Salzburg’s UEFA Youth League triumph owed much to a stirring team ethic, but with seven goals and four assists across the campaign, one player stood out from the pack: Hannes Wolf.
Name: Hannes Wolf
Debut: 8 December 2016 v Schalke (UEFA Europa League)
Born: 16 April 1999
Preferred foot: left
They say …
“Hannes is a special player with a special quality, but he works for the team too – that’s what I like.”
Marco Rose, Salzburg youth coach
“He’s a very good player. He’s very young and has a big future with Salzburg and, maybe in a couple of years, in Europe.”
Sandro Ingolitsch, Salzburg’s UEFA Youth League captain
Born in Graz, Wolf started out at local side SC Seiersberg, joining Salzburg’s academy aged 15. In February 2016 he made his debut for feeder team FC Liefering in the Austrian second tier. However, with four strikers injured, Salzburg boss Óscar García drafted Wolf into the senior fold in December, and the teenager saw his first minutes of competitive senior action in a 2-0 UEFA Europa League group stage win over Schalke.
Playing style …
A fast, modern forward who knows how to score, Wolf is comfortable on the wings and as a centre-forward. Apart from his stunning technical abilities and pace, his biggest strengths may be his vision and anticipation.
Shades of …
As a versatile attacking threat, Wolf bears a certain resemblance to Dortmund’s Marco Reus, especially for his passing and quick runs. They also have a similar haircut.
Eureka moment …
Wolf bagged some brilliant goals in this season’s UEFA Youth League, but eyes were opened wider when he provided both assists in Salzburg’s 2-1 final triumph over Benfica in Nyon – the first a precisely hit corner. “In my mind’s eye, I can still see that ball moving in slow motion,” he said later. The second assist was a fine cross after a powerful run down the right. Without him, Salzburg probably wouldn’t have lifted the trophy.
Best-case scenario …
Salzburg coach García will be well aware of Wolf’s progress, yet for the moment he is likely to remain at Liefering. He could, however, be a serious option for the senior side next term. He is just 18 and if patience is one of his virtues, a great career may beckon.
He says …
“It has been a perfect season for me so far. After the league campaign is over, we can look back on it all, but up to now it has been very good. The next step is to get into the first-team squad regularly. The dream is to play in another country, like England, Germany or Spain, but for now I’ll enjoy the moment. [The UEFA Youth League] is my first big European trophy – it’s the highest point I can reach at this time, so I’ll never forget it.”