I watch every minute of every Austrian Bundesliga game. This blog contains posts from the top players of the week, to top youngsters to watch. Follow me on twitter for more: @FRfussballtim. For all enquiries email: email@example.com. All views expressed on this blog are my own.
Louis Schaub was back to his best for Rapid Wien against Wolfsberg as he helped set up a 5:0 away win for his side (picture courtesy of Sky Sport Austria)
After a metatarsal injury and Philipp Schobesberger in imperious form, Louis Schaub could have been forgiven for trying to put this season behind him. Instead, the attack-minded midfielder scored twice to help thump Wolfsberg 5:0 away from home.
Goal of the Round:
With Admira knowing that a victory would be good enough to keep them in the Bundesliga, Toni Vastic’s composed finished ended what had been a frustrating season for the striker, on a high note. The 22-year old came off the bench to squeeze the ball past Cican Stankovic when through on goal.
Picture of the Round:
Sturm fans celebrate their side qualifying for the Europa League ahead of the final game of the season (picture courtesy of Laola1.at)
Controversy of the Round:
The manager merry-go-round was in full swing early into the week as relegated Neustadt’s manager, Helgi Kolvidsson, was promptly poached by SV Ried, who had been deserted by Oliver Glasner the previous week. Kolvidsson had been linked with St. Pauli in Germany, but after a gutsy tenure ended in vain with the blue and whites, many had hoped he would continue in Austria. Meanwhile, despite standing by his manager throughout the season, Christian Haas finally pulled the plug on Michael Baur’s reign with Grödig after only one season, as the side slipped a disappointing to 8th place finish. Haas was quick to appoint a successor for his side, who have been left depleted after the departures of key players Cican Stankovic, Marvin Potzmann, Ione Cabrera, Stefan Nutz, Tomi Correa and Philipp Huspek. Former Rapid Wien player and manager Peter Schöttel, who had most recently been used by Sky Sport Austria as a Bundesliga expert, was handed a 2-year contract with the club, as he looks to take them back to the heady heights of European football that Adi Hütter had brought the side in his one and only season in the top flight with them.
Ex-Ried coach Oliver Glasner locks hands with his successor Helgi Kolviddson during Ried’s trip to Neustadt earlier in the season (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures/ Mario Kneis)
SV Grödig 0:1 FC Admira Wacker
FK Austria Wien 1:1 RB Salzburg
SK Sturm Graz 0:0 SV Ried
Wolfsberg AC 0:5 Rapid Wien
SC Wiener Neustadt 0:1 SC Rheindorf Altach.
The 14/15 Austria Bundesliga finally came to a close with the top 5 sides qualifying for Europe after RB Salzburg were able to beat Austria Wien 2:0 in extra-time, in the Samsung Cup final in midweek. Salzburg and Rapid Wien qualified into the Champions League, while Altach, Sturm and Wolfsberg will all be representing Austria in the Europa League qualifiers. It was a fantastic season with twists and drama, and it was an absolute pleasure to follow.
The final Bundesliga 14/15 table
Thanks for reading and feel free to comment as always.
Stefan Nutz slots home Grödig’s equaliser from the penalty spot, on their way to a 3:2 victory (picture courtesy of SV Grödig).
Stefan Nutz (23) has continued to be an integral player for Grödig despite their disappointing season thus far. The Salzburg-based outfit are currently limping towards a lowly 8th placed finish under manager Michael Baur who was brought in as Adi Hutter’s replacement. It was the departure of Yordy Reyna in the Winter to RB Leipzig, in the German 2nd tier that has increased Nutz importance to this side, aswell as injuries to other stars such as Philipp Huspek and Tomi Correa- who incidentally have also signed pre-contracts alongside Nutz with Rapid Vienna in Summer. The dynamic midfielder shone in Round 27 as his Grödig side battled back from 2:0 down with 10 men to beat bottom-placed Admira 3:2, in what had been labelled as a ‘6-pointer’. Nutz sparked the comeback with a perfect corner which was met by defender Max Karner, he then held his composure to send stand-in goalkeeper Simon Manzoni the wrong way from the spot. With fate on Grödig’s side, they won the game thanks to a second half goal by Danish wide-man Florian Hart, who lobbed over Manzoni who was caught in no-man’s-land.
