Season Preview

My Austrian Bundesliga 15/16 transfer review and predicted league table:

With the new season only days away, I decided to take a look at what each side has been up to this off-season and list who I think has been their best signing. I’ve picked players based upon who I think could have the biggest ‘positive’ impact on the side, although I realise this won’t always be the ‘best’ new player who has been brought in!

FC Admira Wacker

Dominik Starkl

Dominik Starkl (left) alongside Admira manager Oliver Lederer (photo courtesy of admirawacker.at)

Dominik Starkl (left) alongside Admira manager Oliver Lederer (picture courtesy of admirawacker.at)

Starkl joined Admira on a season-long loan with an option to buy from Rapid Wien. The 21-year old, who is known for his wing-play and dribbling abilities, can also play in attack, but this tends to be as a deep-lying forward or as a false-9. Starkl struggled to adapt from the Rapid II’s to the Rapid senior squad – he scored 27 goals and assisted 8 times in his 66 appearances for the II’s, but this has translated to a measly 3 goals and 7 assists for Rapid Wien in 47 appearances. However, it is clear he has talent in abundance, with 18 goals in 19 appearances for Sankt Pölten’s U-18 side, before he was snapped up by the Wien club. For Austria he has played for the U-18s, U-19’s and has 5 caps for the U-21’s and a strong year in Admira could put him back in the international frame. For a team that only scored 32 times last season though, big things are expected of Starkl in 15/16.

FK Austria Wien

Ognjen Vukojević

Ognjen Vukojević appearing on Viola TV after recently joining the club (picture courtesy of fk-austria.at/youtube)

Ognjen Vukojević appearing on Viola TV after recently joining the club (picture courtesy of fk-austria.at/youtube)

31-year old Ognjen Vukojević joined Austria Wien on a 2-year deal with an option of a further year from Dynamo Kiev. The defensive midfielder had been on loan at Dinamo Zagreb for the 14/15 season, a team he had signed for in 2006 from Belgian side Lierse SK. An international veteran with 54 caps (4 goals) for the Croatian team, Vukojević will more than fill the gap of the outgoing Australian midfielder, James Holland. Austria Wien were once again disappointing in the league, finishing 7th with a goal difference of -6, so it is hoped that Vukojević, with his experience, will be able to shore up the Violets in midfield. In the 14/15 season, he struggled to cement a starting place at Zagreb, but he did captain the side on occasions. Alongside other arrivals such as Richard Windbichler, this is exactly what this under-performing club needed.

SV Grödig

Christian Derflinger

Christian Derflinger posing beside Grödig manager Christian Haas (photo courtesy of sv-groedig.at)

Christian Derflinger (left) poses beside Grödig manager Christian Haas (picture courtesy of sv-groedig.at)

Derflinger joined a depleted Grödig side on a free from Hamburg II’s. The 21-year old Austrian who started his career with LASK/Pasching was snapped up by FC Bayern in 2008 but never made it out of their youth sides. In the 14/15 season, following a move to Hamburg, Derflinger made 27 Regionalliga Nord appearances scoring twice and assisting 3 times. Despite not representing any Austrian international sides since 2012, 2015 marked a breakthrough year for the attacking midfielder on the international stage, as he made 2 appearances for the Austrian U21’s, scoring and assisting on debut against Bulgaria. 15/16 should bring Derflinger plenty of opportunities and during pre-season he has already established himself as a key player for Peter Schöttel’s side. With Venuto on the left and Derflinger on the right, his arrival will not only revive the career of veteran striker Roman Wallner, but it could go some-way in filling the massive hole left by the likes of Philipp Huspek and Stefan Nutz.

