LASK 0-2 FC Red Bull Salzburg
LASK have now gone 10 games without a win against Salzburg, as the table-topping guests pulled through with two second half goals at a soaking Raiffeisen Arena. Around 18,000 fans flocked to the new stadium to see their side take on the reigning champions, but in the early stages it took an incredible reflex save from home keeper Alexander Schlager to keep the scores level, as he parried a mis-kicked clearance against the post, and Sekou Koita could only nod the rebound over from almost on the goal line. After a dominant but fruitless first half from Salzburg, they found their reward early in the second, as 18-year-old Oscar Gloukh got a second assist since his arrival in winter with a clinical diagonal pass into the area, and Koita slotted in from the right for the opening goal. LASK had managed a draw against Salzburg in the last two meetings though, and had won three of four league games in 2023, so it was no surprise that they mounted a response. Ibrahim Mustapha fired too close to keeper Philipp Köhn just minutes after falling behind, and Moses Usor sent an overhead kick just wide before the hour mark, but eventually the guests would grab the next goal. Maurits Kjaergaard exchanged passes with Nicolas Seiwald as the latter ran into the area, defender Felix Luckeneder knocked the ball past his own keeper with an attempted tackle, and Seiwald was able to finish from an angle on the left. After going 62 games without a Bundesliga goal, the 21-year-old has now scored three in his last five games! Leaders Salzburg made it 10 away wins on the bounce, chasing LASK’s joint-record of 12 from 2020, the Linzers remain third, safely inside the top six.
SK Rapid Vienna 2-0 WSG Tirol
Rapid saved themselves from a nerve-jangling game next weekend by defeating top six rivals WSG and booking their place in the Championship Round before the Vienna Derby. Top scorer Guido Burgstaller put up a game high 10 shots all by himself, but he missed the target a few too many times before the break, and saw WSG keeper Ferdinand Oswald save the rest of his efforts. Patrick Greil also blazed over from a good position as the game remained goalless until the closing stages. Substitute Oliver Strunz came on and swept home a low placed shot into the far corner from a Marco Grüll pass to give Rapid a crucial lead with 15 minutes to play. It was a third Bundesliga goal for 22-year-old Strunz, all of which have come in Hütteldorf, and for Grüll it was a 10th goal contribution against WSG (6 goals, 4 assists) making them his favourite opponents. After scoring in four successive home games, Burgstaller would finally get his reward five minutes from the end; a challenge from Moritz Oswald saw the ball loop forward as a inadvertent through pass, and the experienced striker poked the ball past the on-rushing keeper and in for 2-0, as he moved to just two games away from Rapid’s club record of seven home goals in a row. The hosts were worthy winners, ending the day with 21 shots to WSG’s 4; Rapid are now safely into the top six, whereas the guests drop to seventh, and will need a result against Sturm Graz next week to move back into the top half of the table.
CASHPOINT SCR Altach 1-2 SV Guntamatic Ried
Maximilian Senft recorded a first win as Ried boss as his side produced a crucial turnaround to defeat Altach and haul themselves off the foot of the Bundesliga table. Altach had gone seven games without a win before this contest, but they started the brighter of the two teams, forcing visiting keeper Jonas Wendlinger into a good stop in the opening minutes, before Mike-Steven Bähre fired cleanly through a crowd in the area to pick out the bottom corner and register Altach’s first goal of 2023 - breaking a desperately poor 531 minute dry-spell in the process. However, Ried often carry a threat from set-pieces, and so it proved again after 34 minutes, as Stefan Nutz delayed his run up twice, then whipped a free kick from the right flank into the box for Matthias Gragger to head home his first Bundesliga goal from close range. Altach thought they had retaken the lead on the hour when a header came back off the post and was tapped in by Atdhe Nuhiu, yet VAR showed that he was offside when the initial header was made, so the goal was ruled out. Ex-Altach forward Christoph Monschein came on for the guests, and when he found room on the left from Roko Jurišic’s pass, he stunned the home crowd by curling a beautiful right-footed strike up and over the keeper’s despairing dive, and into the top corner of the Altach goal. Ried held on to win 2-1 and snap their own eight-game winless run, and the three points saw them edge one ahead of Altach at the bottom of the table.
SK Austria Klagenfurt 1-0 TSV Egger Glas Hartberg
Austria Klagenfurt continued their flawless Bundesliga record against TSV Hartberg – the Carinthians have now won all four of their top-flight meetings with the Styrians – with a 1-0 victory at the 28 Black Arena. The only goal of the game came as early as the ninth minute, when Michael Blauensteiner’s deflected cross from the right flank teed up Markus Pink for a close-range header at the back post. It was the 15th goal of the season for the 32-year-old, who is enjoying his most prolific campaign ever in the Austrian top flight and remains the top scorer in the division. Hartberg subsequently grew into the game and piled on the pressure but a combination of excellent keeping from Klagenfurt’s Phillip Menzel and poor finishing from their forwards denied them a route back into the game. While Hartberg remain down in 10th place, Austria Klagenfurt are in fifth place and two points clear of WSG Tirol in seventh – but their inferior head-to-head record against the Tyroleans means they need to beat Austria Lustenau next weekend to guarantee themselves a place in the top six.
SK Puntigamer Sturm Graz 3-1 FK Austria Wien
Sturm Graz extended their home unbeaten run against Austria Vienna to five matches (W3 D2) with a 3-1 victory in the penultimate round of the regular season. After Manprit Sarkaria had produced one of the misses of the season against his former employers, Emanuel Emegha eventually put Sturm in front when he latched onto Alexander Prass’ ball and fired home in the 34th minute. Austria were back on level terms within two minutes, Haris Tabakovic perfectly guiding his header beyond Arthur Okonkwo and inside the far post, but it was the hosts who had the last laugh: Emegha slotted home his second goal of the day in the 65th minute, before Sarkaria atoned for his earlier error from the penalty spot and made sure of the points (71’). Christian Ilzer’s charges remain comfortably in second place, nine points adrift of league leaders Red Bull Salzburg but eight points clear of LASK in third spot. Austria Vienna, meanwhile, face a final day showdown at home to city rivals Rapid and need to win to be sure of a Championship Round berth: they are sixth on 29 points, one ahead of WSG Tirol in seventh.
RZ Pellets WAC 0-1 SC Austria Lustenau
Despite replacing Robin Dutt with former Austria Vienna coach Manfred Schmid in the dugout, there has been no new manager bounce for Wolfsberg: the Carinthians suffered their sixth Bundesliga home defeat in succession at the hands of promoted Austria Lustenau on Matchday 21. The Wolves certainly didn’t make the job any easier for themselves by going down to 10 men midway through the opening half, with Simon Piesinger dismissed for hauling down Stefano Surdanovic and denying a clear goalscoring opportunity. Lustenau forward Michael Cheukoua had a goal disallowed for offside following a lengthy VAR review, but defender Jean Hugonet eventually broke the deadlock on the 64-minute mark. The eighth-placed Vorarlbergers held on to secure the win, which moved them four points clear of Wolfsberg in ninth and eight points ahead of regional rivals Altach in the relegation berth. However, the points will be halved when the league splits next weekend.
Redakteur: The Other Bundesliga
Fotos: GEPA pictures