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Max Kofler: Die Revolution

Started on 7 June 2019 by ScottT / First Post
Latest Reply on 23 August 2019 by Jack / Last Post
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ScottT's avatar Group ScottT
2 monthsEdited

An Introduction: The Wiener Derby


SK Rapid Wien and FK Austria Wien; the two most successful clubs within Austria, but also within Vienna. Two fierce rivals that are both located in Western Vienna, in the thirteenth district of the beautiful city. A rivalry in which cannot be contested, in terms of its fierceness, within a large part of Europe, let alone within Austria, dating back to their very first meeting in September 1911.

Whilst Rapid have moved further South since the birth of this rivalry, the origins of the two clubs mean that, in general, the Western part of the city is divided between purple, of FK Austria Wien and green, of SK Rapid Wien. The North-West tends to be, primarily, a Austria-supported area, whereas the South-West is more so a Rapid-supported area. Yet, the geography of these two clubs has little to do with the identity of its supporters - in fact that can be attributed to class.

FK Austria Wien are historically associated with the coffeehouse culture that is famous amongst Vienna. This culture has played a vital role in which witnessed coffeehouses within the city become extended into living rooms of young writers and creatives during the early twentieth-century when the club was created.

Legendary literature and important schools of thought were born in iconic spots like Café Griensteidl and Café Central, fuelled by caffeine and intelligence. Die Veilchen became attached to this culture and as such, the "Jung Wien" that was growing up gained a reputation for a more middle-class and well-educated society.


SK Rapid Wien supporters ahead of the Wiener Derby

In contrast, SK Rapid Wien very much represent the working-class citizens of the city. Rapid embody the more industrious aspect to Vienna, in which Austria does not. The club take pride in its origins - stemming from their creation in 1897 as First Viennese Workers’ Football Club - and continue to do so today. Therefore, these social classes can be linked directly to the definitions in which the two play their football.

Die Grün-Weißen's football is proudly more robust than that of Austria, who take as much pride in playing aesthetically pleasing passing as Rapid do in their aggressive, hard-working displays.

Supporters are vocal in their admiration for their own clubs and in their disdain for their rivals. Chants ranging from jovial to controversial ring out from both purple and green heavy sections of the stadiums during derby day. Additionally, shirts of the opposition are placed upside down, symbolising a disrespect shared between the two.

Tensions still very much run high, both on and off the pitch. In 2006, Joey Didulica - who was in-goal for Austria Wien - broke Rapid striker Axel Lawaree's jaw after a foul. He was later fined and found guilty of assault, as a result.

If it were possible, Rapid's disdain towards their neighbours only grew and despite the emergence of RB Salzburg - who have become the dominant force within Austria more recently, winning five consecutive titles - the rivalry only continues to grow between these bitter rivals, housed within Vienna.

Note: All graphics used in this story are created by FM Scout user Jack. I would like to thank him for his work!
A Scoot story! Looking forward to this, hopefully it lasts ;) Good Luck mate!
Such a shame that this story has come to an end so soon. RIP Max Kofler.
2019-06-07 17:29#257238 Jack : Such a shame that this story has come to an end so soon. RIP Max Kofler.
You're obsessed. :D I'm going to make this even more successful than yours. ;)
I knew you'd lose it at some stage. Here is a story of Scott talking about his Wiener.
Looks good bro, your attention to detail almost rivals myself( jk), really interesting stuff. Hope you makes this into a long one!( Unlike my last story...……..)

Chapter One


"Max!" boomed the voice of Ernst Dokupil, the SK Rapid Wien first-team coach. "Get warmed up, it's time," he smiled. I smiled back at him, nodded and raced out my seat to prepare to make my first-team debut for the club I loved. Our family had always lived in the South-West of the city; we had working-class roots and as such, SK Rapid Wien were our one true loves. Simply put, we embodied the stereotype of what a Rapid fan was.

My father was in attendance, as he always was, coupled by my mother. My father was an avid supporter of the club and would take me to every game he could, when work allowed. We would occasionally travel across Austria when the club were away from home to support them. My mother was perhaps less so of a fan, but understood the sentiment that the football club meant to us and was always keen to allow me to persue my dream of stepping foot onto the turf of the Gerhard Hanappi Stadion - the home of Die Grün-Weißen.

