SV Austria Salzburg have taken command of the Austrian Bundesliga with a startling series of eight wins from their past nine matches. In the past month Kurt Jara’s side have defeated VfB Admira Wacker Mödling (4-0), SV Pasching (1-0), and SK Sturm Graz (3-0) with only FC Wacker Tirol bucking the trend, defeating Salzburg 3-0 on 26 October.
Only FK Austria Wien are within touching distance of the leaders, though a run of just one win in four games has seen them fall three points behind Salzburg. They returned to second place with a 1-0 victory against Pasching at the weekend, Roland Linz scoring his side’s first goal in five matches with six minutes to play to seal the points. The pressure has mounted on coaches Peter Stöger and Frankie Schinkels during their side’s recent barren run which has allowed Salzburg to establish themselves as favourites for the title.
Georg Zellhofer will step down as coach of Pasching in January after almost ten years at the club to take charge of SK Rapid Wien. He replaces Josef Hickersberger who will become the national team coach. Zellhofer’s side were unfortunate to lose to Austria, but he will hand over a decent team to his successor, Helmut Kraft. Pasching have impressed so far, and are fifth despite winning just one of their past five matches.
Champions Rapid are seven points off the pace but are fighting hard to keep with the leading pack despite a string of injuries. A 2-0 win against Austria in the Vienna derby on 22 October earned them bragging rights in the capital and they followed that up with a 3-2 victory against Grazer AK. Draws against SV Mattersburg and SV Ried in the past two weeks have brought their points total to eight from their past four matches.
Only 14 points separate the leaders from ninth-placed Wacker Tirol, with desperate VfB Admira Wacker Mödling a further 12 points back at the bottom. Mid-table is tightly congested with third-placed Grazer AK only eight points ahead of Wacker. With 18 games played, only Admira are out of the running for a European place next season.
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