After three wins in the first three games played (the third round against BSK 1933 had to be cancelled due to a strong thunderstorm) and convincing performances, FC Pinzgau Saalfelden had to accept the first defeat of the season at that time in round 5 against SV Austria Salzburg. After that, the red thread and consistency was lost a little. Strong performances were followed by less exhilarating performances, so that they quickly lost ground in the standings. Since there is a lot at stake in the current season due to the reform of the regional league, the club agreed to an early termination of the cooperation with coach Alexander Schriebl at the beginning of October after an extensive analysis and an open exchange.
With Markus Fürstaller, an old acquaintance returned to the Pinzgau bench. This should turn out to be a great stroke of luck after a flawless record. In keeping with the motto “come to stay,” the 47-year-old will remain with the regional team as head coach in the spring after six wins in as many games.
You made your coaching comeback very spontaneously in the fall. What were your first impressions?
That’s right, it was very unexpected for me to find myself in this situation. But a change of coach always involves a bit of luck, and why it suddenly worked out so well is a good question. If you always knew that beforehand, you would never get into trouble and make all the right decisions early on. It’s often not explainable, but then I was probably in the right place at the right time. The first impression in training was very good and we then quickly embarked on a positive development path.
What measures did you then take with your coaching team? There wasn’t much time available.
The players quickly recognized the seriousness of the situation, acted sacrificially in the final weeks before the winter break and fought for the three points with an irrepressible will. The belief in their own abilities returned quickly and the last six games were also very convincing on a player-safe level. It was a great pleasure to watch the team on the pitch. Physical accents were no longer necessary at this stage and the focus was therefore on individual discussions or discussions in smaller groups. The mental area also plays a big role in the amateur area and with every success, the self-confidence also increased. This was also true for me, and day by day my joy in coaching grew.
What was the division within the coaching team then?
I know the existing coaching team very well, so the settling-in period was also very short. I knew I could trust everyone and received a lot of support. That made it easier for me to get started and I really appreciated that. Training went well, and I got more involved in specific areas where I thought it made sense. I addressed a lot of things directly and focused on the here and now. You can’t change what happened at some point, but you have to learn the lessons from it and use it as an impetus.
Can you pinpoint the impressive run of success to certain factors?
First of all, it was certainly the famous trainer effect, and with the success against the league leader, a certain fun factor quickly set in during training and in the game. Great combinations, creativity in the game, and the willingness to overcome one’s inner pig were further success factors. I was impressed by that and it was the decisive points for me personally.
As we all know, after the fall is before the spring. What do the plans look like?
The first preparation phase is currently underway. In addition to independent units, the important foundation for intensive preparation is being laid in the weight room. Injury prevention is important to us so that our players are ideally prepared for the start of training on January 9. Christian Rothart has taken care of everything. He is an expert and takes care of the first important step. From the start of training, I will be in charge and will plan this important phase together with my coaching team. In the next few weeks, the essential foundations for the whole year will be laid, and we want to use that to our advantage.
What are your goals for the spring?
I wouldn’t pin it down to a position in the standings. There are always many factors that play a role. If we can keep the players fit, let their creativity flow and find playful solutions, we’ll have a lot of fun and be successful in the spring. But it’s important to have a plan B in the drawer. There will be games where we don’t have the necessary penetrating power in the playful sector. We want to prepare for that and continue to act flexibly. That’s what distinguished us at the end of the fall season.
What is the situation with the squad?
At the moment, we’re making sure that all of our injured players are fit again and can train with the team in January without any problems. Of course, you can never rule out the possibility of someone leaving the club at short notice, but that’s part of the business. Our squad is not insanely large, but one or two players for the width would certainly do us a lot of good.
FC Pinzgau Saalfelden will start training on January 9, 2023. Currently, three test matches are scheduled with TSU Bramberg on February 3; SPG LASK Amateur on February 11 and SK St. Johann on February 18.
The resumption of the 2022/23 campaign will kick-off against SV Wals-Grünau on March 11, 2023.