Round 9

Top 3 Players of Round 9:

The 9th round of the Tipico Bundesliga meant that every team had now faced off against each other once this season. The weekend action continued in the same fashion as the last round, with both Vienna sides finally finding some consistent form, despite poor starts to the season. Wolfsberger AC and Red Bull Salzburg failed to pick up any points, losing to Rapid and Austria Vienna, respectively, the league has become much more competitive, with the gap between second and third now only 3 points. However, the big news of the weekend was the departure of SK Sturm Graz manager, Darko Milanič, who was snapped up by Leeds Utd owner, Massimo Cellino. The Slovenian, much to the delight of Sturm fans, left the club under happier circumstances than much of his reign, with Lukas Spendlhofer grabbing an 84th minute winner to condemn SV Ried to their 5th defeat of the season. Here is a full round-up of the results:

SK Rapid Vienna 3-0 Wolfsberger AC
FC Admira Wacker 0-0 SV Grödig
SC Rheindorf Altach 2-0 SC Wiener Neustadt
SV Ried 0-1 SK Sturm Graz
Red Bull Salzburg 2-3 FK Austria Vienna

#1 Robert Berić – Berić, 23, a Summer recruit from Sturm, who had spent €1m for his services from Maribor, was in fine form against league leaders Wolfsberger. The Slovenian, who reminds me of Ruud Van Nistelrooy,  given they both love a goal from 6 yards out, stood out in Rapid’s 3-0 victory on Saturday afternoon, where he scored twice. His first goal of the afternoon was classic Berić. A sweeping ball out of the Rapid midfield met Florian Kainz perfectly on the left-side of the Wolfsberger area. The winger, also an ex-Sturm player, played a delicious and delicate first-time ball across the 6-yard box, with Berić tapping home, completely unmarked. I am the first to admit that I am a long-time critic of the Slovenian striker, given his ability to completely drift out of a game and often wasting very good chances. This was not the case against the league leaders. With the game poised at 1-0, Berić seemingly killed the game off with a great solo effort, that any striker in the league would have been proud of. Following a poor clearance by Alexander Kofler, Berić picked up the ball inside the Wolves’ half, he then out-muscled and outpaced Michael Sollbauer, before shooting across goal, nut-megging the defender in the process and finding the bottom corner. It was his 6th goal in only 8 Bundesliga games this season, and his fourth in two games.
Robert Beric

#2 Florian Kainz – Kainz, 21, another recruit from Graz this season, is steadily becoming a pivotal figure in the Rapid Vienna side, with his pace down the left-hand side giving Bundesliga right-backs plenty to worry about. The game on the weekend was without doubt, his best of the season, where he assisted Berić’s first goal of the afternoon, but also got a goal himself. As previously mentioned, his assist was a delightful touch, but his goal was even better. Following dogged work by Berić deep inside the away side’s half to regain possession, he then laid-off to Philipp Schobesberger, who in turn, slid the ball to Kainz, who flicked the ball into the corner of the net, despite facing away from the goal due to pressure put on him by Joachim Standfest. Throughout the game, Kainz was a dangerous, attacking outlet and if he can continue to be on the same wavelength as Berić, they could help lead Rapid’s title challenge.
Florian Kainz

#3 Omer Damari – The Israeli striker, who was my player of the round last week, was once again a key component in an Austria Vienna win. Following their first win of the season last weekend against Ried, the Violets came into the game with much more confidence, against a Red Bull side, who are currently toiling. Damari, who showed plenty of enterprise throughout the game, appeared to have André Ramalho’s number from the offset. In fact, the front three of Damari, David de Paula and Marco Meilinger, were all outstanding and outplayed the Red Bull defence. With the score tied at 2-2, Damari lost Peter Ankersen and then skinned Ramalho to go through on goal. The Israeli then showed some great composure by placing the ball past Péter Gulácsi in the Red Bull net, completing a memorable win and getting his fifth goal of the season in the process.

Notable mentions:

Alan – The Red Bull striker scored twice against Austria Vienna, and continued some impressive form, following a good game against Celtic in the Europa League. The Brazilian-born striker scored a brilliant effort from just inside the box in the first half to open the scoring, and he also temporarily tied the game at 2-2 with a powerful header.

Heinz Lindner  – Despite being beaten twice by Alan, of Red Bull Salzburg, Lindner had a more than solid game between the sticks, with the highlight being his save one-on-one with Marcel Sabitzer, with the scores tied.

Andreas Leitner – The Admira goalkeeper had another game to remember as he kept Grödig to a clean sheet with some fine saves. With the final shot of the game, Leitner pulled off a magnificent acrobatic save to deny Philipp Huspek, to earn his side a share of the spoils.

