Round 36

Round Review: Round 36

Player of the Round:

Louis Schaub

Louis Schaub was back to his best for Rapid Wien against Wolfsberg as he helped set up a 5:0 away win for his side (picture courtesy of Sky Sport Austria)

Louis Schaub was back to his best for Rapid Wien against Wolfsberg as he helped set up a 5:0 away win for his side (picture courtesy of Sky Sport Austria)

After a metatarsal injury and Philipp Schobesberger in imperious form, Louis Schaub could have been forgiven for trying to put this season behind him. Instead, the attack-minded midfielder scored twice to help thump Wolfsberg 5:0 away from home.

Goal of the Round:

With Admira knowing that a victory would be good enough to keep them in the Bundesliga, Toni Vastic’s composed finished ended what had been a frustrating season for the striker, on a high note. The 22-year old came off the bench to squeeze the ball past Cican Stankovic when through on goal.

Picture of the Round:

Sturm fans celebrate their side qualifying for the Europa League ahead of the final game of the season (picture courtesy of Laola1.at)

Sturm fans celebrate their side qualifying for the Europa League ahead of the final game of the season (picture courtesy of Laola1.at)

Controversy of the Round:

The manager merry-go-round was in full swing early into the week as relegated Neustadt’s manager, Helgi Kolvidsson, was promptly poached by SV Ried, who had been deserted by Oliver Glasner the previous week. Kolvidsson had been linked with St. Pauli in Germany, but after a gutsy tenure ended in vain with the blue and whites, many had hoped he would continue in Austria. Meanwhile, despite standing by his manager throughout the season, Christian Haas finally pulled the plug on Michael Baur’s reign with Grödig after only one season, as the side slipped a disappointing to 8th place finish. Haas was quick to appoint a successor for his side, who have been left depleted after the departures of key players Cican Stankovic, Marvin Potzmann, Ione Cabrera, Stefan Nutz, Tomi Correa and Philipp Huspek. Former Rapid Wien player and manager Peter Schöttel, who had most recently been used by Sky Sport Austria as a Bundesliga expert, was handed a 2-year contract with the club, as he looks to take them back to the heady heights of European football that Adi Hütter had brought the side in his one and only season in the top flight with them.

Ex-Ried coach Oliver Glasner locks hands with his successor Helgi Kolviddson during Ried's trip to Neustadt earlier in the season (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures/ Mario Kneis)

Ex-Ried coach Oliver Glasner locks hands with his successor Helgi Kolviddson during Ried’s trip to Neustadt earlier in the season (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures/ Mario Kneis)

Full Results:

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

Final Word:

The 14/15 Austria Bundesliga finally came to a close with the top 5 sides qualifying for Europe after RB Salzburg were able to beat Austria Wien 2:0 in extra-time, in the Samsung Cup final in midweek. Salzburg and Rapid Wien qualified into the Champions League, while Altach, Sturm and Wolfsberg will all be representing Austria in the Europa League qualifiers. It was a fantastic season with twists and drama, and it was an absolute pleasure to follow.

The final Bundesliga 14/15 table

The final Bundesliga 14/15 table

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 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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Round 25

Round Review: Round 25:

Player of the Round:

Philipp Schobesberger

Philipp Schobesberger celebrates after scoring his first Bundesliga goal against Wiener Neustadt (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures)

Philipp Schobesberger celebrates after scoring his first Bundesliga goal against Wiener Neustadt (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures).

Schobesberger (21) was in imperious form against an energy-sapped Grödig side at the Ernst-Happel Stadion in round 25. The winger was instrumental throughout, giving Marvin Potzmann in particular, a game to forget. Rapid’s second goal of the game came in the 10th minute thanks to a powerful shot from distance by Schobesberger that was too hot for Cican Stankovic to handle, allowing Louis Schaub to tap-in from a yard out. With less than a minute gone in the second half, it was a driving run by Schobesberger that opened up the Grödig defence allowing Schaub to set-up Florian Kainz to finish past substitute goalkeeper Pirmin Strasser for the team’s third goal. Schobesberger was able to get himself on the score-sheet shortly after as he out-muscled Potzmann and went round Strasser to pass the ball into an empty net. It was a brilliant performance in what has been a breakout year for the young Austrian in his debut season with the Green and Whites.

