The midfielder adds the much-needed creativity and more options going forward for the Highlanders.

NorthEast United’s new signing Marco Sahanek made his debut for the Highlanders in a 2-1 defeat to Chennaiyin FC on January 22. The Austrian attacking midfielder joined NorthEast United earlier this month on a free transfer. Sahanek comes at a time when the club needs inspiration to climb up the points table. Khalid Jamil and Co. are struggling to emulate their performance from last season, where they secured a third-place finish, the club’s best ever in its short history. He is one of three new January arrivals at NorthEast United, with Marcelinho and Zakaria Diallo.

They’ll be hoping to guide NEUFC to a better position in the second half of the 2021-22 season. The Austrian has prior experience of playing in the Austrian Bundesliga and this will be his first taste of Indian football. He made his debut against Chennaiyin FC in a 2-1 defeat, showing glimpses of his quality. 

Here is a look at the player profile for Marco Sahanek and what he brings to the table:

Past Experiences

The 31-year-old has played for various teams, majorly in Austria. He started his professional career with the FK Austria Vienna youth team in 2004-05. Sahanek went on to play for teams like Stadlau youth, Admira U-17, ASK Schwadorf, Admira Wacker, FC Admira II, WAC – St. Andra, SV Kapfenberg, A Klagenfurt, SV Horn, and FAC. His first foreign experience came in 2017-18, when the midfielder moved to Malta to sign for Hibernians FC.

His next foreign destination after another brief spell back in Austria would be Thailand. Sahanek signed for Nakhonratchasima Mazda in the Thai league. He has now joined Indian Super League outfit NorthEast United after terminating his contract with the Thai club in December 2021.

Club Career Numbers

Marco Sahanek has played over 316 matches in his career for various teams in multiple competitions. He featured majorly in the second division of the Austrian league system, making 220 appearances, scoring 48 goals and assisting 59 more. 

Sahanek also played in four UEFA Champions League Qualifying fixtures for Hibernians FC, where he made two assists. He played against RB Salzburg back then. His longest spells has come with Floridsdorfer AC, which plays in the Austrian second division. In two separate spells for them, Sahanek appeared in 101 games scoring 29 goals and providing 32 assists.

Last Season’s Performance

The midfielder featured in 25 matches across the Austrian second division and the Austrian Cup with Floridsdorfer AC. During that time, he scored 14 goals and provided six assists. Before joining NorthEast United, he played 11 games in the Thai league, scoring two goals and providing two assists. 

Type of Player

Marco Sahanek is an attacking midfielder who likes to be involved in the attacking third. His goalscoring feats in the last season with Bundesliga side Floridsdorfer AC were impressive. Moreover, Sahanek can shift in as a deep-lying midfielder, who creates chances for the forwards. He will form a good partnership with Marcelinho thanks to his playmaking qualities. NorthEast United will bank on the midfielder’s expertise in finishing, to bag some goals and help gain points.

In just 26 minutes in his debut appearance for NorthEast United, Sahanek attempted to shots, both on target, and also created two chances. His entry helped Khalid Jamil’s side finish the game on a much better note. The Austrian could have decided the outcome if not for CFC goalkeeper Debjit’s alertness.

How he fits in manager’s plans

Khalid Jamil was struggling for creativity in the attacking third before the arrival of Sahanek and Marcelinho. On many occasions, players like Deshorn Brown were isolated upfront without any proper service. Federico Gallego’s injury meant the club needed a replacement.

The tactician will bank on the experience of the Austrian. He mentioned how the midfielder will play a major role in the team going forward.

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