Salzburg captain Andreas Ulmer must have felt quite old: The record title holder of Austrian football was something of a statistical outlier in the Champions League home game against Wolfsburg on Wednesday evening. With his fast 36 years, he has really pushed the average age of the Red Bull squad upwards. Does he really have that? At least, given the average age in the starting line-up of an incredible 22.5 years, it didn’t stand out. What is striking, however, is the callousness and callousness with which this youngest eleven of this year’s Champions League season rushes through Group G.
As was the case last against OSC Lille, individual (goalkeeper) errors in the Siezenheim witches’ cauldron were put away with the left, in order to be able to celebrate three points after the 3: 1 over the much more experienced VW Werkself in the end. As the clear leader of the group half-time, Salzburg is preparing to be the first team to make it into the round of 16 today if the next victory is achieved on Allerseelentag in Lower Saxony. The catapult start of Matthias Jaissle’s team was almost paradigmatic.At 33 he was one of the coach’s chicks himself: 124 seconds after kick-off, the leather floundered in the Wolfsburg’s net after it was captured by Brenden Aaronson (20) on his own sixteenth via Mohamed Camara (21) and Nicolas Seiwald (20) to the lightning-fast Karim Adeyemi (19) had been passed.
After the shock moment of equalization by Lukas Nmecha (15th) – after a corner kick that made keeper Philipp Köhn, like the entire Salzburg defensive look sleepy – the domestic series champions decided the game with standard situations, actually the team’s Achilles heel. This time it was 21-year-old Noah Okafor who, after Cornern, was spot on twice in the six-meter space (65th, 77th) and netted ice-cold.
The Swiss Okafor, already dubbed a transfer flop, played part of his eleven million euro transfer fee with his first two Champions League goals and an overall strong performance. “I came here with a lot of self-pressure, and then I had bad luck with injuries. But I always believed in myself and worked hard. I want to push myself,” said the previous easy Nati player.
But what is the secret of the young bull troop that makes all the great protagonists – from Sadio Mane to Erling Haaland to Dominik Szoboszlai – forget faster than expected? The thirst for knowledge is the biggest virtuoso teams, stressed coach Jaissle on this mild October evening. “Our goal is to learn from every half in the Champions League. We’ll do that extremely quickly and extremely effectively.” In Seville (1: 1) it was probably the blow on the neck of two missed penalties, but the mistake of 23-year-old Köhn followed in the home win over Lille (2: 1) – experience on the big football stage with an apparently quick learning effect. Young people research and win.
Although the coach himself was not entirely sure of what was on offer: “The mature performance after the equalizer, not to be backed up, but to bring a few more horsepower onto the road in the second half – that was a really great Champions League evening “, Said Jaissle.” Today we were close to 100 percent. It was also necessary that we come close to our maximum performance against a strong team from the German Bundesliga, “he added. You saw it that way in his home country:” Turbo footballer “(dpa) and a” very appealing, sometimes even thrilling performance “(” kicker “) were spotted here.
After the recent draw of the competition (Lille and Sevilla split goalless), it is now looking very good for the domestic series champions to be the first Austrian team to reach the knockout phase of the premier class. (So far in 2000 only Sturm Graz managed to survive the first group stage at the time.)
However, Jaissle does not want to know anything about the round of 16: He now expects three more games “on a knife’s edge” – the next two of them away from home – because “anything can happen”. On top of that, arithmetic games didn’t interest him: “Maths was really a bad subject for me at school.” Nevertheless, the calculation remains simple: With a win in Wolfsburg, the ascent is not only theoretically achieved, but also in real life. Nevertheless: “We are actually still approaching it with all modesty and want to be brave and cheeky again in the next game in Wolfsburg,” concluded Jaissle.