals for the Eastern League

For SCU Ardagger, however, the game itself is a big highlight, and there are other reasons to celebrate.

Because financially the lot is a blessing. “In terms of sustainability, this is certainly good for us and will help us in the future,” Zeitlhofer says happily.

His wish for the cup match? “Good weather! And may everything go smoothly. If people go home happy afterwards, we’ve done everything right.”

After the match against the “Bulls”, everyday life is called the regional championship, where staying in the championship is the goal for next season.

But Wolfgang Riesenhuber is under no illusions, even he knows that Ardagger is probably the big outsider.

“Of course, even the regional championship could be too much for us,” says the sporting director. “But they have to score us a goal there too.”

Because it can be assumed that you will not be moving the semi-trailer in front of your box at that point.

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