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.

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Round 33, Round 34

Round Review: Round 33 & 34

Player of the week:

Thomas Fröschl

Thomas Fröschl celebrates one of his three goals against Rheindorf Altach in midweek (picture courtesy of  Presse photo Scharinger)

Thomas Fröschl celebrates one of his three goals against Rheindorf Altach in midweek (picture courtesy of Presse photo Scharinger)

Fröschl, now 26 of age, scored Ried’s quickest hattrick in Bundesliga history- 16 minutes. Ried went on to demolish Altach 4:1, giving them four points of breathing space over Austria Wien in 6th place. The striker, who has solely been used as a substitute throughout the season, has now scored 8 goals in only 882 minutes of action this season, joining the likes of Robert Berić (111 minutes per goal) becoming one of the league’s most efficient goal-getters in front of goal. However, with the likes of Clemens Walch returning from injury and Julius Perstaller often sharing minutes with Fröschl, he may continue to struggle for game time in a Ried shirt.

Goal of the week:

Picture of the week:

Rapid Wien unveil their new home kit (picture courtesy of laola1.at)

Rapid Wien unveil their new home kit (picture courtesy of laola1.at)

Controversy of the week:

After the fall-out of Martin Hinteregger’s red card that Manuel Schüttengruber incorrectly awarded the Austrian international, the League Senate decided to reverse the decision. It was the first time since the 2001/02 season a red card had been rescinded, but the decision was met with heavy criticism, with Red Bull sceptics claiming the League needed to be consistent as other questionable decisions had not been reversed in the past. As far as Schüttengruber goes, he was hounded by Adi Hütter, with the Red Bull manager suggesting he should find a new profession, whilst public criticism forced the referee to delete his social media profiles. The referee was subsequently given the rest of the season off.

Full results:

Round 33:

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

Round 34:

SV Ried 4:1 SC Rheindorf Altach
FK Austrian Wien 0:1 FC Admira Wacker
SK Sturm Graz 0:0 RB Salzburg
SC Wiener Neustadt 2:0 Wolfsberger AC
SV Grödig P-P SK Rapid Wien (postponed due to heavy rainfall).

Final word:

Philipp Schobesberger continues to impress and the winger who won the goal of the month for April, achieved a record no one would have guessed at the beginning of the season. After opening the scoring in the 313th Wien Derby, Schobesberger equalled Hans Krankl’s record of scoring in 7 consecutive league games. However, the 21-year old will have to wait until this weekend to try and break the record due to Rapid Wien’s game against Grödig being called off due to heavy rain on Wednesday.

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment as always.

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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.

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Round 31

Round Review: Round 31

Player of the Round:

Philipp Schobesberger

Philipp Schobesberger continued his fine against Sturm Graz (picture courtesy of Rapid Wien)

Philipp Schobesberger continued his fine against Sturm Graz (picture courtesy of Rapid Wien)

Philipp Schobesberger has become one of the breakthrough stars of the season. The Rapid Wien winger has now recorded 6 goals and 6 assists in the league, despite only starting 10 games all season. The 21-year old has been the perfect replacement for Louis Schaub, who suffered a broken metatarsal injury in late March and is helping the club push for a Top 2 finish.

Schobesberger is recognised for his pace and trickery in and around the box- often leaving defenders dumbfounded. However, despite being voted as the Bundesliga Player of the month for April, his relative inexperience has at times come through, with his main focus of criticism being his willingness to dive in the box. Nevertheless, as the video below will testify, he clearly has all the tools to become a top winger in Austria.

Goal of the Round:

Picture of the Round:

Jonathan Soriano celebrates his 29th league goal in only his 28th appearance of the season alongside Marcel Sabitzer (left) (picture courtesy of Laola1.at)

Jonathan Soriano celebrates his 29th league goal in only his 28th appearance of the season, alongside Marcel Sabitzer (left) (picture courtesy of Laola1.at)

Controversy of the Round:

During the week, clubs in Austria received their licences for the 2015/16 season. But for Admira, their application was denied; a common theme in recent years. According to the Bundesliga Senate, Admira needed to have a head coach with the relevant qualifications for next season, with current manager Oliver Lederer, only in temporary charge after the departure of Walter Knaller, lacking these qualifications. Admira’s General Manager, Alexander Friedl publicly claimed the reasoning behind the denial of a licence was “laughable”.
Admira have subsequently appointed Ernst Baumeister as their new head coach for next season. Baumeister has already spent time as Admira manager between 2005 and 2008 and should solve Admira’s licence issue as he has the required UEFA Pro Licence.

Ernst Baumeister back in his playing days.

Ernst Baumeister back in his playing days for Austria Memphis.

Full Results:

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

Final Word:

After their 2:1 victory at home to Wiener Neustadt, Austria Vienna’s mascot, Super Leo hit the headliness all over the World. The mascot had been celebrating his birthday and after the match, he had clearly had one too many and had to be escorted off the pitch.