Goal of the Round:
Picture of the Round:
A dejected Kühbauer is sent to the stands following a clash with referee with Alexander Harkam, as his Wolfsberger trailed 2:0 to Rapid Wien early on (picture courtesy of GEPA/ Christian Ort).
Controversy of the Round:
Despite being ostracised by his domestic club Admira Wacker, Andreas Leitner earned himself another Austria U-21 call-up during the international break. However, in an interview conducted by Laola1.at’s Matthias Nemetz, Leitner’s silence was finally broken. There hadn’t been much word on Leitner’s future at the club since his agent, Alexander Sperr spoke out to Kleinen Zeitung, back in late November last year. Sperr had claimed that his client had been bullied after not agreeing to a contract extension. With Nemetz, Leitner disclosed that despite consciously making an effort in training to push for a starting place, challenging both Manuel Kuttin and Jorg Siebenhandl- who incidentally had both been injured in recent times – he had been forced to play with the Amateurs. This snub by Admira sparked an embarrassingly public undermining of Admira management, coaching staff and even fellow players. Leitner claimed that he felt blackmailed with terms being “either I renew or I do not play anymore”, with Siebenhandl’s contract extension until 2017 adding more fuel to the fire. The 21-year old made light of the fact that Admira had been well-known as a club who bring through youth, but he felt betrayed that they wouldn’t help him progress to the next development stage without full commitment and has instead set his sights on leaving the club in Summer. His final destination is unknown but although there has been muted interest from Sturm Graz and Austria Vienna, and he even went on trial in Norway during the Winter. These contentious interviews however, will do nothing but worry prospective Sporting Directors.
Andreas Leitner (picture courtesy of Admira Wacker)
RB Salzburg 3:1 FK Austria Wien
SK Rapid Wien 4:1 Wolfsberger AC
FC Admira Wacker 2:3 Grödig
SV Ried 1:2 SK Sturm
SC Rheindorf Altach P:P SC Wiener Neustadt (due to flooded pitch).
In my ‘final word’ in Round 25 post, I predicted that some managers would likely fail to see out the rest of the season and for Admira’s Walter Knaller this was the case. After his side took an early 2:0 lead in their vital game against 10 man Grödig, his side wilted with Michael Baur’s side securing an unlikely victory deep into the second half. The result was too much for 57-year old Knaller to take and he handed in his resignation. It is an unsettling time for Admira who lie bottom of the Bundesliga with Oliver Lederer once again taking temporary sole charge of the club. However, they remain only 1 point behind Wiener Neustadt with 9 games to play, so there is still a lot to play for.
Former Admira manager Walter Knaller (left) commiserates Stephan Auer (pciture courtesy of APA/Hans Punz)
Thanks for reading and feel free to comment as always.
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 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)
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
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).
Thanks for reading and feel free to comment as always.
After a wonderful week in Turkey, my time was up. The weather had been unpredictable, venues had been tough to find and kick off times often moved without much notice, but like any football lover, I’d do it all again.
5pm: SV Grödig vs. Anzhi (RUS) – Venue: Kaya Pallazo Sports Complex
The Anzhi team sheet.
1st half: After a delayed kick-off due to poor weather conditions, Michael Baur’s team finally took on a very physical Anzhi side, who now dwell in the second tier of Russian football. The game started evenly, with perhaps Grödig the slightly more aggressive. After the transfer of Yordy Reyna to Red Bull Leipzig, Sunday Emmanuel started up front, with Stefan Nutz just behind him. It was Nutz’s quality that gave Grödig the lead just before the half hour mark. The 22-year old, who had been linked with a move to Germany in this transfer window, curled a perfect free-kick into the top corner, leaving the goalkeeper motionless. Moments later, Anzhi had the chance to reply from the spot after Florian Hart was adjudged to have handballed. However, with Cican Stankovic recovering from appendix surgery, stand-in goalkeeper Pirmin Strasser kept out the penalty fantastically with an outstretched foot. Half-time, 1:0.
