Round 1

Round Review: Round 1

Player of the Round:

Olarenwaju ‘Larry’ Kayode

Kayode (left) battles against Wolfsberg's Joachim Standfest during his side's 2:0 victory. (Picture courtesy of FK Austria Wien)

Kayode (right) battles against Wolfsberg’s Joachim Standfest during Austria’s 2:0 victory. (Picture courtesy of FK Austria Wien)

Kayode, who joined the Violets this summer from Maccabi Netanya for around €800,000, was a breathe of fresh air to watch this weekend. Austria Wien fans, who had spent much of last season despairing over lacklustre displays, were treated to a performance full of energy and passion. Although the 22-year old Nigerian failed to capitalise on various chances and score himself against Wolfsberg, it was his pace that earned Thorsten Fink’s side a first half penalty. Kayode is definitely set to be one to watch this season!

Goal of the Round:

Dominik Starkl, on his league debut for Admira, finishes past Michael Esser after a brilliant show of technique. (Video courtesy of Sky Sport Austria)

Picture of the Round:

Oliver Kragl & his teamates, plead in vain after Rapid's Philipp Schobesberger was brought down through on goal. It's not the first red card Ried have received against Rapid Wien... (Picture courtesy of GEPA)

Ried players plead in vain as referee Harkam reaches for his red card after Oliver Kragl brought down Philipp Schobesberger as the last man. It’s not the first red card Ried have received against Rapid Wien in recent seasons… (Picture courtesy of GEPA)

Story of the Round:

Mattersburg stole the headlines in the first round of the 15/16 season after a sensational 2:1 victory over reigning champions RB Salzburg. Ivica Vastic’s side were 1:0 up within 16 seconds of the game starting thanks to Markus Pink and secured the 3 points after Alexander Ibser’s last-gasp goal. The newly promoted side constantly tested Salzburg with their pace on the counter and their defensive durability. Pink, Karim Onisiwo and Patrick Farkas arguably impressed the most.

Full Results:

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

Final Word:

SK Rapid Wien were in a generous mood this weekend as they announced that they were inviting 160 refugees to their league game against SV Ried. Christoph Peschek, Rapid’s Sporting Director said “In our history as a Worker’s Association, we want to be there for the most vulnerable.” More can be found here: (https://www.facebook.com/DiakonieFluechtlingsdienstAT?fref=photo).

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment as always.

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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 27

Round Review: Round 27

Player of the Round:

Stefan Nutz

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 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)

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)

Andreas Leitner (picture courtesy of Admira Wacker)

Full results:

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).

Final Word:

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)

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.

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