At the dramatic end of the season, Blau Weiß Linz secured promotion to the Bundesliga. Upper Austria, led by coach Gerald Scheppelhner, won on Sunday the last round of the second division against Sturm 2 after a deficit of 2: 1 (0: 1) and benefited from a surprise 1: 1 (0: 0) from its predecessor. League leader GAK VFC Dornbirn. Grazer gambled on returning to the Senate after 16 years.
Danilo Mitrović scored in the 85th minute to make the final score much acclaimed in Linz – according to the referee’s team, his header must have crossed the goal line past the crossbar. Earlier, BW striker Ronivaldo (48) equalized the provisional lead after an own goal by veteran Christoph Schösswendter (34). In Dornbirn, Gustavo Balotelli shocked GAK with a late goal (89), Graz had previously failed twice on the crossbar. Milos Jovicic’s equalizer (96) came too late. Linzer finished the season with 61 points, and GAK had one point less after four straight victories.
“We’ve always believed in it, even if everyone else has already written us off. Now we stand there and we’re unspeakable heroes,” said BW team lead Michael Brandner at ORF. “Thankfully, he looked down. Now it’s time to party so we don’t get up.” GAK coach Gernot Messner was visibly depressed. “Disappointment. We hit the bar twice, five meters over it, we didn’t get a clear penalty. I have no idea why it didn’t work. Congratulations to Blau Weiss Lenz and fellow coach Schepelhner,” he said. .
Few chances in the first half
At the Birkenwiese stadium in Dornbirn, GAK dominated the action, supported by many Styrian fans and led by veteran Michael Liendl (37), who made his last professional appearance. However, the Grazers could hardly create serious scoring chances. At the same time, the nervous people from Linz were left behind after a counterattack due to an unfortunate own goal by Schösswendter, who would become BW’s new sports director after the season. Ronifaldo missed two great chances before the break (41, 45 + 1).
But right after the break, Ronvaldo scored his 19th goal of the season. In Dornbirn, Bogdan Vionik squandered GAK’s lead with a shot off the crossbar after Stangl’s pass (59′). Felix Kuchel also failed to reach the crossbar shortly afterwards. While Mitrović let the blue and white celebrate, GAK’s hopes of a return to the Bundesliga were dashed after Balotelli’s opening goal.
Steyr also dismounted
At the bottom of the table are Vorwarts Steyr and the second team of Rapide Wiener Austria, who are relegated to the Regionalliga. In a direct duel for relegation, Steyr lost 0:3 (0:0) to Admira. Rapid II had to concede defeat at SKN St. Pölten with 0:1 (0:1), Young Violets lost 0:5 (0:3) at FC Liefering and finished the season at the bottom of the table.
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