Pink Panther Will Not Strike Again In Wiener Derby


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SK Rapid Vienna defender ANDREAS DOBER (left) and Austria international midfielder ZLATKO JUNUZOVIC of FK Austria Vienna collide during the 2010-11 season’s first edition of the great WIENER DERBY at the Gerhard Hanappi Stadion in the Huetteldorf section of the Austrian capital city. (Robert Zolles/Reuters)
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Nothin’ beats a good ole’ fashioned cross-town rivalry — which is only a part of what makes the Viennese Derby so great as intra-city foes FK AUSTRIA VIENNA and SK RAPID VIENNA clash for the 295th time on Sunday at the FRITZ HORR STADION in Wien.

(UPDATED — see “Viennese Stadia Confusion Requires Correction”)

Thanks to a goal from Austria international striker ROLAND LINZ, visiting FK Austria defeated Rapid 1-0 for the Violets’ first away victory against the Green-Whites in the long-running series since 2004.

That win turned around the fortunes of FK Austria Vienna, who had won just two of six league matches going in. Since the victory in the last Viennese Derby, die Veilchen have won six of their last nine with a draw and moved up into third prior to this weekend’s matches.

Linz leads FK Austria Vienna, who have lifted the Austrian Cup 27 times to couple 23 Bundesliga championships, with nine goals from 16 league outings after topping the Violets with three goals in six UEFA Europa League contests before elimination by Greek side FC Aris Thessaloniki.

However, Czech Republic internatioal striker TOMAS JUN, whose fitness is in question for the Viennese Derby, is still in search of his first goal in the Austrian Bundesliga after a dozen apperances; the 27-year-old striker scored 9 goal in 21 games last season after his transfer from SCR Altach.

Brazilian striker SCHUMACHER (Thiago Maier dos Santos), meanwhile, has no goals in 10 Bundesliga matches after scoring in FK Austria Vienna’s first competitive game of the season against NK Siroki Brijeg of Bosnia / Herzegovina; the 24-year-old striker, on loan from Italian Serie A side Udinese, scored just three goals in 28 games a year ago.

MARKO STANKOVIC, who played 20 times for the Austria U-21 international side, is being deployed on the wing by FK Austria Vienna coach KARL DAXBACHER and has scored his first three goals for the Violets since signing from Italy with Serie B outfit US Triestina this summer.

23-year-old Austria international midfielder ZLATKO JUNUZOVIC, who scored the only goal in FK Austria Vienna’s 1-0 win over FC Wacker Innsbrucker last week, has picked up some of the scoring slack for die Veilchen with five goals in 14 Bundesliga games this season after totaling six goals in 30 league matches a year ago.

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FK Austria Vienna ROBERT ALMER was dubbed the “Pink Panther” by the Austria press and documented earlier by the blog here on account of the color of his game jersey for the previous installment of the Viennese Derby this past September. The 26-year-old had clearly established himself over 20-year-old early season starter HEINZ LINDNER as first choice for the Violets after a run of nine matches since the last meeting with Rapid Vienna. The lightly-experienced Almer made his first of the season and kept a clean sheet in the 1-0 win over the Green-Whites after Lindner suffered a thigh strain in training the day before the September match.
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There will be no Return Of The Pink Panther, however, as Almer was injured in last week’s victory opposite FC Wacker Innsbruck and needed to come off in the 68th minute.

Rapid Vienna, who currently languish in crisis while standing 7th in the 10-team Austrian Bundesliga, will be without their captain and two-time Austria Footballer of the Year, German midfielder STEFFEN HOFMANN; also on the Gruen-Weissen’s injury report for the 295th Viennese Derby are Holland international striker JAN VENNEGOOR of HESSELINK and midfielder THOMAS HINUM.

The lack of fitness and goals from Hofmann and Vennegoor of Hesselink have greatly contributed towards the downfall of the Green Whites in this 2010-11 season. The German captain, who enjoyed a spectacular season for Rapid Vienna with 20 goals in 36 league games, had scored just twice in 11 Bundesliga matches this term before going down injured. The Dutchman, meanwhile, has made just six league appearances and delivered just two goals since signing as a free agent in late August after being out of contract from relegated Hull City in England.

Rapid Vienna have never really replaced Croatia international striker NIKICA JELAVIC, who was sold to Scottish side Glasgow Rangers in August for 4.0 million English pounds after scoring two goals in the Bundesliga and adding another four in the UEFA Europa League.

Presently, Albania international striker HAMDI SALIHI tops the Huetteldorfer with seven goals from 15 Bundesliga matches this season but 21-year-old forward ADTHE NUHIU, who scored a goal in each leg home and away against English side Aston Villa in Europe earlier, has found the net just once in 10 league games while 23-year-old CHRISTOPHER TREMMEL, who scored in the Green-Whites first competitive game of the year against Lithuanian club FK Suduva Marijampole, has no goals from 13 Bundesliga appearances since.

25-year-old striker RENE GARTLER does have three goals in 10 league games to go along with three goals in Europe for Rapid Vienna this term.

Exactly which player(s) for either side, if anybody, gets their name on the sheet during the 295th installment of the Vienna Derby remains to be seen.

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