Round 33, Round 34

Round Review: Round 33 & 34

Player of the week:

Thomas Fröschl

Thomas Fröschl celebrates one of his three goals against Rheindorf Altach in midweek (picture courtesy of  Presse photo Scharinger)

Thomas Fröschl celebrates one of his three goals against Rheindorf Altach in midweek (picture courtesy of Presse photo Scharinger)

Fröschl, now 26 of age, scored Ried’s quickest hattrick in Bundesliga history- 16 minutes. Ried went on to demolish Altach 4:1, giving them four points of breathing space over Austria Wien in 6th place. The striker, who has solely been used as a substitute throughout the season, has now scored 8 goals in only 882 minutes of action this season, joining the likes of Robert Berić (111 minutes per goal) becoming one of the league’s most efficient goal-getters in front of goal. However, with the likes of Clemens Walch returning from injury and Julius Perstaller often sharing minutes with Fröschl, he may continue to struggle for game time in a Ried shirt.

Goal of the week:

Picture of the week:

Rapid Wien unveil their new home kit (picture courtesy of laola1.at)

Rapid Wien unveil their new home kit (picture courtesy of laola1.at)

Controversy of the week:

After the fall-out of Martin Hinteregger’s red card that Manuel Schüttengruber incorrectly awarded the Austrian international, the League Senate decided to reverse the decision. It was the first time since the 2001/02 season a red card had been rescinded, but the decision was met with heavy criticism, with Red Bull sceptics claiming the League needed to be consistent as other questionable decisions had not been reversed in the past. As far as Schüttengruber goes, he was hounded by Adi Hütter, with the Red Bull manager suggesting he should find a new profession, whilst public criticism forced the referee to delete his social media profiles. The referee was subsequently given the rest of the season off.

Full results:

Round 33:

SC Rheindorf Altach 2:2 RB Salzburg
FC Admira Wacker 0:0 SC Wiener Neustadt
SV Grödig 3:2 SV Ried
Wolfsberger AC 1:0 SK Sturm Graz
SK Rapid Wien 4:1 FK Austrian Wien

Round 34:

SV Ried 4:1 SC Rheindorf Altach
FK Austrian Wien 0:1 FC Admira Wacker
SK Sturm Graz 0:0 RB Salzburg
SC Wiener Neustadt 2:0 Wolfsberger AC
SV Grödig P-P SK Rapid Wien (postponed due to heavy rainfall).

Final word:

Philipp Schobesberger continues to impress and the winger who won the goal of the month for April, achieved a record no one would have guessed at the beginning of the season. After opening the scoring in the 313th Wien Derby, Schobesberger equalled Hans Krankl’s record of scoring in 7 consecutive league games. However, the 21-year old will have to wait until this weekend to try and break the record due to Rapid Wien’s game against Grödig being called off due to heavy rain on Wednesday.

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 26

Round Review: Round 26

Player of the Round:

Alexander Kofler

Alexander Kofler in imperious form once again for Wolfsberger (picture courtesy of APA/Daniel Krug)

Alexander Kofler in imperious form once again for Wolfsberger (picture courtesy of APA/Daniel Krug)

The 14/15 season continues to be a stand-out a year for the Klagenfurt native as he stakes his claim for being one of the best goalkeepers in the league. Against the league leaders, Kofler time and again denied the Red Bull attack, ultimately playing a huge part in their 3:2 victory. Two moments of magic came against a frustrated Marcel Sabitzer, as he twice denied the Austrian international striker when one-on-one. The form which has seen previous number one Christian Dobnik limited to friendly and cup appearances, continues to surprise many and he was rewarded with a contract extension until 2017, with the Wolves looking to hang onto what can now be described as a prized asset. Disappointingly however, Kofler was overlooked for Marcel Koller’s Austrian national squad for the recent European qualifier, but the 28-year old will continue to push for a place with these type of performances.

Goal of the Round:

With time ticking down at the Lavanttal Arena, it looked as if Wolfsberger had held on for a famous point, following a late barrage from the league leaders. However, with the game in added time, super-sub Manuel Kerhe hounded make-shift central defender Stefan Ilsanker, forcing an error of epic proportions as Péter Gulácsi rushed out of his area. What ensued was fatal for Salzburg as Kerhe were able to pass the ball into an empty net and the Wolves took all 3 points. The celebrations that followed were also something to behold!

Picture of the Round:

The Sturm team pose for a photo after their 3:1 victory over Admira Wacker (picture courtesy of APA/Erwin Scheriau)

The Sturm team pose for a photo after their 3:1 victory over Admira Wacker (picture courtesy of APA/Erwin Scheriau)

Story of the Round:

Gerald Baumgartner’s ill-fated reign as Austria Vienna’s head trainer finally came to an end after their 1:0 defeat at home to SV Ried, seeing his side go into the international break in a lowly 7th place. Despite week’s of speculation surrounding his job security, in which time the Violets somehow defeated city rivals Rapid Vienna 2:1, Sport Director Franz Wohlfahrt finally lost patience after another disappointing result. The board however, were quick to find a replacement with Andreas Ogris stepping up from the Amateurs to take temporary charge. Ogris (50), spent much of his playing time at Austria Vienna and also won 63 caps for the national team, so fans were quick to get behind him. It is not clear how much impact Ogris can have with only 10 games left in the league, but what we do know is that it will be a tough task, with Austria Vienna 8 points off Sturm Graz in the final European spot.

