FAV-AC Platz | A Football Fiesta in “Vienna’s Roughest District”*

The bar at FAV-AC Platz

FC Mauerwerk 1-4 TWL Elektra

📍 FAV-AC Platz | Vienna, AT
🏆 Regionalliga Ost
⚽ Austria (Tier 3)
📅 Sat 4 Mar 23 | 1.00pm
🎟️ €12 | Att: 410

* – According to TripAdvisor; personally, I think it’s great.

Having frozen my bollocks off in Dornbach the evening before (and loved every minute), the second day of my Viennese trip is something of an open book.

My initial plan had been to take the hour-long train to Bratislava, where Slovan were taking on Spartak Trnava in, what is by all accounts, a rather spicy local affair. But given the beautiful spring sunshine pouring in through my hotel window, I can’t bring myself to desert the Austrian capital. Instead of heading to the hauptbahnhof, I take in an authentic gourmet coffee boutique (this is a lie: it was a Starbucks) and peruse Futbology.

I can quickly see that I’m spoilt for choice. On my last visit to Vienna, a late Ryanair flight meant I missed out on Floridsdorfer AC, and the club’s second string is playing another tasty-looking local derby against Columbia Floridsdorf in the stadtliga. Alternatively, there’s FCJ Alt-Ottakring, who play their home games at the wonderfully cleped Kinkplatz (on a weekend where I’ve already been to see Wiener Sport-Club, my inner Kenneth Williams can’t believe his luck).

In the end, though, I opt for neither. Down in Favoriten, there’s an afternoon double header, with FC Mauerwerk taking on TWL Elektra at 1pm, followed immediately by Favoritner AC at 3pm. It’s easy to get to, so I finish my lukewarm Americano and get moving.

Another Brick in the Wall

FAV-AC Platz is, as the name suggests, not FC Maeurwerk’s home — and this is immediately evident as you approach the ground and see the many permanent Favoritner emblems on display. 

Inside FAV-AC Platz

In fact, it’s unclear where exactly FC Mauerwerk could conceivably consider home; founded initially in the Simmering district in 1911, the club has undergone countless mergers and name changes in the century or so since.

The most significant of these was in 2014, when Azerbaijani investors purchased the sixth-tier club and restyled it as Karabakh Vienna. There was bold talk of a rise to the Bundesliga, and after missing out on promotion to the fifth tier in the new owners’ maiden season, the club simply purchased the license of Kaiserebersdorf-Srbija 08 and relocated to a different part of the city. Successive promotions to the third-tier Regionalliga Ost followed, with the club playing home matches at the Rudolf Tonn Stadium near Vienna Airport.

In 2018, the Azerbaijani consortium then sold the club to an Egyptian investor, Mustafa Elnimr, who renamed the club after his Vienna-based real estate company. Given the club’s slightly synthetic rise from amateur football, it’s unsurprising that it has a small fan base (Mauerwerk attracts average crowds of around 150), but the financial backing of two successive wealthy owners mean that second division football is certainly not out of the question — even if it might all be unsustainable in the long run.

An Exciting Top of the Table Clash at FAV-AC Platz

The ground itself is surprisingly charming, given that it clearly doubles up as a multi-purpose community facility. On the far side, below a large block of flats, is a modern all-seater stand, while on the near side sit several softly declining rows of coarse, wooden benches. A balconied clubhouse arches over these benches, almost like a classic cricket pavilion.

Bookended on the left is a small outdoor seating area with pub benches, and two small huts serving beer (of course) and a rather suspect looking kind of schnitzel (of course). The pre-match music medley (a wonderfully eclectic mix of Avicii, Zorba the Greek, and the outro of John Miles’ Music) fails spectacularly to get anybody “going”, but I take my seat and settle in for an afternoon of local Austrian action.

As the game kicks off, I consult my phone. The surroundings make it feel like this is amateur level football, but both these sides have a genuine chance of playing second tier football next season.

TWL, in particular, are having a barnstorming season, so it’s a slight surprise when Mauerwerk take the lead, Ertugrul Tuysuz burying a crisp volley from the edge of the box. Only around a quarter or so of the few hundred fans in attendance celebrate, which indicates that they are not the main attraction.

Pleasingly, it’s a fast, frenetic duel, with the home side managing to impressively accrue three yellow cards in the first eight minutes, as well as an additional booking for their irritable coach, Ilco Naumoski. 

TWL, meanwhile, hit the bar twice and miss a penalty before Ognjen Sipka eventually levels things up before half time. The roar this time is a lot more resounding, and it’s obvious that most of today’s assorted spectators are supporting the away team. Given that both clubs have roughly the same low average attendance (TWL themselves have a colourful history of mergers, name changes, and corporate interference), this is slightly confounding. However, it’s entirely possible that many of the people here are just Favoritner fans with no particular fondness for their artificially-enhanced tenants.  

At any rate, the away side deservedly run away with things in the second half. Having hit the post directly from a corner in the first half, Manuel Gager gets his angles right to go one better and give TWL the lead. Then, with 15 minutes remaining, Oliver Pranjic cuts inside and belts home what can only be described as a bona fide thundercunt, before Gager completes the rout in injury time.

Pranjic’s strike is undoubtedly the highlight of the day, not just for the spectacular nature of the finish, but because, in the excitement, a nearby spectator knocks over his glass pint, causing an almighty stir that distracts even the players. The inadvertent hooligan – clearly something of an introvert – could not look more horrified, which only adds to the severity of the good-natured ribbing that comes his way.

In the end, the brisk cold makes my knees start to feel a little stiff, and I opt not to stay for Favoritner’s game. There are still a few grounds in the Austrian capital that elude me, so this — my second football weekend here — is unlikely to be the last. As always, t’s been a great couple of days in this incredible city, and I look forward to making another visit soon.