FC Red Bull Salzburg 1-1 SK Puntigamer Sturm Graz
The Austrian Bundesliga started 2024 in style as reigning champions and current league leaders Red Bull Salzburg played host to closest challengers Sturm Graz. The Red Bulls made a dominant start and opened the scoring on the quarter-hour mark when the unmarked Petar Ratkov headed home a Maurits Kjӕrgaard corner-kick. Salzburg should have arguably had more to show for their superiority but Oscar Gloukh and Oumar Solet spurned excellent opportunities either side of the break and that allowed Sturm a route back into the game with their first attempt on target: Max Johnston raced down the right flank and played a pinpoint delivery into the danger zone, which was headed powerfully into the back of the net by Otar Kiteishvili to level the scores at 1-1 with 10 minutes remaining. Luka Sučić almost caught out Sturm goalie Vítězslav Jaroš with an 89th-minute free-kick, but it thundered off the woodwork and Sturm escaped with a draw which keeps them two points behind Salzburg in second place.
FK Austria Wien 3-1 TSV Egger Glas Hartberg
Austria Vienna kept in touch with the top six places by coming from behind to beat high-flying Hartberg in their opening game of the calendar year. The Styrian visitors took the lead when Maximilian Entrup slotted home his ninth goal of the season from close range after Mirko Klos could only parry Dominik Prokop’s shot. But the capital club were soon level via Muharem Huskovic, who headed Bayern loanee Frans Krätzig’s ball across the face of goal into the top corner. With the game now hanging in the balance, Austria turned the tide in their favour with some aggressive pressing that drew a mistake from Mamadou Sangaré, whose misplaced pass was gratefully slotted home by Dominik Fitz in the 51st minute. The Violets then rounded off the scoring four minutes later through Romeo Vučić, whose shot on the turn flew into the top corner of the net. Hartberg (29) still remain two points ahead of Klagenfurt and Rapid (27) in fourth place, while Austria are a further three points behind their city rivals (24).
CASHPOINT SCR Altach 1-1 FC Blau Weiß Linz
Altach struck in the dying embers of this combative clash with FC Blau Weiß Linz to rescue a draw and stay only a point behind their opponents in the table. Making his return to action from an ankle injury he suffered in the Linz derby in November, Ronivaldo slotted home from the penalty spot on the half-hour mark after Altach goalie Dejan Stojanovic had brought down Paul Mensah in the box. The visitors thought they had won the game in the 86th minute when Conor Noß coolly slotted the ball through Stojanovic’s legs, but the goal was disallowed for a very narrow offside. Within three minutes, Altach were back on level terms: Mohamed Ouedraogo crossed the ball into the middle from the left flank and Jäger met it with a volley that left Nicolas Schmid rooted to the spot. The Linzers stay ninth in the table on 18 points, with the Vorarlbergers just behind on 17 points.
RZ Pellets WAC 0-2 SK Rapid
Rapid followed up their ÖFB-Pokal quarter-final victory over St. Pölten with a 2-0 triumph in Wolfsberg to make it two wins from two games in 2024. Marco Grüll, whose summer move to Werder Bremen was announced by the Hütteldorf outfit earlier in the week, opened the scoring in the 12th minute when he converted a penalty which he himself had won for a foul by Dominik Baumgartner in the box. Wolfsberg had a couple of chances – Ervin Omic tried his luck with a spectacular bicycle kick, Florian Rieder dragged a shot narrowly wide and Bernhard Zimmermann was kept out by Niklas Hedl – but it was Rapid who scored the next goal. Fally Mayulu, standing in for top scorer Guido Burgstaller, fired a low left-footed shot from the corner of the penalty area into the bottom corner to wrap up the points for Rapid. Robert Klauß and his team stay in sixth place with 27 points, while Wolfsberg are four points behind in eighth.
WSG Tirol 0-2 SC Austria Lustenau
Having started the season with a 17-match winless streak, Austria Lustenau tasted victory for the first time in 2023/24 courtesy of a 2-0 triumph at WSG Tirol. After an opening half in which the two teams largely cancelled each other out, the Vorarlbergers took the lead with a quarter of an hour remaining when Darijo Grujcic arrowed a volley into the bottom corner to notch his first goal of the season. With WSG pushing high up the pitch in search of an equaliser in stoppage time, a clearance downfield put Namory Cissé clean through on Adam Stejskal’s goal and he rounded the shot-stopper before slotting home to seal a first win of the season for Lustenau. The substitute then ran over to the WSG Tirol fans and took his shirt off in the celebration, earning himself a second booking and a dismissal. But it won’t matter for Lustenau, who now have as many points in 2024 as they amassed in all 17 league games in 2023 combined. They are still bottom, but now only five points behind 11th placed WSG Tirol.
LASK 2-2 SK Austria Klagenfurt
Third-placed LASK (33 points) failed to capitalise on the leading duo both dropping points on Friday evening and were held a draw themselves at home to Austria Klagenfurt (fifth place, 27 points). Robert Zulj opened the scoring for the Linzers following some lovely link-up play with Andrés Andrade down the left, only for Sinan Karweina to hit back at the other end with his ninth goal of the season. Zulj then believed he had also scored his ninth goal of the campaign to re-establish the LASK lead, but it was ruled out for a handball by Moses Usor in the build-up, and it was instead Klagenfurt who went ahead for the first time in the match when Christopher Cvetko beautifully curled home a free-kick with eight minutes remaining. But with the game in stoppage time, a failed clearance from Nicolas Wimmer landed at the feet of Zulj, who volleyed home to rescue his side a point with the last kick of the game.
Redakteur: The Other Bundesliga
Fotos: GEPA pictures