The teams prepare to kick off
2nd half: Despite the wind picking up and the temperature plummeting, things soon boiled over when substitute Timo Brauer was taken out by Anzhi’s Amatou Moutari, who received a straight red card for the challenge. From then on, it was very much one way traffic with Grödig wasting golden opportunities as the Russian’s defence struggled to cope with the pace of Philipp Huspek and Simon Handle on the wings. It was frustrating for Baur then as time ticked down, it was Anzhi who got a late equaliser, thanks to a great strike. Grödig had next to no time to reply and the score remained 1:1 at the final whistle.
Baur handles journalist’s question following the 1:1 result
Following the game, Baur spoke with journalists regarding the loss of Yordy Reyna, but also on the arrival of Brazilian attacking midfielder ‘Venuto’ from FC Liefering. I was also able to speak with members of Sky Sports Austria, who were incredibly insightful as they were able to shed light on a few interesting stories occurring in the Tipico Bundesliga. Not only this they were extremely friendly and spoke very good English!
Members of the Sky Sports Austria team & myself (centre)
I met some great people during this trip and achieved part of my goal by gaining insight into teams around the league, I hope you also enjoyed reading and following my time in Belek. Now only 12 days until the league is back!
There was only one winner in the 13th segment of the Tipico Bundesliga, as Rapid Vienna ensured Franco Foda received his first taste of defeat in his latest spell as Sturm boss. Zoran Barisic’s men closed the gap on the top two to 6 points, as Wolfsberger and Red Bull Salzburg were both held to draws. The stand-out performance came from Austria Vienna who dominated basement side Neustadt, in a game that worryingly saw Neustadt striker Herbert Rauter pull up with an injury. The 32-year old has scored nearly 40% of their goals in the league this season. Elsewhere, in the Salzburg-Derby, Grödig nearly stunned the 10-man Bulls, with Marcel Sabitzer scoring a vital 81st minute equaliser. Here are the full round-up of scores:
FC Admira Wacker 0-0 SV Ried
FK Austria Vienna 2-0 SC Wiener Neustadt
Wolfsberger AC 0-0 SC Rheindorf Altach
SK Sturm 1-3 SK Rapid Vienna
SV Grödig 2-2 Red Bull Salzburg.
#1 Stefan Schwab – Schwab, 24, has really come into his own over the past few weeks. The Austrian playmaker has finally settled in at Rapid, following his Summer move from Admira and had a game to remember against Sturm Graz. At just over 6-foot, Schwab impressed early on, winning several aerial duels in midfield and in the Sturm box. It wasn’t until the 36th minute however, that he finally broke the deadlock in Graz. A Stefan Stangl cross from the left hand side was met by Schwab just inside the box; his header was accurate, powerful and flew past a motionless Christian Graztei into the top corner. With Steffen Hofmann having left the field with a knock, with the score posed at 1:2, Schwab took over set-piece duty and delivered a pinpoint cross that Christopher Dibon, expertly headed into the far corner to take the game away from Sturm and Franco Foda. Unfortunately, despite scoring against Sturm later on in the week, this time in the cup, it looks like we may not see him for several weeks due to ankle ligament damage.
#2 Yordy Reyna – The 21-year old Peruvian nearly won the Salzburg-Derby almost single handedly. The speedster completely dominated the Red Bull defence, with both Franz Schiemer and Martin Hinteregger unable to cope with his pace and runs behind the defence. Reyna opened the scoring in the 7th minute with a decent run down the right-hand side of the box, with his shot too hot for Péter Gulácsi to handle, sneaking in at the near post. It came as no surprise then, when in the 37th minute, the former Red Bull striker raced behind their defence, forcing Gulácsi to bring him down, conceding both a penalty and getting himself sent off in the process. Philpp Huspek subsequently scored the penalty to give Grödig a 2:1 half time lead, but they were ultimately unable to extend their lead or hang on for all the 3 points. Either way, it was another performance of note by Reyna as he looks to try and get himself back in the Peruvian national side; it surely can only be a matter of time.
