Round 25

Round Review: Round 25:

Player of the Round:

Philipp Schobesberger

Philipp Schobesberger celebrates after scoring his first Bundesliga goal against Wiener Neustadt (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures)

Philipp Schobesberger celebrates after scoring his first Bundesliga goal against Wiener Neustadt (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures).

Schobesberger (21) was in imperious form against an energy-sapped Grödig side at the Ernst-Happel Stadion in round 25. The winger was instrumental throughout, giving Marvin Potzmann in particular, a game to forget. Rapid’s second goal of the game came in the 10th minute thanks to a powerful shot from distance by Schobesberger that was too hot for Cican Stankovic to handle, allowing Louis Schaub to tap-in from a yard out. With less than a minute gone in the second half, it was a driving run by Schobesberger that opened up the Grödig defence allowing Schaub to set-up Florian Kainz to finish past substitute goalkeeper Pirmin Strasser for the team’s third goal. Schobesberger was able to get himself on the score-sheet shortly after as he out-muscled Potzmann and went round Strasser to pass the ball into an empty net. It was a brilliant performance in what has been a breakout year for the young Austrian in his debut season with the Green and Whites.

Goal of the Round:

With the game tied at 0:0, Markus Suttner well-known for his set-piece prowess, stepped up to curl in a beautiful free-kick from distance, leaving Manuel Kuttin motionless in the Admira net. The goal was in vain however, after a late fumble from Heinz Lindner allowed Markus Katzer to equalise for the league’s bottom-placed side.

Picture of the Round:

Tadej Trdina celebrates his goal against Neustadt in his mask he was forced to wear after breaking his nose the previous week (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures)

Tadej Trdina celebrates his goal against Neustadt in his mask he was forced to wear after breaking his nose the previous week (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures)

Controversy of the Round:

Not for the first time this season, the Rapid Vienna fans landed their team with another fine following violations of the League Senate’s decision to prohibit flags and banners in the stadium. However, fans ignored the Senate and once again countless flags and banners were on show in the home fan sector in their game against Altach. The ban of 15,000 euro has been contested by Rapid who claim that posters and banners do not fall under Section 17 of the provision and that the judgement was “totally unjustified”. It was the latest in a series of quarrels between the League Senate and Rapid Vienna and it is highly unlikely to be the last.

Rapid Vienna fans in their home game against Rheindorf Altach (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures/ M. Hörmandinger).

Rapid Vienna fans in their home game against Rheindorf Altach (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures/ M. Hörmandinger).

Full Results:

FC Admira Wacker 1:1 FK Austria Wien
SC Rheindorf Altach 2:1 SV Ried
SK Rapid 4:0 SV Grödig
Wolfsberger AC 2:0 SC Wiener Neustadt
RB Salzburg 2:1 SK Sturm Graz
Re-arranged game: SV Grödig 2:0 Wolfsberger AC

Final Word:

Austrian teams still in Europe (0); English teams still in Europe (0)- sensational.

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment as always.

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Round 24

Round Review: Round 24

Player of the Round:

Raphael Holzhauser

Raphael Holzhauser during the Vienna Derby (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures/M. Hoermandinger)

Raphael Holzhauser during the Vienna Derby (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures/M. Hoermandinger)

Despite being left out of the starting XI, Raphael Holzhauser’s 27th minute introduction changed the 312th Vienna Derby. The 22-year old who had failed to show the talent that led to his signing from Stuttgart, other than a brief glimpse during his side’s 5:2 destruction of Altach, dominated Rapid Vienna. Although journalists and analysts argued that it was Barisic’s rigid tactics that failed to deal with the impact that Holzhauser had on the game, his composure and skill on the ball was there for everyone to see. However, it was the midfielder’s dead-ball skills that ultimately were Rapid Vienna’s downfall, as they conceded late goals in either half to Austria’s centre-back pairing of Lukas Rotpuller and Vance Šikov both following Holzhauser set-pieces. With Austria Vienna continuing to struggle under Gerald Baumgartner in sixth place, fans will be hoping that Holzhauser’s performance against their biggest rivals is merely a sign for things to come.

Goal of the Round:

After an injury to Tomi Correa, super-sub Sunday Emmanuel scored an excellent goal to draw Grödig level against Ried- however, he was to be disappointed as his side eventually lost 2:1 thanks to another excellent goal from Gernot Trauner.

