Stevens, Red Bull Salzburg Survive Rocky Start


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Flanked by Austria international defender FRANZ SCHIEMER (15) and Holland international midfielder DAVID MENDES DA SILVA, journeyman Austria international striker ROMAN WALLNER, who has spent time in the top flights of Germany, Scotland and Greece, celebrates from his knees after scoring for Red Bull Salzburg against SK Rapid Vienna at the Red Bull Arena in Wals-Siezenheim on the last day of this past October. (Dominic Ebenbichler/Reuters)
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To say RED BULL SALZBURG had a rocky start to the 2010-11 campaign would be much like stating snow can be found in the Alps during winter.

After all, the defending champions of Austria collected just one win from their first six matches to begin the Bundesliga schedule, scoring a grand total of five goals in the process — hardly an offensive avalanche to say the least.

Red Bull Salzburg fashioned five goals opposite HB Torshavn to kick off their UEFA Champions League program and then proceeded to lose the return leg 1-0 on the Faroe Islands a fortnight later. Ultimately, Dutch head coach HUUB STEVENS’ charges were eliminated from the Champions League by Israeli club FC Hapoel Tel Aviv. The Austrian side would then fare rather poorly in the UEFA Europa League with nary a victory and but a single goal from six games at the group stage.

What’s more, Red Bull Salzburg were knocked out of the Austrian Cup 3-1 by little Blau Weiss Linz, a modest side who normally play in a tiny stadium with a capacity for 2,000 people and compete at the third division level, in late September.

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HUUB STEVENS, who earned 18 caps and scored one goal as a defender for the Netherlands while representing Dutch Eredivisie club PSV Eindhoven in his playing career, won the Austrian Bundesliga in his first season as trainer of Red Bull Salzburg. (Dominic Ebenbichler/Reuters)
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This past summer, of course, Red Bull Salzburg sold off the team’s top two goal-scorers from last season’s title-winning squad. Austria international striker MARC JANKO, who led Red Bull with 18 goals in the Bundesliga, was transferred to Dutch side FC Twente Enschede for a fee of 7.0 million Euros. Toward the end of August, Cameroon international midfielder SOMEN TCHOYI, who had eight goals in the Bundesliga a year ago for Red Bull, was shipped to Premier League club West Bromwich Albion for a price believed to be 2.5 million English pounds (roughly 3.01 Euros).

Red Bull Salzburg spent a considerable amount of money — as far as Austrian clubs are concerned — in an effort to strengthen the attack. A trio of youthful South American strikers, however, have, thus far, failed to match the investment of a combined 8.4 million Euros with a truckload of goals. The Argentine GUSTAVO ZARATE, the Brazilian ALAN and the Uruguayan JOAQUIN BOGHOSSIAN have, collectively, delivered just five goals from 38 man-games played for Red Bull through the first 19 contests on the Bundesliga calendar.

Zarate, the cheapest of the three at 1.4 million Euros, has the most goals with three in the Bundesliga and another pair in Europe. Alan, the most expensive purchase at 3.767 Euros, has the least goals in all competitions with but a solitary Bundesliga strike. The 3.23 million Euro man Boghossian, meanwhile, has appeared in just nine Bundesliga matches.

28-year-old Austria international striker ROMAN WALLNER, whose loan move from LASK Linz was made permanent in the summer for 1.3 million Euros, leads Red Bull Salzburg with both nine goals in the Bundesliga and 13 goals in all competitions this term.

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(Jon Super/AP) — GERHARD TREMMEL has contested 125 games in the German top flight for SpVgg Unterhaching, Hannover 96, SC Hertha Berlin and Energie Cottbus in his career. The veteran was signed to replace last season’s first choice for Red Bull Salzburg, Sweden international EDDIE GUSTAFSSON, who broke both his fibula and tibia last April. Tremmel started all 19 Bundesliga games for Red Bull entering the winter break. (Jon Super/AP)
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Domestically, Stevens’ men have righted the ship since the listless start to the season. Red Bull Salzburg lost just once on their last ten outings in the leage while winning six games in that span; heading into the annual winter break, Red Bull sit in third place just four points behind the current table-toppers in Austria, SV Ried.

A great strength this term in the Bundesliga for Red Bull Salzburg has been the defense. Back-stopped by 32-year-old German goalkeeper GERHARD TREMMEL, who arrived on a free transfer from German 2.Bundesliga side Energie Cottbus this summer, the defending champions have conceded a circuit-low 13 goals in the Austrian top flight thus far. Still looking to improve, however, Red Bull Salzburg bought Brazilian defender DOUGLAS DA SILVA from Israeli club FC Hapoel Tel Aviv for 2.6 million Euros just after the New Year.

Douglas, whom it is hoped can provide a spark to the offense from the backline, will, most likely, go straight into the team immediately; a pair of 29-year-olds, Uganda international IBRAHIM SEKAGYA and Nigeria World Cup defender RABIU AFOLABI have been the regular center backs for Red Bull Salzburg to this point.

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Holland international midfielder DAVID MENDES DA SILVA (4) of Red Bull Salzburg shoots past FK Austria Vienna goalkeeper HEINZ LINDNER in the 28th minute of the 1-1 Bundesliga draw from early December at the Red Bull Arena in Wals-Siezenheim. (Dominic Ebenbichler/Reuters)
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Holland international midfielder DAVID MENDES DA SILVA, a summer purchase of 2.65 million Euros from Dutch club AZ 67 Alkmaar, has proven to be a valuable addition to Stevens’ squad. The 28-year-old typically deploys in a holding role in front of the back four and has contributed to the stingy defensive record. Moreover, Mendes da Silva, who scored three goals in 58 games for AZ 67 over his last two seasons in the Dutch Eredivise, has added three goals in 17 games for Red Bull Salzburg this season.

Austria international midfielder JAKOB JANTSCHER has has had his moments since joining Red Bull Salzburg this this off-season from Sturm Graz in return for 1.06 million Euros; turning 22 today, the youngster is second on the club with four goals in the Bundesliga.

Slovakia international DUSAN SVENTO, who arrived in the summer of 2009 after winning consecutive titles in the top flight of the Czech Republic, has seen his goal-scoring rate drop this term. The 25-year-old midfielder, who cost Red Bull 2.0 million Euros from Slavia Prague, scored five goals in the Bundesliga last season but has none after 14 appearances, all starting assignments, in the top flight of Austria this term. Svento did score two goals in Europe, including the only goal for Red Bull Salzburg at the group stage of the UEFA Europa League this season.

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Red Bull Salzburg midfielder JAKOB JANTSCHER, whose 22nd birthday is today, has already earned six caps and scored one goal for Austria — in a friendly against defending European champion Spain — thus far in his short career. (Dominic Ebenbichler/Reuters)

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