1988 to 1997 - Austria Salzburg´s "Golden Years"

1988/89: Austria Salzburg needs two victories in the remaining two games before the Christmas break to reach the so-called Aufstiegs- (promotion) Play-Off (places 1 to 4 ). In order to achieve this aim the club signs the legendary Hans Krankl who scores against Kufstein the decisive goal with his first touch. The last and decisive game against another promotion chasing team (Spittal) takes place at Lehen in front of 9000 spectators. Spittal takes the lead in the first half but Krankl scores the equaliser shortly after half time. Everything seemed to be in vain but Srecko Kurbasa manages to put the ball in the back of the net in injury-time. Football is booming again in Salzburg and Krankl's contract is extended. Although Salzburg loses the match against leading Sturm Graz in front of a record attendance of 17.000, the team finally wins promotion. Salzburg makes it to the semifinal of the Austrian Cup where they are knocked out by FC Tirol.

1989/90: A newly formed team with Heri Weber and Gerry Willfurth (both signed from Rapid Vienna) but without Krankl avoids relegation and finishes at the 6th position. Highlights of the season are victories against the big clubs from Vienna (4:1 away at Rapid and 5:0 against Austria Vienna) and Innsbruck.

1990/91: Undoubtedly, Germany's Oliver Bierhoff left his marks on this season. In his first appearance against St.Pölten, the legendary "20" scores four times and scores a total of 26 goals throughout the season. At the end of the season he leaves for Italy. Relegation is no cause for concern, weak performances in the second half of the season shatter the dream of Europe.

1991/92: Otto Baric takes over as coach and all 11 home games before the winterbreak are won. Despite 3 defeats in the first 3 games after the break, Austria Salzburg is still top of the table before the decisive last match against 2nd placed Austria Vienna. An unbelievable number of 10.000 supporters make their way to Vienna. Unfortunately, Salzburg is defeated 2:1 and thus loses the title on goal difference.

1992/93: The title is blown again despite a comfortable 5 point lead. A draw against Admira Wacker and defeats against Austria and Rapid Vienna lead to the loss of the title, once again on goal difference. In the first round of the UEFA-Cup we are defeated by Ajax Amsterdam: 0:3 at home and 1:3 away. The winterbreak has fatal consequences for all supporters. The "kop", Austria's best and noisiest stand, is turned into a seater stand and with it the unique and legendary atmosphere is gone.

1993/94: Austria Salzburg's most successful season of all times. Outstanding performances lead to the club's first championship title and a place in the UEFA-CUP final. After victories against Dunajska Streda (2:0, 2:0 ) and Royal Antwerp ( 1:0, 1:0), Salzburg is drawn against Sporting Lisbon. The first leg ends 2:0 for Sporting but the return leg is a real cracker. Being down to 10 men and only seconds to play Adi Hütter scores Salzburgs second goal. Extra time is played and Martin Amerhauser scores the decisive 3:0 in probably the best game Lehen has ever seen. From now on, Salzburg becomes Austria's favourite team and due to the limited capacities at Lehen, the club decides to move to Vienna where all European home games are played in front of a sell-out crowd of 48.000 . The first European game at Vienna ( in the quarter final) against Eintracht Frankfurt is won 1:0. In the return leg the team shows true fighting spirit. The game is decided on penalties despite an early sending off and a goal by Frankfurts Gaudino. Salzburg's keeper Konrad became the hero of a nation. Otto Konrad saved two penalties and then scored the decisive penalty. For the first time, an Austrian team knocked out a German one in any European Cup competition. In the semi-final Salzburg plays again against a German team, this time Karlsruhe SC. The home leg is scoreless and in the return leg Salzburg takes the lead thanks to a goal by Hermann Stadler. The game ends 1:1 and thus Salzburg reaches the UEFA-CUP final because of the away goal rule. Salzburg plays against Inter Milan in the finals and the home game is lost 1:0 under unfortunate circumstances. The return leg at the sold out Meazza stadium is a unique experience for the 7.000 travelling supporters and also for our players. Salzburg shows another vintage performance and also hits the post (in fact Marquinho's shot hits the right post then the left but did not cross the line). Inter Milan wins again 1:0 and the dream of winning the UEFA-CUP is over. The UEFA-CUP run nevertheless helps the club to get rid of its financial worries. Domestic action: Salzburg wins its first Austrian title. Runners-up Austria Vienna are thrashed 4-nil and 6-nil. A scoreless draw at Rapid Vienna secures the deserved and long awaited title one round before the last round.

Coach Otto Baric and chairman Rudi Quehenberger celebrate in style

1994/95: Another magnificient season: Salzburg becomes the first Austrian team that manages to qualify for the Champions League. Salzburg is drawn in one group with Greece's AEK Athens and the later finalists Ajax Amsterdam and AC Milan. Our final group game against Milan turns out to be decisive because of an away win at AEK and two draws against Ajax. (0:0 and 1:1 away !!) . Unfortunately, Milan wins the game in the sold out Prater stadium (Vienna) with 1:0. Worth mentioning is also the so-called "scandal of San Siro" in which Salzburg's keeper Konrad was hit and injured by a bottle. Uefa thus decided to deduct the points of Milan's 3:0 victory. At home, the second Austria title is secured through victories over Austria Vienna (1:0 away, goal by Kocijan) and a comfortable 2:0 victory over Vorwaerts Steyr. 7.000 supporters accompany the team to the final match at Innsbruck and have reasons to celebrate despite a 2:0 defeat because Sturm Graz fails to thrash Steyr.

1995/96: Top favourites and believed to set the standards before the season, we are lucky to avoid relegation in the end. Internationally, we are not able to qualify for the champions league. Instead Steaua Bucharest takes our place after an unfortunate 1:0 victory in the second leg (first leg 0:0). Coach Otto Baric resigns because of differences of opinion between him and some players. Before Heribert Weber takes over, Hermann Stessl was in charge but he was sacked after a 3:0 defeat at home against Ried.

1996/97: Most of the top players such as Pfeifenberger, Jurcevic, Feiersinger, Mladenovic, Artner and others leave the club. Stadler and Fürstaller hang up their boots. Nevertheless the autumn is really promising. We are in second place just one point behind Rapid Vienna. Otto Konrad, the top class keeper, leaves during the winterbreak. After the break all home games apart from the unimportant last one are won and, surprsingly, the club wins his third title in four years. Unfortunately, we lose the semi-final in the Cup against second division Vienna on penalties.

1997/98: We were again considered as favourites but again failed to deliver despite the signing of a new striker (Valdas Ivanauskas). From the beginning (a 2:0 defeat at newly promoted Lustenau) to the end the whole season was a misery. Once again we fail to make it to the champions league (Sparta Prague wins 3:0 on aggregate) and so the UEFA-CUP is the most we can hope for. In the first round we are knocked out by Anderlecht although we led by two goals at half-time in the return leg in Brussels - final score 4:2 for Anderlecht (4 goals in about 15 minutes; first leg 4:3 to Salzburg). Later on, Heribert Weber resigns and takes over at Rapid Vienna. Living legend Hans Krankl is appointed as new coach and after a winning streak the club finishes at 4th place and thus qualifies for the UI-CUP

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