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Season review: Austria

Published: Monday 13 June 2011, 10.39CET
SK Sturm Graz claimed their first league title in 12 years after holding off FC Salzburg and FK Austria Wien on an exciting final day while SV Ried lifted the cup.
by Florian Tietze
from Vienna
Season review: Austria
Sturm Graz celebrate an Austrian Bundesliga win ©Getty Images
Published: Monday 13 June 2011, 10.39CET

Season review: Austria

SK Sturm Graz claimed their first league title in 12 years after holding off FC Salzburg and FK Austria Wien on an exciting final day while SV Ried lifted the cup.

After one of the most exciting Austrian title races in year, SK Sturm Graz cliched their third championship on the final day. SV Ried also had reason to celebrate, claiming the Austrian Cup after a fine season.

Champions: SK Sturm Graz
After several years of rebuilding, Sturm were able to hold on to key players like attacking duo Roman Kienast and Imre Szabics, and while other favourites stumbled the Graz side avoided their traditional spring slump. Going into the final games, Sturm were two points ahead of FK Austria Wien and three clear of reigning champions FC Salzburg. Austria led twice but lost 4-2 at home to Salzburg, and in any case Sturm beat Wacker Innsbruck 2-1 with a late Samir Muratović goal to add to their titles of 1997/98 and 1998/99. "The players came on in leaps and bounds throughout the season and in the end we deserved to win the championship," said coach Franco Foda.

Cup final: SV Ried 2-0 SC Austria Lustenau
Ried crowned one of the most successful seasons in club history by winning their second Austrian Cup, 13 years after the first. Surprise 'winter champions' at the break, they slipped to fourth in the final standings but took out Sturm and FK Rapid Wien on their way to a final where Markus Hammerer struck twice against second-tier Lustenau, the first side from the western state of Vorarlberg ever to get so far. "It was the most difficult match of the season, because we needed to push ourselves to the limit physically," said coach Paul Gludovatz.

European places*
SK Sturm Graz – UEFA Champions League second qualifying round
SV Ried – UEFA Europa League third qualifying round
FC Salzburg – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
FK Austria Wien – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round

*Subject to official confirmation by UEFA

Player of the year: Zlatko Junuzović (FK Austria Wien)
The elegant Austrian international playmaker scored eight goals and set up another ten in a fine season in which the 23-year-old proved a constant danger in attack. Voted player of the year by both coaches and fans, the Serbian-born star is reported to have come to the attention of several leading European clubs.

One to watch: Deni Alar (Kapfenberger SV)
The 21-year striker really established himself this season with 14 goals, putting him in the Bundesliga's top five. His reward is a summer move to Rapid, the club he supported as a boy.

Surprise package: FC Wacker Innsbruck
Newly-promoted Wacker performed well above expectations, setting out their stall with a 4-0 defeat of Rapid on the opening day of the season. They even led the league for five matchdays – while favourites Rapid and Salzburg were never top once – and their sixth-place finish provides a solid basis to establish themselves in the Bundesliga.

Leading scorer: Roland Linz, FK Austria Wien (21)

Number: 66

Sturm's points tally - the lowest total since three for a win was introduced in 1995, beating Austria Wien's 2005/06 mark of 67.

Relegated: LASK Linz

Promoted: FC Admira Wacker Mödling


Quote

"If you win the cup and the next season win the championship, it is a dream come true. We can all be pleased. In the final games it was important to stay calm. I am proud of the players, it is unique what they have done in the last few weeks."
Sturm coach Franco Foda enjoys their title success

Last updated: 08/07/11 16.36CET

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