#3 Cican Stankovic – Stankovic, 21, was praised by manager Michael Baur following this game, who announced him as the best goalkeeper in the league. The young Austrian was in imperious form, denying the Salzburg attackers on various occasions, but ultimately, Marcel Sabitzer’s 81st minute strike, was too good for him. It was his memorable save from an Alan header however, that separates him from other keepers in the league. Alan had a free header in the centre of the Grödig goal and directed it perfectly towards the top left-hand corner. Stankovic however, dove to his left and somehow palmed the ball up and over his crossbar, only for the ball to balance on top of the woodwork and finally drop down for a corner. It was a magnificent piece of play and it could have perhaps won a point for side.
Daniel Royer – Royer has been a bright light in an inconsistent Austria Vienna side in the past few weeks. Against bottom side Wiener Neustadt, Royer was the best player for the Violets, with his opener setting the tone for the rest of the game.
Thanks for reading and feel free to comment and vote on the poll below.
The second round of the Austrian Bundesliga once again did not fail to excite. Only four games were played this weekend as heavy rain caused the postponement of the SC Rheindorf Altach-Admira Wacker game, which has now been re-arranged for August 13th. In the games that did go ahead there were 3 red cards, 2 penalties and 13 goals. Of the 13 goals, 9 of these were shared between Red Bull Salzburg and Wolfsberger AC alone. The Red Bulls produced a stunning second half display away against Wiener Neustadt, recording a 5-0 away victory, despite losing Sadio Mané after only 40 minutes to a second, but very harsh, bookable offence at only 1-0. However, given Salzburg’s recent record against Wiener Neustadt, a 5-0 scoreline was more or less expected. Prior to this game, in their last 5 head-to-head meetings, Salzburg had scored 29 goals, conceding only 3 in the process.
Wolfsberger’s incredible 4-0 scoreline against FK Austria Vienna was far less expected. Although it has become widely accepted that under Dietmar Kühbauer, Wolfsberger appear to be a much tougher proposition this season, seeing them beat the Bundesliga Champions from only two seasons ago by 4 goals, was still a shock to the system. The manager must take plaudits after results such as these, but it should be noted the squad is also in a much better shape following the astute acquisitions of Stephan Palla (SK Rapid Vienna), Tadej Trdina (SV Grödig) and Manuel Weber (SK Sturm Graz), amongst others.
Elsewhere, SK Rapid Vienna bounced back from their 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Salzburg with a win of their own over SV Ried. The Green and Whites, currently playing their home games at the Gerhard Hanappi Stadium, gained their first points of the season with a 1-0 victory. Not only was this a morale boosting win, but it also brought a very welcome clean sheet in the process. In fairness to SV Ried, they operated well on the counter-attack, but never really looked like getting the elusive equaliser as the game came to a close. Instead, had it not been for a combination of Thomas Gebauer in the Ried net, the woodwork and some poor Louis Schaub finishing, the scoreline could have been rather one sided.
SV Grödig and SK Sturm Graz ended the weekend on a dramatic note on Sunday afternoon. Having named the same XI who played on Thursday against FK Čukarički in a 2-1 loss (5-2 victory on aggregate), Baur’s side could have been forgiven for tired legs in this game. Unfortunately, for the first 60 minutes of the game, this was apparently the case, with the home side creating very little and on the back foot for much of the game up until that point. In the opposite dugout, Sturm had gone through a torrid week that involved them losing rising-star Florian Kainz to Rapid Vienna, in a transfer that saw Sturm-Manager Gerhard Goldbrich publically stating Rapid Vienna had not followed proper procedures, only to later back track on these comments. Furthermore, Darko Milanič’s tenure as Manager has become increasingly uncertain with growing unrest within sets of Sturm fans. In a poll carried out by Sky Sports Austria, 307 people out of a 520 who voted, said that Milanič should be the first manager to be fired. The game did little to dispel those feelings as Grödig ran out eventual 2-1 victors, having trailed 1-0 with only ten minutes left to play. Ultimately, it appeared that Grödig, a team with great chemistry and a never say die attitude, wanted the points more than Sturm. Darko Milanič later claimed that individual mistakes cost his side the win, a comment that is unlikely to win over any of his players.
The season is definitely shaping up to be a great one, but now it’s time for the players (and on this occasion, team).
