Austria's runner-up LASK sees itself after reaching the Europa League team victory over the goal. But the journey of the Upper Austrians is not over yet. "We are buzzing around Europe. Now we are going to recover, and we will continue to swirl in Europe," coach Valerien Ismael said after the 3-0 win over Sporting Lisbon on Thursday.
LASK eventually won Group D with 13 points ahead of Sporting (12), PSV Eindhoven (8) and Rosenborg Trondheim (1). "You have to say that we deserve to be up there, though some luck is part of it, of course," said forward Marko Raguz, who beat Sporting 3-0 in extra time.
"I think we will only understand what we have achieved in a few years," Ishmael added. "13 points, in a group with Sporting Lisbon and Eindhoven – and then certainly actually went through the group stage", the Frenchman apparently was not yet able to realize LASK's biggest European Cup success. With the group victory they have been made "historic", said Peter Michorl.
"We had a lot of games where we reached the limit, where we definitely called our performance. You can see that a lot is possible. But it shouldn't be a matter of course that we always win games like this," Captain Gernot called Trauner to humility.
Gernot Trauner: "We just always think of something"
Regardless, the athletes are in the draw with a draw Monday (1pm) in Nyon and – like Meister Salzburg – can't face another team winner and a top four team in the third league of the Champions League in the sixteenth final. Possible opponents in February are Wolfsburg with ex-LASK coach Oliver Glasner, Eintracht Frankfurt with coach Adi Hütter, AS Roma, Wolverhampton, Getafe, FC Copenhagen, APOEL Nicosia, FC Brugge, Olympiakos Piraeus, Glasgow Rangers, Shakhtar Donetsk or Bayer Leverkusen,
"There is no wish," emphasized Ismael, who took over LASK in the summer. "I think we are already over what we have achieved. We will be happy, we will enjoy it." Michorl: "In the sixteenth finals we will be the underdog again, but a lot is possible in football. Of course we will try to go a round further."
The midfielder had served Trauner 1: 0 on Thursday with a corner kick. "The standards are absolutely fine, we just think of something," the scorer explained. "Of course I'm glad I scored again." For him, too, there is no desirability as far as the sixteenth final: "Whoever comes now – we will try to make life as difficult as possible for the opponent. Let's see who we can compete against."
Valerien Ismael on Emanuel Pogatetz: "How to say goodbye to a player"
Emanuel Pogatetz was once again in the blink of an eye at Linz Gugl. The defending veteran, long-time legionary in England, Germany, Russia and the United States as well as ex-team player, was adopted before the match and came on a brief assignment in the final stages. After the fall season, the 36-year-old switches to FC Juniors in the second league.
"That's how a deserved player is going to be adopted," Ismael said. "I asked him to enjoy it because he could decide when it would end, I didn't have that option." Also from the colleagues there was praise for Musterprofi, who is still the club. "He pushes the young players, never lets up, and that's what characterizes his career," Michorl said. "We are happy that today we could give him a farewell victory."