League kickoff as Panenka praises Knasmüllner

One of the greatest free-kick artists in the history of football has acknowledged Christoph Knasmüllner’s skills.

Antonin Panenka, who won the European Championship with Czech Republic in 1976, said about the Rapid Vienna playmaker’s first goal against Sparta Prague: “Such brilliant goals don’t happen coincidentally. Only intelligent players are able to score this way.”

The Czech vice champions took the lead in the third minute but Rapid powered back to win 2-1. Panenka, who spent four successful seasons with Rapid until 1985, attended the match. The Europa League qualifier’s second leg takes place in Prague next Wednesday (8.30pm).

Already tomorrow (5pm), Rapid play their first league match of this season. Fighting gloriously above their weight ever since being promoted in 2018, the Green-Whites must not underestimate TSV Hartberg.

With all these memories swirling around, thr match will be a special occasion for Mario Sonnleitner. The centre-back was recently signed by Hartberg as Rapid officials decided not to extend his contract after 11 years.

Rapid fans return as Demir joins Barca

Rapid are facing FC Copenhagen in what will be the Green-Whites’ first fixture without Covid-19 restrictions in almost 500 days.

The Austrian vice champions welcome the Danish club for a friendly at the Allianz Stadion at 6:30pm tonight (Sat).

The match is a crucial part of Rapid’s pre-season calendar as it comes less than a week ahead of their first-round cup tie with Wiener Viktoria (15 July). A few days later (20 July), Rapid clash with Sparta Prague in their first Champions League
qualification leg.

The Kühbauer side recently beat SV Oberwart (3-0) before drawing with Lok Moscow (0-0).

Meanwhile FC Barcelona announced having come to an agreement with Rapid concerning a one-year loan of Yusuf Demir. The crafty midfield string-puller is expected to join the Spanish giants’ third-league reserves squad.

The deal also consists of a 10 million Euro transfer option available for Barca in one year, according to Spanish sports newspapers.

“A childhood dream has come true,” Demir, 18, said, adding that Barca was his favourite club.

Rapid – who have already sold over 10,000 season tickets – signed attacking midfielder Robert Ljubicic, winger Marco Grüll and centre-back Kevin Wimmer. Mario Sonnleitner, Mateo Barac and Dejan Ljubicic have left the club.

Paperback Pizzera

Brilliantly capturing absurdities of daily life, Paul Pizzera has slowly but steadily worked his way up. Having teamed up with Otto Jaus on stage, the comedians reached another level over the past few years. As the Covid-19 pandemic prevented any live shows, Pizzera surprisingly decided to pen a book.

At just 80 pages, “Der Hippokratische Neid” – a dialogue between a indifferent therapist and his mentally insecure patient about adultery, trust and outdated stereotypes – holds a few amusing stretches.

However, the book does not stand a chance against Pizzera’s performing skills. For Austria’s Kabarett superstar, it was about time to do what he does best.

Der Hippokratische Neid
By Paul Pizzera
Published by Ueberreuter (www.ueberreuter.at)

Quel plaisir!

Learning a foreign language takes a cool nerve.

The French version of Langenscheidt’s Sprachkalender series is a reliable companion through the year with its appealing mix of excellent exercises, mouth-watering recipes, useful dialogues and interesting articles on customs and traditions.

Find out more about the origin of the close political ties between Germany and France, the latter country’s landmark 19th century waste management reform and the history of the delicious Reblochon cheese.

Quotes by celebrated authors and philosophers like Georges Courteline and Gustave Flaubert are not the calendar’s centrepiece but a welcome change before tricky grammar tasks are being put on your agenda the following day.

Langenscheidt Sprachkalender 2021 Französisch
By Katalin Golya & Fabienne Schmaus
Published by Langenscheidt (www.langenscheidt.com)

Big City Life

Going for a walk has become increasingly popular during the various Covid-19 lockdowns. Can “Besser gehen in Wien” be more than just another collection of short stories about different routes for strolls through the Austrian capital? It certainly can.

Christian Seiler is an author that wears his heart on his sleeve. He does not hesitate when it comes to making aware of architectural controversies and urban planning missteps. Seiler – arguably one of Austria’s most versatile writers who can look back on a string of acclaimed books and innovative media projects – is not mired in nostalgia. Throughout the 89 chapters of “Besser gehen in Wien”, he encourages readers to think flexibly, take a second look and opt for alternative directions.

Seiler’s foreword comes with a warning regarding his ignorance of Vienna’s famous sights since the book is not about Burgtheater, Karlskirche and Rathaus. The author names areas with room for improvement and deplores missed opportunities when it comes to restructuring certain regions.

“Besser gehen in Wien” always underlines the positive aspects, for example on Gumpendorfer Straße, a street in the sixth district where motorists keep ignoring the speed limit. Seiler focuses on its rich variety of shops without turning a blind eye to the yet unsolved traffic issue.

Find out with “Besser gehen in Wien” which gallery just outside Vienna’s busy Gürtel road is “cool and elegant” and why the city’s new main station is an “ungenerous place” and a “planning mess”. With its many hints and advices, this book offers totally new perspectives on a city we thought we knew so well.

Besser gehen in Wien. 89 Spaziergänge ins Innere der schönsten Stadt der Welt
By Christian Seiler
Published by CSV (www.csv.at)

Glory Days

Harley-Davidson is so much more than just a motorcycle manufacturer.

“111 Harley-Stories, die man kennen muss” demonstrates how the company jostled its way for success – from its first product, a three horsepower bike in 1901 to the retirement of designer and grandson of co-founder William G. Davidson, Willie G. Davidson, at the age of 78 in 2012. “111 Harley-Stories, die man kennen muss” holds numerous anecdotes such as the one about the brand’s innovative Project Nova Series which was launched in 1976, a difficult period for the firm full of uncertainties and aggravated competition. On 300 pages, many other legendary models earn the recognition they deserve.

First and foremost, “111 Harley-Stories, die man kennen muss” is a well-crafted photo book which, thanks to the rich variety of stories and anecdotes, will give motorcycling enthusiasts a profound thrill.

111 Harley-Stories, die man kennen muss
By Dirk Mangartz
Published by Emons (www.emons-verlag.de)