SKN set for Saturday

Rapid have reached the next round of the Austrian Football Cup but last night’s success must be viewed with suspicion as it followed a 1-2 defeat in Salzburg.

The Viennese team once more failed to achieve anything against Bundesliga powerhouse Red Bull on Sunday. However, the side from Hütteldorf vanquished SV Mattersburg in a dramatic penalty shootout to enter the ÖFB Cup round of 16.

Now Rapid face SKN St. Pölten. If the league was based on budgets, the team from the capital city of Lower Austria would be found at the bottom of the table each season. But Dietmar Kühbauer set the team back on the path of success.

First St. Pölten avoided being relegated by beating Wiener Neustadt at the end of last season. Then the retired midfielder – who was of vital importance for Rapid’s fantastic trophy-winning team in the 1990s – accelerated them to third while Rapid edged down to seventh position due to two defeats in a row.

Rapid coach Goran Djuricin – who still faces harsh attacks by some supporters who think he is not capable of doing a good job – is expected to rest Deni Alar against St. Pölten on Saturday (5pm). The striker has been part of Rapid’s starting line-up in each competitive fixture so far this season. Defender Mario Sonnleitner could also find himself on the bench.



Exhilarating EL encounter

Rapid must become more lethal in the box as the Europa League group stage is about to start.

Midfielder Christoph Knasmüllner and striker Andrei Ivan missed great chances to score in the first half of Sunday’s league fixture against FK Austria. At the same time, Lucas Venuto and Bright Edomwonyi posed a perpetual threat to Rapid’s back four which acted clumsy at times.

FK Austria captain Alexander Grünwald eventually secured their away win with a brilliant shot just outside the box in the 57th minute. Police are investigating as two dozen masked Rapid supporters from the Allianz Stadion’s infamous west stand entered the pitch after the final whistle.

Rapid’s established players now must step up as the team face Russian giants Spartak Moscow already this Thursday (kickoff: 6.55pm). Depraved of the injured Boli Bolingoli, Rapid have to improve defensively but also increase their efficiency in the opponents’ box.


Delightful or dangerous?

With the conflict between the United States and North Korea in a lull, the number of people planning to visit the Asian country could soon be on the rise. Needless to say that travelling to a state which is widely considered as one of the world’s most inhumane regimes remains absolutely unthinkable for many. However, disputed destinations have always enjoyed considerable attentions.

Now Rüdiger Frank, one of Europe’s most respected experts on North Korea, has written a book which can be seen as a ready-to-use travel guide. “Unterwegs in Nordkorea. Eine Gratwanderung” does include information on the current political situation, sociological developments in the country’s society and various military conflicts of the past. But the University of Vienna professor has focused on useful facts and essential holidaymaking knowledge.

The Leipzig-born expert on East Asia provides basic etiquette guidelines concerning dinner table conversations and proceedings at Pyongyang’s infamous memorials. He appeals on tourists to acknowledge certain rules and regulations – Don’t you ever nick anything! Never ever joke about the leader or his ancestors! – as any disobedience will quite certainly cause trouble for their guides but also put themselves at risk as numerous incidents in the past few years have shown.

Frank’s book – which features 64 photos – tells from a trip to a shooting range but also contains everything those interested need to know concerning booking, internet access and taking pictures. Readers who aim for more comprehensive background information on the eventful history of Korea should get a copy of Frank’s acclaimed 2014 release, “Nordkorea. Innenansichten eines totalen Staates”.

Unterwegs in Nordkorea. Eine Gratwanderung
By Rüdiger Frank
Published by DVA (

Sunday city clash

The first true highlight of the season is coming up as Bundesliga recommences after the international break.

Austria celebrated a convincing 2-0 win over Sweden after suffering a disappointing 0-1 defeat in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The 10th round of domestic top-flight soccer will take place this weekend – and there is one game that creates special attention.

Sunday’s (5pm) eagerly awaited encounter between Rapid – who face Spartak
Moscow in their Europa League group stage opener next week – and city rivals FK Austria will be sold out and not just supporters are already on high alert. Vienna police will also take precautions as turmoil can never be ruled out ahead or after this tradition-rich fixture.

