Tag Archives: Austria Wien

Field trip for crunch match – another away day following FAK


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Not far from the City of Salzburg sits the market down of Grödig, home to our opponents for today’s crunch Austrian Bundesliga (Premiership) match with SV Grödig. The table tells it all; with two games left to play this game may determine whether Austria or our opponents secure European football for next season.

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I was at our last match in Grödig, at the end of November, with a small contingent from the #planetviola fan group. Although the sun shone down the day was less than warming for all the Veilchen. We stood in sub-zero temperatures and watched the team suffer a 1:0 defeat.

The Grödig stadium is distinctive as it sits outside the town surrounded by fields with mountain views to admire while you’re waiting for kick-off. Leaving the bus on the main road, it’s a five minute walk down a road through the fields. Stands on three sides of the stadium block the view of the pitch from outside but if you happen to have a tractor and sat on top of the cab you could watch the game from the field on the fourth side. In England I know some fans moan about stadia becoming increasingly indistinguishable; here we still have fields of dreams with their own unique character.

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As already mentioned, this is a crucial game. So far results favour Grödig:

8th round: Austria 2:3 Grödig

17th round: Grödig 1:0 Austria

26th round: Austria 2:0 Grödig

I have to admit to being nervous about today but my prediction is an away win – Grödig 1:2 Austria.

Forza Viola

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Austria or Salzburg – In the Premiership title race who do the remaining fixtures favour?


With five games left to play in the Austrian Premiership Austria have a 6 points lead over Salzburg, who will be our opponents in the final game of the season.

The tables below show where each side has lost points in the thirty-one matches played. If as I believe (hope and pray) Austria win the title it will in part be thanks to the performances of our local rivals Rapid against Salzburg.

Looking at the remaining five games, of Salzburg’s remaining opponents four of the teams have taken points from them this season – Admira, Wiener Neustadt, Ried, and Austria. In comparison Austria have to face only two teams against whom they have dropped points, Wiener Neustadt and Salzburg.

Opponents

Austria’s lost points

  Opponents

Salzburg’s lost points

Sturm Graz W:D:D   Rapid W:W:D
Salzburg W:D:D   Ried W:D
WAC D:W   Admira D:D
Wiener Neustadt D   Austria D:D
Rapid D   Neustadt D
      Sturm D
      WAC D

A six point lead and a better record against our remaining opponents, this should be Austria’s title. However, things might be tricky if we need a point on the last day of the season away to Salzburg.

 

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The record breaking Austria Wien march on


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.

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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.

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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

The brains behind Austria’s renaissance – Peter Stöger

Brains from Thunderbirds 'International Rescue'

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 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Will the 304th Vienna derby have been important? Well……


Tomorrow (Sunday 17th Feb 2013) I will join other Austria Wien fans in cheering the team as we start the Spring season (following the traditional winter break). Like most of the Veilchen, I’m still on a high from seeing the Violets crowned ‘Winter Kings’ – first in the league, 7 points ahead of nearest rivals Salzburg, and with a 10 point lead over Rapid Wien. The computer has ordained that we will kick-off the second half of our 2012-13 campaign with the chance to win our third Vienna derby of the season.

The story so far:

3rd round of the season                 –             Rapid 0:3 Austria

4th round of season                        –             Salzburg 0:2 Rapid

9th round of the season                 –            Austria 0:1 Salzburg

12th round of the season              –           Austria 2:0 Rapid

13th round of the season               –            Rapid 2:0 Salzburg

18th round of the season              –           Salzburg 0:0 Austria

Top of Premiership Table

  1. Austria 48pts
  2. Salzburg 41pts
  3. Rapid 38pts
  4. Sturm Graz 35pts

The results may have gone our way in the two derby matches so far but we haven’t beaten our nearest rivals Salzburg who have themselves succumbed twice to Rapid. The point is that neither the derby clashes nor the games against Salzburg have played a decisive role in the story of the first half of the season. Austria gained there lead through consistency of performance week in week out. With the squad still intact after the close of the transfer window and in fact enhanced by the re-signing of Nacer Barazite (returning after a year way at Monaco), all the signs point to an equally strong Spring campaign.

So what of the derby tomorrow? Well it’s always important to every fan no matter where the two teams are in the league. It however looks unlikely to have any impact on the final positions at the end of the season. Does this mean I will be relaxed tomorrow? That I don’t care about the derby result? Of course not! If, as I hope, we win the match I’ll be ecstatic. If the unthinkable happens I’ll be as miserable as sin. But no matter what, the result will not determine the destiny of the two teams for the rest of the season.

