Regionalliga Salzburg Matchday 31: FC Pinzgau Saalfelden vs. SK Bischofshofen
June 3 2022 (18:45 CET), Saalfelden Arena
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Founded back in 1933, Sportklub Bischofshofen are among the most storied clubs in the Regionalliga Salzburg. The real glory days came between the mid-1950s and mid-1970s, a period during which the Blues & Whites became state champions of Salzburg nine times and even achieved promotion to the Austrian top flight in 1971. But the Nationalliga, as it was known at the time, proved to be a step too far for the newcomers, who finished the 1971/72 season bottom of the table with only eight points (one win and six draws).
Several relegations followed in the ensuing decades, with the club reaching their lowest ebb when they dropped down into the fifth division in 1999. After the best part of 20 years languishing in the backwaters of Austrian football, Bischofshofen recently achieved two promotions in close succession and have been back in the third tier since 2018/19.
It has been a busy week for FC Pinzgau Saalfelden, who have announced two exciting new signings for the coming season: Austrian attacking midfielder Philipp Zehentmayr, 24, returns to the club where he came through the youth ranks, while Brazilian forward Gabriel Francisco da Silva Lima, 19, has signed on the dotted line too.
More immediately on the horizon for the Mountainous Pine Blues, however, is the final home game of the current campaign against Bischofshofen. They are still without the injured midfield quartet of Hasan Ibrahimi, Eren Aydinhan, Joao Pedro and Semir Gvozdjar, but defender Denis Kahrimanovic’s return from a three-match ban will be a major boost for Christian Ziege.
SK Bischofshofen, meanwhile, will be without a suspended player of their own: defender Albin Begovic, who has made 19 appearances across all competitions this season, will be sidelined after picking up two bookings in the space of four minutes against Grödig last time out. Watch out for Nazar Verbnyi, a Ukrainian defensive midfielder who is playing outside his homeland for the first time and has scored three goals in his last two league appearances.
FCPS continued their inconsistent run of form with a 3-0 defeat away to Salzburger AK last weekend – a result that means they have now taken only one point from their last three outings. They remain third with 30 points but will have to win both of their remaining games and hope the top two, Seekirchen and Kuchl, drop points if they are to finish top of the table.
Bischofshofen, however, have been on a great run that has seen them drop only two points out of a possible 15 and climb up to fourth place – one point adrift of the Mountainous Pine Blues ahead of their meeting on Friday. The only dampener for BSK has been the SFV-Landescup final, which they lost 3-2 to Kuchl despite leading by two goals with less than 10 minutes to play.
The Mountainous Pine Blues have historically fared well against Bischofshofen: they have seven wins to their name versus only two defeats, while half of the previous clashes (nine out of 18) have ended in stalemate. FCPS have drawn twice at Sportplatz Bischofshofen this term but won their meeting at the Saalfelden Arena by a 2-0 scoreline.