Olympique de Marseille, PSV Eindhoven, Sporting Braga or Glasgow Rangers – who SK Storm will face as opponents in the third round of the Champions League qualifiers will be drawn today at 12pm in Nyon. Sturm coach Christian Elzer has no desire. “No matter who we get, it’s very difficult to play against all four teams. We need an astronomical two days if we want to progress,” Elzer says, adding: “Braga will definitely be the toughest opponent. For me personally, Rangers will be special because of Ibrox Park. But for our fans, every stadium is worth a trip.”
Wlodarczyk is not Höjlund or Emegha
Before Sturm begins his European Cup journey, a trip to France is still on the agenda for Tuesday. After two training sessions in Graz, the team kicks off for the evening. On Wednesday (6.30pm), it will be the last Test match for this setup on the programme. The opponent is Emmanuel Emiga’s new club Racing Strasbourg. The trickster who evil thinks Emegha has ended up there of all places. “When we agreed on the match, there was no talk of a transfer,” says sports director Andreas Scheker.
Szymon Wlodarczyk took Emegha’s place in the Graz team and scored a hat-trick in his first competitive match. “Simon isn’t Rasmus, and he’s not Emmanuel either. He has other qualities. But he still needs to get to the level where he can play. It’s a process with potential,” says Ilzer. He needs time to absorb the Storm’s game – like Kelvin Yeboah, Rasmus Hooglund and Imega once did. Sturm found a replacement for Emegha a long time ago. Now is the time to negotiate wisely. And now we only care about the profile,” he said, adding, “We need a real rocket.”
Increase the power of competition
Without Rocket, Graz moved to the second round of the Austrian Football Association Cup. And despite a 7-2 victory over SAK Klagenfurt of the Carinthian League, the Graz game was not sovereign. With both goals conceded, Sturm wasn’t looking good. “If we play with 100 per cent commitment, we are really uncomfortable with every team. But if we act a little careless, we are quickly on the way to a mediocre team,” said sporting director Andreas Scheker.
Coach Elzer sees it the same. And he puts it this way: “A lot of things went well during preparation. But I also saw things that give good indicators for improvement. It’s good to prepare if everything is not going like clockwork. In the last week of preparation, it is important to increase the level of competition even more,” explains Ilzer.
And it looks like 19-year-old Scotsman Max Johnston will sign his contract with Graz today.
“General writer. Twitter fanatic. Award-winning alcohol practitioner. Pop culture guru.”