Belek

Belek Diary (Day Four)

Friday 30th January.

Game day was finally upon SV Ried, as they played host to Cracovia Kraków on an overcast afternoon in Belek.

Pre-game there was a sense of expectation as Glasner’s men had been working hard on the training pitch, preparing for this tie. The former Red Bull Salzburg assistant put out a strong XI with a few surprises, such as Denis Streker on the right and Petar Filipovic playing on the left side of a back three.

Members of the starting XI warm up before the Cracovia clash.

Members of the starting XI warm up before the Cracovia clash.

1st half: The first half didn’t begin too well for the Austrian side with passes lacking conviction and concentration levels not yet at their peak. A Thomas Murg back-pass sold goalkeeper Lorenz Höbarth short, but the 23-year did very well and stole the ball back off the strikers toes. That early alarm seemed to wake Ried up and from there on in they seemed the more likely to score. However, with opportunities missed and Glasner visibly frustrated on the sidelines, the teams went into the break 0:0.

A frustrated Glasner looks on during the first half

A frustrated Oliver Glasner looks on during the first half

2nd half: With the obligatory substitutions taking place at half-time, it was 20-year old Jakob Kreuzer who caught the eye. The tenacious forward worked incredibly hard chasing down opponents and his effort brought the only goal of the game. Having caught out the Cracovia left-back in possession, the ball broke kindly to Julius Perstaller (who had replaced Denis Thomalla at half-time). The striker who hasn’t started a game since October 18th in a 4:2 loss to Salzburg, charged on goal and found the bottom corner. With Cracovia also losing a man to a second yellow card, the game wound down as Ried cantered to the 1:0 victory.

Players shake hands at full-time

Players shake hands at full-time

Following the game, I was able to have a very brief chat with Mr Glasner. To paraphrase, he said he was happy with how his defence had performed during the game, but they were unable to get anything going up front as there were too many long balls; the pitch playing a part in this.

The teams prepare to shake hands prior to Ried's 1:0 win

The teams prepare to shake hands prior to Ried’s 1:0 win

More to follow…Only 1 day left!

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Belek

Belek Diary (Day Three)

Thursday 29th January.

AM/Early PM: SV Ried training.

It was another gruelling day for the Ried players and staff as they undertook another two training sessions at the Sentido Zeynep Resort.

The laughing and joking of earlier sessions had died down, with player’s focus now key to getting something out of the Winter training camp. The players split into two groups, with attackers and midfielders practising combination passing and one-on-ones against the goalkeepers, whilst defenders were shown different scenarios in order to help the organisation of their defensive line.

The second session of the day was based mainly around another 11 v 11 practice game, with Glasner and his team of coaches ironing out any tactical issues before their friendly against Polish side Cracovia. From a personal perspective it was nice to see players like Gabriel Schneider (25), who had made the squad during the Bundesliga season, but had yet to get off the bench.

Ried team talk at the end of the day's training.

Ried team talk at the end of the day’s training.

5:30pm: FK Austria Vienna vs. FK Partizan Belgrade (SRB) Venue: Gloria Sports Centre

Pre-game: The weather could not have been any worse going into this game, with players subjected to monsoon-like rain which was unrelenting until the second half. Notable spectators in the stands included: Damir Canadi, Franco Foda, Dietmar Kuhbauer, Werner Gregoritsch (NT U21’s coach), Roman Kienast, Marko Stankovic and Bene Pliquett.

The teams line-up before shaking hands.

The teams line-up before shaking hands.

1st half: It was the Austrian’s who adapted best to the poor weather conditions, with two Alexander Gorgon goals within the first 4 minutes of the game, effectively ending the game before it had even started. Nevertheless, following good defensive pressure by the Violets, Daniel Royer took full advantage of an interception to fire in a third from the edge of the box. Half time, 3:0.

Austria Vienna substitutes warm-up in anticipation of the 2nd half.

Austria Vienna substitutes warm-up in anticipation of the 2nd half.

2nd half: In contrast to the first 45 minutes, it was the Serbian side who started the second half the stronger. Within five minutes of the restart, the deficit had been reduced to two goals, following a smart header that found the back of the net via the inside of the post. However, Partizan rarely threatened much thereafter and Jens Larsen was able to put the game to bed late on. The right-sided Dane benefitted from good work by David De Paula and Marko Kvasina in the build-up and the right-back confidently slotted past an on-rushing goalkeeper. The game also saw the introduction of highly thought of Dominik Prokop (17), who showed plenty of eagerness to get on the ball down the left hand side during his 30 minute cameo. All in all, a much better performance than the one I saw against St. Gallen earlier in the week. Full time, 4:1.

The players come together at the full time whistle.

The players come together at the full-time whistle.

