• Wednesday , 20 November 2019

The Best European Football Weekends – Part 2

We continue our comprehensive guide to the best and biggest football clubs to visit in Europe. Click here to read Part 1.

Ticket prices shown are the lowest available for league match, for one adult with non-restricted view.

Liverpool, Englandgame_liverpool

So close are Anfield and Goodison Park, that they seem to be engaged in a constant staring contest across Stanley Park. And yet, this fierce rivalry between Everton and Liverpool has been dubbed the ‘friendly derby’, due to the closeness of the two clubs and the strong Liverpool identity that they share. This is as a result of the roaring success the top clubs experienced in the 1980s, as well as the Hillsborough Disaster in 1989 that brought the whole city together in mourning.

Having said that, Liverpool-Everton has had more red cards than any other fixture in the Premier League era, so matches between the two are sure to bring drama and excitement. Add to that the passion of the fans, and you have an unmissable experience. Whatever you think of the club, seeing tens of thousands of Liverpool fans singing You’ll Never Walk Alone in unison is quite a moving sight.

Both clubs have fallen quite dramatically from their perch. Many legendary players and managers, from Dixie Dean to Kenny Dalglish, have donned blue and red kits, and brought back 27 First Division titles, 13 FA Cups and 5 European Cups/UEFA Champions Leagues. We may mock Liverpool’s annual refrain that ‘this year is our year,’ but the city nonetheless has a solid claim to be the greatest footballing city in England. Just don’t say that too loudly.

Need to know:

Liverpool FC
First Division: 18 (1989-90)
FA Cup: 7 (2005-06)
League Cup: 8 (2011-12)
European Cup: 5 (2004-05)
UEFA Cup: 3 (2000-01)

Anfield, 54,074
Tickets from £37

Getting there: Opposite Liverpool Lime Street, the main railway station in the city centre, is Queens Square bus station, from which you can take take bus 17 to Anfield.

Everton FC
First Division: 9 (1986-87)
FA Cup: 5 (1994-95)
UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup: 1 (1984-85)

Goodison Park, 39,572
Tickets from £38

Getting there: Kirkdale railway station is a 20-minute walk from the ground; the station is served by regular trains from the city centre. Alternatively, you can take the number 19/19A, 20, or 21 from Queens Square bus station.

Staying there: The Nadler Hotel Liverpool is housed in a historic warehouse dating from the 1850s, although it’s rather more comfortable now; it’s also a short walk away from Liverpool Central station. Take a look at our other Liverpool properties for more ideas.

Glasgow, Scotlandgame_glasgow

Glasgow is in many ways at the very heart of Scottish football. It’s home to Hampden Park, the national stadium, and the Scottish Football Museum, which contains over 2,000 items of memorabilia celebrating the history of the world’s second oldest football association. More importantly than that, however, it is the home of the Old Firm, the fierce and legendary rivalry between Celtic FC and Rangers FC.

Clashes between the two clubs can occasionally result in violence, and at the very least there will be a test atmosphere in the ground. For novices to the game, it’s advisable to avoid the derby and attend a more relaxed fixture. Nonetheless, it’s a truly unmissable spectacle, and dedicated football supporters ought not to miss it.

Celtic were the first British team to win the European Cup, beating Inter Milan 2-1 in Lisbon in 1967. For the so-called ‘Lisbon Lions’, this was the fifth trophy they had won that season, completely a remarkable season that has never been matched by a British side. Rangers, as a consolation prize, won the European Cup Winners’ Cup that same season, but that they have been unable to follow this up with their own European Cup triumph has always been a point of contention between two sides with no shortage of contention to keep them occupied.

Need to know:

Rangers
League Championship: 54 (2010-11)
Scottish Cup: 33 (2008-09)
League Cup: 27 (2010-11)
UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup: 1 (1971-72)

Ibrox Stadium, 50,817
Tickets from £22

Getting there: Getting to Ibrox is easy: take the Glasgow Metro from the centre – at St Enoch or Buchanan Street – and get off at Ibrox, which will deposit you right outside the stadium.

Celtic
League Championship: 48 (2016-17)
Scottish Cup: 36 (2012-13)
League Cup: 16 (2016-17)
European Cup/UEFA Champions League: 1 (1966-67)

Celtic Park, 60,411
Tickets from £26

Getting there: Take a train from Glasgow Central to Dalmarnock or Bridgeton railway stations, both around 10-15 minutes away from Celtic Park. Alternatively, the 43 and 64 buses go from the city centre to stops within reach of the stadium.

Staying there: Number 10 Hotel is a pleasant boutique option in Glasgow’s Southside, just a little way from Hampden Park. Set in two 19th-century townhouses, it blends contemporary design with the original Victorian features. Click here for more from Glasgow.

Leipzig, Germanygame_leipzig

Whisper it quietly, but RB Leipzig are the new force in German football. Their rise has been met with outrage and protest, but they have not been stopped in their meteoric rise to (nearly) the top of the Bundesliga. But Leipzig’s footballing heritage does not begin with RB. In fact, a much older club – Lokomotive Leipzig – won the very first German national championship in 1903.

Between 1950 and 1990 they played in the East German Oberliga, together with their neighbours BSG Chemie Leipzig. The latter won the championship twice, while the former could only manager second place. Since the fall of communism, East German football has been in terminal decline. RB Leipzig is the only team from the former state to play in the top division of German football, and they were formed long after the Berlin Wall came down.

While it is nice to visit the grounds of these East German relics, to catch a glimpse of the way football in Germany used to be, the real draw is RB. Controversy aside, they play decent football and have a young, dynamic team. The fan culture and the passion of German supporters is unmatched, and the controversy surrounding RB will add a different flavour to the match experience. Despite this, there is no threat of violence or unrest, and the atmosphere is a welcoming one, better for young couples and families than most other football grounds.

Need to know:

1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig
German Championship: 3 (1913)
East German Cup: 4 (1987)
German Cup: 1 (1936)

Bruno-Plache-Stadion, 15,600
Tickets from €8

Getting there: The Bruno-Plache-Stadion is on the southern outskirts of the city. Take tram 2 from the city centre, or tram 15 from the main railway station to Probstheida, from which it is a give minute walk to the stadium.

BSG Chemie Leipzig
DDR-Oberliga: 2 (1964)
East German Cup: 2 (1966)

Alfred-Kunze-Sportpark, 4,999
Tickets from €7

Getting there: In the northwest suburbs, the Alfred-Kunze-Sportpark can be reached by taking tram 7 from the main railway station to Barnecker Strasse, or by S-Bahn Leipzig-Leutzsch.

RB Leipzig

Red Bull Arena, 42,959
Tickets from €15

Getting there: The RB Arena is no more than a 30-minute walk from the city centre, although you can take tram 3, 7, or 15 from the main railway station in just 7 minutes.

Staying there: Hotel Arena City Leipzig Mitte is a comfortable and functional city-centre hotel, within moments of the Red Bull Arena, making it perfect for visiting football fans.

Editor’s Note

This article is Part 2 of 2. Click here for more from the beautiful game.

Picture credits:

Cover photo: The Kop – Image by Phil Thomas via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Under the flag in the Kop – Image by cchana via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Glasgow – Hampden Park – Image by marqueauxreilles via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Lokomotive Leipzig – Image by Neil Jensen, used with permission

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