Football / Reaction / Austrian Bundesliga Title Race

Austrian Bundesliga Title Race

Pre-season favourites Red Bull Salzburg and Rapid Vienna are languishing in the bottom-half but which teams can challenge for the title?

Sturm Graz's Gordon Schildenfeld

 

Much like in the German Bundesliga the Austrian league has also seen the pre-season favourites stumble out of the blocks, and as we near the mid-point in this campaign Red Bull Salzburg and Rapid Vienna both trail surprise leaders SV Ried by 10 points.

In the 12 seasons since 1998/99 the eventual champion has always been in the top four after 15 games, with 10 of 12 being in the top two and eight already leading by now. Salzburg do have a game in hand which could allow them into the top four but even with an extra three points they’d still be seven behind first, and at least three behind second-placed Sturm Graz (who also have a game in hand).

Furthermore, 10/12 champions were no more than two points off the lead at this stage and in the two other years, where the winners were five and six points adrift, they were only one point off second.

This would seem to remove Rapid Vienna and Salzburg’s chances this year which given 11/12 champions finished in the top four the previous year should increase the possibility of an Austria Vienna or Sturm Graz title, who finished 2nd and 4th respectively last year (also, the top four places have been filled by the same four teams for three years running).

Meanwhile SV Ried finished eighth last year and while only one of the three leaders to have finished sixth or lower the previous year went on to become champions they did all finish in the top three.

There is also further evidence of how poor value Salzburg are at 1.9, as just 1/13 teams to finish in the top three the previous year and then be 5-10 points off the lead after 15 games went on to be champions, while seven finished outside the top three. Added to that is the fact they’re the lowest scorers in the top eight – this is partly explained by the sale of prolific striker Marc Janko in the summer.

Overall Austria Vienna and Sturm Graz look to offer good value, with the Viennese side rightfully shorter given they finished 17 points ahead of Graz last season and just one point behind Salzburg. At the same time Ried are on a three-game winning streak and should challenge for top-three honours.

Recommendation: Split stakes – Austria Vienna to win Austrian Bundesliga at 5.5 and Sturm Graz to win at 11.0, Both William Hill

 
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