SV Mattersburg

Mario Grgic

Grgic in action during his time with SV Kapfenberg (photo courtesy of laola1.at)

Grgic in action during his time with SV Kapfenberg (picture courtesy of laola1.at)

Mario Grgic, now 23-years old, joined Mattersburg on a free from SV Kapfenberg, whom he played for over 100 times, scoring 11 times and assisting 21 times from central midfield. Despite never earning a cap for Austria at any level, he established himself as a key player at the club, particularly in his final season with the Hawks, scoring 4 and assisting 9 times, helping them finish in very respectable fourth place behind only Liefering, LASK and his new club. Grgic may struggle to establish himself in the starting XI under Ivica Vastic this season, given how strong the side appear to be in the centre, with Prietl and Sprangler already vying to start alongside the omnipresent Jano. But Grgic is improving year and year and will be hoping to help Mattersburg replicate the third placed finish achieved by newly promoted Altach last season.

SK Rapid Wien

Stefan Nutz

Nutz (left) alongside other Rapid Wien signings (picture courtesy of APA/HERBERT P. OCZERET)

Nutz (left) alongside other new Rapid Wien signings (picture courtesy of APA/Herbert P. Oczeret)

Rapid fought off plenty of foreign competition in order to secure the signature of 23-year old Stefan Nutz from SV Grödig. Following the departure of top-scorer Yordy Reyna to RB Leipzig, it was Nutz who took the reigns, steering his side to eventual safety, after a 6-game losing streak in early spring. The central midfielder, who joined Grödig from Grazer AK in 2012, scored 6 goals and assisted an impressive 12 times in his 33 Bundesliga appearances in 14/15. In particular, Nutz is a midfielder who is just as dangerous from open play as he is from a set-pieces, with his free-kick ability arguably only second in the league to Jonathan Soriano’s, although Steffen Hofmann may not agree! With the ageing Hofmann unable to play as regularly as he used to, Grahovac, Schwab and Schaub are all fighting to get as much game time as possible in midfield, ensuring Nutz will have to continue impress in order to stand-out to coach Zoran Barisic.

SC Rheindorf Altach

Dominik Hofbauer

Hofbauer in action against his new side last season (photo courtesy of GEPA pictures)

Hofbauer in action against his new side for Wiener Neustadt last season (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures)

Hofbauer has proven himself to be a very good Bundesliga player after joining Neustadt last season from Sankt Pölten. Despite being relegated with Neustadt, his performances earned him a 2-year contract with Altach, who are set to battle Vitoria (Portugal) in the Europa League next week. Hofbauer is a live wire in midfield and has shown his versatility, contributing with both goals and assists from various positions. The former Aston Villa U-21 player will be expected to soften the blow for Altach after the loss of Ismael Tajouri (4 goals and 6 assists) to Austria Wien at the end of last season. If all goes well, Hofbauer will be hoping to guide Altach to back-to-back European qualification campaigns.

SV Ried

Fabian Schubert

Schubert in action as a trialist for Ried (picture courtesy of laola1.at)

Schubert in action as a trialist for Ried (picture courtesy of laola1.at)

Fabian Schubert joined Ried on trial this summer from BST Völkermarkt before signing a 1-year contract with an option of a further two years. The 20-year old striker showed lethal form throughout the 14/15 season scoring 25 goals in 27 games in the Kärtner Liga, giving him a final record with the club of 56 goals in 102 appearances. Since his arrival at Ried, he has contributed with goals, albeit generally against lower opposition and at the weekend scored once and assisted twice in Ried’s 15:0 win in the Samsung Cup 1st round. Although Schubert is unlikely to be a starter under Kolvidsson, he has very little to lose and everyone will be hoping he can prove himself at the top-level in Austria.

Red Bull Salzburg

Reinhold Yabo

Yabo speaks to journalists at a Salzburg press (picture courtesy of skysportaustria.at)

Yabo speaks to journalists at a Salzburg press conference (picture courtesy of skysportaustria.at)

Yabo joined Salzburg on a 3-year deal from Karlsruher despite heavy speculation he would make his way to a German Bundesliga side. The central midfielder has proved to be a mainstay for Karlsruher over the past two seasons, contributing 7 goals and 5 assists in this time and despite only turning 23 in February, he is expected to bring some much-needed experience to a young Red Bull side. Yabo has shone throughout his career earning over 50 caps for Germany up into U-20 level and he now has the opportunity to help Salzburg to a potential third title win in a row. More importantly, new coach Peter Zeidler will be hoping Yabo can push Salzburg into the all-important Champions League group stages. Despite his potential, a re-occurring knee injury has disrupted his pre-season with the side, however, injuries aside he should become a key cog in the Red Bull machine.