FK Austria are not yet working wonders after having signed a bunch of promising players in summer – but being positioned in fourth means they are currently ahead of Rapid who are stuck in fifth due to their worse scoring record. It is becoming more and more obvious that FK Austria’s latest additions to the squad need some more time to adjust. Sunday’s match would be a good opportunity for FK Austria’s newly composed line-up to show what they got.

FK Austria won their most recent league fixture against SV Mattersburg while Rapid achieved a draw in Graz against Sturm. All eyes were on Deni Alar as the national team player controversially decided to join Rapid again after having spent two highly successful seasons at Sturm. Alar was not much involved in the game and his distribution of the ball must improve. But the striker secured a point at Graz as he equalised Sturm’s lead.



Extras & English

Wages are low while periods of inactivity can stretch over hours. But working as an extra on a film set is still the desired assignment of many students, ambitious would-be actors but also kids and pensioners. Angela Peltner has met them all. In her book “Durchs Bild gelaufen”, Peltner delivers a hilarious character study of the various individuals working in the movie industry. Financial strains tempted Peltner to apply for walk-on parts herself. Her book features a top five list of reasons for delays during a production but also tells from her encounter with Liam Neeson just a few months after his wife had died. Peltner portrays the established actor as a humble and kind gentleman. “Durchs Bild gelaufen” warns anyone interested in working as an extra from the many negative aspects of this casual job but also underlines the pleasant elements of getting started in this much-maligned business.

Durchs Bild gelaufen. Mein total glamouröser Alltag als Komparsin
By Angela Peltner
Published by Knaur (

When it comes to dictionaries, Langenscheidt is an eminent authority. For decades, the Munich-based publishers have been Central Europe’s most renowned brand in the sector. The firm’s “Abitur-Wörterbuch Englisch” is another example for the company’s tireless efforts to remain number one. This indispensible dictionary combines comprehensive information with an unmistakable layout and essential additional facts. At 1,500 pages, this publication is not too bulky to fit into students’ backpacks. Apart from 140,000 terms and phrases, it features several pages of irregular verbs, information on abbreviations but also pronunciation and the grammar context. Langenscheidt has also succeeded in releasing an enormous range of grammar practice books but also Sprachkalender. These calendars – in English, Spanish, Italian, German and French – consist of a varied mix of grammar tasks, lifestyle knowledge and recipes.

Langenscheidt Abitur-Wörterbuch Englisch
By Heike Pleisteiner, Horst Galloway & others
Published by Langenscheidt (

Dreams and desperation

Donald Trump has been in the firing line for many valid reasons ever since he took office around one and a half years ago. There have been his controversial anti-immigration measures but also the alleged cooperation with Russian leaders. All of these occurrences have worsened the rift between supporters and opponents of the president who had vowed to “make America great again.”

Jan Philipp Burgard travelled to Kentucky, Texas and Alaska to find out whether the American Dream was still alive. Starting off with a highly personal anecdote – Burgard recounts how he proposed to his fiancé at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. – “Ausgeträumt, Amerika? Unterwegs in einem gespaltenem Land” tells from rodeo kids who are taught at home by their mum so they stay clear from diabolical influences in the city.

Burgard portrays a mother with a handicapped child who – with health sector cuts on the horizon – fears that her daily struggle might soon become unbearable. Furthermore the 33-year-old journalist spoke to sheriffs and farmers at the US-Mexican border, scientists in Alaska examining the harrowing effects of climate change and many other citizens all over the country for Weltspiegel and Tagesthemen broadcasts by German network ARD.

These encounters are the foundation of “Ausgeträumt, Amerika?”which is, at times, certainly predictable. Burgard’s publication bears numerous similarities to previously released books by Klaus Scherer (“Wahnsinn Amerika”), ARD anchor Ingo Zamperoni (“Fremdes Land Amerika. Warum wir unser Verhältnis zu den USA neu bewerten müssen”) and ZDF news presenter Christian Sievers (“Grauzonen. Geschichten aus der Welt hinter den Nachrichten”).

“Ausgeträumt, Amerika?” is nevertheless entertaining and informative. Readers will be stunned by surprise how close they get to individuals in Nevada, West Virginia and Montana thanks to Burgard’s profound journalistic effort.

Ausgeträumt, Amerika? Unterwegs in einem gespaltenem Land
By Jan Philipp Burgard
Published by Rowohlt (