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European Football Championship: Pure relief for Austria – but Rangnick warns

European Football Championship: Pure relief for Austria – but Rangnick warns
European Football Championship: Pure relief for Austria – but Rangnick warns

After the victory against Poland, the Austrians have a weight lifted from their shoulders. Team manager Rangnick is needed first as a motivator and then as a warning voice.

While the Austrian fans were still celebrating their first European Championship victory in the beer garden at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, team manager Ralf Rangnick, despite all his relief, was already switching back to warning mode. “Mathematically, we’re not through yet. We’ll need at least one more point,” said the 65-year-old after the 3-1 win against Poland.

“Now it’s time to regenerate, regenerate, regenerate. We have to make sure that we get plenty of sleep, eat well and replenish our energy reserves and hopefully qualify for the round of 16 on Tuesday against Holland,” said the German at the TV microphones.

However, the Alpine Republic’s players are now going into the match against Oranje in Berlin with the good feeling of having performed in a small final. “We are all extremely relieved, there was a lot of pressure on us. The afternoon nap was very short, not much happened,” revealed offensive player Christoph Baumgartner from RB Leipzig, who scored the important goal to make it 2-1.

Rangnick’s half-time speech has an impact

For this, Rangnick, who spoke of the most important game of his time at the ÖFB, was also called upon twice as a motivator. Before the game, the coach sent the 24-year-old an animated picture on his cell phone showing Baumgartner in a RB jersey celebrating. “I don’t know if that was such a good idea when I look at his first half,” said Rangnick.

Baumgartner, who scored six goals in his last seven international matches, was initially unable to play his usual key role. Rangnick’s second attempt at half-time was less subtle: “I told him: Baumi, you are such an important player for us, we need you at least in normal form.”

In a one-on-one exchange, he encouraged his attacker. “I’m extremely happy that he’s with us,” said Baumgartner, who ran straight into the arms of his team manager after his shot from the edge of the penalty area in the 66th minute. “Then I was overcome. I wanted to give something back and show that I’m extremely grateful to the coach,” explained Baumgartner. The switch from right wing to center certainly helped, said Rangnick.

“We cannot afford that”

In the first group match against France (0:1), the 24-year-old missed a great chance to take the lead, and only shortly afterwards the runners-up scored the winning goal. Baumgartner and the ÖFB team did much better against Poland, even though there was an almost fatal phase of passivity after a furious start.

“We cannot afford that. We do not have such outstanding individual players that we can afford to have four or five players who have not performed at their normal level,” said the team boss angrily.

But in the second half the team pulled itself together and now has a good chance of reaching the round of 16. A win against the Netherlands would secure it. If there is a draw or a narrow defeat, the chances are high that they will advance as one of the four best third-placed teams in the group.

But of course nobody in the ÖFB team wants to rely on that. “It will be a tough job. They are a very good team that plays out from the back very well and in a controlled manner when they have the ball,” said captain Marcel Sabitzer. “But if we bring the intensity onto the pitch, it will be difficult for them.”

Source: Stern

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