I had signed with the club at the age of eleven and now, I was sixteen - ready to make my first-team debut. My debut, if you can believe, against our bitter rivals - FK Austria Wien - in the Wiener Derby. The atmosphere was hostile, but it excited me. I was familiar with the surroundings and Ernst knew that. He knew it wouldn't phase me and he had full faith that I would deliver, despite my inexperience and youth. This was a great deal to me, especially during such an occasion.

Smoke filled the stadium from the barrier of flares set off by both hoards of supporters, filling the mild November air. Loud chanting echoed around the ground, as Rapid lead by a goal to nil with half an hour to go. The Austrian football season had begun back in late July; but this was the pinnacle of it. This fixture had everything on the line, including a tussle for the bragging rights of the city.

Rapid currently topped the Austrian Bundesliga by two points, closely followed by Austria. It was a familiar scene; both clubs were utterly dominant within Austrian football. The previous season, though, during the 1995/96 campaign, Austria capitulated. Finishing fifth, Sturm Graz finished second, behind ourselves - who totalled a final tally of 73 points, six points ahead of Graz. Austria managed a measly 51, in an awful season for Die Veilchen.

After a quick warm-up on the sidelines, I pulled on the Rapid jersey. I looked at it, admired it and caressed the badge. I took a deep breath and revelled in the moment; it was truly magical. I looked up into the crowd behind me and saw my parents' beaming smiles - my mother applauding me, whilst my father understood all I needed to. The emotion hit me, strong. Ernst approached me, as the board was being set up for my introduction. "You understand what this fixture means, Max. Go out there and f*cking play," he roared.

I looked up to the sky and signalled to the heavens for good luck. It was ritual of mine; I certainly weren't the most religious, but it helped me. The board went up and the PA announcer announced there was to be a substitution. I applauded the departing player - Dietmar Kühbauer - sharing a few words with him when he reached me, before I made my arrival onto the pitch. The announcer gave me a grand entrance, "Making his Rapid debut, number 34... Max Kofler!" He broadcasted. The crowd roared, mixed with a very loud chorus of boos from the visiting fans of Austria. It was time...


A banner displayed which reads: For Rapid And You We Fight A Long Life!

Ernst entrusted me in my preferred role - as a number ten, slightly behind the striker. I had bundles of energy to burst and a burning desire to kill the game off, against a side that I bitterly despised. The game was close, as the score-line suggested, with plenty of chances for either side. My first few minutes on the pitch were fairly limited, but I finally secured my chance, receiving the ball slightly inside the Austria half and driving at a weary defence. This was where I was in my element. I looked for support and placed a perfectly cut ball through the two defenders, in which Rene Wagner latched onto. He prompted the keeper to rush out the goal and in perfect fashion, rounded him and rolled the ball home.

The Rapid supporters went into ecstasy. It was a scene to behold and the team raced into the crowd to soak up the moment. Rene grabbed me, hoisting me into the air in celebration. "F*cking get in!" He screamed.

Eventually, the celebrations stopped and we resumed play. We knew we had to see the game out now. The Austria players were completely deflated, but attacked with purpose for the remaining fifteen minutes. They had nothing to lose and the supporters continued to get behind them with authority, despite being two goals down. But we were professional in our approach - something that was distilled throughout the squad, thanks to Ernst. We saw it out and celebrated an excellent two-nil victory in front of our home crowd - gaining the bragging rights within Vienna.

Ernst raced onto the pitch to enjoy the moment with us. We gained a victory over our bitter rivals, but importantly furthered our lead at the top of the Bundesliga. He patted me on the back as he approached me, "Congratulations, Max. F*cking brilliant," he laughed.

"Cheers boss!" I replied, with a giant smile etched all over my face.

An interviewer approached me as we continued our celebrations. She had bleach blonde hair and a beautiful smile, that almost matched mine. Her voice purred as she spoke, "Excellent result today, Max. How does it feel to have made your debut in such a significant match - but also to have made such an impact?"

