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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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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.

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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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