A lean 0-0 in the end catapults TSV Hartberg directly from the Austrian province onto the European football stage. A 3-2 in the first leg and a goalless draw in the second leg of the league playoff against Austria Vienna finally seal the club’s Europa League participation from the almost 7000-strong village in Styria.
A few years ago, the TSV still existed in the lowlands of Austrian football, now it suddenly plays internationally. SPORT1 tells the Hartberg football fairy tale.
It is the year 2017 – TSV Hartberg is in the Regionalliga Austria (3rd league), Bundesliga football was hardly conceivable for the team from Styria. Hardly known and rather laughed at, the 50-year-old pharmaceutical entrepreneur Brigitte Annerl joins as a sponsor and later as president of the provincial association.
A development that can be seen is achieved out of nowhere. In just two years, TSV Hartberg marched from the Regionalliga to the Austrian Bundesliga. In their first year in the top division, the Styrians sensationally celebrate qualifying for the Europa League last season.
“The fact that a club with the lowest budget in the Bundesliga moves into the European Cup is like winning Formula One with a tricycle,” enthuses the President after the final game against Austria Vienna. (Team market value loud transfermarkt.de: 8.58 million euros)
“Hartberg doesn’t have to”
And the team of three around President Annerl, sports director Erich Korherr and trainer Markus Schopp have a bear share in the success.
“Hartberg doesn’t have to. And not having to is one of the greatest advantages in life,” the presidents philosophize Sky, if you ask them about the success of the past few years: “That’s the beauty of football: nobody believed in us, and we did the impossible.”
And now in the Europa League – next season it could be against international greats like Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur or Bayer Leverkusen. “We will do everything we can to not only play along, but also to create one or the other sensation in Europe,” says Korherr sport24 the route ahead.
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What will the future bring? What will happen to Tadic?
But what’s next for the provincial team?
Often seen in modern football, such surprise teams are quickly blown up by lucrative offers from other clubs – this often makes it difficult for smaller clubs to keep the top performers in the team.
For example, the future of top scorer Dario Tadic (17 goals this season) is still open. The 30-year-old’s contract has expired, the Hartbergers would like to extend it. However, according to the Little newspaper the Polish club Legia Warsaw are also interested in the Austrian.
Head coach Markus Schopp took an important step against this development last week. It extends for another year in Styria and is willing to continue the meteoric rise of the provincial association.
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And the President also does not see the end of the flagpole yet. “The performance curve is not yet at the ceiling (Blanket, editor’s note) arrived “, she says in mischievous Austrian dialect.
The TSV Hartberg wants to continue in the fast lane in the coming years. And keep writing on the Styrian football fairy tale.