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 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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