Enjoy: 

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment as always.

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Round 30

Round Review: Round 30

Player of the Round:

Naby Keita

Naby Keita is challenged by Ried's Oliver Kragl during the Bulls 2:1 victory (picture courtesy of GEPA)

Naby Keita is challenged by Ried’s Oliver Kragl during the Bulls 2:1 victory (picture courtesy of GEPA)

The Tipico Bundesliga is slowly becoming  the Naby Keita Show. The 20-year old Guinean, who was signed from FC Istres who ply their trade in the French 2nd tier last Summer, has been imperious since the turn of the year. In his last 10 league games, Keita has scored 5 goals and assisted twice despite operating as an out-and-out central midfielder. Against Ried, Keita was influential as has come to be expected, contributing a goal and assist. Many now believe that Keita could be on his way out of the club in Summer, with bigger clubs from Europe no doubt queuing up for his signature.

Goal of the Round:

Picture of the Round:

Benjamin Sulimani silences the crowd as he draws Admira level away at Rapid Wien (picture courtesy of laola1.at)

Benjamin Sulimani silences the crowd as he draws Admira level away at Rapid Wien (picture courtesy of laola1.at)

Story of the Round:

News emerged last Friday that Ried midfielder Thomas Murg, 20, had been involved in an incident away from the training ground. Apparently Murg, who was signed from Austria Wien in the Summer, had suffered a 26-centimetre gash in his arm from a shattered glass door at home – an injury that would require surgery. Although Murg was hospitalized, it is believed that he had not torn any ligaments, meaning he should return before the end of the season.

Thomas Murg (Picture courtesy of GEPA/M. Hörmandinger)

Thomas Murg (Picture courtesy of GEPA/M. Hörmandinger)

Full Results:

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

Final Word:

The biggest transfer of the Summer so far was announced this week.  Robert Almer (31) confirmed he was re-joining Austria Wien, 4 years having left them to join Fortuna Düsseldorf. Almer is the current number one for Austria, despite only being a back-up goalkeeper at his domestic side Hannover 96. After speaking with both Marcel Koller, head coach of Austria and Austria Wien’s Sporting Director Franz Wohlfahrt, they all agreed the move was in his best interests. The transfer comes after Heinz Lindner had announced his departure from the Violets a couple of weeks ago, which was brought to light in Round 28.

Robert Almer in action for Hannover 96 (Picture courtesy of Hannover 96)

Robert Almer in action for Hannover 96 (Picture courtesy of Hannover 96)

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment as always.

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Round 29

Round Review: Round 29

Player of the Round:

Jonathan Soriano

Jonathan Soriano celebrates after scoring in the 6:0 victory over Wiener Neustadt (picture courtesy of Laola1.at)

Jonathan Soriano celebrates after scoring in the 6:0 victory over Wiener Neustadt (picture courtesy of Laola1.at)

Soriano was at it once again in the Bull’s game against Wiener Neustadt. The Spaniard who now has 26 goals and 13 assists in 26 league games helped his side to a 6:0 victory, scoring twice and assisting twice in the process.

The goals helped Salzburg retain their 6-point lead at the top of the table with only 7 games to play. Incredibly, his 117 goals since the 2012/13 season see him lie third behind only Ronaldo (156) and Lionel Messi (147), with Ibrahimovic (104) trailing in fourth. He is also the first Bundesliga player to score more than 25 goals in three consecutive seasons. Boom.

Goal of the Round:

Picture of the Round:

Clemens Walch nurses a cut to his face during the game against Rapid Wien (picture courtesy of APA pictures)

Clemens Walch nurses a cut to his face during the game against Rapid Wien (picture courtesy of APA pictures)

Story of the Round:

Ismael Tajouri-Shradi currently on loan at Altach from Austria Vienna, was subject to a confusing transfer story that developed more as the week went on. Franz Wohlfahrt, Austria Vienna’s sports director, announced that both Alexander Gorgon and Tajouri’s contracts would be extended at the club, prompting many to believe that Tajouri would be simply returning to his parent club once the season was over. However, this was not the case. It had emerged that Altach had decided to meet the purchase fee within Tajouri’s loan deal in an effort to secure the Swiss born Libyan winger’s services for next season. The official Altach site then reported that although they had met the Violet’s fee for the player, within that deal there had been a buy-back clause which Austria Vienna promptly used themselves to bring Tajouri back to the club. It was a confusing set of affairs, but the 4 goal, 4 assist man will be in the famous violet shirt in 15/16 after all.

