The return home to Südstadt is also the by-product of the global health crisis. “There were two interesting offers from national teams, but that didn’t work because of Corona,” Herzog told the APA. “I didn’t want to do anything that involves frequent travel where there is always uncertainty.” The former midfielder terminated his contract as the Israeli team boss in June 2020. The coronavirus pandemic “simply destroyed a lot,” said Herzog at the time.
Last spring, the 103-time Austrian team player agreed to join Admira, taking over a club as a coach for the first time in his career. “My history and my past with the club” would have made the difference, Herzog revealed. Born in Vienna, he had a connection to his current employer from childhood on through his father Anton, who played in the Südstadt for years. As a toddler he began to play football with Admira, at the age of 15 he switched to Rapid, where he also celebrated the greatest successes nationally.
“Simply an interesting time”
For almost 20 years now, if he is not out of the country, Herzog has also lived in a house in Breitenfurt, i.e. in the Admira home district of Mödling. His sons Luca and Louis, who are crazy about football, play the “panthers” in the offspring. “It was just an interesting time now,” said Herzog. Admira, finally eleventh in the preseason, made a major change during the summer break. Almost ten players left, the average age in the squad is now 23 years.
“It’s clear that you have to work a lot with young players, but if we improve bit by bit, I think we’ll have a really exciting team this year,” said Herzog about the starting position. “I think that we really have four or five young players with us who can really cause a sensation in Austria.” There is no specific objective in figures. The upper half of the table is a distant wish.
Youth on the offensive trump card
It is noticeable that the team is extremely young, especially when it comes to attacking. At 27 years old, Dominik Starkl is by far the most experienced player. Fresh blood was brought on loan to Marlon Mustapha (20) from FSV Mainz 05, while the 23-year-old Brazilian Patrick came free of charge from Horn. But hopes are also placed on the young homegrown Luca Kronberger (19) and Filip Ristanic (17).
“But it’s not that problematic for me to have young players attacking. They should try something there. On the defensive it is much more important that there is experience, ”said Herzog. And with players like Stephan Auer (30), Sebastian Bauer (28), Matthias Ostrzolek (31) and Niko Datkovic (28), it is actually equipped with routine and has been reinforced with returning Stephan Zwierschitz (30).
Club coaches can form teams
As a talent promoter, Herzog has already acted as a U21 team boss in Austria and as a coach of the US U23 selection. After the US boys failed to qualify for the Olympic Games in 2016 and an unsuccessful application for the post of ÖFB team boss, he docked in Israel in 2018. On the one hand, the job as a club coach is “nicer because you can develop the team and not just see it every two months and then have to shoot up within a very short time,” he now emphasized.
“But if you take the job as national coach seriously, you are always tense. As a club coach, you are on the pitch every day and the time between games is much shorter. ”In any case, his debut on the bench in a competitive game was a success. On Friday, Admira beat regional league team SC Neusiedl am See 4-0 in the first round of the Uniqa-ÖFB-Cup. In the first round of the Admiral Bundesliga you have to go to WSG Tirol next Saturday (5 p.m.). In the preseason she came as sixth as a surprise, as Herzog would like to do with Admira.