The champions group of the Bundesliga is within reach for TSV Hartberg. After the 2-1 home win against Admira, the current fifth-placed Styrians will be among the top six teams after the 20th round. Two rounds before the division of the league, coach Markus Schopp's squad pushed WSG Tirol, who played 1-1 against Sturm Graz, out of the elite circle. "To be in the top six again, that would be a huge story," emphasized Schopp. </p><div> <p>The form curve speaks for the TSV, who surprisingly got the ticket for the "upper play-off" last season in sixth place with 29 points. "In order to be at the top, you have to deliver in 22 laps permanently. We have succeeded very often. The fact that we are where we are is confirmation that a lot is no coincidence," said the Hartberg trainer to Sky . The Styrians have only one point less than in 2019/20 after the end of the regular season - mainly thanks to 13 points from the last five games.</p>
With a 1-0 win against WSG Tirol, 2-1 at LASK and the current success, they won three times in a row with one goal difference. “Until recently we played games where the performance was okay, but we didn’t reward ourselves with points. Now we have a phase where we sometimes didn’t play that well, but scored fully,” said Schopp. He was satisfied with the performance of his squad against Admira. “Today we deservedly decided a very important game, which we played very actively for over 90 minutes,” said the ex-ÖFB team player.
As a reward there was the advance to fifth place, whereby the WAC had the opportunity to overtake with a point or a victory in Ried on Sunday. “If someone had said four weeks ago that we are now in fifth place, few would have signed it. You can tell what is possible if we implement our match plan 100 percent, it works from top to bottom. Of course, luck is also part of it but you have to work hard, “said striker Dario Tadic.
At Rapid and against St. Pölten you have it in your own hands to repeat the previous year’s success. “There are two brutally important games, we will see that we do our homework,” said Tadic. Nobody expects a sure-fire success. “There are still difficult opponents ahead of us,” warned Schopp. If it does not work with “up”, thanks to a 15-point cushion at the bottom of the table, you are well positioned for the fight to stay in the league.
The Admirans lost three of their last four league games. “The situation is a bit difficult, but I stay positive because I can see that a lot is right in the team. That is a good basis for the future,” said coach Damir Buric. In his opinion, his protégés deserved “at least a draw”. The Croat relied on a possible wrong decision before conceding the first goal, where the ball could have been over the goal line when Tadic crossed it. “So I can hardly wait for the video evidence to come,” said Buric.
The video assistant referee would have been helpful in Tyrol too, as a goal by Thanos Petsos was in accordance with the rules, but only revoked after some discussions between the referee and linesman because of an offside position. “I see it as critically as the goal that was not given last week in Südstadt. But as long as there is no video evidence, these discussions are of little value,” said WSG coach Thomas Silberberger.
Even more bitter for him was ex-WSG striker Kelvin Yeboah’s equalizer in the 92nd minute – a deja vu. “That was again a situation in which we defend rather poorly and again we get the goal.” This means that you need help from the rifle to dock at the top. Tyrol goal scorer Tobias Anselm did not spare criticism: “We tear our asses for 90 minutes and then that. We have to decide such a game for ourselves if we want to be in the championship group.”
Even in the storm, the self-confidence did not increase immeasurably, after the cup-off against Salzburg, reparation was given as a motto. “Maybe I see it a little too critically, but that’s not the result we wanted,” said striker Kevin Friesenbichler. His coach Christian Ilzer was not dissatisfied with the way the game went: “In the end, I think we can live with this point quite well.”