Rapid are on a run of seven games without a win against Austria. I suspect that run won’t end tomorrow afternoon. If we get off to a good start it could be another 0:3 win but a win by one goal is more likely…….but then the real fun of football is that every game is different and derby games are particularly unpredictable 🙂

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Kicking extremism out of football – at least at Austria Wien


Well there were lots of positive comments on my timeline from fellow Austria fans about the clubs decision last night to take action against extreme right-wing elements at the stadium. It’s good to see the clubs General Assembly decide to no longer recognise one of the fanclubs because of their failure to abide by the ‘no violence and no politics in the stadium’ rules.

Loss of recognition mean the group can no longer hang any banners in the stadium and will no longer be allowed to participate in official fan club meetings. I note in this report in der Standard that Austria emphasise that the action has been taken after the club had attempted to resolve issues with the group through dialogue.

Austria is a great club to support and the vast majority of fans are truly committed to the club and the game of football. The club has always had a strong tradition of stylish and creative football which it retains today. This commitment makes its teams great to watch but not always predicable when it comes to results. A couple of seasons ago we played the best football in the league but failed to win the title. This year we are again playing the most attractive football but are, I’m happy to say, on course to win the league.

Austria Wien’s history includes a strong connection with Vienna’s pre-WWII Jewish community. A few of the clubs Jewish officials and players were able to flee the country during the Nazis period but many were murdered. The club itself is said, during this period, to have (in a small but significant way) rebelled by resisting the Nazi authorities’ attempts to rename the club and instead retaining its original name of ‘Austria’.

It’s good to see the club sticking with its history on and off the pitch.

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Winter Kings at the end of a great first half of football


This afternoon Austria Wien will play their last game before the winter break. Whatever the result FAK are already ‘Winter Kings’ and with a win against Sturm Graz the team will be 7 points clear of Salzburg in second and 10 points ahead of Rapid Wien back in third place.

It’s been a remarkable turnaround in the team’s fortunes when compared to events in the second half of the 2011-12 season. Under the management of Peter Stöger virtually the same team has become record breaking league leaders. I believe we have the highest ever number of points secured at the winter break, the team’s defensive record is superb having conceded the fewest goals in the league (15), and our attack has scored 45 goals only 2 behind Salzburg (who have played one game more at the time of writing).

One significant addition to the team is striker Philipp Hosiner, who is not only a pleasure to watch but according to the Uefa coefficient is currently amongst the top strikers in Europe, alongside the likes of Lionel Messi.

It’s been a whole team effort but a few players, in addition to Philipp Hosiner, have stood out. The promotion of Fabian Koch to a regular starting place in the back line has been one of the manager’s standout decisions. In the other full back position, Marcus Suttner has deserved the accolade – first chanted by one of my fellow #planetviola friends – ‘Marcus Suttner football god’. Our defensive strength in no small part has been secured by the defensive midfield role superbly played Austria Wien’s very own Australian, James Holland. Finally, but by no means least, the solid defensive play and team leadership of our Captain Manuel Ortlechner cannot go without mention.

Austria Shirt

It’s been a great first half. I’m looking forward to the kick-off of the Spring season on the 16th February and another superb set of performances by Austria. As luck would have it we start the second half of the season with the Vienna derby – a chance to put a bigger gap between Austria and our local rivals Rapid. The season will end with an away trip to Salzburg – currently the only team who look capable of challenging us for the title.

 

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So what makes a successful football team?


Is success all about the players, the manager or the system? Is it about skill, technique or training? Endless hours of debate can be had about these issues whenever a group of football fans gather together.

Thanks to the excellent translation efforts of my fellow Viola fan @forzaviola15 I had the opportunity to read an interview recently with Austria Wien’s manager Peter Stöger. His answers to two particular questions sheds some light on how he has turned around the fortunes of the team since being appointed in the summer:

Is it true you don’t spend a lot of time speaking about the system to your team, but instead focus on everybody’s individual tasks? What are the advantages of that?

I think it’s important that the players know what they have to do. That doesn’t have a lot to do with the system. Having a compact system is one half of the story, having the players really know about their responsibilities is the other. I can pass the ball along for hours and run across the pitch, but when something happens that we haven’t prepared, everybody needs to react. They have to know how to deal with dangerous situations.

So everybody has an individual emergency plan?

Everybody knows what 4-4-2 etc mean. In attack situations, we focus a lot on timing, but we mostly talk about defending. And in that area, the players need to know three to four things. They need to know if this or that happens I have to react in this way. Apart from that, we deal with problem areas and correct mistakes. Mistakes happen in every game, they usually decide its outcome. In that area, I work with everybody in the same way.  Of course, we work on passing and timing, but definitely not as much.

The club currently sits second in the Austrian Premiership.  If they can maintain their current form (and the sign are good) they have every chance of finishing as league champions.

Forza Viola! In Peter Stöger we trust 🙂

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