After just one year in the Schalke 04 kit, Reinhold Ranftl’s first adventure abroad is over for the time being. The 30-year-old turns his back on the Bundesliga promoted side and moves to Austria on loan for a year, joining Wiener Austria.
Wiener Austria surprise with the signing of wing-back Reinhold Ranftl, who after just one year with FC Schalke 04 is pulling up stakes in Germany and moving back to Austria. For a long time, city rivals Rapid were the favourites for a transfer of the 30-year-old defender, but now head coach Manfred Schmid’s team has won the bid for the six-time Austria international. Ranftl signed a one-year loan contract with the third-placed team in the standings last season.
Experience for the young team
“Reinhold Ranftl is a leader who brings an incredible mentality to the pitch and can be a role model for our youngsters. He can play several positions on the right side, is enormously strong on the run and is certainly an absolute reinforcement for our tasks in the autumn,” said sporting director Manuel Ortlechner about the transfer coup. “He has a highly professional approach and is also a good character off the pitch. He simply brings a lot of qualities that we expect from an Austria player. I am pleased that he has decided to join us because he also had offers from a few other clubs,” Ortlechner continued.
The long-time LASK professional only moved to Schalke 04 last summer after six years in Linz, where he was able to celebrate the championship title and the return to the Bundesliga, but was unable to earn a regular place at the club from Gelsenkirchen. Ranftl only played 15 times in the second Bundesliga, plus one game in the DFB Cup. The defender played his last game for the “Königsblauen” on 13 March in the 3-0 win over FC Ingolstadt, where he was substituted after 52 minutes of play.
Now the Styrian-born defender is returning to Austria, where he hopes to get more playing time with last season’s third-placed team in the Bundesliga in order to get his faltering career back on track. “I’m happy about the transfer, it’s a super step for me. The talks with the coach and the sporting management convinced me that Austria has a clear plan that fits well with my style of play. I want to play as many games as possible this season, play football with fun and passion and get back to my old strengths,” Ranftl also expressed his enthusiasm about his transfer to Vienna.
With his routine, the six-time Austrian international is expected to support Coach Schmid’s young team and bring his international experience to the upcoming European Cup matches. He has already played in 16 games for LASK in the Europa League group stage. In addition, Ranftl has already played four matches in the Champions League qualifiers.