How good is Kerschbaumer? Austrian football expert gives the lowdown

Brentford’s latest European arrival is Austrian midfielder Konstantin Kerschbaumer, who has signed a four-year deal after the Bees agreed an undisclosed fee with Admira Wacker.

Like the club’s other signings so far this summer, the 23-year-old will be an unknown quantity to many supporters.

Austrian football expert Tim Armitage spoke to West London Sport about Kerschbaumer and how the player might fit into the Brentford side and Championship football

His CV
A graduate of the Rapid Vienna academy, although he didn’t play any first-team games, Kerschbaumer made his name with second-tier side SKN St. Polten, particularly in their run to the Austrian Cup final in 2013-14. Despite defeat, they earned a spot in the Europa League qualifiers and Kerschbaumer scored in a 4-2 aggregate defeat by PSV Eindhoven. His displays for St Polten attracted top-flight club Admira and he signed for them in January.

Armitage believes the Championship will prove a tough examination for Kerschbaumer, but given time he can flourish.

He said: “I think it is a very big step up in terms of physicality and quality. A recent example of a move similar to this was Guido Burgstaller, who joined Cardiff from Rapid Vienna last summer. Burgstaller is an Austrian international but barely got a look in, albeit they are very different types of players.

“I think given time he should have no issues in adapting to the league – whether he will break through as a key player for Brentford is perhaps too much to expect straightaway.”

His playing style
Bees head coach Marinus Dijkhuizen described Kerschbaumer as a “box-to-box player” and he certainly chipped in with goals while playing in the Austrian second tier. But despite netting against PSV, that aspect of his game has dried up a little – he scored three times in 43 games last season for both St Polten and Admira.

Armitage said: “He loves to receive the ball deep in his own half and is not scared to drive the ball forward.

“He is a very dangerous player in the final third too – his vision and ability to pick out a pass make him such a dangerous player in that area of the pitch.”

The stats add up
The club’s new stats-based approach to scouting has seen a number of unheralded players arrive at Griffin Park this summer. Even Kerschbaumer himself declared he was “flabbergasted” when Brentford’s offer came in, and described the move as “a dream come true”.

But Armitage said he understood why the Bees had plumped for Kerschbaumer – and had the stats to back it up.

He said: “He contributed to 19% of all Admira’s goals in 2014-15 (one goal and five assists), despite only playing 16 league games. That gives you an idea of how important he was to the side.

“Kerschbaumer has done nothing but impress me since joining Admira in January and I have a very high opinion of the player, despite his lack of top-level experience.”

What can Brentford fans expect from him?
Kerschbaumer has played for Austria from Under-16 to Under-19 level but has yet to represent his country. However, Armitage doesn’t believe his lack of experience will hinder him if Brentford supporters are patient.

He added: “I would advise Brentford fans to give the player time to settle before expecting fireworks. However, I hope that he can flourish and helps them push for promotion.”

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