"It's a truly amazing feeling and something I have dreamed about for such a long, long time. I don't have the words to describe it right now. It's surreal." She continued to smile as I spoke and her eyes twinkled through the green smoke that engulfed the ground.

"Well congratulations!" She said, signalling I could continue to celebrate with the fans. My parents had pushed through to the very front of the crowd and I rushed over to embrace them. My mother had tears in her eyes as she realised the sheer joy that was pumping throughout me. My father was almost bouncing with pride. It was a moment that I will treasure forever and do to this very day. "I love you both," I uttered.

I finally separated myself from them, applauded the supporters, kissed the badge and raced down the tunnel with my eyes transfixed on the score-board as I did so.

SK Rapid Wien 2-0 FK Austria Wien...

Replies


LFC: Thanks mate, I'm hopeful it will. ;)

Jack: You'll be proven wrong.

Justice: I have a very big one.

Maguire: Thanks mate, appreciate it. I'm sure your new one will do well.
We have a second update?! Wow. Nice to see Kofler instilling his name firmly into Rapid folklore with a debut goal of such magnitude!
Impressive way to make your debut at such a young age in getting an assist for the winning goal! Great start for Max!
Damn that's some serious writing, and I loved your manager, GET OUT AND F*CKING PLAY lol, great start Scott. SOTM will be looming if you keep this up

Chapter Two


The end of the 1999/00 season marked a disappointing chapter in the history of SK Rapid Wien. We fell to a disappointing third-placed finish within the Austrian Bundesliga - continuing the drought of four seasons without a league title to our names. We were well off the pace, finishing eleven points behind the eventual champions, Tirol Innsbruck. The only saving grace was that we finished ahead of bitter rivals FK Austria Wien; who finished behind us in fourth.

After four fantastic seasons with the club, I realised that I had to depart my beloved club if I wished to capture the success I was deeply in sought of during my career. Unfortunately, football is a short career and it saddened me to think that I had to leave this club behind, but I was simply never going to achieve the levels of success in which I believed I could if I stayed.

As such, difficult conversations had to take place. The end of the season marked the end of Heribert Weber's tenure at the club - after two years in charge - and Ernst Dokupil was welcomed back to the club; after departing in March 1998. His return boosted the morale of the club, definitely, but I still knew that I had to leave for my own interests.

I requested to speak to Ernst immediately, face-to-face. He was a well-spoken man and having someone who shared the enthusiasm he did certainly made the conversation a lot easier. Ernst was a man I respected a lot - he granted me the ability to play for my boyhood club, I couldn't have a respect any greater - and so I wanted to explain the situation to him, the very best I could.

"I've thoroughly enjoyed my time here. You know what this club means to me and I've given many years of service to it..." I explained.

"But, you're ready to move on. I understand, entirely," Ernst interrupted. "Max, I knew from the very day you made your debut that you were destined for great things. Everybody here loves you, you're one of them - a supporter. You love the club and that's why they love you. They'll understand why you're making this decision, it's for the good of your career. You have the ability to enjoy a hugely successful career; don't let your love for this club hold you back." He told me.

His words certainly helped. "There are a number of clubs interested in your services, from all across Europe." Ernst told me. "I'll keep in contact with you regarding any offers that came my way."

For four seasons I had given my all for this club and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. I had 102 appearances to show for it, with twenty-eight goals to my name - a respectable tally for a number ten. Departing it would be a tough decision, but once I did - I knew it was for the best. Ernst had accepted numerous bids from top flight clubs in England, France and Germany. However, I immediately knew where my next destination lie.

A few weeks after our discussion, I signed on the dotted line at SV Werder Bremen. Die Werderaner had just finished ninth in the Bundesliga, with Thomas Schaaf at the helm. It was the perfect move for me - a club that sought to push into European competition and had a young, progressive manager in the dug-out to try to achieve that. I bid some heart-felt goodbyes at Rapid, leaving behind many great memories. A lot of tears were shed, in all honesty.


