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Season review: Austria

Published: Monday 16 June 2014, 9.03CET
"It is still snowing and we won the title," beamed FC Salzburg coach Roger Schmidt after his side claimed the Austrian crown in record time, going on to complete a domestic double.
by Johannes Sturm
from Vienna
Season review: Austria
Jonatan Soriano and Alan: the partnership from hell for Austrian defences ©AFP/Getty Images

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Published: Monday 16 June 2014, 9.03CET

Season review: Austria

"It is still snowing and we won the title," beamed FC Salzburg coach Roger Schmidt after his side claimed the Austrian crown in record time, going on to complete a domestic double.

A domestic double was a fair reflection of how FC Salzburg utterly dominated an Austrian season in which they also won six straight UEFA Europa League group stage games, eventually bowing out to FC Basel 1893 in the last 16. More surprisingly, modest SV Grödig and SKN St. Pölten earned European places – something champions FK Austria Wien failed to do – and FC Wacker Innsbruck will start 2014/15 in the second tier after a disastrous campaign.

Champions: FC Salzburg
It soon became clear the other nine clubs could not hold a candle to Salzburg; relentless pressing, a solid defence and the strike partnership of Jonatan Soriano and Alan – which produced 57 Bundesliga goals – were just three reasons for Salzburg's sheer supremacy. They were crowned champions with eight games to spare, following a 5-0 defeat of SC Wiener Neustadt on 23 March, prompting coach Roger Schmidt to say: "It is still snowing and we won the title!" Midfielder Kevin Kampl added: "If we manage to stay together as a team, who knows what else we could achieve?"

©UEFA.com

Roger Schmidt was named Leverkusen coach

Cup final: FC Salzburg 4-2 SKN St. Pölten
Schmidt's decision to leave Salzburg for Bayer 04 Leverkusen at the end of term had been confirmed before the final at Klagenfurt's Wörthersee Stadion, but this game proved to be a fitting farewell. Second-division St. Pölten had overcome the likes of SV Ried and SK Sturm Graz to reach the decider, yet they were well beaten inside 90 minutes, goals from Florian Klein and Kampl, plus two for Jonatan, doing the damage. "We've had a great season and this is the icing on the cake," concluded Schmidt. "No matter where we play, we're always favourites, but we managed to block that out today. Now we'll have some fitting celebrations. I think the team are really going to party hard. They deserve to."

European places*
FC Salzburg – UEFA Champions League third qualifying round
SK Rapid Wien – UEFA Europa League play-offs
SV Grödig – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
SKN St. Pölten – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round

*Subject to final confirmation by UEFA

Player of the year: Jonatan Soriano
Bundesliga top scorer (31 goals), UEFA Europa League leading marksman (8) and the second-most prolific player in the Austrian Cup (5), Spanish forward Jonatan was unstoppable on all fronts. The 28-year-old shone as team captain and was voted star of the season by the presidents, general managers and coaches of the Bundesliga clubs, having extended his contract with Salzburg until 2017 earlier in the campaign. "I am happy with the extension, also because my family and I feel very much at home in Salzburg," he said. "It is a great city – life here is fantastic with everyone being really friendly. I feel really appreciated."

©Getty Images

André Ramalho - Salzburg's big discovery

One to watch: André Ramalho (FC Salzburg)
As a defensive midfielder or central defender, Brazilian prospect André Ramalho began the season strongly and became an indispensable cog in the Salzburg machine, keeping cool in dangerous situations and showing great composure on the ball, with a notable skill for selecting the right pass. His maturity was astonishing for a player in his first term in professional football, with the curly-haired 22-year-old coming onto the radar of several top clubs in the course of the campaign.

Surprise package: SV Grödig
Hailing from a small town not far from Salzburg, Grödig had been promoted as second-division champions last year and excelled in their first Bundesliga season, with a last-day draw securing a third-placed finish and UEFA Europa League spot – at the expense of 2012/13 champions Austria Wien. The architect of Grödig's success, coach Adi Hütter, received due credit for his efforts when chosen to succeed Schmidt as coach of Salzburg – the team he represented as a midfielder for much of the 1990s.

Leading scorer: Jonatan Soriano, FC Salzburg (31)

Relegated: FC Wacker Innsbruck

Promoted: SCR Altach

Number: 28
The number of matchdays it took for Salzburg to be crowned champions – the swiftest conclision since the three-points-per-win system was introduced.

Quote: "I want to maintain Salzburg's playing philosophy, but with my way of being a coach and my ideas. The club have a big goal: reaching the UEFA Champions League group stage and putting in a good performance. The way I see this team, we can do it."
Hütter promises even better times ahead following his appointment as Salzburg boss

Last updated: 16/06/14 12.44CET

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