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"A great feeling"

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Thanks to a strong performance and a historic hat-trick by Marin Ljubicic, LASK celebrated a crucial 3-1 home victory over league leaders RB Salzburg on Friday evening. This marked a perfect start for the new coaching team led by head coach Thomas Darazs and Maximilian Ritscher.

"It was a very important victory, especially from an emotional perspective," Darazs commented after the game. His team secured their second win in the fourth match of the final round and triumphed for the first time since 2018 against Salzburg in front of their home crowd (match report). This success was achieved thanks to an extremely diligent performance, including high intensity and passion in defensive work. "The energy was right, everyone was extremely tenacious and marched for each other. We as a team put on a very good performance, and that's how you get rewarded with three points," Florian Flecker expressed his satisfaction.

Interim head coach Darazs, given the short amount of time – his coaching staff only had two training sessions before the match against Salzburg – focused not only on tactical adjustments but also on the emotional aspect. "Before the game, we discussed that people also want to be entertained. It was immensely important for us to try to bring atmosphere into the stadium. Our way of communication is the sporting performance on the pitch and how we interact with each other. We executed that superbly," analyzed the 46-year-old. At the same time, he remained modest, emphasizing the need for further improvements in the upcoming weeks. "We can put this into perspective. We didn't win because we outplayed Salzburg, but because we really wanted it together."

First hattrick against Salzburg in 13 years

Marin Ljubicic became the first Bundesliga player since 2011 to score three goals against RB Salzburg.

Marin Ljubicic played a significant role in securing the second consecutive victory of the current spring season, during which three goals were scored for the first time this year. The Croatian became the first Bundesliga player since 2011 and the fourth overall to score a hat-trick against RB Salzburg, increasing his goal tally to seven. In total, the 22-year-old has now scored 26 goals in 68 competitive matches for LASK. "It was a fantastic feeling, especially after a period where we struggled to score. It was an outstanding performance from the entire team, which came at exactly the right time," said the match winner.

Interim coach Darazs also praised Ljubicic, hoping that this success boosts the confidence of their number nine. "He has greatly helped the team, just as the team has helped him. Perhaps every striker is a bit more sensitive than a rugged defender. I hope this gives him the impetus to score more often," explained the coach, who also acknowledged his entire staff. "The coaching team is not just Maximilian Ritscher and me, but also includes the goalkeeper coach, the fitness coach, analysts, and physiotherapists. We always prepare training sessions together as a team."

Tobias Lawal (l.) once again showcased his brilliant form.

"Football should bring joy"

With the eleventh win of the season, the athletes propelled themselves back to third place in the championship group, now holding a two-point lead over fourth-placed Rapid. "We can draw a lot of energy from this. We want to take this feeling with us, soak up the positive aspects, and try to bring that onto the pitch in the coming weeks," said Flecker, who provided the assist for the second goal.

Another home game awaits on Sunday with the clash against TSV Hartberg at the Raiffeisen Arena (secure your tickets now). Within a week, there will be two encounters with the East Styrians and the return match against Rapid. "Hartberg will be just as challenging but in a different way. We'll try to find solutions so that we can leave Hartberg with a smile on our faces," Darazs remarked, adding, "Football should bring joy. I hope the players come back to training this week with joy."

The interim head coach, Thomas Darazs, celebrated a perfect debut.