SK Sturm Graz

Michael Esser

Esser (centre right) with other Sturm new signings (picture courtesy of GEPA)

Esser (centre right) with other new Sturm signings (picture courtesy of GEPA)

Michael Esser’s arrival at Sturm Graz, was one of the biggest coups of the off-season. During his time at VfL Bochum, Esser had established himself as a top keeper at 2.Bundesliga level, pushing Andreas Luthe all the way for a starting spot. Despite Christian Gratzei providing some solid performances in spring, the 33-year old was not the long-term solution with the Blackies aim to be pushing for Europa League qualification every season. With Benedikt Pliquett also leaving the club, the only other goalkeeping alternative was 18-year old Tobias Schützenauer. Thus, the arrival of Esser has been greeted gleefully by the club, whom he signed for on the basis he would be the number one goalkeeper. I expect he will be a success and he should contribute heavily as Sturm push for a top-2 finish in 15/16.

Wolfsberger AC

Philipp Hellquist

Philipp Hellquist trains with his new side during their pre-season (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures/Daniel Goetzhaber)

Philipp Hellquist trains with his new side during their pre-season (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures/Daniel Goetzhaber)

Similarly to Dominik Hofbauer, Philipp Hellquist joined Wiener Neustadt in the spring last season and despite getting relegated, did enough to impress other clubs in the league. Wolfsberger AC signed Hellquist on a 2-year deal after the former Sweden U-21 striker scored 4 times in 12 games, in what was a struggling Neustadt side. During his time in Austria, Hellquist has shown his predatory skills, including his eye for goal from set-pieces and his ability to finish with finesse, something he has already shown Wolfsberger fans after a fantastic finish against Schalke in a recent friendly. With the Wolves scoring the third fewest goals in the league last season, behind only Admira and Neustadt, Dietmar Kühbauer will be hoping that Hellquist will contribute not only in the league but also in their quest to qualify for the Europa League group stages (although this maybe asking a lot as they will face Dortmund in the next round if they beat Shakhtyor Soligorsk!).

My 15/16 prediction:

1. Red Bull Salzburg (Top scorer: Jonathan Soriano)

2. SK Rapid Wien (Top scorer: Robert Berić)

3. FK Austria Wien (Top scorer: Alexander Gorgon)

4. SK Sturm Graz (Top scorer: Donis Avdijaj)

5. Wolfsberger AC (Top scorer: Philipp Hellquist)

6. SC Rheindorf Altach (Top scorer: Martin Harrer)

7. SV Mattersburg (Top scorer: Markus Pink )

8. SV Ried (Top scorer: Clemens Walch )

9. SV Grödig (Top scorer: Benjamin Sulimani)

10. FC Admira Wacker (Top scorer: Dominik Starkl)

GEPA pictures/ Christian Walgram

GEPA pictures/ Christian Walgram

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment as always.

Standard
Round 35

Round Review: Round 35

Player of the Round:

Cican Stankovic

Cican Stankovic (goalkeeper) sprawls to save Deni Alar's penalty in vain (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures/Christian Ort)

Cican Stankovic (goalkeeper) sprawls to save Deni Alar’s penalty in vain (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures/Christian Ort)

Cican Stankovic is the best goalkeeper in Austria. The 22-year old has had a fantastic season and in doing so, earned himself a move to Red Bull Salzburg, where he is set to go straight in as their number one. Unsurprisingly, Stankovic was in scintillating form against Rapid Wien, in a game that neither side had much to play for other than pride. But despite two late penalties for the club from Vienna, Stankovic stole the show, making save after save- much to the annoyance of striker Philipp Prosenik and later 24 goal-Robert Berić. The goalkeeper is set to be honoured ahead of the game against FC Admira by Michael Konsel as the best goalkeeper in the league this season.

