Former Aston Villa and Wolves man is showing he is right up there among the great Bristol City strikers

Dynamite Austrian is getting better and better as he hit his 18th goal of the league season on the weekend.

When Bristol City manager Nigel Pearson declared he wanted a striker “to put the ball in the net” last summer, he could be forgiven for not realising that such a player was right under his nose.

Andreas Weimann had been injured with a dreaded ACL injury since the October against Swansea City, and did not play for the remainder of the campaign.

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Indeed, if he had, maybe things would have been much different for the Robins last campaign, as the front three of Chris Martin, Nahki Wells and Weimann initially sparkled in the 2020/21 campaign.

Weimann diligently returned to full fitness and with the club wishing to renegotiate the 30-year-old’s contract to help bring down a wage bill that needed taming, there was real doubt that the Austrian may not stay in BS3.

According to BristolWorld sources a move to Stoke City was a real possibility and when Bristol City adjusted their offer to add an extra year to a potential deal, then Weimann was wrapped up to remain at Ashton Gate.

Given that Weimann had also only ever hit a career-high 10 goals in a season, in 44 games for Bristol City in 2018-19, then Pearson would have had reason to doubt that a 20-goal player was already in the squad, despite the pair working together briefly at Derby County in 2016.

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Thankfully, all has worked out well since however, with Bristol City finally finding an heir to Bobby Decordova-Reid, who had suddenly dazzled in a more advanced position in Lee Johnson’s team of 2017-18 leading to Cardiff City swooping for the academy product, as the Bristolian refused to extend his contract.

Weimann arrived two days after Decordova-Reid’s departure. Perhaps Weimann’s similar explosion of quality, this year, was always to arrive, but recruitment is always a difficult art. To replace like for like can be impossible or take time.

Johnson explained that his new summer 2018 signing’s game could be “scruffy” at times. But, a few seasons on, Weimann’s play has all wondrously come together.

Even more so than his fantastic 2012/13 year at Aston Villa, that led to his parents putting a picture of him celebrating in front of the Holte End encapsulating that time above their dining table back home in Austria.

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The former Wolves, Rapid Vienna and Watford forward, whose mother was a 400m record-holding hurdler, has been blessed with stamina but also cursed, to some extent, with such a fantastic attitude and versatility.

Weimann has consistently been played out of position by many of his managers, and in eight different roles this campaign alone according to Even in making the Championship Team of the Week (below) in the past days, Weimann is positioned as a central midfielder.

Those stints at right wing-back have not stopped the goals though, as the great volley at Blackburn showed.

What a season it has been, from starting off netting braces, to Severnside splendour to the Millwall hat-trick, and possibly yet more to come.

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Thankfully, Weimann is contracted until 2024 meaning that Bristol City need not fear losing the all-action sharp-shooter’s services this coming summer, as has happened with other players in recent years.

And Pearson has just the man he was looking for.

Brilliant Bristol City strikers

So where does Weimann sit among the top Bristol City scorers? It’s difficult to compare from different eras and leagues.

The Robins have had a few top strikers over the years, but just in recent times at Championship level:

- Andi Weimann - 2021/22 season: goal every 194.1 minutes (18 goals in 3,494 minutes so far this season; nine assists).

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- Bobby Reid - 2017/18 season: goal every 212.8 minutes (19 goals in 4,043 minutes; seven assists).

- Tammy Abraham - 2016/17 season: goal every 148.9 minutes (23 goals in 3,425 minutes; three assists).

- Jonathan Kodjia - 2015/16 season: goal every 184.4 minutes (19 goals in 3,503 minutes; three assists).

There are still seven games to go this season, and every chance that Weimann hits the 20-goal mark, the much-heralded watermark for forward players.

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But don’t look past those assists either. Unselfishly creating many goals too.

Combine that creativity with Weimann’s relentless hard work, versatility, professionalism and leadership, and might Weimann be the best of the lot? All coming off the back of a nine-month injury too.

Former Bristol City defender Chris Honor played with some of the best strikers at Ashton Gate and now watches and analyses the Robins for BBC Radio Bristol.

We discussed where Weimann sits in that list of top City strikers of recent years, and agreed that the player of the season award for 2021 is already sewn up.

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“He’s not an out and out fox in the box, is he? He’s not a goal poacher like Abraham. I always thought this season, Andi was on a bit of a purple patch because he started scoring earlier on in the season,” Honor told BristolWorld.

“Then he went on a little bit of a drought and then he scored another two and another two. It seemed like a purple patch but he maintained it all throughout the season.

“Now he’s scoring some great finishes - Saturday, I thought was an amazing volley. He showed the confidence of someone who’s already scored 17 because he dispatched it so well.

“I don’t think he is a stereotypical centre forward because he makes some late runs, and he’s not someone who participates in all the stuff that goes round the box. He’s a hardworking player.

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“He is similar to Bobby Reid in that they are both high energy and they can do other things. I heard one of the reporters interview Pearson over the weekend and he said that Andi just gives you so much more than his goals. He would get picked, regardless of his goal tally.

“Bobby was like Abraham, he was a goal poacher who knew where the goal was and didn’t really want to be involved too much in the link-up play, because he was a young lad when he came to Bristol City, and all the rest of it.

‘I think he’s a fantastic player’ - Pearson on Andi Weimann‘I think he’s a fantastic player’ - Pearson on Andi Weimann
‘I think he’s a fantastic player’ - Pearson on Andi Weimann

“But I think, for me, Andi is more of a complete player because he gives you so much more. He sometimes switches off around the edge of the box, which you can kind of expect sometimes from forwards who don’t completely know their defensive duties. But his goal tally this year is far beyond expectations.

“And at the same time, thank god he has scored them because where would we be without them?” said the former City defender from 1985-1991.

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As for the benefits to the team, beyond goals, we enquire how much of a mental boost is given knowing that your side has a player there who can always make the difference.

Mention for ‘Super Bob’ came up as another top City forward. Of course, any talk of the best Bristol City goal-scorers must include mention of John Atyeo, Andy Cole, Alan Walsh, Tom Ritchie and many others. And Weimann may soon join that company.

“Goals always change games and I was lucky enough to play with Bob Taylor who was prolific in that Bristol City promotion team [of 1990],” explained Honor.

“If you do your job at the back, you’ve always got the likelihood of winning games. Unfortunately, that’s not the case at Bristol City because we know our frailties at the back.

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“But if it wasn’t for Weimann this year, I dread to think where we would be. Certainly his goals and assists have helped by putting some points on when we desperately needed them,” he explained.

Weimann’s season gets better and better, and as seniority has come for the recalled Austria international player, so have the goals.

Weimann, who is in charge of the music inside the Bristol City dressing room, is bang on song for Bristol City supporters this season. As they might say in his home city, lange möge es dauern [Long may it last].

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