New coach Andreas Ogris (centre) (picture courtesy of Austria Wien)

New coach Andreas Ogris (centre) alongside Rene Glatzer (left) and Robert Sara (right) (picture courtesy of Austria Wien)

Full Results:

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

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 22, Round 23

Round Review: Round 22 & 23

Player of the Round(s):

Simon Piesinger

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)

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)

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)

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)

Martin Ehrenreich (left) receives a straight red card following a last man collision with Florian Kainz (front)- Round 22 (picture courtesy of GEPA pictures)

Full results:

Round 22:

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.

Round 23:

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.

Final Word:

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)

Philip Hellquist (left) alongside Neustadt manager Helgi Kolvidsson (picture courtesy of Wiener Neustadt)

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment as always.

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Belek

Belek Diary (Day Two)

Wednesday 28th January.

AM: SV Ried training.

Ried continued their clockwork training schedule with another morning session. This session carried more intensity and there was a definite plan in the coaches’ minds as they often stopped drills in order to communicate what they wanted from the players. Towards the end of the training, the team played a lively mini-game involving back-to-back goals.

PM: Second SV Ried training session.

Glasner continued to push his young squad, taking his side out for their second session of the day. The team spent the latter part of the session in a full training game, using the entire training pitch in an effort to prepare the side for their imminent friendly on the 30th against Cracovia.

SV Ried during their training game.

7pm: SK Sturm Graz vs. Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) Venue: Susesi Sport Complex

Pre-game: During the build-up to the game I was lucky enough to have a brief chat with Alexander Fasching (Sturm Press Officer). Alexander was a very pleasant man and he invited me along to see his side’s friendly against Olimpija Ljubljana (SLO) on Saturday.

I also met an exuberant character prior to kick off who emerged as Anel Hadzic’s agent. Unfortunately, the Bosnian international had remained in the hotel, but we had an extremely interesting conversation nonetheless…!

Pre-match handshake by Sturm & Tbilisi

Pre-match handshake by Sturm & Tbilisi

1st half: Sturm came up against a very well-disciplined Georgian side and were left frustrated in the opening 45 minutes. Franco Foda sent out a strong-looking XI with new signings Bright Edomwonyi and Roman Kienast lining up alongside each other for the first time. Tbilisi’s goal came in the 41st minute after a poor pass from Martin Ehrenreich. With the Sturm defence subsequently caught out of position, the Georgian’s received a slice of luck, as their shot took a deflection from Lukas Spendlhofer, taking it past Christian Gratzei.

Sturm come off deflated at HT, 1:0 down.

Sturm come off deflated at HT, 1:0 down.

2nd half: With temperatures plummeting, Foda made wholesale changes, including the arrival of the man who changed the game, Josip Tadic. The Croatian gave the side more directness, making clever runs both on and off the ball and ultimately this paid off. A jinking run inside the box by the striker invited a poor challenge from a Dinamo defender and Edomwonyi stepped up confidently to equalise from the spot. Youngsters Andreas Gruber (19) and Sandi Lovric (16) also both impressed in the second half, whilst Bevab (19), Seidl (17) and Resch (19) all made brief cameo appearances. Full time, 1:1.

More to follow…

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Player Profiles

Player Profile: Andreas Leitner

Andreas Leitner

Picture courtesy of admirawacker.at

 

D.O.B: 25.03.1994

Height: 1.84m

Nationality: Austrian

Position: Goalkeeper

Previous clubs: SV Breitenau, SK Sturm Graz

Current Club: FC Admira Wacker

Current national team: Austria U21’s

Contract end date: 30.06.15

Useful stats 14/15 (Austrian Bundesliga): Played: 14 Conceded: 18 Clean sheets: 5

Picture courtesy of GEPA

Picture courtesy of GEPA

Strengths: Shot stopping, positioning.

Weaknesses: Consistency, height.

Current ability: 5.5/10

Potential ability: 8/10

Summary: Leitner is one of many talented goalkeepers emerging from Austria. He made his league debut for Admira against SV Mattersburg two years ago (01.12.12), but did not cement his place in the side until this season. He has represented Austria from U16’s to U21’s and could breakthrough into the full national side within the next couple of years. His performances for Admira this season have been widely praised and following a failure to extend his contract with Admira, he is expected to leave the club, most likely in the January transfer window. At only 20, Leitner is likely to stay in the Austrian Bundesliga in attempt to guarantee first team action, with Sturm Graz the most likely destination, with current goalkeepers Benedikt Pliquett (29) and Christian Gratzei (33) deemed one of the weaker areas of the side. If Leitner continues to progress, I expect he could become a solid option for a side in the top division of Germany, but for now he just needs to find a club that can offer him plenty of game time.

Feel free to comment and make suggestions for future Player Profiles!

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