Yesterday, while Group A teams battled at Shaiba Ice Arena, Group B players were resting from their games that took place the day before. Red Bull Salzburg players went on excursion to the main venue of Sochi Olympic Park – Fischt soccer stadium. Davos players were supposed to join Salzburg but they needed time to regroup after a devastating loss in the opening game as they had allowed nine goals.
It was a special excursion for Red Bull because there are seven Germans on the team – Kolarz Christopher, Philipp Sander, Justin Schütz, Filip Varejcka, Dennis Lobach, Bastian Eckl and Carl Zimmermann. As their entire country, they took Team Germany’s failure at the 2018 World Cup very hard, but they will remember Sochi stadium as the venue where Joachim Löw’s Mannschaft won their only game. The spot from where Toni Kroos scored the game-winning goal against Team Sweden was photographed almost more times than the stadium’s distinctive features.
“It was great to see Sochi arena from within. The city, Olympic park and stadium leave very positive impressions,” said Red Bull forward Carl Zimmermann. “I’m from a very football country, and even though Germany did poorly at the World Cup, but here in Sochi Toni Kroos won the game against Sweden for us. I watched all the games I could at the tournament. After Germany got eliminated, I rooted for France. Today I even got a little sad I was a football player. But when you play at Shaiba Arena at the World Cup, you realize that being a hockey player is awesome as well.”
Not only did Zimmermann take a picture at the stadium, he also imitated the goal of his favorite soccer player.
Fischt stadium is a special place for Russians as well. Not only 2014 Winter Olympics opening and closing ceremonies were held here, but it was also the site of Team Russia’s historic quarterfinal game against Team Croatia at the 2018 World Cup.
“I was at the FIFA World Cup but I was watching the games from the stands, while today we had the chance to see everything you couldn’t as a regular fan. Everything is cozy and comfortable at the stadium. I hope that Sochi and Team Russia players like to play here,” said Junior Hockey League managing director Alexei Morozov.
Morozov tested how comfortable was the seat in which Team Russia soccer head-coach Stanislav Cherchesov sat at the quarterfinal game.
“I came to Fischt with my son today. He also enjoyed everything about the stadium and took a lot of pictures. We came onto the pitch and imagined what Team Russia soccer players felt when they played here against Team Croatia in the quarterfinal. We sat at the bench. It was a little surprising to find out that it’s located so low – almost at pitch level – as to not block the view for the fans. I understand that, but I don’t know if it was comfortable for the coaching staff to follow the game from there,” added Morozov.
Just a few days before the excursion took place an FNL championship game between Sochi and Nizhny Novgorod took place at Fischt stadium. That’s why hockey players saw agronomic works in progress as the pitch needed to be fixed after the game. The players also got to see how comfortable the dressing-rooms and stands were.
“It’s a nice stadium. You can feel the atmosphere of a great sport event that took place here just a few months ago. I watched the World Cup and even came to St. Petersburg to some games. They were taking a lot of pictures of us today. I felt like an actor in some sports movie,” said Red Bull Salzburg head-coach Teemu Levijoki.