#1 The entire Wolfsberger AC team – In one aspect, this is cheating, but there was no way I could pick any individuals out of the Wolfsberger side who deserved it more than any of his team mates. The result came with a little help from referee, Mr Schörgenhofer, who gave FK Austria Vienna’s Vanče Šikov his marching orders in the 6th minute of his debut, following a strike/push to Boris Hüttenbrenner’s face. It didn’t take long until Wolfsberger opened the scoring with Christopher Wernitznig smashing home a volley from the corner of the box to beat Heinz Lindner following a corner. For the majority of the first half from that point, Austria Vienna appeared to regain their composure. However, once centre-back Nemanja Rnić’s got Wolfberger’s second goal, only three minutes into the second half, the game appeared beyond the Violets. When Mr Schörgenhofer incorrectly awarded the home side a 68th minute penalty after Joachim Standfest was legally challenged by Lindner, following a lightening quick break, the writing was on the wall. Step up Jacobo to the penalty spot, to get his first and very much deserved goal of the season. The win was sealed with another breakaway as Brazilian substitute Silvio slid his shot past a despairing Lindner which capped a superb 4-0 victory. With 4 different scorers and only Jacobo getting an assist as well as a goal, I really think a group-effort entry is deserved.
#2 Cican Stankovic – For the second week in a row Stankovic makes it into my top 3 players. Stankovic may have flown under the radar somewhat in the second half of last season but he has certainly laid down an early claim for Best Goalkeeper in the Bundesliga. After only two rounds of the league, of course it is far too early to say, but he has been outstanding for SV Grödig. The 21 year old pulled off two more memorable saves in his sides comeback victory against Sturm. In the context of the game his saves were absolutely huge. His first was a great reaction stop from a close range Lukas Spendlhofer header following a Sturm free-kick, a save which despite being very good, we now expect to be saved given his quality. The second save however, was undoubtedly world-class. Anel Hadzic met a corner at the back post, directing the ball into Stankovic’s right hand corner with his head. Stankovic however, launched himself to his right, and tipped the ball just past the post. Hadzic thought it was in, I thought it was in, and at 1-1, it was a pivotal moment in the game. It is safe to say I am fully looking forward to watch Stankovic continue to progress this season.
#3 Kevin Kampl – The Slovenian sneaks into my top 3 here with another quality performance. The 23 year old, who turns 24 in October, ran the show for Salzburg in their 5-0 away win. Kampl started the game in the centre of midfield following the broken toe sustained by Stefan Ilsanker. With a poor pitch at Neustadt, flowing football was hard to pull off and although Kampl kept things ticking over in midfield, his final dribble or ball did not seem to work out in the first 45 minutes. Oh, how that changed in the second half. Sadio Mané’s petulant sending off for taking a freekick too early (he earned his first yellow card for dissent) turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the Salzburg outfit. Cue Kevin Kampl on the left. The Slovenian destroyed the poor Reinhold Rantfl on the right hand side of the Wiener Neustadt defence. The winger time and time again cut in on his favoured left foot, causing havoc. Kampl made it 4-0 with his second goal of the season as he earned himself time to slide the ball past a helpless Thomas Vollnhofer, having fought off several defenders. Minutes prior to his goal, Kampl had waltzed past several defenders and laid the ball off to Christian Schwegler to lash a divine shot into the top corner, giving the home goalkeeper no chance. In 2 games, he now has 2 goals, 2 assists, not too bad!
Jonathan Soriano – Soriano is a prime example of where I feel I should increase my list size to 4 or 5 (much like Andreas Ulmer in Round 1) in order to accomodate the players who had great weekends. The Spaniard as we have come to expect was instrumental in the Red Bull Salzburg’s win. Soriano assisted Sabitzer’s first league goal for Salzburg with a perfectly weighted pass and also slid in Kevin Kampl for his goal. The prolific striker also scored 2 goals of his own. The first of his goals was the simplest of headers from a Andreas Ulmer cross only 90 seconds into the second half. The second goal, a penalty following a deliberate Remo Mally handball and subsequent red card. Next stop, Champions League Qualification.
Comments are welcome and please vote on the poll as I will be tallying up who won the most votes at the end of the season.