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment and vote on the poll below.

This article will also appear on – check it out!

Round 8

Top 3 Players of Round 8:

The 8th edition of the 14/15 Tipico Bundesliga came after a welcomed international break, where Austria earned themselves a 1-1 draw with Sweden, in Vienna. Unfortunately, torrential rain meant that two league games were postponed on the weekend and had to be played later in midweek. In the games that did go ahead, FK Austria Vienna welcomed their first win of the season, pushing SV Ried down to the bottom of the table. Meanwhile, a passionate affair in Klagenfurt between Wolfsberger AC and Red Bull Salzburg, resulted in a win for the 10-men Wolves, demoting the Bulls to 2nd place in the table. Neither midweek game failed to deliver, with 12 goals, 4 red cards and 2 penalties in total. Here is the full round-up of scores:

FK Austria Vienna 3-1 SV Ried
SK Sturm 0-2 FC Admira Wacker
Wolfsberger AC 1-0 Red Bull Salzburg
SV Grödig 3-3 SC Rheindorf Altach
SC Wiener Neustadt 1-5 SK Rapid Vienna.

#1 Omer Damari – The Israeli striker was simply unstoppable against Ried, in the Violets 3-1 victory. With a combination of power and pace, Damari transformed the Ried defence into a pack of amateurs. His first goal of the game was a beautifully taken strike. Markus Suttner played in the ball to Damari, his back to goal, he then expertly turned the defender and stroked the ball into the top corner, giving Thomas Gebauer no chance. Following a Ried equaliser by Denis Thomalla, the Israeli took the ball around the centre-circle, ran literally around the defence and with a dink, which perhaps was a shot, he set up to Daniel Royer to tap into an empty net. The Israeli finished the scoring, as he met a pinpoint Marco Meilinger cross with a simple back post header. The win, was the first of the season for the Violets, with Damari already a key player for his side. The 25-year old, now has 4 league goals in 5 appearances.

#2 Yordy Reyna – The 21-year old Peruvian marked his Birthday with another stand-out performance for his Grödig side. Against Altach, it was more than just his pace that was beneficial to his side as they raced into a 3-0 lead, despite losing Stefan Nutz for two bookable offences. For the opening goal of the game, it was Reyna’s perfectly weighted ball that found Roman Wallner, 11 years his senior, who was able to get the ball past Martin Kobras. Wallner, returned the favour as he was allegedly fouled in the box, giving Reyna the chance to score his 4th goal of the season and he willingly obliged. His pace was a key component in the winning of Grödig’s second penalty. Reyna raced onto a slightly deflected through ball, completely outpacing Alexander Pollhüber, who then clearly pushed the diminutive striker as he attempted his shot. Philipp Huspek, then made it 3-0 from the spot. Altach did brilliantly to pull the game back to 3-3 thanks to Andreas Lienhart, Ivan Kovacec and Philipp Netzer, but it was the Peruvian Birthday Boy who the away side couldn’t handle all game.
Yordy Reyna

#3 Louis Schaub – Schaub, was absolutely excellent against Neustadt, prior to his sending off for a late lunge on Christian Deutschmann. However, ignoring the red card, Schaub was the star player for Rapid in their 5-1 victory. The tricky winger, scored twice himself and set up a Robert Berić goal, marking Rapid’s first two-game winning streak this season. The first goal came in the third minute and was a beautiful move. Stefan Stangl’s pass met the run of Schaub who had lost his marker, his cross/shot then fell perfectly to the feet of Berić to tap into an empty net. The 19-year old, following a well taken equalizer by Herbert Rauter for the home side, then gave Rapid the lead in the 48th minute. Again, it was a great team move, with the ball being moved down the left hand side. Unfortunately, Berić was unable to take his chance at the near post as Thomas Vollnhofer made a good save. It was Schaub though, who anticipated the save as he ran onto the loose ball to score the easiest of goals. His second goal of the game came moments before his sending off, as he made it 4-1. Schaub, took the ball from just inside the Neustadt half, he ran a little before picking out Steffen Hofmann on the right-hand side. The 34-year old then timed his pass back to Schaub, who had continued his run, to once again score the easiest of goals. Throughout the game, Schaub, showed moments of quality, be it with his dribbles or technique, and it was a shame he was over-eager when on a yellow.
Notable Mention:
Wolfsberger AC made history as they became the first Carinthian club to ever lead the Austrian Bundesliga after their 1-0 victory over RB Salzburg, in the Wöthersee Stadion. This victory was made even greater on the basis that they had to hold on for over 45 minutes with 10 men, following a Christopher Wernitznig red card. The whole team pulled together, with the entire defence and Jacobo the standout performers, as well as manager Dietmar Kübhauer, who showed plenty of passion on the sidelines.