Picture of the Round:

Jonathan Soriano (left) grimaces after missing a penalty during his side's loss at home to Rheindorf Altach, whilst  Jan Zwischenbrugger (front) fist pumps in delight (picture courtesy of APA pictures)

Jonathan Soriano (left) grimaces after missing a penalty during his side’s loss at home to Rheindorf Altach, whilst Lukas Jäger (front) fist pumps in delight (picture courtesy of APA pictures)

 

Story of the Round:

 

Following the well-documented pitch conditions at the Goldberg Stadion which saw the league revoke the use of the ground in the Tipico Bundesliga, the side spent 500,000 euro in order to completely revamp the ground. Within only a matter of weeks there was a huge transformation and the league Senate re-instated the use of the ground. Grödig, who had played their ‘home’ game against Wiener Neustadt at the Red Bull Arena, were questioned as to whether Salzburg had helped the side financially in order to for the works to be completed so quickly, something Christian Haas denied. Regardless of whether there was any truth to the rumours, Grödig remain in crisis as they await their first points of the Spring season, as they now lie only 3 points above Admira, who sit bottom of the table.

The Goldberg Stadion following the completion of the under-lawn heating system and new turf (picture courtesy of SV Grödig)

The Goldberg Stadion following the completion of the under-lawn heating system and new turf (picture courtesy of SV Grödig)

Full Results:

FK Austria Wien 2:1 SK Rapid Wien
SV Ried 2:1 SV Grödig
RB Salzburg 0:1 SC Rheindorf Altach
SK Sturm Graz 2:0 Wolfsberger AC
SC Wiener Neustadt 0:0 FC Admira Wacker

Rearranged game: SV Grödig 0:2 SK Sturm Graz

Final Word:

With only 12 games in  the league remaining (not accounting for re-arranged games), it is becoming crunch time for teams and their managers. In light of the Derby win, Gerald Baumgartner remains as Austria Vienna manager, but will continue to face pressure when his side don’t pick up wins Violet fans so dearly crave. Meanwhile, Michael Baur who appears helpless as his Grödig side free-fall, is also coming under increasing pressure but Christian Haas continues to remain loyal to his manager; although everyone has their limits. Elsewhere in the league, Oliver Glasner is repaying the faith that the Ried management had when they chose not to relieve him of his duties after a poor start to the season. His side after back-to-back wins are steadily building momentum for a late push for European football. Whilst the appointment of Helgi Kolvidsson at Neustadt after the departure of Heimo Pfeifenberger seems inspired as his side continue to pick up points in their battle for survival. With plenty of ‘six-pointers’ to come, there is sure to be plenty of drama including managers who fail to see out the rest of the season with their side.

Christian Haas (left) following the appointment of Michael Baur (right) as Grodig manager (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures).

Christian Haas (left) following the appointment of Michael Baur (right) as Grodig manager (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures).

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment as always.

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Round 22, Round 23

Round Review: Round 22 & 23

Player of the Round(s):

Simon Piesinger

Simon Piesinger (centre) celebrates with team-mates Anel Hadzic (left) & Michael Madl (right) following his late Doppelpack to give Sturm a 2:1 win over Austria Vienna- Round 23 (picture courtest of GEPA pictures)

Simon Piesinger (centre) celebrates with team-mates Anel Hadzic (left) & Michael Madl (right) following his late Doppelpack to give Sturm a 2:1 win over Austria Vienna- Round 23 (picture courtest of GEPA pictures)

With Gerald Baumgartner’s job potentially on the line during Tuesday night’s game between Sturm Graz and Austria Vienna at the UPC-Arena, all seemed to be going well for the Violets coach, following a brilliant opening goal by Alexander Grünwald. However, Franco Foda had other ideas and with 67 minutes gone brought Simon ‘Maypole’ Piesinger into the fray. Within minutes of his arrivial, the defensive midfielder had met a Daniel Offenbacher free-kick with his head to equalise for Sturm. Despite the pressure being put on the visitors it looked like they would hold onto the draw, even when they went down to 10-men as Jens Larsen had to be withdrawn with a knee injury, with all 3 substitutions made. This was not the end of the comeback and with 95 minutes gone, Roman ‘Kienastinho’, despite being offside, caused chaos in the Violets box and Piesinger was able to stab home a memorable winner. Following the game, the Austria Vienna board backed Baumgartner, but a poor result in the Vienna Derby this weekend, could see his reign come to an end.

Goal of the Round(s):

At the age of 30, central defender Mattias Sereinig scored his first Austrian Bundesliga goal, and what a way to do it. The Klagenfurt native’s brilliant strike guaranteed Wiener Neustadt victory over SV Grödig , taking them above Admira by two points in the relegation battle. Superb strikes by Alexander Grünwald and Thomas Goiginger also deserve honorary mentions, but you can’t ask for a sweeter strike from a defender.