The beautiful city of Bremen awaited me in Germany

However, the next six years I spent at Werder were incredible. There, I experienced things I never dreamed I would - even in my very wildest dreams. In 2004, I captured the Bundesliga title and the German Cup. I remember lifting the Bundesliga trophy, in particular, high above my head - taking in the deafening noise of the supporters - knowing that it was something I would treasure for the rest of my life.

From that success, it gave me the opportunity to partake in the UEFA Champions League - a competition I grew up watching as a child. Inter Milan, Valencia and Anderlecht awaited us in the group stages. To progress from that group was another fantastic achievement in my career and to score in a 2-1 victory at the Weserstadion against Valencia was something else to place in the scrapbook of my life. Lyon would prove to be a step too much for us, as we were humbled convincingly, but I enjoyed the moment, nonetheless.

We were unable to retain our crown the following year, but further success in qualifying for the UEFA Champions League continued. Regardless, it was a great feat for everybody associated with the club. Many look back at that era with fondness, given the recent circumstances at the club - in which Bremen have been unable to secure any form of European football since 2010.

My stock continued to rise, drastically. Thomas was reluctant to sell me, for whatever the cost. He described me as somebody who was "indispensable to the football club for its future." As such, numerous offers from the elite of Europe were rejected and I was content with remaining at the club. Why would I opt to leave a club in the midst of success - whilst that didn't involve trophies, as we were unable to add to our trophy cabinet at that time - we were consistently qualifying for the Champions League.

Eventually though, the time came that Thomas accepted that I had to move on. The conclusion of the 2005/06 campaign brought large interest. The interest in my services could only be described as astronomic and Bremen were receiving huge offers from top clubs. However, once again, I knew there was only one club that was right for me. It happened to be the greatest decision of my career...

Replies


Jack: Very funny. Indeed, he was fondly loved by the Rapid faithful - even after he departed the club.

LFC: It was. You couldn't really ask for a better debut, especially at the tender age of sixteen.

Maguire: Thank you, I appreciate that (again). Great guy is Ernst. ;)
Ernst, I said it first, a great man. Nice update
Max is certainly having a successful and very loyal career so far! Wonder who this new club will be!
Well I guess your Wiener play time was quite short-lived. Your Rapid growth gave birth to what seems to be a fantastic career.

Chapter Three


Fresh challenges always excite me. I have been that way since birth; always ready for something new. The transition from one team to the next is always difficult, especially when you have such fond memories with them. My time in Bremen was one that I will never forget. It's a truly beautiful city - it very much reminded me of home, in that sense - and I enjoyed plenty of success, capturing my very first piece of silverware, doing so in style by taking home the greatest prize in German football, alongside the DFB-Pokal.

I worked with some incredibly talented players and under a manager who continued to put faith in me. Together, we worked hard to continue to enjoy success together. Whilst we never added to the trophy cabinet after our double in 2004, I never had any regrets about my time there and I had full faith that Thomas would continue to lead Bremen to exciting new heights.

However, I knew that it was time to move on in the summer of 2006. Interest was rampant across Europe once again, but after showing my talents on a much-higher stage, including within the biggest club competition in the world - the UEFA Champions League - the calibre of teams interested grew. I wanted to challenge myself and therefore I knew that it meant moving across the border once again.

The interest of one team immediately excited me - as did the prospect of working under an exciting, highly-valued manager. Bremen received a monumental offer of €40,000,000 from Italian champions Inter Milan, a side I had previously met in the Champions League. The offer was accepted and I immediately flew to Milan to conduct talks. I was instantly in love with the Northern city. Talks went well and within a few days I was officially signed to their ranks.


My new home: The beautiful city of Milan

Working under Roberto Mancini was something that I was excited by. He joined Inter in 2004, having enjoyed spells with Fiorentina and Lazio, respectively, and within his first full season in charge, led the Nerazzurri to the Serie A title. My signing was used as a statement of intent, signalling that Inter were planning on dominating Italian football.

Additionally, the prospect of working with players such as Luis Figo, Patrick Viera and Hernan Crespo dazzled me. The side continued to go from strength-to-strength and I formed a strong partnership with attackers like Adriano and Zlatan Ibrahimović - players of similar age, who both went on to enjoy fantastic careers, alongside myself, in my first couple of seasons in Italy.