A week to forget for:
Red Bull Salzburg – The Bulls lost their 3rd game in a row for the first time since Ralf Ragnick came to the Salzburg outfit. Adi Hütter is coming under intense pressure and the 2-2 draw against Celtic, in the Europa League, was a true testament as to how performance levels have dropped since Roger Schmidt left the club.

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment and vote on the poll below.

This article will also appear on – check it out!

Round 7

Top 3 Players of Round 7:

The final weekend before the international break saw a turning of the tide. The previously undefeated Red Bull Salzburg and Wolfsberger AC, were both brought back down to Earth with a bang, as the joint league leaders suffered home defeats to SK Sturm Graz and SC Wiener Neustadt, respectively. What lives long in the memory of this weekend was the quality of the goals scored. Louis Ngwat-Mahop, of SC Rheindorf Altach, struck a beautiful volley in the dying embers of the game against SV Ried to secure a draw. Not to be outdone, Thomas Schrammel, of Rapid Vienna, also smashed home an unstoppable volley, this time against SV Grödig. Kevin Kampl, despite being on the losing side (a rare occurrence), also scored a cultured, curling effort from outside of the box past Benedict Pliquett. Here are the full round-up of scores:

Red Bull Sazburg 2-3 SK Sturm Graz
FC Admira Wacker 2-1 FK Austria Vienna
SC Rheindorf Altach 2-2 SV Ried
Wolfsberger AC 0-1 SC Wiener Neustadt
SK Rapid Vienna 2-0 SV Grödig.

#1 Thomas Schrammel – Having been knocked out in midweek by HJK Helsinki in the Europa League playoff, Schrammel  & co. knew the importance of the final league game before the international break. In a much changed side, Zoran Barišić deployed Schrammel down the right-hand flank, an unfamiliar position for the 27-year old. However, the combination of Schrammel and Louis Schaub down the right and Philipp Schobesberger down the left proved to be a winning formula. The wing-back, a 2011 signing from SV Ried, scored the opener with a perfectly executed, first-time volley from the edge of the box, giving Cican Stankovic no chance. (The goal can be found here: Throughout the game, the wing-back was a threat on the overlap, and the team were finally rewarded when he picked out captain Steffen Hofmann to double Rapid’s lead. It was a much needed win and it was one of which Schrammel was at the heart of.

#2 Marko Stankovic – After a slow start to the season for both Sturm and Stankovic, the team finally clicked against a deflated Red Bull Salzburg. Stankovic, who had already made 61 Bundesliga appearances for Sturm prior to this season, returned as a Summer signing from Austria Vienna. The attacking midfielder, who has been deployed mostly on the wings this season, was given a chance in his favoured No.10 role, and did not disappoint. It was an electric start by the Graz outfit as they were 2 goals up after 14 minutes, courtesy of Stankovic. The first goal was a crisp, whipped shot that seemed to take goalkeeper Péter Gulácsi by surprise as it looped over his head and into the back of the net. The attacking midfielder then grabbed his second goal with a lovely side-footed finish, after a pin-point ball by new signing Thorsten Schick, past the Hungarian goalkeeper and into the corner of the net. The away side spent the majority of the game on the back-foot, with Stankovic occasionally threatening on the counter, but they eventually got the 3 points. In total, Stankovic had a 66% success rate in this game with his shooting boots, and if Darko Milanič keeps faith in using him just behind Djuricin, then we could see Sturm rise rapidly up the table.
Marko Stankovic

#3 Marco Djuricin – Djuricin, one of my favourite and most talented strikers in the Tipico Bundesliga came up with the goods when it mattered, as it was his goal that secured a memorable 3-2 away victory over Red Bull Salzburg. The tireless striker, who subsequently scored for the Austrian U21 side in a 2-0 victory against Boznia-Herzegovina this week, was a constant thorn in the side of the Bulls defence. Djuricin set up the first goal with a mazy run, before nut-megging André Ramalho and laying the ball off to Marko Stankovic. The 21-year old who could have had a hattrick in this game if it wasn’t for questionable offside calls, was full of confidence and nearly scored from a shot just inside the Salzburg half. However, with Salzburg having pegged back Sturm to 2-2 and time running out, Marc Andre Schmerböck broke away down the left-hand side and found a free Marco Djuricin to slide the ball past Gulási. It was Djuricin’s 5th league goal of the season and it secured a vital 3 points for the struggling Sturm side.
Marco Djuricin

Thanks for reading, please feel free to comment and vote on the poll below.

This article will also appear on – check it out!