FC Admira Wacker Modling finally relinquished top spot in the Austrian Bundesliga over the weekend as Austria Wien took over on goal difference. The title race is now wide open, with four teams all level on 27 points at the summit. Meanwhile there was plenty of excitement in the Swiss Cup as three top-flight sides bowed out in the Last 16. FIFA.com rounds up the latest from the two Alpine nations.
Graz knock Admira off top spot
Admira Wacker Modling's time at the top of the Austrian Bundesliga has finally come to an end. Dietmar Kuhbauer's side suffered a 3-1 defeat away to reigning champions Sturm Graz, where 12,190 fans watched as Roman Kienast and Martin Ehrenreich (2) struck the goals for the hosts.
Austria Wien moved into top spot despite being held to a 2-2 draw at home to SC Wiener Neustadt. The visitors, who had opened the scoring in the first half through Tomas Simkovic, netted a dramatic late equaliser two minutes into added time. Nonetheless, Austria still claimed pole position by virtue of their superior goal difference over Rapid Wien, SV Ried and Admira.
Salzburg end negative run
Following a run of seven matches without a win, Red Bull Salzburg finally celebrated another victory – and in some style. The Bulls thrashed bottom side SV Kapfenberg 6-0 to claim their first three points since 18 December. Jakob Jantscher and Stefan Maierhofer each struck a brace for the hosts, while Georg Teigl and a Stefan Erkinger own goal completed the scoring.
"We showed today what our team is capable of," said Salzburg coach Ricardo Moniz. "It was an important victory, especially in view of next Thursday (when his side face Paris St. Germain in the UEFA Europa League). We played well and scored some very good goals, but we're still a long way off where we want to be. It's a long process."
At the bottom, the situation is becoming ever bleaker for struggling Kapfenberg. With just nine points to their name from 16 matches, the gap between themselves and second-bottom Mattersburg already stands at four points.
Cup exits for three Super League sides
FC Zurich, BSC Young Boys and Servette FC were all humbled by second-tier sides in the Last 16 of the Swiss Cup. While FC St. Gallen sent FC Zurich crashing out with a 4-2 home victory, Servette were beaten 3-0 by FC Biel-Bienne and BSC Young Boys went down 3-2 on penalties to FC Winterthur. Holders FC Basel also struggled against lower-league opposition, requiring extra time to beat FC Wil 3-2.
Grasshoppers made hard work of their tie against SC Kriens, eventually overcoming the Challenge League outfit on penalties. Steven Zuber and Izet Hajrovic had twice put GC ahead in normal time, but Kriens pegged them back on each occasion thanks to strikes from Igor Tadic and Roman Guntensperger. Extra time failed to produce a winner, so the match was forced into penalties, where Grasshoppers prevailed 5-3.
"It was disappointing to throw away the lead," said Hoppers coach Ciriaco Sforza. "Considering the amount of chances we had, we could, perhaps should, have sealed it. We were lacking a little determination, though, and gave our opponents reason to believe they could win it. Still, I was pleased with how the young players remained cool in the shootout. They did a great job, as did one of the oldest members of our team (goalkeeper Davide Taini), who saved a penalty."
Last 16 results:
FC Tuggen 1-2 FC Sion
FC Wil 2-3 (aet) FC Basel
AC Bellinzona 0-4 FC Lausanne-Sport
FC St. Gallen 4-2 FC Zurich
FC Biel-Bienne 3-0 Servette FC
SC Kriens 2-2 (aet) Grasshoppers (Grasshoppers win 5-3 on penalties)
FC Winterthur 1-1 (aet) BSC Young Boys (Winterthur win 3-2 on penalties)
FC Wohlen 1-2 FC Luzern