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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

A round thing for the LASK trainer

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LASK trainer Dietmar Kühbauer
Image: APA/EXPA/Reinhard Eisenbauer
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LASK has been warned against traveling to East Styria. TSV Hartberg unexpectedly won the first duel of the season in Pasching 3-0. The blue and whites are unbeaten against Linz in seven games in total. On Sunday (5 p.m.) the third-placed driver wants to turn the tables and get a good starting position before the decisive ten rounds.

In Hartberg, coach Markus Schopp, who was once a coach at LASK, warned of “the next step”. Hartberg/Linz. With four wins, a draw and a defeat in the most recent appearance in Salzburg, LASK will hold in 2023. The direction is right. The Linzers have established themselves as the third force behind Salzburg and Sturm Graz. Coach Dietmar Kühbauer would like to take the three points with him at the end of the regular season, but warned: “We are preparing for a hard piece of work.”

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Hartberg caught the athletes off guard in early October, punishing inefficient Linzers with three goals after the break. “That’s football. That shouldn’t happen to us on Sunday,” said Kühbauer. The Burgenlander is playing his 300th game as coach of a first division club in Hartberg. He is the eighth coach in Bundesliga history to reach this mark.

Ljubicic and Zulj make a comeback

In terms of personnel, Kühbauer has two strong offensive players available again in Marin Ljubicic and Robert Zulj. His opponent Markus Schopp, on the other hand, is missing Donis Avdijaj, who is suffering from muscular problems in his thighs. Manuel Pfeifer (calf) is questionable, as is Ousmane Diakite (knee). Schopp said he didn’t want to take any risks with his battered players.

In tenth place, Hartberg is one point ahead of bottom Altach, but in all probability Vorarlberg will only increase their yield in Salzburg with difficulty. Under Schopp, who was brought back in winter, the East Styrians recorded two wins and three losses. More would have been possible if Hartberg had presented himself more efficiently and less prone to errors at the back. Schopp now openly demanded this from his protégés.

“We just have to take the next step. We can’t always say that the development is right but the results aren’t right. We can’t buy anything from that,” said the TSV trainer. It is important “to force the results. That is the most difficult and biggest step, but we don’t have that much time for it anymore”.

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