Goal of the Round:

Picture of the Round:

The Neustadt team surround Alexander Harkam after their side conceded a penalty away at Rapid Wien in what was a crucial game for the side in their fight for safety (picture courtesy of laola1.at)

The Neustadt team surround Alexander Harkam after their side conceded a penalty against Rapid Wien in a crucial game as they continued to fight for safety, Hofmann hit the bar from the spot as the game finished scoreless. (picture courtesy of laola1.at).

Controversy of the Round:

In a bizarre turn of events, Oliver Glasner, now former Ried head coach, agreed to become the new LASK head coach and sports director on a 4-year contract. Glasner as a player, racked up an incredible 516 appearances for Ried, therefore his decision to move to local rivals whom he played for 3 times before a serious knee injury, came as a shock for many. Ried manager Stefan Rieter, in an interview with Laola1 said that “not only was I surprised, I was shocked”. Glasner had been in talks with the club to extend his contract to 2016, but after a move such as this, bridges between Glasner and the club could well be completely burned.

Glasner seen on the sidelines for Ried as recently as this weekend against Austria Wien (picture courtesy of laola1.at)

Glasner seen on the sidelines for Ried as recently as this weekend against Austria Wien (picture courtesy of laola1.at)

Full Results:

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

Re-arranged game:
SV Grödig 0:2 SK Rapid Wien

Final Word:

Following Felix Magath’s U-turn as he decided not to become Austria Wien’s new manager, Franz Wohlfahrt wasted no time in finding their next candidate. Step forward Thorsten Fink. The 47-year old German, who has experience with the likes of Basel, Hamburg and APOEL, signed with the Violets on Wednesday to take charge of the club next season, on a 2-year deal. On his introduction to the press, Fink claimed “I am grateful for the opportunity to be the coach of this great club” and “I wanted no buyout clause, I want to work in the long-term”. The appointment has been met with positivity after a season in which Austria Wien can only finish as high as 6th in the league and will be trophy-less if they fail to beat RB Salzburg in the Austrian cup final on Wednesday.

Thorsten Fink's appointment received two-thumbs up from Austria fans (picture courtesy of imago/MIS)

Thorsten Fink’s appointment received two thumbs-up from Austria fans (picture courtesy of imago/MIS)

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment as always.

Standard
Round 32

Round Review: Round 32

Player of the Round:

Robert Berić

Robert Berić after winning "Rapidler of the year" with 35% of the vote back in February (picture courtesy of skrapid.at)

Robert Berić after winning “Rapidler of the year” with 35% of the vote back in February (picture courtesy of skrapid.at)

The 22-goal Slovenian played a huge part in turning around Rapid Wien’s fortunes last Sunday against Rheindorf Altach. With his side 1:0 down, with little over 10 minutes to play, the striker was able to score twice in a matter of minutes. The win, which was rounded off superbly by Philipp Schobesberger gives Rapid a fantastic chance of making the Champions League qualifiers next season, as they lie 4 points ahead of Sturm Graz with only 4 games to play.

Goal of the Round:

Denis Thomalla, not for the first time this season scores a well-taken set-piece. The German striker, on loan from RB Leipzig has now scored 9 goals for SV Ried in 14/15.

Picture of the Round:

Jonathan Soriano (left) celebrates with Marcel Sabitzer during their 4:0 victory over Admira. The pair have been in lethal form this season with 47 goals in the league (picture courtesy of laola1.at)

Jonathan Soriano (left) celebrates with Marcel Sabitzer during their 4:0 victory over Admira. The pair have been in lethal form this season with 47 goals in the league (picture courtesy of laola1.at)

 

Story of the Round:

Rumours picked up speed over the course of the weekend and into the week as Austria Wien continue to search for a permanent manager next season. Following an apparent snub from former Schalke and Hamburg boss Mirko Slomka, the club appear to be warming to the idea of bringing in Felix Magath. The 61-year old has been unemployed since his infamous spell at Fulham came to an end and would definitely appear to be somewhat of a risky choice, with his career-peaking moment continuing to be winning the double with Bayern back in 2004 and 2005.
During the week, Austria Vienna also announced plans for the expansion of the Generali Arena. The plan is to increase the capacity to 17,500, with work to be completed by July 2018 – training and academy facilities are also set to be expanded.

