Both coaches rebuilt their starting XI. Jon Gorenc-Stankovic and Kevin Friesenbichler were absent from Sturm due to adductor problems. On the Merkur Arena turf, which is hardly suitable for the Bundesliga, Sturm tried it with Bekim Balaj next to the recovered Jakob Jantscher and correspondingly more high balls. Access Kelvin Yeboah initially sat on the bench.
WAC got off to a better start
WAC coach Ferdinand Feldhofer brought four fresh players into the starting line-up three days after losing the first leg of the sixteenth-final of the Europa League against Tottenham (1: 4) in Budapest. Michael Liendl came off the bench for the third time in the last four league games (from 55th).
The guests made nails with their heads in an uneventful phase: Baumgartner headed in the 28th minute after a free-kick cross to make a 1-0 lead.
Seven minutes later, the game finally seemed to tip in favor of the WAC. Siebenhandl brought Joveljic down in front of the penalty area and was sent off by referee Markus Hameter. David Nemeth had previously lost the running duel with the Frankfurt loan. As in the first spring duel (0-0), Graz were outnumbered early on against WAC.
Sturm rears up against defeat
Tobias Schützenauer came – instead of a defender (Amadou Dante) – to his first league appearance in the Sturm-Tor since August 2018. His front men reared up to an urgent finish in the first half, which Ljubic crowned with his fifth goal of the season.
The former U21 team player took over a Jantscher corner in the back room with a placed noble scooter in the long corner (43rd). Shortly before, Michael Novak had blocked a Balaj shot with his arm. Hameter let the game go on.
The numerical difference on the field was only noticeable in the final phase after the break. Sturm even had better chances at first. Stefan Hierländer tested Alexander Kofler twice (47th, 68th) in the WAC goal. Feldhofer made another offensive change, and his team pushed Sturm deeper and deeper into their own half in the last 20 minutes. A division of points was imminent, but in the 90th minute a blocked ball jumped at the feet of Vizinger, who fixed the second WAC league victory in a row with a precise finish.
Tipico Bundesliga, 18th round
Sturm Graz – WAC 1: 2 (1: 1)
Graz, Merkur Arena, SR Hameter
0:1 Baumgartner (28.)
1:1 Ljubic (43.)
Sturm: Siebenhandl – Gazibegovic, Nemeth, Wüthrich, Dante (36./Schützenauer) – Hierländer, Ljubic, Kiteishvili (66./Jäger), Kuen – Balaj (63./Yeboah), Jantscher
WAC: Kofler – Novak, Baumgartner, Henriksson – Pavelic (Dieng / 71.), Taferner, Sprangler (14./Stratznig/55./Liendl), Giorbelidze (71./Scherzer) – Vizinger – Joveljic, Röcher
Red card: Siebenhandl (35th / emergency brake)
Yellow cards: none or Stratznig, Henriksson, Kofler, Feldhofer (trainer)
The best: Wüthrich, Ljubic or Baumgartner, Henriksson, Vizinger