Pictures of the Round(s):

Lukas Rotpuller (left) despairs during Austria Vienna's 1:0 defeat to Wiener Neustadt- Round 22 (picture courtesy of laola1)

Lukas Rotpuller (left) despairs during Austria Vienna’s 1:0 defeat to Wiener Neustadt- Round 22 (picture courtesy of laola1)

Toni Vastic (left) clashes with Salzburg goalkeeper Péter Gulácsi (right). The Admira striker had to be stretchered off, but earned his side a 2nd half penalty- Round 23 (picture courtesy of laola1)

Toni Vastic (left) clashes with Salzburg goalkeeper Péter Gulácsi (right). The Admira striker had to be stretchered off, but earned his side a 2nd half penalty- Round 23 (picture courtesy of laola1)

Controversy of the Round(s):

Once again Tipico Bundesliga referees and the discipline system within the league, came under the spotlight. In Round 22, four straight red cards were shown (Ortiz, Ehrenreich, Stronati and Ankersen) with Robert Strobl also receiving his marching orders for two yellows against RB Salzburg. In Round 23, only two red cards were issued, one a straight red for Salzburg striker Marcel Sabitzer and the other, two yellows for Benedict Zech versus Rapid Vienna.
However, it was the red card for Martin Ehrenreich that caused the biggest stir. The Sturm Graz right-back was adjudged to have brought down Florian Kainz in only the third minute of the game, however, replays clearly showed that Kainz was not in full control of the ball as Christian Gratzei raced outside of his box, with the contact between players also arguably just a ‘coming together’. The red card ended what was expected to be a closely fought contest with Rapid Vienna going onto waste plenty of chances in their one goal victory.
The game between Wiener Neustadt and Austria Vienna in Round 22, was also compromised due to the ‘triple punishment’ rule, which is applied when a defender illegally stops a clear goal scoring opportunity in the box. Patrizio Stronati, in only his second start for the Violets, softly pushed Dominik Hofbauer as he went through on goal. It was clearly a foul, but outside the box wouldn’t have been anything more than a yellow card. Instead, Stronati was given a straight red card, consequently missing the next match and American, Conor O’Brien was able to score from the spot, in what was the only goal of the game.
It is not the first time decisions like this have been highlighted, with Ried fans still sore from the three penalties and two red cards they received in the first game of the Spring season in Vienna. All we can hope for going forward, is that these type of decisions do not continue to dictate the outcome of the games.

Martin Ehrenreich (left) receives a straight red card following a last man collision with Florian Kainz (front)- Round 22 (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures)

Martin Ehrenreich (left) receives a straight red card following a last man collision with Florian Kainz (front)- Round 22 (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures)

Full results:

Round 22:

SC Rheindorf Altach 1:0 Wolfsberger AC
SK Rapid Wien 1:0 SK Sturm Graz
SV Ried 2:2 FC Admira Wacker
SC Wiener Neustadt 1:0 FK Austria Wien
RB Salzburg 3:1 SV Grödig.

Round 23:

SK Sturm Graz 2:1 FK Austria Wien
SK Rapid Wien 1:0 SC Rheindorf Altach
SV Grödig 1:3 SC Wiener Neustadt
Wolfsberger AC 1:2 SV Ried
FC Admira Wacker 1:4 RB Salzburg.

Final Word:

Four games into the Spring season, the new-signings are (in some cases) starting to have their desired effects. In Round 22, Ried’s new signing Petar Filipović rescued a late draw for his side at home versus Admira with a well-timed header. Whilst, Patrizio Stronati, who had been a hero for Austria Vienna in their 5:2 win over Altach the week prior, turned villain as he gifted Neustadt the lead having conceded a cheap penalty. In Round 23, Takumi Minamino scored his first Bundesliga goals since his arrival from Cerezo Osaka to RB Salzburg. The Japanese youngster scored once in both halves,  also supplying the cross for Valon Berisha to head home in the dying minutes to make the score 4:1 to the Bulls. Elsewhere, Philip Hellquist, who has been an inspirational signing for Neustadt following his move from Djurgården in Sweden, scored his third goal in as many games during their 3:1 away victory over Grödig. The Swede had only scored twice in the entirety of 2014!

 

Philip Hellquist (left) alongside Neustadt manager Helgi Kolvidsson (picture courtesy of Wiener Neustadt)

Philip Hellquist (left) alongside Neustadt manager Helgi Kolvidsson (picture courtesy of Wiener Neustadt)

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment as always.

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