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 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 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 24

Round Review: Round 24

Player of the Round:

Raphael Holzhauser

Raphael Holzhauser during the Vienna Derby (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures/M. Hoermandinger)

Raphael Holzhauser during the Vienna Derby (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures/M. Hoermandinger)

Despite being left out of the starting XI, Raphael Holzhauser’s 27th minute introduction changed the 312th Vienna Derby. The 22-year old who had failed to show the talent that led to his signing from Stuttgart, other than a brief glimpse during his side’s 5:2 destruction of Altach, dominated Rapid Vienna. Although journalists and analysts argued that it was Barisic’s rigid tactics that failed to deal with the impact that Holzhauser had on the game, his composure and skill on the ball was there for everyone to see. However, it was the midfielder’s dead-ball skills that ultimately were Rapid Vienna’s downfall, as they conceded late goals in either half to Austria’s centre-back pairing of Lukas Rotpuller and Vance Šikov both following Holzhauser set-pieces. With Austria Vienna continuing to struggle under Gerald Baumgartner in sixth place, fans will be hoping that Holzhauser’s performance against their biggest rivals is merely a sign for things to come.

Goal of the Round:

After an injury to Tomi Correa, super-sub Sunday Emmanuel scored an excellent goal to draw Grödig level against Ried- however, he was to be disappointed as his side eventually lost 2:1 thanks to another excellent goal from Gernot Trauner.

Picture of the Round:

Jonathan Soriano (left) grimaces after missing a penalty during his side's loss at home to Rheindorf Altach, whilst  Jan Zwischenbrugger (front) fist pumps in delight (picture courtesy of APA pictures)

Jonathan Soriano (left) grimaces after missing a penalty during his side’s loss at home to Rheindorf Altach, whilst Lukas Jäger (front) fist pumps in delight (picture courtesy of APA pictures)

 

Story of the Round:

 

Following the well-documented pitch conditions at the Goldberg Stadion which saw the league revoke the use of the ground in the Tipico Bundesliga, the side spent 500,000 euro in order to completely revamp the ground. Within only a matter of weeks there was a huge transformation and the league Senate re-instated the use of the ground. Grödig, who had played their ‘home’ game against Wiener Neustadt at the Red Bull Arena, were questioned as to whether Salzburg had helped the side financially in order to for the works to be completed so quickly, something Christian Haas denied. Regardless of whether there was any truth to the rumours, Grödig remain in crisis as they await their first points of the Spring season, as they now lie only 3 points above Admira, who sit bottom of the table.

The Goldberg Stadion following the completion of the under-lawn heating system and new turf (picture courtesy of SV Grödig)

The Goldberg Stadion following the completion of the under-lawn heating system and new turf (picture courtesy of SV Grödig)

Full Results:

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

Rearranged game: SV Grödig 0:2 SK Sturm Graz

Final Word:

With only 12 games in  the league remaining (not accounting for re-arranged games), it is becoming crunch time for teams and their managers. In light of the Derby win, Gerald Baumgartner remains as Austria Vienna manager, but will continue to face pressure when his side don’t pick up wins Violet fans so dearly crave. Meanwhile, Michael Baur who appears helpless as his Grödig side free-fall, is also coming under increasing pressure but Christian Haas continues to remain loyal to his manager; although everyone has their limits. Elsewhere in the league, Oliver Glasner is repaying the faith that the Ried management had when they chose not to relieve him of his duties after a poor start to the season. His side after back-to-back wins are steadily building momentum for a late push for European football. Whilst the appointment of Helgi Kolvidsson at Neustadt after the departure of Heimo Pfeifenberger seems inspired as his side continue to pick up points in their battle for survival. With plenty of ‘six-pointers’ to come, there is sure to be plenty of drama including managers who fail to see out the rest of the season with their side.

Christian Haas (left) following the appointment of Michael Baur (right) as Grodig manager (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures).

Christian Haas (left) following the appointment of Michael Baur (right) as Grodig manager (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures).

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment as always.

