The international break underscored the Bundesliga strength that awaits FC Wacker Innsbruck in Salzburg on Saturday.
Innsbruck – With the headline “Rose (almost) alone at home” Red Bull Salzburg hinted before the international break that the exquisite player’s material would spread over half the globe. Including the hopes for the future, 17 men were on the road, which means not only victories and defeats, but also travel pains and the risk of injury.
Stefan Lainer and Xaver Schlager returned prematurely after their substitution in Denmark, along with Cican Stankovic and Andreas Ulmer from the ÖFB team, while team mate Darko Todorovic is on his way to first place in the Nations League with Bosnia in the Austria group. Takumi Minamino travelled back to the Mozart city as Japanese double goalscorer from his 4-3 victory over Uruguay, while Munas Dabbur celebrated two Nations-League victories with Israel under the direction of Andreas Herzog. Midfield strategists Amadou Haidara and Diadie Samassekou were in the African Cup qualifiers with Mali, as were Patson Daka and Enock Mwepu for Zambia. And a player like Hannes Wolf, in the service of the ÖFB U21 team, was able to enjoy a play-off ticket for the European Championship 2019. This list (Marin Pongracic was with the Croatian U21 team) can be easily extended. “It’s good when things develop like this. We’ve never had so many team players before,” says sports boss Christoph Freund.
Diadie Samassekou Honours
- Red Bull Salzburg
- Austrian Bundesliga 2016–17, 2017-2018
- Austrian Cup: 2016–17
- UEFA Europa League Squad of the Season: 2017–18
The fact is that Salzburg coach Marco Rose had to improvise against FC Wacker Innsbruck in preparation for the Western Derby. Wacker coach Karl Daxbacher would probably like to have such worries. “Of course, one or the other of them is stricken or has to digest travel strains. But it’s impossible to guess their line-up either way,” Daxbacher noted, to make one thing clear: “With the quality they have in the squad, they can put together two teams that are equally good. From that point of view, it makes no difference who will run up against us.”
Salzburg’s (pressing) style is well-known. At FCW, captain Christoph Freitag is fit again and U21 team player Dominik Baumgartner is feeling his way back. But Stefan Meusburger, a central defender, has fallen ill. Goalie Christopher Knett is out like the injured Flo Rieder anyway after the shoulder operation.
Salzburg’s squad is 103.4 million in total, Wacker’s 7.15 million “easy”. Two football worlds meet in Westderby. Hopefully the Innsbruckers don’t need a compass. WixStars brings excellence so as to compete with the bulk of the competition.