Ismael Tajouri-Shardi in action for Altach (picture courtesy of GEPA)

Ismael Tajouri-Shardi in action for Altach (picture courtesy of GEPA)

Full Results:

SV Ried 0:1 SK Rapid Wien
FC Admira Wacker 2:2 SC Rheindorf Altach
RB Salzburg 6:0 SC Wiener Neustadt
SK Sturm Graz 2:1 SV Grödig
FK Austria Wien 1:1 Wolfsberger AC

Final Word:

After a disappointing campaign last season, it was brilliant news when Sturm Graz announced that their home game against close league rivals Rapid Wien (3rd May) was already a sell-out. With only 2 points currently separating the sides in 2nd and 3rd, the final Champions League place is set to come down to the wire. It is the first time there has been a sell-out at the UPC Arena since 24th August 2011 in a Champions League playoff against BATE Borisov and the first time since 25th May 2011 there has been a sell-out in the league when they faced Wacker Innsbruck, as they celebrated winning the title. Once again, manager Franco Foda continues to turn back the clock.

The UPC Arena on the 25th August, last time the UPC was sold out (picture courtesy of sturmtifo.com)

The UPC Arena on the 25th August, the last time the UPC was sold out (picture courtesy of sturmtifo.com)

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment as always.

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Round 28

Round Review: Round 28

Player of the Round:

Donis Avdijaj 

Donis Avdijaj has been in great form in recent games with 3 goals  and 2 assists in his last 3 games (picture courtesy of GEPA/Hans Oberlaender)

Donis Avdijaj has been in great form in recent games with 3 goals and 2 assists in his last 3 games (picture courtesy of GEPA/Hans Oberlaender).

Avdijaj (18) was irresistible against Altach in the pouring rain. The attacker, who benefited from Marko Stankovic’s injury as it meant he could play more centrally, tore the visitor’s defence apart at will, scoring a brilliant solo effort and also assisting twice. It had been a tough settling in period for the maverick who only assisted once and didn’t score in his first 6 games for the club- however, it has become clear Foda and the entire Sturm set-up would love for the young German to stay for another season (as previously agreed in his 18 month loan deal).

Goal of the Round:

Picture of the Round:

Referee Rene Eisner brandishes a straight red card to Andreas Ulmer with Salzburg up 3:0. The match went on to finish 3:3 with the Bulls unable to hang on with 10 men (picture courtesy of Laola1.at)

Referee Rene Eisner brandishes a straight red card to Andreas Ulmer with Salzburg up 3:0. The match went on to finish 3:3 with the Bulls unable to hang on with 10 men (picture courtesy of Laola1.at)

Stories of the Round:

With Summer approaching, Austrian clubs have begun securing signatures ahead of next season. This week SV Ried completed the transfer of 23-year old Spanish striker, Manuel Gavilan from Zamora CF from the third tier of Spain. Meanwhile, SK Sturm Graz pulled off a bit of a coup as 27-year old goalkeeper, Michael Esser signed from VFL Bochum in the 2.Bundesliga. Esser had been in great form this year keeping previous ‘number one’ Andreas Luthe (28) out of the side. Further news coming out of Germany in regards to goalkeepers, is that Austrian national team goalkeeper Robert Almer is expected to sign with Austria Wien imminently. The 31-year old has spent much of his time at Hannover 96 behind Ron-Robert Zieler (26) and will be a welcomed addition to the Violets.
With additions come departures, and for the next few weeks, those players whose contracts run out at the end of the season, tough decisions will have to be made. Two veterans in their own rights, have already signalled their departures. Benedikt Pliquett (30) had failed to hold down a starting spot in the Sturm net and with Michael Esser arriving his time at the club was clearly coming to an end. Heinz Lindner (24) on the other hand, decided it was time for new challenges outside of Austria. He has played 196 games for the Violets having come through the Austria Wien youth set-up.
With 8 games of the league still remaining there will continue to be lots of new faces, but also plenty of goodbyes well before the transfer window officially opens in July.

Manuel Gavilan poses at Ried's No Worries Arena ahead of his transfer move in Summer (picture courtesy of Scharinger)

Manuel Gavilan poses at Ried’s No Worries Arena ahead of his transfer move in Summer (picture courtesy of Scharinger)

Full results:

SK Sturm Graz 5:0 SC Rheindorf Altach
SV Grödig 1:1 FK Austria Wien
SC Wiener Neustadt 0:1 SV Ried
Wolfsberger AC 2:0 FC Admira Wacker
SK Rapid Wien 3:3 RB Salzburg.

Final Word:

Unfortunately for some players, Round 28 appears to be their final game week of the season. In tough weather conditions, Sturm’s Marko Stankovic went down in a heavy challenge and faces a long lay-off following cruciate ligament damage. Admira’s injury troubles have not been made any easier as Winter signing Toni Vastic could be out for the rest of the season with ankle ligament damage. In brighter injury news however, Rapid Wien’s Andreas Kuen (19) has returned to team training after only 6 weeks following a serious ligament injury  with Rapid manager Barisic claiming: “I can only congratulate our medical department.” How touching.

Sturm's Marko Stankovic is stretchered off after picking up a serious injury at home to Altach (picture courtesy of Laola1.at)

Sturm’s Marko Stankovic is stretchered off after picking up a serious injury at home to Altach (picture courtesy of Laola1.at)

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment as always.

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