The proposed future Generali Arena in 2018 (picture courtesy of fk-austria.at)

The proposed future Generali Arena in 2018 (picture courtesy of fk-austria.at)

Full Results:

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

Final Word:

With the relegation battle in the Bundesliga set to reach boiling point with Admira hosting Neustadt this weekend, there was finally some good news concerning Admira. Following an appeal lodged by the South City side, who have officially unveiled Ernst Baumeister as their new coach for next season – as he holds the necessary UEFA A-licence, were granted the permit for the 15/16 Bundesliga season.

Admira General Manager, Alexander Friedl can now breathe a sigh of relief after his Admira side were granted a Bundesliga permit for next season (picture used under Creative Commons)

Admira General Manager, Alexander Friedl can now breathe a sigh of relief after his Admira side were granted a Bundesliga permit for next season (picture used under Creative Commons)

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment as always.

Standard
Round 14

Top 3 Players of Round 14:

Halloween was very much still in the air during the 14th round of the Tipico Bundesliga. Most notably, both Austria and Rapid Vienna were served Halloween tricks by Sturm Graz and Rheindorf Altach, respectively. Meanwhile, both Ried and Red Bull Salzburg were given Halloween treats in the form of important wins. The wins saw Ried edge away from Wiener Neustadt at the bottom of the table and Salzburg were finally able to go clear at the top of the table. The game between Wiener Neustadt and Grödig was no exception to the theme, as thick fog led to the game being called off by the referee, as he deemed the conditions unplayable. Thankfully, it was replayed in midweek, with fans being treated to a goal-fest. Here are the full round-up of results:

FK Austria Vienna 0-3 SK Sturm Graz
Red Bull Salzburg 2-0 FC Admira Wacker
SV Ried 1-0 Wolfsberger AC
SC Rheindorf Altach 2-0 SK Rapid Vienna
SC Wiener Neustadt 2-4 SV Grödig.

#1 Yordy Reyna– The Peruvian, fresh from a call-up to his national team, was unstoppable in the first half against Neustadt. The 21-year old took his tally in the league to 8, with a clinical first-half hattrick. The diminutive striker had grabbed a brace within the first 10 minutes of the game, with the home side’s defence completely falling apart. Following a Kristijan Dobras strike to bring the score back to 2:1, Reyna clinched his hattrick in the 40th minute with a looping header that deceived Domenik Schierl. If I was Ried boss Oliver Glasner, I would not be looking forward to facing Reyna in round 15 with him in this type of form.Yordy Reyna

#2 Marco Djuricin– Djuricin finally received an international boost this week, perhaps in part to his performance against Austria Vienna, as he was promoted to the Austrian national side’s stand-by list. The striker who was missing due to suspension in his side’s 3:1 league loss against Rapid Vienna, returned to the league with a bang, notching a brace. The two goals took his tally to 8, joint with both Reyna and Rapid’s Robert Berić, who only trail Jonathan Soriano, who is on 16. His first goal came from a misplaced Thomas Salamon pass-back, which Anel Hadzic snapped up and released to Djurcin to slide past Heinz Lindner. His 2nd was just as clinical as an incisive one-two with Marko Stankovic released him on goal to finish again under the body of Lindner. Against a struggling Violets defence, it was a very good day at the office to say the least.Marco Djuricin

#3 Felix Roth– Roth literally blew Rapid Vienna away as Altach extended their unbeaten record in the league to 8 games. The 26-year old German, who had also scored a fantastic strike in the opening round of the season against Sturm Graz, was at it once again. His goal against Sturm was measured at 93 km/h, but he out-did himself with a 95 km/h strike from 28 metres, giving Jan Novota no chance in the Rapid net. The goal marked an all-round performance by the midfielder as he notched up a 78% percent pass success rate, as well as making 6 tackles and 3 interceptions.Felix Roth

Notable mentions:

Jonathan Soriano– Soriano was in great form again as he scored twice against Admira. His two goals took him to 76 for Red Bull Salzburg, overtaking Marc Janko as their all-time top scorer in the league. Jonathan Soriano

