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.

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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 21

Round Review: Round 21

Player of the Round:

Denis Thomalla

Thomalla (left) celebrates following his 2nd goal against Red Bull Salzburg. (Picture courtest of GEPA/Felix Roittner)

Thomalla (left) celebrates following his 2nd goal against Red Bull Salzburg. (Picture courtesy of GEPA/Felix Roittner)

The German striker, on-loan from RB Leipzig in the 2.Bundesliga, proved too hot to handle for Salzburg as his brace nearly earned Ried a valuable three points. Despite only joining at the beginning of September, his two strikes now make him Ried’s top scorer (6), whilst he has also set up the most goals for his side too (4). Talk has already begun on Ried trying to secure his services beyond this season, despite his contract with the German side running until 2017. One thing is certain though, Thomalla will continue to be a vital player for Ried if they wish to improve on their current 8th place position.

 

Goal of the Round:

It was an extremely difficult choice, with 19 goals being scored in only 4 matches this weekend. I managed to shortlist my final two, which you can watch below. Thomas Weber’s ‘hit and hope’ from so far outside the box was a fantastic moment in what was otherwise a dull game. It was also the 21-year old’s first Bundesliga goal in his 49th appearance for the club and Marko Maric in the Rapid Vienna goal, could do nothing about it.

Dominik Hofbauer’s volley in the 88th minute against Sturm Graz was a crazy way to end what was an extraordinary game. The midfielder, in his second spell with Wiener Neustadt following his move in January from Erste Liga side Sankt Pölten, will probably never score another goal like it. The goal took great technique but also carried extra importance given Neustadt’s predicament at the bottom of the Bundesliga table. The game also saw excellent goals from new signings Philip Hellquist (Neustadt) and Roman Kienast (Sturm Graz).

Picture of the Round:

Holzhauser (left), Gorgon (centre) and Zulechner (right) celebrate with Fabian Koch after his first Bundesliga goal versus Altach. (Picture courtesy of Austria Vienna (c))

Holzhauser (left), Gorgon (centre) and Zulechner (right) celebrate with Fabian Koch after his first Bundesliga goal versus Altach. (Picture courtesy of Austria Vienna)

Controversy of the Round:

Despite being “on probation” following the Derby day riots, Rapid fans inevitably got themselves into hot water as they ignored warnings that their use of pyrotechnics could result in a fine and fan sanctions. During the game against Admira, it was evident that these warnings had not been adhered to and on Monday the Bundesliga Senate announced a €35,000 fine and a fan ban in sectors C and D (the Rapid Ultra’s stronghold) at their home ground.

A Rapid Vienna fan holds a flair at the away game vs. Admira Wacker (photo courtesy of Laola1.at)

A Rapid Vienna fan holds a flare at the away game vs. Admira Wacker. (Picture courtesy of Laola1.at)

Full results:

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

Final Word:

Although it was far too late for Grödig’s game against Wolfsberger to be saved, the Salzburg-based side finally had some good news. Reports had suggested that the side had been turned down from every club they approached, as they looked for alternative venues for their home games, but the Red Bull Arena (Salzburg) and the No Worries Arena (Ried) have now become available. In addition, Grödig announced under-lawn heating was to be installed at the Goldberg Stadion, as well as new turf. They currently have two games in hand on the rest of the league following the postponement of their first two games of the Spring season.

Grodig's Goldberg Stadion undergoing the under-lawn heating transformation. (Picture via SV Grödig)

Grödig’s Goldberg Stadion undergoing the under-lawn heating transformation. (Picture via SV Grödig)

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment as always.

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Belek

Belek Diary (Day Three)

Thursday 29th January.

AM/Early PM: SV Ried training.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The teams line-up before shaking hands.

The teams line-up before shaking hands.

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

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

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

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

The players come together at the full time whistle.

The players come together at the full-time whistle.

More to follow…

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Belek

Belek Diary

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

Day 1: Tuesday 27th January.

AM: SV Ried Training.

