Besides learn Polish, the only thing I really wanted to do during my time here in Krakow was to see a football match. That wish came true last Saturday night. There are 2 rival teams here in Krakow. Cracovia and Wisła. I didn’t know much about either team. I mostly follow the English, Spanish, and German leagues. Wisła finished on top of the Ekstraklasa last year and a lot of our friends here support them so that led my decision on which team was to get a new fan.
As most European countries, Poland takes their football pretty seriously and so do the stadiums. At least at Wisła’s stadium here in Krakow, you can not even purchase a ticket unless you first obtain a club card which has your photo and ID number on it. Even the tickets come printed with your name and the stadium turnstile will not let you in unless you scan a valid club card. I’m not sure if this is a safety precaution or what. The hooligans are pretty tough too. No alcohol is served at the stadium, police in full riot gear are all over the place, and the home and away fans are kept apart by fences and separate entrances and exits.
Interestingly, as serious fans they are, you never see anyone in the city wearing their teams colors. In fact, even on game night, it wasn’t until we got close to the stadium that people started to put on their Wisła jerseys and scarves. Right after the game everyone quickly changed back. It’s pretty sad that you can’t even wear your teams jersey in public without the fear of getting beat up or knifed by supporters of the “other” team. It happens!
Anyways, we avoided injury and watched a great game. Rafał stood in line to get us our tickets and the 4 of us met him, Bartek, Beata, and Milena at the stadium, only a short walk from our apartment. The game ended 1-0 in Wisła’s favor due to a penalty kick. The caliber of play was excellent, especially compared to the MLS games we have in the States and the fans were great! Click on the photo below to play a video I made of the action.
Wednesday night Wisła plays for a spot in the Champions League, a first for them in a very long time. We wish them well, Go Wisła!