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Round 17

Top 3 Players of Round 17:

The 17th round of the Tipico Bundesliga brought plenty of drama, including late goals and ill-discipline. The first game of the weekend saw Ried snatch a late, but deserved draw against 10-man Austria Vienna, who led most of the game through an early Alexander Gorgon strike. Elsewhere, René Schicker received a straight red for a reckless challenge on Anel Hadzic, allowing Sturm to claim a straight-forward away victory. Not to be outdone, Wiener Neustadt’s Daniel Schöpf also received a straight red for a poor challenge on Rapid’s Steffen Hofmann, right in front of the referee. The biggest controversy occurred on Sunday in the clash between the league’s top two. With Kuhbauer’s Wolfsberger going into the final 10 minutes with a hard-fought 2:0 away lead, Jonathan Soriano scored two late penalties to tie the game. Replays clearly showed that Soriano had ‘won’ the second of those penalties and that Alexander Kofler hadn’t brought the Spaniard down. Nevertheless, Hütter’s men maintained their 6 point gap at the top of the table. Here are the full round-up of results:

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

#1 Roland Putsche – Putsche, 23, has had to bide his time this season with Boris Hüttenbrenner and Manuel Weber enjoying the majority of playing time in Wolfsberger’s central midfield. However, with Kuhbauer forced into making changes ahead of this game, Putsche definitely rose to the occasion. Within 28 minutes, Wolfsberger had surprisingly gone 1:0 up with Christopher Wernitznig applying the finishing touch following great work by Putsche. With Stefan Ilsanker misjudging a knock down from a goal kick that Putsche had anticipated, he then beat Andre Ramalho with ease and had the awareness to draw in the rest of the Salzburg defence before releasing Werntiznig to score his fifth goal of the season. The Carithians may have thought the game was sewn up mid-way through the second half when Putsche capitalised on indecision between Péter Gulácsi and Christoph Leitgeb to tap into the resulting empty net (despite replays suggest officials may have missed a push from Putsche on Leitgeb in the build-up). Sadly, Putsche injured himself in that move, meaning he had to be subbed and the Wolves ultimately saw the three points slip away.

Picture courtesy of bundesliga.at

#2 Florian Kainz – Similarly to Putsche, Kainz was instrumental to Rapid’s 3:0 victory with a goal and an assist. Kainz opened the scoring with a smart finish past Thomas Vollnhofer beating the offside trap following a pinpoint cross-field ball by captain, Steffen Hofmann. With Schöpf’s red card only making things harder for the away side, Kainz saw plenty of the ball down the left-hand side and he helped guarantee the three points in the 72nd minute. The wiry winger got his third assist of the season with a beautiful cross that picked out a free Robert Berić who was able to volley home, completely unmarked to get his 11th goal of the season. It was a good day at the office for Kainz, but he is likely to face a sterner test against Wolfsberger in round 18.

Picture courtesy of rapid.at

Picture courtesy of rapid.at

#3 Stefan Lainer – Lainer, 22, a Summer transfer from FC Liefering in the Sky Go Erste Liga has become a revelation in Glasner’s new 3-4-3 approach. The new formation has coincided with a turn in fortune for Ried, who are now unbeaten in 5 games, a run which includes wins against Wolfsberger, Grödig and the in-form Altach. Lainer has been deployed in a more attacking role down the right-hand side, where he has the perfect attributes to contribute significantly in both defence and attack. Below you can see that Lainer covered the entire pitch down that right-hand side, including plenty of offensive time inside the Austria Vienna box. Over the course of the game he was unlucky not to have claimed an assist with Heinz Lindner in inspired form in the Violet’s net, particularly in the second half. The Austrian international also denied Lainer a goal of his own with an amazing fingertip save following a flowing Ried move. Late into the second half, it was also Lainer who drew Thomas Salamon into a poor challenge to earn himself a second yellow card, which was perhaps the catalyst for a late Ried equaliser. Lainer comes up against Christian Klem in round 18, a much tougher match-up and could mean he has to spend more time in his own half defending, something Foda’s men will be hoping for.

Image courtesy of GEPA via nachrichten.at

Image courtesy of GEPA via nachrichten.at

Heatmap courtesy of Opta via bundesliga.at

Heatmap courtesy of Opta via bundesliga.at

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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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

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