We asserted dominance upon Italian football by winning five consecutive titles, leading up to 2010. Roberto left the club in 2008 - which prompted the arrival of The Special One, José Mourinho. Again, working under a coach - in whom won the biggest prize there was to win, the Champions League, with Porto, as well as the Premier League title with Chelsea, was a prospect I enjoyed.

He brought the very best out of me, allowing me to thrive in his system - working effectively behind Cameroonian Samuel Eto'o and Argentinian Diego Milito, in our last campaign together. We finished two points ahead of our nearest rivals, Roma, in Serie A and defeated them in the Coppa Italia final at the Stadio Olimpico. However, it bared no candle to the pinnacle of our success that season.

Our UEFA Champions League adventure began in the group stages with Barcelona, Rubin Kazan and Dynamo Kyiv. We drew all three of our opening games in the group, which left us in a precarious position - however, we recovered to defeat Kyiv 2-1 in Ukraine, before losing to Barcelona at the Camp Nou. A 2-0 victory at the San Siro - a truly magnificent stadium to play in - against Russian side Rubin Kazan narrowly put us through at their expense, behind Pep Guardiola's Barcelona, the reigning champions.

In the round of sixteen, we were paired from José's former side, Chelsea. It was to be a triumphant return for him, as we defeated them 2-1 in Italy, before a 1-0 win in the away leg at Stamford Bridge, allowing us to go through 3-1 on aggregate. CSKA Moscow awaited, in whom we defeated 1-0 in either leg - meaning we would face Guardiola's Barcelona, who we met in the group stages, in the semi-finals.

An important 3-1 victory at the San Siro put us in a fantastic position going to Catalonia. A 1-0 loss followed, but it was enough to see us progress to the Champions League final in Madrid to face recently crowned German champions Bayern Munich, managed by Dutch coach Louis Van Gaal.

Jose was composed in the dressing-room beforehand. He had great experience in fixtures such as these and had reigned victorious in a 3-0 win in Gelsenkirchen in 2004 with FC Porto against Monaco, which gave him a winning mentality in this competition - he was determined to add to his previous success in this competition, to further cement his legacy as one of the greatest coaches within world football.

The pressure was immense, but he knew how to settle our nerves and prepare us. When we went out onto the pitch,we had absolutely no doubts in our mind - we were to reign supreme. In front of over 80,000 spectators at the Santiago Bernabéu, Diego Milito gave us the lead after thirty-five minutes. It was now about managing the game effectively, in order to preserve our lead. We did so, to great effect.

Our chance came with about twenty minutes to go to kill the game off. I received the ball on the edge of the area - with little support, I realised that I only had the option to have a strike at goal. I wrapped my foot around the ball, whipping it perfectly into the left-hand top corner of the goal, comfortably beating Bayern keeper Hans-Jörg Butt.

It was the highlight of my club career. The celebrations were insane. I had no control of what I was doing when the ball hit the back of the net. I simply lost control. I was in utter euphoria in that moment and raced around the pitch like a man possessed. My parents were once again in attendance - I couldn't see them in that moment, but at the end of the game, there they were, in floods of tears - even my father this time. "That's my boy!" I heard them yell, as I came over - there simply were no prouder words I could have heard.

When I lifted the trophy, a trophy that so many dream of holding aloft - the occasion just hadn't sunk in. I was still in shock and as such, it perhaps doesn't look like I know much about the whole thing, truth be told, I didn't. I didn't know how to conduct myself because the victory just simply hadn't sunk in and even to this day, it hasn't, really. To have that illustrious trophy linked with my name is an honour that I just cannot believe. The whole of Vienna celebrated, perhaps even more so than myself, when I got my hands on it.

But my season was yet to finish. I had a World Cup to prepare for with Austria - their very first World Cup appearance since France 1998 - and I was determined, as captain, to take this team to extraordinary heights...

Replies


Maguire: Appreciate it. Got to love big Ernst.

LFC: It has only got better for the Austrian... ;)

Justice: That's actually quite clever for you. Well done, Justice. I look forward to future puns... (not)

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