In the best case, football will start again on May 2nd, 2020
According to the general schedule, the last day of the championship round of the Austrian play-offs was scheduled for May 17, 2020. Less than four weeks later, the Austrian national team was supposed to be aiming for the first European Championship victory in history. But everything turns out differently than originally planned.
The Republic imposed a collective ban on events in Austria. In the Austrian Bundesliga there was therefore an early cancellation and the ball does not roll again so quickly. Before the total shutdown, the basic round was completed in Austria. The rest of the program is still quite a lot. In this article we will take a closer look at the situation in the Austrian Bundesliga.
Which events are still missing in the current season in Austria?
The 22 game days in the basic round were completed. According to plan, a division into master playoff and lower playoff with halved points is on the program. The six teams play against each other again in the first and second leg.
Ten championship rounds are currently still outstanding. After these ten rounds, the Europa League play-offs are still planned. The winner of the lower play-off also has the opportunity to get a ticket for the Europa League.
Depending on the outcome of the Austrian Cup competition, even the second from the lower play-off would still have this chance through the relegation. Speaking of cup competition, the final is still pending. This was originally scheduled for May 1st. It is also uncertain when the big favorites Red Bull SaLzburg and second division Austria Lustenau will face each other.
In total, the Austrian Bundesliga needs ten game dates in the basic round, one date for the cup final and three relegation dates (semi-final in a duel, final in the second and third leg). Whether this is all possible can and must be doubted based on the current state of affairs.
When can I start at the earliest?
First of all, the Austrian Bundesliga only decided to postpone the first two games in the play-offs. This would have meant that the teams would intervene again after Easter. This plan has now been abandoned and European football has gained time by moving the European Football Championship to summer 2021.
“The extension of the season into June now also gives the opportunity to interrupt the season as long as possible until the beginning of May” – ÖFB broadcast
Earliest possible re-start Bundesliga Austria
May 2, 2020
Shortly afterwards, the Austrian Bundesliga published a statement that the current season will be extended until June 30th. The new start for the Austrian Bundesliga is at the beginning of May at the earliest. This extended the self-imposed break by at least one month. Shortly before Easter there will be the next coordination with the twelve Bundesliga teams, which can be done if the season can no longer be played.
As a consequence of the extended break, many clubs are taking the chance of the new “Corona short-time work” and are putting the entire workforce under short-time work as of April. As a result, the club employees only get 80-90% (depending on the net earnings, with the players probably all 80%) of the previous salary from the state.
Possible scenarios with an early end
This is probably the most exciting question, what happens if the season can’t be played out regularly? For many clubs this would be the absolute worst case scenario. The short-time working model and the 38 billion aid from the state (for all areas) would weaken the financial aspect a little, but the lack of ticket and catering revenue as well as the lack of sponsorship would pose an almost insurmountable hurdle for the clubs.
In addition, it would by no means be clear what can be used as a fair approach to the season’s rating. Basically, we have worked out four possible scenarios that seem more or less realistic.
The season ends regularly
The best and most unlikely option! The situation has normalized within a few weeks, the clubs can start training again and in early May the Mammut program starts with full English weeks – whether with or without a spectator. The remaining dates are squeezed in and there is a regular champion, the EC starters and relegated players are determined regularly.
Time is short – there is only half a play-off
In this scenario, an improvement in general health would be in sight, but the beginning of May is still unrealistic. There is not much time left for shifts and accordingly the master and the lower play-off are completed in a single pass (everyone against everyone). This would only result in five game days and thus the Austrian Bundesliga would save a little more time. All clubs would certainly not be satisfied with this proposal, but there may be no other choice.
Nothing works anymore – the season is evaluated according to the current status
The Austrian Bundesliga has “luck in misfortune”, after all, the basic round was completed without any restrictions. All teams played against each other twice and therefore the current standings can be considered fair. According to media reports, UEFA has recommended that the 2019/20 season should be assessed according to the current status should it actually come to this.
The title series of Red Bull Salzburg would then come to an end and the LASK would be Austrian champions for the second time in the club’s history. Winning the title would have a bad taste, because three points ahead (and the poorer goal difference) would guarantee a tough fight for the title in the championship round.
The situation at the bottom of the table is even more explosive. The SKN Sankt Pölten would in no way accept such a descent without objection. After all, the last four teams in the bottom play-off are only separated by a single counter after the division of points.
This decision would be extremely bitter for individual clubs, given the fact that the table does not show a shifted picture, quite understandable in the worst case.
The 2019/20 season was never played
This decision would definitely lead to discussions and, at first glance, is also very unrealistic. The LASK would be deprived of the chance to win the second title, record champion Rapid Wien would again be without an international ticket, as it is said that the EC starters will be the same as at the end of the 2018/19 season. A possibility that we hardly want to pay attention to.
The starting position in the master play-off
Place- team – goal – difference – points
1. Lask 50:20 27
2. Red Bull Salzburg 74:26 24
3. Rapid Vienna 47:26 20
4. Wolfsberg 50:27 19
5. Sturm Graz 37:28 16
6. Hartberg 36:50 14
The best case in the Austrian Bundesliga is the start of the master group on May 2nd. The last remaining EC starter, LASK, is three points ahead of series champion Red Bull Salzburg. Rapid Vienna (seven points behind) and the WAC (eight points behind) only have mini chances to intercept the LASK. But third place is also extremely lucrative – after all, if Salzburg wins the cup, this would mean fixed participation in the group stage of the Europa League.
Sturm Graz is toying with third place, four points behind Rapid. Underdog TSV Hartberg is the clear contender for sixth place for many experts – a better placement would actually be a big surprise.
The starting position in the lower play-off
Place – team – goal – difference – points
1. Austria Vienna 33:36 12
2. Altach 34:44 12
3. Admira 22:43 9
4. Tyrol 26:50 9
5. Mattersburg 26:52 9
6.Pölten 21:54 8
The hoped-for start in the lower play-off of the Austrian Bundesliga is on May 2nd. The starting point is even more explosive than in the master play-off. The point distances are extremely small. Austria Vienna and Altach start with twelve points, bottom of the list Sankt Pölten has eight points on the credit side.
Austria head coach Christian Ilzer clearly emphasized that all teams are in the relegation battle. At the start of the play-offs, points are urgently needed to get some air. Finally, the winner of the lower play-off and possibly also the second (should Salzburg win the cup title) can still flirt with the Europa League.