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New leadership in starting blocks

New leadership in starting blocks

Just over 20 degrees Celsius, an ideal temperature in the training center – the start of Euro 2024 leaves nothing to be desired for the ÖFB team.

Of the 26 players called up, 25 appeared in Marbella, Spain, on Monday. Only Stefan Busch comes a day later, and he has good reason: he became a father to a boy on Friday.

One twist and a lot of renovation

Sporting director Peter Schoettel expects a “team spirit story” from the five days in Spain. After the long break, the team must “find each other again.” But of course tactics are also being improved, with the European Championship finals just around the corner.

The first training session – after the Raiffeisen advertising photo shoot, in which two or three kickers also took part – is characterized by renewal. Mohamed Sham and Philip Moeni training individually.

Shotel program

Schotel himself is only planning a short trip to the Iberian Peninsula, and will return to Vienna on Tuesday. His program has nothing to do with renewal.

Photo: © JEBA

“On Wednesday I will be first with the U-17 team in Wiener Neustadt, then with the U-19 team in Slovenia, on Thursday in the office, on Friday in Windisgarsten, then in Reed with the U-21 team, and on Saturday in the international match in Bratislava, On Wednesday. “On Sunday at the premiere of the Austrian Football Association documentary, on Monday at the office, and on Tuesday for my birthday in the international match against Turkey.”

Bonus negotiations await Alaba and Arnautovic

One thing he had already planned to do had to be postponed: bonus negotiations with players. “We have postponed it for a week because we hope that David Alaba and Marko Arnautovic will join us in Vienna and be there.”

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Otherwise, only half of the player representatives – Marcel Sabitzer and Konrad Laimer – will sit at the negotiating table with managing director Bernhard Neuhold.

New leadership in starting blocks

The Alaba/Arnautovic duo is missing, of course. “It's different when they're not there,” Schoettle says.

On Saturday, team president Ralf Rangnick, accompanied by fitness coach Martin Hammerli and nutritionist Martin Rinderer, was in Milan to speak to officials at Inter. “Everyone is supportive and interested in getting him back in shape quickly,” says Schotel.

“That's not nice, you shouldn't do that.”

Schotel talks about the chants against Rangnick

Now it's up to the other two kickers to take the leadership role. “The new leaders are at the starting point anyway, and now they face greater challenges than before,” says the sporting director, and in addition to the already mentioned Sabitzer and Leimer, he also means Christoph Baumgartner.

Great joy about liner

Someone who can already count himself among the veterans has returned to Ralf Rangnick's team seven months after being diagnosed with a lymph node condition: Stefan Leiner.

Said Schotel: “It's the best story ever for all of us. He comes in so upbeat, so positive and so happy – I've never known him so happy. He's in really good form. You can also tell in the matches that he's really liberated. The fact of his return could no longer be overcome. It will also be beneficial for us in terms of sports.”

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There is no joy about the Rangnick chants

One of the topics also discussed at the start was Rapid's three players, Niklas Heidel, Marco Grol and Guido Burgstaller, who were not taken into consideration. Some Rapid fans took the opportunity on Friday to insult the team president.

“It's not nice, you shouldn't do that,” speedster legend Schotel doesn't want to say much about it. His follow-up: “We have not added three potential candidates, but there are still three players from Rapid.”