Goal of the Round:

With the game tied at 0:0, Markus Suttner well-known for his set-piece prowess, stepped up to curl in a beautiful free-kick from distance, leaving Manuel Kuttin motionless in the Admira net. The goal was in vain however, after a late fumble from Heinz Lindner allowed Markus Katzer to equalise for the league’s bottom-placed side.

Picture of the Round:

Tadej Trdina celebrates his goal against Neustadt in his mask he was forced to wear after breaking his nose the previous week (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures)

Tadej Trdina celebrates his goal against Neustadt in his mask he was forced to wear after breaking his nose the previous week (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures)

Controversy of the Round:

Not for the first time this season, the Rapid Vienna fans landed their team with another fine following violations of the League Senate’s decision to prohibit flags and banners in the stadium. However, fans ignored the Senate and once again countless flags and banners were on show in the home fan sector in their game against Altach. The ban of 15,000 euro has been contested by Rapid who claim that posters and banners do not fall under Section 17 of the provision and that the judgement was “totally unjustified”. It was the latest in a series of quarrels between the League Senate and Rapid Vienna and it is highly unlikely to be the last.

Rapid Vienna fans in their home game against Rheindorf Altach (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures/ M. Hörmandinger).

Rapid Vienna fans in their home game against Rheindorf Altach (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures/ M. Hörmandinger).

Full Results:

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

Final Word:

Austrian teams still in Europe (0); English teams still in Europe (0)- sensational.

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment as always.

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Belek

Belek Diary (Final day).

After a wonderful week in Turkey, my time was up. The weather had been unpredictable, venues had been tough to find and kick off times often moved without much notice, but like any football lover, I’d do it all again.

5pm: SV Grödig vs.  Anzhi (RUS) – Venue: Kaya Pallazo Sports Complex

The Anzhi team sheet.

The Anzhi team sheet.

1st half: After a delayed kick-off due to poor weather conditions, Michael Baur’s team finally took on a very physical Anzhi side, who now dwell in the second tier of Russian football. The game started evenly, with perhaps Grödig the slightly more aggressive. After the transfer of Yordy Reyna to Red Bull Leipzig, Sunday Emmanuel started up front, with Stefan Nutz just behind him. It was Nutz’s quality that gave Grödig the lead just before the half hour mark. The 22-year old, who had been linked with a move to Germany in this transfer window, curled a perfect free-kick into the top corner, leaving the goalkeeper motionless. Moments later, Anzhi had the chance to reply from the spot after Florian Hart was adjudged to have handballed. However, with Cican Stankovic recovering from appendix surgery, stand-in goalkeeper Pirmin Strasser kept out the penalty fantastically with an outstretched foot. Half-time, 1:0.

The teams prepare to kick off

The teams prepare to kick off

2nd half: Despite the wind picking up and the temperature plummeting, things soon boiled over when substitute Timo Brauer was taken out by Anzhi’s Amatou Moutari, who received a straight red card for the challenge. From then on, it was very much one way traffic with Grödig wasting golden opportunities as the Russian’s defence struggled to cope with the pace of Philipp Huspek and Simon Handle on the wings. It was frustrating for Baur then as time ticked down, it was Anzhi who got a late equaliser, thanks to a great strike. Grödig had next to no time to reply and the score remained 1:1 at the final whistle.

Baur handles journalist question following the 1:1 result

Baur handles journalist’s question following the 1:1 result

Following the game, Baur spoke with journalists regarding the loss of Yordy Reyna, but also on the arrival of Brazilian attacking midfielder ‘Venuto’ from FC Liefering. I was also able to speak with members of Sky Sports Austria, who were incredibly insightful as they were able to shed light on a few interesting stories occurring in the Tipico Bundesliga. Not only this they were extremely friendly and spoke very good English!

