Wednesday night saw Austria Wien secured another win, on this occasion SV Ried 1:3 Austria. This set a new Premiership league record for consecutive away wins. Back in December Austria went into the winter break as ‘Winter Kings’ with a new point’s record. Looking at the performances of the team since the start of the Spring season – three wins against Rapid (1:2), Admira (4:0), and Ried – it looks as though a few more records will be broken before the final game of the season.
It’s a good time to be a member of the ‘Veilchen’ as we Austria fans are known. Austria are unbeaten in the league since 22nd September 2012, are currently 15 points ahead of Salzburg (though they have games in hand) and 17 points ahead of third played Rapid.
The pleasure for the fans is not just the performances of the team (and style that has gone with them) but the complete turnaround in the fortunes of the club. A year ago the team had just lost some key players in the transfer window and changed manager – the fans were just about to go through a Spring season in which the team fell apart.
Credit for the current record breaking season has to go to the Manager, Peter Stöger (appointed in the summer) and his coaching team who have taken a virtually unchanged squad and lifted them back to a performance level and a style of play that seemed lost this time last year.
For those of us with experience of English television, of the past, there is the suspicion that the brains behind Austria’s renaissance may have had a rather different ‘international’ role in his passed:
The brains behind Austria’s renaissance – Peter Stöger
Brains from Thunderbirds ‘International Rescue’
One significant decision by Peter Stöger was to add a new striker to the squad. Philipp Hosiner has been a great addition providing further striking options. A prolific scorer, he is also the type of striker whose presence, leading the line, creates opportunities for other in the team to find the back of the net. There is already talk that we may lose him in the summer transfer window to the likes of Ajax but I hope that European qualification will help the club to hang on to a superb striker for at least another season. Philipp has the potential to be a successful striker in one of the top leagues. If he does go (in a couple of seasons) I’d love to see him partnered with Chris Wood, giving the then Premiership Leicester City one hell of a strike force.
The ‘Veilchen’ are enjoying the season so far and we may have much more to celebrate when it’s over. Teams in small leagues such as the Austrian Premiership have to live with the reality that they will continuously lose their best talent to the bigger leagues. This makes building year in year out success that much more challenging. However, Austria have in Peter Stöger an excellent Manager, we have a number of young players knocking at the first team door and a well run club. This could be the start of a great era for the Veilchen’ – first in Vienna and first in Austria 🙂