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

Ried training session

Ried training session, Belek

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

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

Austria Vienna-St Gallen, pre kick off

Austria Vienna-St Gallen, Pre-kick off

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

Players come together after the Royer equaliser

Players come together after the Royer equaliser

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

Both sides at the final whistle

Both sides at the final whistle

More to follow…

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Round 16

Top 3 Players of Round 16:

Round 16 of the Tipico Bundesliga brought back fond memories for many, as it saw the return of Stefan Maierhofer who joined Wiener Neustadt during the week, following his most recent spell in England with Millwall FC. It was the same old story however for Rapid Vienna and Wolfsberger, as they both suffered their third straight losses, seeing them lose further ground on Salzburg at the top of the table. At the bottom of the league, Admira are beginning to look over their shoulder as Neustadt, who also announced Helgi Kolvidsson as their new manager, closed the gap between the sides to three points; while Ried extended the gap between 8th and 9th to four points. The big game on Sunday between Sturm and Salzburg did not disappoint, with the game being one of the most exciting 2:1 games you are ever likely to see, with Hütter’s men ultimately hanging on. Here are the full round-up of results:

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

#1 Philipp Huspek – Huspek, 23, now in his second season at Grödig, has been vital for the Salzburg-based side since his arrival, clocking up 11 goals and 13 assists in 57 appearances. Against a Rapid side struggling with defence injuries and a lack of form, Huspek and his Peruvian compatriot, Yordy Reyna, tore the Vienna side’s defence to shreds. The Austrian winger from Grieskirchen, gave Grödig a 2:1 lead moments before half-time, meeting a Stefan Nutz through-ball which he took around Jan Novota and managed to find the net despite a tight angle. The tie was killed off in the 73rd minute when Nutz once again found Huspek, who had timed his run perfectly to avoid the offside trap and he managed to finish past Novota with style and composure. Huspek now has 3 goals and 2 assists in his last four games and his form will be a massive factor if Grödig wish to replicate last year’s third placed finish.

Huspek

Picture courtesy of Laola1.at

 

#2  Stefan Nutz – Nutz, 22, achieved a feat not many footballers can say they have done in a competitive game. The deep-lying midfielder assisted all three of Grödig’s goals against Rapid Vienna. His first assist of the game was nothing more than fortunate as it was his miss-control that allowed the ball to travel through to Yordy Reyna who finished under the body of Jan Novota with a first-time hit. As mentioned above though, two of his assists were scored by Philipp Huspek, with the second of those assists literally timed and weighted to perfection.  Although Nutz does not stand out significantly from a statistical point of view, he has nearly been an ever-present for Grödig, missing only two games, with one of those due to suspension.

Nutz

Picture courtesy of Bundesliga.at

 

#3 Alexander Gorgon – With the scores level at 0:0 and the home crowd audibly disgruntled with Austria Vienna’s performance against Admira, it was actually Omer Damari who changed the game. It was the Israeli’s theatrics that although not in the spirit of the game, meant Admira captain Richard Windbichler received a straight red card for a tug on his shirt, denying him a clear goalscoring opportunity. Following the penalty it became the Gorgon show, with Daniel Royer also impressing off the bench. Royer scored an excellent goal from distance past Jörg Siebenhandl, but it was Gorgon who rubbed salt in Admira wounds with a further two goals, taking any respectability away from the scoreline. His first was a smart flicked header from a Florian Mader corner that caught out the Admira goalkeeper and flew into an empty net. His second goal was an indication of the true talent the 26 year old Austrian has. With defender Patrick Wessely directly blocking his route to goal, Gorgon expertly carved the ball around the Admira defender and into Siebenhandl’s bottom left hand corner. It leaves Gorgon’s stats looking very tidy with 3 goals and an assist in his last 3 starts for the Violets.

Gorgon

Picture courtesy of Christian Hofer

 

Notable mentions

Stefan Maierhofer – Maierhofer’s arrival in Neustadt came somewhat as a surprise as he looked to get back into the game following his release by Millwall FC from the Championship. His presence in training was praised by Günter Kreissl, who was acting as part of the interim coaching staff in Pfeifenberger’s absence. During his debut in the victory against Wolfsberger, his leadership was clear and he treated fans to a fantastic goal with a cheeky flick despite facing away from goal to open the scoring. Chances are he could only remain with the team until the Winter break, but it would be an even better coup if his services are secured in the league, at least until the end of the season.

Maierhofer

Picture courtesy of: GEPA pictures/ Martin Hoermandinger

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

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