Members of the Sky Sports Austria team & myself (centre)

Members of the Sky Sports Austria team & myself (centre)

I met some great people during this trip and achieved part of my goal by gaining insight into teams around the league, I hope you also enjoyed reading and following my time in Belek. Now only 12 days until the league is back!

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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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Round 13

Top 3 Players of Round 13:

There was only one winner in the 13th segment of the Tipico Bundesliga, as Rapid Vienna ensured Franco Foda received his first taste of defeat in his latest spell as Sturm boss. Zoran Barisic’s men closed the gap on the top two to 6 points, as Wolfsberger and Red Bull Salzburg were both held to draws. The stand-out performance came from Austria Vienna who dominated basement side Neustadt, in a game that worryingly saw Neustadt striker Herbert Rauter pull up with an injury. The 32-year old has scored nearly 40% of their goals in the league this season. Elsewhere, in the Salzburg-Derby, Grödig nearly stunned the 10-man Bulls, with Marcel Sabitzer scoring a vital 81st minute equaliser. Here are the full round-up of scores:

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

#1 Stefan Schwab – Schwab, 24, has really come into his own over the past few weeks. The Austrian playmaker has finally settled in at Rapid, following his Summer move from Admira and had a game to remember against Sturm Graz. At just over 6-foot, Schwab impressed early on, winning several aerial duels in midfield and in the Sturm box. It wasn’t until the 36th minute however, that he finally broke the deadlock in Graz. A Stefan Stangl cross from the left hand side was met by Schwab just inside the box; his header was accurate, powerful and flew past a motionless Christian Graztei into the top corner. With Steffen Hofmann having left the field with a knock, with the score posed at 1:2, Schwab took over set-piece duty and delivered a pinpoint cross that Christopher Dibon, expertly headed into the far corner to take the game away from Sturm and Franco Foda. Unfortunately, despite scoring against Sturm later on in the week, this time in the cup, it looks like we may not see him for several weeks due to ankle ligament damage.Schwab

#2 Yordy Reyna – The 21-year old Peruvian nearly won the Salzburg-Derby almost single handedly. The speedster completely dominated the Red Bull defence, with both Franz Schiemer and Martin Hinteregger unable to cope with his pace and runs behind the defence. Reyna opened the scoring in the 7th minute with a decent run down the right-hand side of the box, with his shot too hot for Péter Gulácsi to handle, sneaking in at the near post. It came as no surprise then, when in the 37th minute, the former Red Bull striker raced behind their defence, forcing Gulácsi to bring him down, conceding both a penalty and getting himself sent off in the process. Philpp Huspek subsequently scored the penalty to give Grödig  a 2:1 half time lead, but they were ultimately unable to extend their lead or hang on for all the 3 points. Either way, it was another performance of note by Reyna as he looks to try and get himself back in the Peruvian national side; it surely can only be a matter of time.Yordy Reyna

#3 Cican Stankovic – Stankovic, 21, was praised by manager Michael Baur following this game, who announced him as the best goalkeeper in the league. The young Austrian was in imperious form, denying the Salzburg attackers on various occasions, but ultimately, Marcel Sabitzer’s 81st minute strike, was too good for him. It was his memorable save from an Alan header however, that separates him from other keepers in the league. Alan had a free header in the centre of the Grödig goal and directed it perfectly towards the top left-hand corner. Stankovic however, dove to his left and somehow palmed the ball up and over his crossbar, only for the ball to balance on top of the woodwork and finally drop down for a corner. It was a magnificent piece of play and it could have perhaps won a point for side.Cican Stankovic

 

Notable Mention:

Daniel Royer – Royer has been a bright light in an inconsistent Austria Vienna side in the past few weeks. Against bottom side Wiener Neustadt, Royer was the best player for the Violets, with his opener setting the tone for the rest of the game.Daniel Royer

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

This article will also appear on http://www.calciodellest.com/ – check it out!

 

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