Anel Hadzic- The Bosnian international has definitely come into his own over the past couple of months for Sturm, and was once again vital in their victory over Austria Vienna. Despite battling with a rib injury during the week, he was a dominant figure in the game, featuring in both defence and attack, including the assist for the 2nd goal of the game. Anel Hadzic

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

Standard
Round 12

Top 3 Players of Round 12:

The 12th edition of the Tipico Bundesliga saw the resumption of ‘normal service’ as Red Bull Salzburg finally jumped back up to top spot, albeit on goal difference. Hütter’s side were fortunate to end the week on top as his former side SV Grödig, beat league rivals Wolsberger AC away from home in a game the Wolves felt they should have won. Elsewhere, the Viennese sides both failed to secure victories, in what continues to be a frustrating season for them. Despite Rapid’s dominance, in a game where they had 65% of total possession, they were unable to break the deadlock. City rivals, Austria Vienna finished the weekend in 7th place in the league. With the Violet’s Sporting Director, Thomas Parits, announcing this will be his farewell season, it remains to be seen if Gerald Baumgartner will remain as manager to say his goodbyes, as long as they languish well below expectations. Here are the full round-up of results:

Red Bull Salzburg 4-2 SV Ried
SK Rapid Vienna 0-0 FC Admira Wacker
SC Rheindorf Altach 1-1 FK Austria Vienna
Wolfsberger AC 1-2 SV Grödig
SC Wiener Neustadt 0-0 SK Sturm Graz.

#1 Andreas Leitner – Leitner has emerged this season as one of the brightest prospects in the league. Against Rapid Vienna he was in imperious form, commanding his area and leading from the back. The 20-year old Austrian has kept 4 clean sheets this season for a side that were tipped to be in a season-long relegation battle and has even starred for the Austrian U21’s too. In the Ernst-Happel Stadion, Leitner made four saves, as well as intercepting 5 crosses. The stats don’t tell the full story though. Leitner acted with confidence, catching when he could and punching when under pressure, he simply didn’t put a foot wrong in this game.Andreas Leitner

#2 Richard Windbichler – Windbichler is easily one of my favourite defenders in the league, although in recent times, he had been deployed by Walter Knaller in a defensive midfield role. However, against Rapid, he returned to his natural centre-half position and acted like a brick wall. The 23-year old ensured that the home side wouldn’t have their own way in this game, producing 5 blocks, 5 clearances and 3 interceptions, many of which were vital. The greatest indicator of how well Windbichler played is that Rapid’s top scorer, Robert Berić, who has 7 league goals this season, did not have a single shot on goal. It is worth noting however, that Windbichler had a great ‘partner in crime’, with Christoph Schößwendter also having a very strong game in the heart of the Admira defence.Windbichler

#3 Jonathan Soriano – I realised when I first started this blog, that some players would often feature, however, despite trying to include as many different players as possible, sometimes they just have to make the list. The Spaniard achieved another 2 goals in this game, taking his tally to 14 from 11 games. On top of this, he also set-up Marcel Sabitzer for his second goal, taking Soriano’s assist tally to 5. In the midst of this, he also managed to blow a perfect opportunity to get his hattrick by missing the target with a penalty- something he has become infamous for! Both his goals were typical Soriano goals. His first goal came following excellent work down the right hand side by Christoph Leitgeb, who found the Spaniard completely unmarked. The 29-year old then took Salzburg back in the lead to 2-1 as he followed up a Massimo Bruno shot that hit the post, to finish home with the ball bouncing to an awkward height. Had he scored from the spot, it would have marked a flawless performance by the league’s top scorer.Jonathan Soriano

Notable mention:
Marcel Sabitzer – The young Austrian secured the victory for the Bulls with an impressive cameo performance. With two shots, he scored two goals. Well played, sir.
Marcel Sabitzer

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

This article will also appear on http://www.calciodellest.com/ – check it out!

Standard
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.
Damari

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 http://www.calciodellest.com/ – check it out!

Standard