Teams, tales and tips – a guide to the local game
One Trenčín. One Story, is the title of an anniversary presentation book produced by AS Trenčín in 2014 – yet, as their illustrative history shows, there have been several Trenčíns since 1904, culminating in the twice double winners of 2015 and 2016.
Predecessors Jednota Trenčín achieved second- and third-placed finishes in the strong Czechoslovak league in the 1960s.
Common to both is the Štadión Sihot’, the stadium between Trenčín station and the river Váh. Its characteristic lollipop floodlights used to be visible from the train window as you pulled out of the platform. The stadium has since undergone a complete overhaul, half-finished but ready to use in 2021.
The railway transformed this manufacturing town in the late 1800s, when it was part of Hungary. The Magyars founded the first club here, Trencséni Torna Egyesület, in 1904. When the borders moved after World War I, the name was changed to Trenčiansky telocvičný spolok, its equivalent in Slovak: the Trenčín Gymnastics Association.
TTS became Jednota in 1960 when the stadium was built. Productive Trenčín was enjoyed favoured status. This was where striker Milan Albrecht, in the Czechoslovakia squad for the 1970 World Cup, got his start, and where his fellow international Pavol Bencz played throughout the 1960s.
In 1992, Jednota merged with rivals Ozeta Dukla, and played under that name until 2002. ‘AS’ was adopted in 2003, before former Ajax star Tschen La Ling took over as owner in 2007. A multi-national side then won those two doubles and claimed a few scalps in Europe, not least Feyenoord, swept aside 4-0 in 2018.
During the eight-year, €20 million rebuild of the Sihot’, European ties were switched to Žilina, as well as several domestic campaigns. Although neat, compact and close to a main station, the stadium has been overlooked by Slovakia’s international teams at all levels, the women’s as well, only half the seats in signature red currently open to the public.
It was back in 2000 that Trenčín welcomed later Liverpool stars Milan Baroš and Igor Bišćan, and Barcelona legends-to-be Xavi and Carles Puyol for the Euro U-21 Championship co-hosted at the old Sihot’, lollipop floodlights and all.
A year later, Slovakia played their only full international here, a 4-2 win over Moldova as part of yet another unsuccessful campaign to make a major finals. A mere 3,000 watched the game, in the dark days before the Repre took off at the World Cups and Euros of the following decade.
Arriving in town, local transport and timings
Bratislava Airport is 122km (76 miles) from Trenčín. An hourly train from Bratislava main station (€6) takes 1hr 20mins. Either side of the rails, the stadium and city centre are 5-10mins walk west of Trenčín station.
A network of MHD buses (ticket €0.80 from the driver) covers the city – although the centre is walkable, and the stadium close by.
A-Taxi Trenčín Nonstop (+421 910 910 004) are based near the station and stadium.
Where to Drink
The best pubs and bars for football fans
Bars dot the historic centre around Mierové námestie. Warren-like Lanius offers an encyclopaedic range of brews, ice beers, porters and ales. Opposite, Paddock also has a TV, focusing on coffee and toasties but not afraid to mix a cheeky White Russian or pour a fine wine.
Behind, the Plzenská reštaurácia serves the Czech brew in question, along with hearty fare. Similar in character, tucked behind on Palackého, the Piváreň u Mamuta suits match-watching perfectly, with its larger screen, plentiful beer and pub grub, as well as table football and other bar games.
Also on Palackého, the bare-brick Piváreň Šport Klub doesn’t need to veer from the same beer, TV and table-football formula to attract a lively local clientele. Alongside, the Hasič Pub ventures more into DJ territory, with a popular terrace by day.
Back on Mierové námestie, the Jameson pub is more a nightspot, operating on Friday and Saturdays. At No.6, open from 9am, the Dubai Café goes big on exotic cocktails but is just as happy to serve you a draught beer on the convivial terrace. Next door, Café Omar offers much the same.
Further along on Sládkovičova, the stylish Barbakan Bar specialises in cocktails, rums and whiskies. Continuing south-west, the Koruna on Jozefa Braneckého feels cosy and rustic, with a TV to watch the game while you sup Slovak beer and tuck into a hearty dish. Closes at 8pm.
In the corner of the park closest to the station, the Rotunda takes its name from the shape of its building and the historical landmark across town. It’s not a bad place to start or end your visit to Trenčín.
Where to stay
The best hotels for the stadium and city centre
The nearest accommodation to the new stadium is the upscale business hotel Magnus, with a spa, gym and bowling alley. The restaurant and café attached to the bowling alley are both handy pre- and post-match.
Nearby, on the city side of Štefánika Park, the Hotel Elizabeth exudes historic grandeur, its restaurant, coffeehouse, spa and terrace overlooking Trenčín Castle rock.
Just along main Palackého, the Scarlet Penzión comprises eight red-themed rooms and a wine cellar. Next door, the Grand sits above a salt cave, part of the impressive sauna complex of this superior spa hotel.
Under the castle on Matúšova, Pod hradom is both a pension and hotel offering a range of rooms, a restaurant and spa facilities.