Player of the Round(s):
Simon Piesinger (centre) celebrates with team-mates Anel Hadzic (left) & Michael Madl (right) following his late Doppelpack to give Sturm a 2:1 win over Austria Vienna- Round 23 (picture courtest of GEPA pictures)
With Gerald Baumgartner’s job potentially on the line during Tuesday night’s game between Sturm Graz and Austria Vienna at the UPC-Arena, all seemed to be going well for the Violets coach, following a brilliant opening goal by Alexander Grünwald. However, Franco Foda had other ideas and with 67 minutes gone brought Simon ‘Maypole’ Piesinger into the fray. Within minutes of his arrivial, the defensive midfielder had met a Daniel Offenbacher free-kick with his head to equalise for Sturm. Despite the pressure being put on the visitors it looked like they would hold onto the draw, even when they went down to 10-men as Jens Larsen had to be withdrawn with a knee injury, with all 3 substitutions made. This was not the end of the comeback and with 95 minutes gone, Roman ‘Kienastinho’, despite being offside, caused chaos in the Violets box and Piesinger was able to stab home a memorable winner. Following the game, the Austria Vienna board backed Baumgartner, but a poor result in the Vienna Derby this weekend, could see his reign come to an end.
Goal of the Round(s):
At the age of 30, central defender Mattias Sereinig scored his first Austrian Bundesliga goal, and what a way to do it. The Klagenfurt native’s brilliant strike guaranteed Wiener Neustadt victory over SV Grödig , taking them above Admira by two points in the relegation battle. Superb strikes by Alexander Grünwald and Thomas Goiginger also deserve honorary mentions, but you can’t ask for a sweeter strike from a defender.
Pictures of the Round(s):
Lukas Rotpuller (left) despairs during Austria Vienna’s 1:0 defeat to Wiener Neustadt- Round 22 (picture courtesy of laola1)
Toni Vastic (left) clashes with Salzburg goalkeeper Péter Gulácsi (right). The Admira striker had to be stretchered off, but earned his side a 2nd half penalty- Round 23 (picture courtesy of laola1)
Controversy of the Round(s):
Once again Tipico Bundesliga referees and the discipline system within the league, came under the spotlight. In Round 22, four straight red cards were shown (Ortiz, Ehrenreich, Stronati and Ankersen) with Robert Strobl also receiving his marching orders for two yellows against RB Salzburg. In Round 23, only two red cards were issued, one a straight red for Salzburg striker Marcel Sabitzer and the other, two yellows for Benedict Zech versus Rapid Vienna.
However, it was the red card for Martin Ehrenreich that caused the biggest stir. The Sturm Graz right-back was adjudged to have brought down Florian Kainz in only the third minute of the game, however, replays clearly showed that Kainz was not in full control of the ball as Christian Gratzei raced outside of his box, with the contact between players also arguably just a ‘coming together’. The red card ended what was expected to be a closely fought contest with Rapid Vienna going onto waste plenty of chances in their one goal victory.
The game between Wiener Neustadt and Austria Vienna in Round 22, was also compromised due to the ‘triple punishment’ rule, which is applied when a defender illegally stops a clear goal scoring opportunity in the box. Patrizio Stronati, in only his second start for the Violets, softly pushed Dominik Hofbauer as he went through on goal. It was clearly a foul, but outside the box wouldn’t have been anything more than a yellow card. Instead, Stronati was given a straight red card, consequently missing the next match and American, Conor O’Brien was able to score from the spot, in what was the only goal of the game.
It is not the first time decisions like this have been highlighted, with Ried fans still sore from the three penalties and two red cards they received in the first game of the Spring season in Vienna. All we can hope for going forward, is that these type of decisions do not continue to dictate the outcome of the games.
Martin Ehrenreich (left) receives a straight red card following a last man collision with Florian Kainz (front)- Round 22 (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures)
SC Rheindorf Altach 1:0 Wolfsberger AC
SK Rapid Wien 1:0 SK Sturm Graz
SV Ried 2:2 FC Admira Wacker
SC Wiener Neustadt 1:0 FK Austria Wien
RB Salzburg 3:1 SV Grödig.
SK Sturm Graz 2:1 FK Austria Wien
SK Rapid Wien 1:0 SC Rheindorf Altach
SV Grödig 1:3 SC Wiener Neustadt
Wolfsberger AC 1:2 SV Ried
FC Admira Wacker 1:4 RB Salzburg.
Four games into the Spring season, the new-signings are (in some cases) starting to have their desired effects. In Round 22, Ried’s new signing Petar Filipović rescued a late draw for his side at home versus Admira with a well-timed header. Whilst, Patrizio Stronati, who had been a hero for Austria Vienna in their 5:2 win over Altach the week prior, turned villain as he gifted Neustadt the lead having conceded a cheap penalty. In Round 23, Takumi Minamino scored his first Bundesliga goals since his arrival from Cerezo Osaka to RB Salzburg. The Japanese youngster scored once in both halves, also supplying the cross for Valon Berisha to head home in the dying minutes to make the score 4:1 to the Bulls. Elsewhere, Philip Hellquist, who has been an inspirational signing for Neustadt following his move from Djurgården in Sweden, scored his third goal in as many games during their 3:1 away victory over Grödig. The Swede had only scored twice in the entirety of 2014!
Philip Hellquist (left) alongside Neustadt manager Helgi Kolvidsson (picture courtesy of Wiener Neustadt)
Thanks for reading and feel free to comment as always.