After the derby, Pichler had to have surgical screws and nails removed as a result of a metatarsal operation from his time at Austria Klagenfurt. The healing process was significantly faster than expected. Pichler, who was very much motivated, put in many extra trainings in order to train with the team in Belek this week:
‘I feel very good, I only feel the scars on my foot. I would like to give a hundred percent now, but I have to be considerate of my body and work my way up one step at a time,’ explains Pichler.
Pichler is already doing half of the team training and otherwise works individually with physiotherapist Florian Metz. ‘I hope that I can do more next week, but we will make changes as time goes by and I am doing everything possible to quickly get back to 100%.’
What about the pirate photo on Instagram (see below/click here)? “I did an eye patch exercise in individual training to improve my coordination. The photo was taken spontaneously,’ says Benedikt Pichler.
At the beginning of his rehab, the winger put in many extra units in Salzburg: ‘It was about keeping the foot muscles mobile with massages and small movements and thus save time in the healing process. After that I worked a lot with our physiotherapist.’ His main goal was to be able to be part of the training camp despite all the forecasts:
‘I'm very happy to have made it. The warmer conditions and the softer ground are better for my metatarsal bone to get used to the strain again. It is important to me to be with the team - I already missed enough time,’ says Pichler, who describes his impressions in Belek:
‘Everyone is in a good mood - we have great conditions and very good food here, that is good for every football player and you can see that.’
The 22-year-old is a prime example of the well-functioning merger of the two professional teams from Austria Wien. In twelve second division games for the Young Violets, he was involved in eight points (5 goals / 3 assists). At the end of the fall season, coach Christian Ilzer trusted in him and Pichler promptly repaid the coach with two goals and an assist in 180 minutes:
‘Since my first day in Vienna, I've been incredibly excited to play for Austria Wien in the Bundesliga. My patience paid off. I was convinced that I could help the team - you can't plan for things to go so well. The whole team worked well in these games and I'm glad I was able to do my part.’
The first weeks and months at Austria Wien were not easy for Benedikt Pichler, who never attended an academy, the jump from Klagenfurt to Vienna was a big one: ‘I had to adjust to changes in all areas - Austria Wien is just so much bigger. I wanted to improve from week to week and have been waiting for my chance for a long time. I was happy that I could play in the Bundesliga a few times. I was already mentally ready for Austria Wien the whole time.’
Why will 2020 be better for the ‘Violets’ than 2019? ‘Because every year offers a new opportunity to learn from mistakes and weaknesses and to build on good approaches. I am convinced that 2020 will be better because the direction was right at the end of the year,’ says Pichler, who wants to make his contribution again:
‘First of all, it is important that I am in shape and can build on my achievements from last fall. I want to help Austria Wien achieve its goals.’