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Gerhard Struber was an unknown quantity when he was appointed as Barnsley manager last year.
The Austrian arrived in South Yorkshire from the Austrian Bundesliga after impressing with his former side Wolfsberger which enticed the Barnsley hierarchy to bring him to England. The club had just parted ways with popular manager Daniel Stendel, who had helped the club win promotion from League One but struggled to build upon those foundations in the Championship.
Despite being unknown before he turned up at Oakwell, football fans from across the Championship have become accustomed to his ways during his short spell in charge so far. His side currently sit bottom of the division with nine games left to play with a seven-point gap between themselves and safety as a return to League One is starting to look likely for the Tykes.
Despite Struber taking up his role in November, not many people outside of Barnsley know about his past, so here are TWO facts that you might not know about the Barnsley boss…
Austrian international honours
Struber would not become a senior Austrian international during his playing career but did represent the U21 side on three occasions. He made his debut for the Austrian youth set-up in an international friendly against the Czech Republic, playing 90 minutes in a 5-0 defeat. That wouldn’t be the end of Struber in an Austria shirt though as he would play a part in the U21 European Championship qualifiers.
He would play just 19 minutes in a 3-1 win over Latvia but wouldn’t go on to play any further part as they failed to qualify for the finals. Struber did appear once more for the U21s in a draw with Slovakia but would not take the step up into the senior team despite having a career mainly in Austria’s top-flight.
Impressive Europa League performances
Before he took the job at Barnsley, Struber was the manager of Austrian side Wolfsberger who he had guided into the group stages of the Europa League. Struber would guide his former side to a very impressive 4-0 win in Germany over Borussia Monchengladbach as well as a draw with Italian side AS Roma before joining Barnsley.
Results against the likes of Monchengladbach and Roma underlined his qualities of being an underdog which Barnsley felt was a tactic that they would need to deploy if they were going to ensure their safety in the Championship.