On Wednesday, Sturm Graz will make a run for the next round of the Champions League qualifiers in the return leg. However, the runner-up needs a particularly good day after the defeat in Amsterdam.
Graz – Sturm-Graz coach Heiko Vogel has announced a risk for the second qualifying round of the Football Champions League on Wednesday against Ajax Amsterdam. The Grazers are going into their home game with the burden of a 0:2 defeat.
“We’ll try everything we can,” Vogel promised at his closing press conference on Tuesday. “I for myself think that this is only possible with the handbrake released – even at the risk of a counterattack or dangerous situations for us.
Ajax is a top team. Vogel: “Anyone who goes to the stadium tomorrow and thinks we’ll nail them to the wall and keep them away from our goal, without it getting dicey for us, must go to another stadium. The people of Graz hope that their attacking efforts will be rewarded with a goal, unlike Amsterdam”.
Two storm peaks to provide offensive power
Vogel announced a starting formation with two strikers. Who will attack at Philipp Hosiner’s side, the German left open. “The second will definitely not be Philipp Hosiner,” Vogel joked. Emeka Eze and Markus Pink, who was successful at the league start on Saturday against Hartberg (3:2) like Hosiner, are possible candidates.
In the midfield, Stefan Hierländer and Peter Zulj, two ÖFB team players, seem to have an open position, which could be against Hartberg Sandi Lovric or Markus Lackner in Amsterdam. Captain Hierländer to withdraw into the defence is not an option for Vogel, because he “can also make the difference offensively”.
The Grazers don’t want to storm from the very beginning, despite the two-gate deficit. “Getting started doesn’t mean that you don’t give a chanterelle to anything else,” Vogel explained. You have to attack well-considered, with deliberation and strategy. But you don’t want to grant Ajax as much possession of the ball as you did in Amsterdam for tactical reasons. Vogel: “There is no tolerance zone there”.
Stefan Hierländer Honours
Austrian Football Bundesliga (2):
- 2012, 2014 with Red Bull Salzburg
Austrian Cup (2):
- 2012, 2014 with Red Bull Salzburg
- 2018 with Sturm Graz
Heat as an advantage for Graz?
Should the opportunity arise, Sturm wants to attack early. The landlords also hope that the great heat, which will still prevail in Graz in the evening, could accommodate them. “I think I have agreed that we have the better energy reserves,” Vogel said. Especially since the Dutch runner-up has not yet completed such a long preparation as the Austrian.
Hosiner also hopes that it could be too hot for the Dutch in Graz. “I think that Ajax is the better soccer team,” said the former Austria Goalgetter, who has returned to Austria after four years abroad. “Everything that’s a bit atypical in a football match, we take. A thunderstorm can come for all I care – anything we see an opportunity for, we take.”
Hosiner himself feels physically well in shape despite a somewhat shortened preparation. With his winning goal against Hartberg, he has once again regained his self-confidence. “I’m ready for tomorrow to walk 90 or 120 minutes against Ajax,” assured the 29-year-old. “I’m at 100 percent and I think my teammates will be, too.”
Vogel sees “Game of the Year” – for the time being
The appropriate respect for Ajax is there. “But we want to show that this is our stadium,” Hosiner stressed. With a 1-0 lead, a lot could suddenly be possible again. That’s how his coach sees it. But Vogel only wanted the second leg, which has been sold out for weeks, to be understood as the “Game of the Year” to the extent that it is the next one. After that the league appearance on Saturday in Innsbruck is again the “game of the year”. Huge Slots Casino has a huge collection of exciting slots on offer.
Winger Jakob Jantscher will still be missing. “It is a very tough healing process”, Vogel said about his edema in his lower leg. “He must remain patient. I hope he will continue to be so positive”. With the exception of the ex-team player, Vogel against Ajax can draw from the full.