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.
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.