Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is tackled during a Rapid Vienna match

The Reds’ record against Austrian opponents

Manchester United’s UEFA Europa League last-16 clash with LASK will be the first time the Reds have faced Austrian opposition in almost two decades.

The Linz-based outfit will be the third side from Austria that we’ve played against, after previously facing Rapid Vienna and Sturm Graz.

United have a good record from those matches – take a trip down memory lane with us, as we reflect on each of the past eight encounters…

Willie Morgan scores against Rapid Vienna in 1969.
Willie Morgan scores against Rapid Vienna in 1969.

RAPID VIENNA (1969 & 1996)

After becoming the first English club to lift the European Cup following victory over Benfica at Wembley, United qualified for the 1968/69 edition of the competition, beating Waterford and Anderlecht before being drawn to play Rapid Vienna in the quarter-final. The Green-Whites had knocked out six-times winners Real Madrid in the previous round, but the Reds were too strong at Old Trafford, running out 3-0 victors thanks to a brace from George Best and Willie Morgan’s first European goal for the club. We then played out a goalless draw at the Praterstadion in Vienna to progress to the semi-final, where we lost to eventual champions AC Milan.

The two clubs locked horns again 27 years later – this time in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League, after its rebranding in 1992. In our second game in Group C, United won 2-0 at Old Trafford, with current boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and David Beckham scoring within seven minutes of each other in the first-half. The return fixture in Vienna was of vital importance, with the Reds needing to better Fenerbahce’s result against Juventus to secure qualification to the knockout stages. A famous save from Peter Schmeichel kept the scores tied before Ryan Giggs put United a goal ahead after finishing one-on-one following a through ball from Eric Cantona. The Frenchman applied the finish to Beckham’s cross 20 minutes from time to secure the three points and the 2-0 win was enough for us to qualify after The Old Lady won by the same scoreline in Turin.

Solskjaer's two goals against Austrian visitorsVideo

STURM GRAZ (1999 & 2000/01)

United were once again drawn against an Austrian team as European champions, with Sturm Graz the opposition – along with Croatia Zagreb and Marseille - in the first group phase of the Champions League in 1999/00. United ran out convincing 3-0 winners at the superbly-named Arnold Schwarzenegger Stadium, with Roy Keane scoring the first goal, thumping home a volley from 30 yards. Dwight Yorke headed in a second from a corner and turned provider for the third. His pass was chested down by Andy Cole, who slotted home. With progress to the second phase already secured, an emphatic volley from Solskjaer and a powerful finish from Keane put United 2-0 up in the last group game at Old Trafford. A late penalty from Ivica Vastic pulled a goal back for the visitors but United ultimately won the game to top Group D.

Jaap Stam shields the ball from Sturm Graz captain Ivica Vastic, in 2001.
Jaap Stam shields the ball from Sturm Graz captain Ivica Vastic, in 2001.

The sides met once again the following season in the second group phase, as part of a pool which also contained Panathinaikos and Valencia. Paul Scholes latched on to a flick from Teddy Sheringham and dinked the ball over advancing keeper Kazimierz Sidorczuk to put United 1-0 up in Austria, before Giggs doubled the lead late on to send the Reds back to Manchester with three points. Three consecutive draws left United still needing a point at Old Trafford to book our place in the quarter-finals and the result was never really in doubt after Nicky Butt crashed in a fifth-minute opener. Teddy Sheringham curled home a second, before Keane latched on to Solskjaer’s flick to cap off a resounding win.

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