Seven home grown players played in the 4:3 win in Hartberg, five of them were in the starting eleven. Average age at the start of the game? 23.3 years! The Violets have been unbeaten for six Bundesliga games. This series is to be continued in the away game against WAC (Saturday, 5:00 p.m.).
With the 4-3 win against Hartberg, Austria jumped to fifth place in the table, one point behind third, three ahead of last. The trend is right: The Veilchen picked up seven points in their last three games against LASK (2-0), Altach (0-0) and Hartberg (4-3). The last league defeat was eight weeks ago, on August 8 against RB Salzburg (0:1):
"To win there with such a young, partly inexperienced squad is really something special - we were all very happy about it. We have given our Austria a new face: young with a great mentality and character. We have formed a team that our fans can identify with," emphasized coach Manfred Schmid, who once again rewarded two homegrown players with their starting eleven debuts in Matthias Braunöder (defensive midfield) and Esad Bejic (center back) and gave them his trust.
Now the Veilchen want to add to their tally on Saturday in Wolfsberg: "We're pleased that we made consistent use of our goal-scoring opportunities in Hartberg - we've been working on that all week in training. In Wolfsberg, we must not allow so much defensively, otherwise it will be difficult to win there. WAC has a lot of quality on the offensive," Schmid explains.
Robin Dutt has been coach of WAC since the start of the season, for years head coach in the German Bundesliga. After nine rounds, Wolfsberg have two points less on their account than Austria. So far, an average of 3.5 goals has been scored in a match involving WAC. The Carinthians have presented themselves offensively dangerous (13 goals), but have also conceded 19 goals.
WAC's top scorer is Israeli summer newcomer Tai Baribo with four Bundesliga goals. By comparison, Marco Djuricin has five goals to his name after his brace against Hartberg. "I expect a very intense game on Saturday. It will be crucial that we accept the intensity of WAC and stand up to it," said Manfred Schmid.
Missing injured is Vesel Demaku (muscle fiber tear in the thigh). Johannes Handl, who was absent for a short time against Hartberg, has already returned to team training.