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The bottom line is that Vorwärts remained above the line

The bottom line is that Vorwärts remained above the line

Photo: Josef Moser

The robotic lawnmower, which was specially programmed by the software company BMD under President Markus Knasmüller, and groundskeeper Rudolf Pimsl have maintained and fertilized the lawn; they can’t do much better at Wembley Stadium. That’s a good thing, because it means the grass can grow faster for Vorwärts’s final match of the season against SC Weiz.

The probability was as low as a half-correct lottery ticket, but mathematically the Steyr team could still have been relegated from the Regionalliga if they had not picked up at least one point.

Coach Markus Eitl, whose substitutions after the break worked, experienced a “rollercoaster of emotions” and Vice President Reinhard Schlager “some of my worst minutes”. The Vorwärts eleven, which did not want to rely on what was happening on the other football pitches, did not want to and could not. The guests from Styria, who were still fighting for fifth place in the table and participation in the ÖFB Cup, did not want to and ultimately could not either, because Valerian Hüttner made an incredible save in the 52nd minute to stop Jan Niklas Ostermann’s sure-fire shot right in front of him at the five-yard line. His big save was the key scene. Vorwärts – “our young players vacillated between phases of fear and actually mastering the situation very well,” said Eitl after the final whistle – woke up in the second half, and neither the Steyrers nor the Styrians managed a lucky punch late on.

In the end, it was clear that the effort had paid off, at least in terms of self-esteem. WAC lost 0:4, Gleisdorf only played 1:1 against Wallern, so the red-whites would have managed to banish the specter of relegation without any effort on their part and with outside help.

The Weizer team also boarded the team bus satisfied on the return journey from Volxstraße: The one point from the goalless draw was enough for fifth place in the table, and coach Alois Hödl is already thinking about the preparation games for the ÖFB Cup.

The young Vorwärts eleven took their final exam in front of the 1,020 fans of the red and whites, who were traditionally treated to free beer at the end-of-season after-party by the club’s sponsors BMD and Obermair Immobilien. Some of them passed the exam with nervousness, but the white flag is flying.

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