Wacker Innsbruck was a completely dominant side in Austrian 2. Liga last season and the team completely deserved their progress to the Bundesliga for this season. They ended up the league competition with three points more than second-placed Hartberg, but losing last two matches and having a draw in the third round before the end of the season.
Obviously, they didn’t care much for the results once they sealed the promotion, while there’s no doubt that their only target for the new season will be to avoid the relegation, by all means, this time. The team didn’t look that bad in the first round of the Bundesliga edition when they visited Austria Wien and suffered 2:1 defeat. They actually took the lead in the 19th minute via Dedic and stood more than competitive on the field as long as they had the energy.
The home team replied back in the 38th minute with a goal from Grunwald, while Turgeman reverted the scoreline completely in the 52nd minute. As the time progressed it was obvious that the players of Austria had more energy and quality missing a penalty towards the end. Of course that their approach will be different in front of own crowd and the team is expected to be even more threatening.
They brought few players on a transfer fee. Left-back Buchacher came from Wattens, central back Peric from Stuttgart II, while defensive midfielder Henning came from Hansa Rostock. Few more players came from the domestic league. Striker Eler and offensive midfielder Deng were signed on a loan deals from Nancy and Basaksehir respectively. Right midfielder Jamnig is sold to LASK. Few players have left them on a free transfer.
Striker Patrik Eler is injured and won’t perform here.
Sturm Graz, on the other side, had a pretty positive previous season could be said. They have ended the domestic league on the second position with thirteen points less than champions from Salzburg and are surely aiming to challenge them for the title this season.
Thanks to the second position the players of Sturm have earned the Champions League qualifying ticket but failed to show better performance against far more superior Ajax. They were excluded with a 1:5 aggregate score, after failing to improve in the second leg played last Wednesday evening when they suffered 1:3 home defeat. As for the Bundesliga duties, the team did well to overpower Hartberg with a 3:2 result last weekend.
Overall, they were good in attack however defensive lineup surely needs improvement. Also, the match came in between two Champions League clashes with Ajax. Still, Sturm took the victory deservedly thanks to goals from Spendlhofer and Pink in first halftime and Hosiner in the 82nd minute.
They have signed striker Hosiner from Union Berlin, midfielder Kiteishvili from Dinamo Tbilisi. Few players have come on the transfer free deal as well, including left back Ferreira from Pacos, defensive midfielder Lackner from Admira. Also, striker Pink from Mattersburg and central defender Avlonitis from Panathinaikos. They’ve sold offensive Rocher to Ingolstadt, also striker Alar to Rapid. Few players left them on the free transfer too, including central back Schoissengeyr and midfielder Jeggo who both went to Austria Wien.
Left midfielder Jakob Jantscher is injured.
Sturm is a favorite to get points here, but as said, their defensive lineup isn’t to be trusted. They have conceded five from Ajax in two matches, but two from very modest Hartberg too. Wacker Innsbruck has reinforced well and already showed that they are able to play against the strongest teams in the league. In front of own crowd, the things should become even more interesting.