“For the most part we did exactly what we set out to do – really control the game,” said Rangnick. “We almost always kept our foot on the gas until the end.” Only the first 20 minutes were tough. “We didn’t win any balls, we didn’t have access. After the change it got better. After that, we were in control at all times.”
Rangnick had opted for a 4-4-2 system and wanted to attack the opponent with strikers Michael Gregoritsch and Christoph Baumgartner. The Azerbaijanis, coached by the Italian Gianni di Biasi, bridged this – unexpectedly for the 64-year-old – with long balls and were therefore in the majority in central midfield. Rangnick pulled Baumgartner back onto the right wing, Konrad Laimer strengthened the centre. The gambit worked.
cheers for Sabitzer
After the sovereign victory against Azerbaijan, the ÖFB team is satisfied with the successful start to the European Championship qualification. There was praise above all for England legionnaire Marcel Sabitzer.
Conversion “was already a decisive factor”
“After that we conquered a lot of balls and played the way we imagined,” emphasized Rangnick. “That was also a decisive factor.” But the German didn’t want to emphasize his tactical trick. “In retrospect, I would have preferred it if we had played like this from the start.” In this respect, however, he ultimately had to react to the opponent from Azerbaijan.
Rangnick didn’t want to give any special praise to any player. “I thought it was a very cohesive performance. None fell off. Those who came in also picked up seamlessly.” Marcel Sabitzer, who was called up as captain because of the absences of David Alaba and Marko Arnautovic, then stood out a little. Rangnick: “Of course you can say that if a player scores two goals and prepares one – then he was a bit of a difference player.”
Whether Sabitzer can also run against Estonia is not certain for the time being. After a slap on the knee, the Manchester United legionnaire trudged into the dressing room 20 minutes before the end. “A precautionary measure,” reveals Rangnick, who will definitely have to do without Maximilian Wöber on Monday. The left-back picked up a hamstring injury against Azerbaijan.
Goal conceded as the only “blemish”
After his second international appearance, Rangnick spoke positively about ex-Austrian Patrick Wimmer. The 21-year-old should keep his place in the starting lineup. “He continued his performances from Wolfsburg and absolutely justified his line-up,” said the team boss. He praised Wimmer’s speed dribbling, drawn fouls and his courage to take risks. “For me, he showed everything we hoped for from him in this game.”
This also applies to the home game atmosphere in Linz (“Just as we wanted it to be”). Rangnick described the goal conceded as a general “small blemish”. “We absolutely wanted to keep a clean sheet, but overall it was a convincing performance.” He is now hoping for the same against Estonia.
Azerbaijan is now visiting Sweden on Monday in a duel between the two losers at the start. The Scandinavians suffered a clear 3-0 defeat at home against group favorites Belgium. “It was clear that there would be a change after the elimination in the group stage of the World Cup,” said Rangnick about the Belgians. These would have a “top team” – also with some new, younger players. “When you win 3-0 away in Stockholm, that shows a certain quality.”
European Championship qualification, group F, first day of play
Austria – Azerbaijan 4: 1 (2: 0)
Linz, Raiffeisen Arena, 16,500 spectators (sold out), SR Frankowski (POL)
1:0 Sabitzer (28.)
2:0 Gregoritsch (29.)
3: 0 Sabitzer (50th / free kick)
3:1 Mahmudov (64.)
4:1 Baumgartner (69.)
Austria: Lindner – Mwene, Trauner (74th / Ulmer), Danso, Wöber (34th / Posch) – Seiwald – Laimer, Sabitzer (74th / Ljubicic), Wimmer (68th / Kainz) – Baumgartner, Gregoritsch (68th / Adamu )
Azerbaijan: Imanov – Haghverdi, Mustafazada, Hasanalizada (46./Krivotsyuk), Jafarguliyev (46./Aliyev) – Richard Almeida (78./Isayev), Mahmudov, Israfilov (60./Jamalov) – Kökcü (46./Alaskarov), Dadashov , Sheydayev
Yellow cards: Wöber or Jafarguliyev, Richard Almeida, Mahmudov, Israfilov, Dadashov