Liverpool begin their Europa League campaign on Thursday hoping to make a mark having missed out on the Champions League for the first time since the 2016/17 season.
Having tangled with some of Europe’s biggest names during that time, gone all the way to glory in 2019 and reached two other finals, Jurgen Klopp and his players will have been doing their homework on some less-celebrated clubs.
First up is a trip to face LASK. What’s the deal with their Austrian opponents? For starters, why are they shouting their name at us?
What does LASK’s name mean?
There’s no massively complicated code to crack here. Based in the Upper Austrian state capital of Linz, the team’s full name is Linzer Athletik-Sport-Klub.
They were more commonly known as Linzer ASK and… go on… shorten that a little further for common consumption and you have another team to exist alongside the PSGs, PSVs and AEKs of this world.
A merger with FC Linz in 1997 resulted in the club being renamed as LASK Linz. After a couple of decades and not-insignificant financial turmoil they reverted to LASK, the merger having fallen apart.
What trophies have LASK won?
In 1965, LASK made history as the first team from outside Vienna to win the Austrian title. It remains their only Bundesliga triumph and was part of a league and cup double.
As recently as 2016/17, LASK were in the second tier but finished as runners-up in the top flight behind Red Bull Salzburg two years later.
In the 2019/20 Europa League they reached the round of 16 before being eliminated by Liverpool’s bitter rivals Manchester United. The following season they were eliminated at the group stage but played out an entertaining 3-3 draw at home to Tottenham Hotspur.
A third-placed finish last season secured another shot at Europe and Thomas Sageder’s side overcame Zrinjski Mostar in the Europa League playoffs.
LASK’s most famous European result came in the 1985/86 season when they stunned Serie A giants Inter Milan with a 1-0 win on home turf. Inter responded with a 4-0 victory in the return leg at San Siro.
LASK stadium capacity
LASK moved out of their Linzer Stadion home in 2016 due to a disagreement with the local council. As a temporary solution they played at the Waldstadion in Pasching, albeit returning to Linz for European fixtures.
Linzer Stadion has an athletics track around the pitch and LASK had plans approved for the purpose-built Raiffeisen Arena, which opened in February this year.
The Raiffeisen Arena has a capacity of 19,080 for domestic matches when a standing section is allowed, with this reduced to 17,117 for European and international games.