Round 16 of the Tipico Bundesliga brought back fond memories for many, as it saw the return of Stefan Maierhofer who joined Wiener Neustadt during the week, following his most recent spell in England with Millwall FC. It was the same old story however for Rapid Vienna and Wolfsberger, as they both suffered their third straight losses, seeing them lose further ground on Salzburg at the top of the table. At the bottom of the league, Admira are beginning to look over their shoulder as Neustadt, who also announced Helgi Kolvidsson as their new manager, closed the gap between the sides to three points; while Ried extended the gap between 8th and 9th to four points. The big game on Sunday between Sturm and Salzburg did not disappoint, with the game being one of the most exciting 2:1 games you are ever likely to see, with Hütter’s men ultimately hanging on. Here are the full round-up of results:
SV Grödig 3-1 SK Rapid Vienna
FK Austria Vienna 4-0 FC Admira Wacker
SV Ried 2-1 SC Rheindorf Altach
SC Wiener Neustadt 2-0 Wolfsberger AC
SK Sturm Graz 1-2 Red Bull Salzburg.
#1 Philipp Huspek – Huspek, 23, now in his second season at Grödig, has been vital for the Salzburg-based side since his arrival, clocking up 11 goals and 13 assists in 57 appearances. Against a Rapid side struggling with defence injuries and a lack of form, Huspek and his Peruvian compatriot, Yordy Reyna, tore the Vienna side’s defence to shreds. The Austrian winger from Grieskirchen, gave Grödig a 2:1 lead moments before half-time, meeting a Stefan Nutz through-ball which he took around Jan Novota and managed to find the net despite a tight angle. The tie was killed off in the 73rd minute when Nutz once again found Huspek, who had timed his run perfectly to avoid the offside trap and he managed to finish past Novota with style and composure. Huspek now has 3 goals and 2 assists in his last four games and his form will be a massive factor if Grödig wish to replicate last year’s third placed finish.
#2 Stefan Nutz – Nutz, 22, achieved a feat not many footballers can say they have done in a competitive game. The deep-lying midfielder assisted all three of Grödig’s goals against Rapid Vienna. His first assist of the game was nothing more than fortunate as it was his miss-control that allowed the ball to travel through to Yordy Reyna who finished under the body of Jan Novota with a first-time hit. As mentioned above though, two of his assists were scored by Philipp Huspek, with the second of those assists literally timed and weighted to perfection. Although Nutz does not stand out significantly from a statistical point of view, he has nearly been an ever-present for Grödig, missing only two games, with one of those due to suspension.
#3 Alexander Gorgon – With the scores level at 0:0 and the home crowd audibly disgruntled with Austria Vienna’s performance against Admira, it was actually Omer Damari who changed the game. It was the Israeli’s theatrics that although not in the spirit of the game, meant Admira captain Richard Windbichler received a straight red card for a tug on his shirt, denying him a clear goalscoring opportunity. Following the penalty it became the Gorgon show, with Daniel Royer also impressing off the bench. Royer scored an excellent goal from distance past Jörg Siebenhandl, but it was Gorgon who rubbed salt in Admira wounds with a further two goals, taking any respectability away from the scoreline. His first was a smart flicked header from a Florian Mader corner that caught out the Admira goalkeeper and flew into an empty net. His second goal was an indication of the true talent the 26 year old Austrian has. With defender Patrick Wessely directly blocking his route to goal, Gorgon expertly carved the ball around the Admira defender and into Siebenhandl’s bottom left hand corner. It leaves Gorgon’s stats looking very tidy with 3 goals and an assist in his last 3 starts for the Violets.
Stefan Maierhofer – Maierhofer’s arrival in Neustadt came somewhat as a surprise as he looked to get back into the game following his release by Millwall FC from the Championship. His presence in training was praised by Günter Kreissl, who was acting as part of the interim coaching staff in Pfeifenberger’s absence. During his debut in the victory against Wolfsberger, his leadership was clear and he treated fans to a fantastic goal with a cheeky flick despite facing away from goal to open the scoring. Chances are he could only remain with the team until the Winter break, but it would be an even better coup if his services are secured in the league, at least until the end of the season.
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