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2024 NYCFC Player Preview: Hannes Wolf

The Austrian winger could be one of the best MLS signings this year — if the 24-year-old regains his fitness and remains healthy.

NYCFC winger Hannes Wolf in 2024 preseason training | Courtesy
Name: Hannes Wolf
Age: 24
Position: Left Wing, Right Wing
Key Stat: 22, 21 – the numbers of goals and assists Wolf logged in three years at Red Bull Salzburg

After arriving from German side Borussia Mönchengladbach on a free transfer last month, 24-year-old Austrian winger Hannes Wolf will bring experience and depth to Nick Cushing’s left flank in 2024.

Former Austrian starlet left out in the cold

Wolf began his professional career in his native Austria, where he spent a prolific three years at Red Bull Salzburg. Wolf scored 22 goals and recorded 21 assists in 89 appearances, and his performances saw him earn a move to sister club RB Leipzig in 2019.

But he made just five appearances for the German outfit before being loaned to Bundesliga rival Borussia Mönchengladbach in July of 2020. After making 41 appearances in all competitions for the Lower Rhine club, while scoring four and assisting twice, the loan was made permanent the following summer under then-manager Marco Rose.

However, Wolf would soon find himself out of favor in Gladbach after Rose moved to Borussia Dortmund. Wolf was loaned to EFL Championship side Swansea City in January of 2022, where he started to regain his form. But the Gladbach hierarchy wasn't impressed, and Wolf would remain a bench option after returning to Germany. New manager Gerardo Seoane left him out of his plans entirely for the 2023/24 season.

A meniscus injury in October of 2023 all but sealed the Austrian’s fate. Gladbach terminated the winger’s contract, paving the way for a switch to New York City FC on a free transfer.

Will NYCFC get a creator and finisher?

Across Wolf’s career to date, the Austrian has 51 goals and 40 assists, which averages out to a goal contribution every 151 minutes.

But injuries have hampered his form. Wolf’s most recent full season was the 2020/21 campaign, when the Austrian was on loan at Gladbach.

Still, it's important to remember that the Austrian is still just a 24-year-old, and has proven that he can contribute in the past. In 32 appearances for Gladbach in the 20/21 Bundesliga season, over half of which came from off the bench, Wolf contributed three goals and two assists.

Wolf also managed significant minutes during Gladbach’s Champions League and DFB Pokal campaigns.

The fact that, when healthy, the Austrian can provide significant minutes in major European competitions, makes Wolf’s arrival a tantalizing prospect for head coach Nick Cushing.

Expect Wolf to feature predominantly on the left side of a front three. He'll compete for minutes with Talles Magno, which could be good for both players. The Austrian’s pedigree, experience, and relatively young age mean that he could make a significant impact — if he remains healthy.

If Wolf delivers on his promise, NYCFC may just have engineered a coup.

Hannes Wolf at RB Salzburg