“The goal is quite clear, that we will survive the last hurdle,” said striker Reinhold Yabo before the duel with Red Star Belgrade.
Skopje – Red Bull Salzburg has loosely taken the first hurdle on the way to the group stage of the Football Champions League. The “bulls” at Shkendija Tetovo’s gala were not satisfied with the 3:0 in the first leg, but the 1:0 in the yawning empty national stadium of Skopje brought Austria’s series champions the decisive play-off duel with Red Star Belgrade. “We want more,” said coach Marco Rose.
Roses Mannen will have to play away in Serbia’s capital as early as next Tuesday, while Roter Stern won the third qualifying round of the Slovakian champion Trnava 2-1 after extra time. The advantage: Due to racist songs of its fans in the CL-Qualimatch against Marijampole (LIT) at the end of July, Red Star has to play two home matches as a repeat offender in front of empty ranks. The atmosphere will be similarly “good” as in Skopje, where only around 3,500 fans populated the 36,000 oval.
The desire is really large
One way or another: “The goal is quite clear that we will survive the last hurdle,” said striker Reinhold Yabo. Salzburg has reached the final qualifase for the seventh time in the eleventh CL run-up to the Red Bull era, and finally the big throw should succeed. For midfielder Xaver Schlager, one thing was also clear: “The desire is really big. In any case, it is certain that once again the group phase of the Europa League has been reached – and thus the “minimum goal”, as Yabo emphasized.
He didn’t want to hide the fact that the performance wasn’t a treat either. “What counts in the end is that we have won another game and are further on. The victory is also very important for my self-confidence,” said the German after his sixth success in the sixth seasoned game (goal ratio including a 6:0 victory in the ÖFB Cup 17:1).
Praise for the defence
“They have challenged us very much,” Rose noted. “Much fought and little football played”, was the conclusion of central defender Marin Pongracic. For veteran Andreas Ulmer, the game could have been decided “of course, gladly earlier”. “You can take the lead in the 5th minute, then the game will take a completely different course,” said Yabo, whose input a few minutes after Munas started did not put Dabbur in goal. The Israeli was left without a goal for the first time in his sixth season-long game.
Yabo, who should have appeared as a double assistant after the restart, but was left in the lurch by marksman Hannes Wolf in two huge chances, was satisfied with the defence. “One has seen that we are defensively so stable that we can win such games. That’s very important if we want to get far,” he said. After all, Tetovo were “a strong team”, who tried to make it through the game, but with the exception of a short pressure phase in the second half, were always far from advancing. In the final, Macedonia’s champions even conceded the goal after a missed pass from Joker Takumi Minamino.
Dreaming is what you do in bed
The advancement of Salzburg was in any case deserved and opened – in view of an opponent “on eye level” (Pongracic) – the large chance to finally break the “CL curse”. Schlager tried to keep the focus high in the usual dry way: “Now comes Hartberg”, he pointed out the league home game against the Styrians on Saturday. The much quoted dream of the king class could dissolve only too fast in air: Dreaming does one in the bed. Captain Ulmer, who has already experienced the failure with the “bulls” several times, tried as a precaution to reduce the pressure somewhat: “What was before doesn’t matter. We can take it easy, it’s a bonus when we reach the Champions League.” See here to know more about WonClub Casino.
Yabo, too, pointed out the mental pitfalls of the venture, which would bring in 15.25 million euros in entry fees alone – an impressive sum compared to the 2.92 million in the EL. “We want to maintain a certain relaxed attitude. The past season has already shown what we are capable of,” said the 26-year-old in retrospect to the EL semi-finals. Pongracic’s recent successes are also a trump card: “We have a young team and proved last season that we can play in front of a lot of fans and under pressure. I don’t think it’s going to be a psychological strain.”