More to follow…

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Belek

Belek Diary (Day Two)

Wednesday 28th January.

AM: SV Ried training.

Ried continued their clockwork training schedule with another morning session. This session carried more intensity and there was a definite plan in the coaches’ minds as they often stopped drills in order to communicate what they wanted from the players. Towards the end of the training, the team played a lively mini-game involving back-to-back goals.

PM: Second SV Ried training session.

Glasner continued to push his young squad, taking his side out for their second session of the day. The team spent the latter part of the session in a full training game, using the entire training pitch in an effort to prepare the side for their imminent friendly on the 30th against Cracovia.

SV Ried during their training game.

7pm: SK Sturm Graz vs. Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) Venue: Susesi Sport Complex

Pre-game: During the build-up to the game I was lucky enough to have a brief chat with Alexander Fasching (Sturm Press Officer). Alexander was a very pleasant man and he invited me along to see his side’s friendly against Olimpija Ljubljana (SLO) on Saturday.

I also met an exuberant character prior to kick off who emerged as Anel Hadzic’s agent. Unfortunately, the Bosnian international had remained in the hotel, but we had an extremely interesting conversation nonetheless…!

Pre-match handshake by Sturm & Tbilisi

Pre-match handshake by Sturm & Tbilisi

1st half: Sturm came up against a very well-disciplined Georgian side and were left frustrated in the opening 45 minutes. Franco Foda sent out a strong-looking XI with new signings Bright Edomwonyi and Roman Kienast lining up alongside each other for the first time. Tbilisi’s goal came in the 41st minute after a poor pass from Martin Ehrenreich. With the Sturm defence subsequently caught out of position, the Georgian’s received a slice of luck, as their shot took a deflection from Lukas Spendlhofer, taking it past Christian Gratzei.

Sturm come off deflated at HT, 1:0 down.

Sturm come off deflated at HT, 1:0 down.

2nd half: With temperatures plummeting, Foda made wholesale changes, including the arrival of the man who changed the game, Josip Tadic. The Croatian gave the side more directness, making clever runs both on and off the ball and ultimately this paid off. A jinking run inside the box by the striker invited a poor challenge from a Dinamo defender and Edomwonyi stepped up confidently to equalise from the spot. Youngsters Andreas Gruber (19) and Sandi Lovric (16) also both impressed in the second half, whilst Bevab (19), Seidl (17) and Resch (19) all made brief cameo appearances. Full time, 1:1.

More to follow…

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Belek

Belek Diary

I travelled to Belek, Turkey, in the hope of gaining more insight into the Austrian Bundesliga teams I analyse. Over the next week or so I will try and update you with what I have been up to.

Day 1: Tuesday 27th January.

AM: SV Ried Training.

I was able to observe some of SV Ried’s first training session since they arrived in Turkey. What I noticed initially, was the positive atmosphere that the team gave off. The players ran the usual drills; including shuttle runs, one touch passing games and other pass-intensive drills. The session ended with a practice match and a penalty shoot-out (I remember Dietmar Elsneg missing his…).

Ried training session

Ried training session, Belek

PM: Austria Vienna vs. St. Gallen (SUI) – 15:00 (local time) Venue: Maxx Royal

1st half: The first 45 minutes of the tie was frustrating with neither side being able to get a firm grasp on the game, with the Swiss side probably edging it. The Violets sent out a strong lineup with new arrival Raphael Holzhauser, in the middle, while Martin Harrer, Alexander Gorgon and Ronivaldo operated as the front three. However, it came as no surprise when the first half ended goalless.

Austria Vienna-St Gallen, pre kick off

Austria Vienna-St Gallen, Pre-kick off

2nd half: Gerald Baumgartner only made two half time changes with Daniel Royer replacing Ronivaldo and Tino Casali coming on for Heinz Lindner. Almost immediately the Swiss side took the lead with a smart finish into the corner, after Thomas Salamon was caught out of position at left-back. It wasn’t until further changes had been made by Austria Vienna, that the equaliser came. A great piece of work down the left-hand side by Marko Kvasina saw the young forward play the ball dangerously across the box, where it was met by Royer to apply the simple finish. With the game coming to a close, it looked like Austria would be able to seal a win, especially when St. Gallen went down to 10 men following a last man foul on Philipp Zulechner. However, with only minutes left the Swiss side got their second of the game after Tarkan Serbest was too easily turned on the edge of the box. Full-time, 1:2.

Players come together after the Royer equaliser

Players come together after the Royer equaliser

It may not have been the result that Austria Vienna would have wanted, but the game was still a great experience for those such as myself, and it was great to see the likes of Kvasina, Bernhard Luxbacher, Serbest & Casali getting more senior minutes under their belts.

Both sides at the final whistle

Both sides at the final whistle

More to follow…

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