Salzburg v Sturm Graz
Having both progressed in the Austrian Cup and kept their hopes of European progression alive heading into the final two group matchdays, Red Bull Salzburg and Sturm Graz will now go head-to-head in a table-topping Bundesliga clash. The Red Bulls currently sit in pole position with 29 points, while the Grazers are only two points adrift in second place and would leapfrog their rivals into top spot with a victory.
They will certainly take hope from the fact that Salzburg’s injury list has grown even longer over the past fortnight, with forward Sékou Koïta, midfielder Nicolás Capaldo and full-back Andreas Ulmer recently sidelined with thigh, knee and adductor problems respectively. Sturm, meanwhile, are missing only one player: defensive midfielder Vesel Demaku has been out of action with a shoulder injury since the end of September.
Christian Ilzer’s men are also the only side to inflict a defeat upon Salzburg in any competition this season – but that match was at their home ground and not at the Red Bull Arena, where Matthias Jaissle’s charges are on a 32-game unbeaten streak in the Bundesliga – dating back to January 2021 – and have won nine of the last 11 meetings between the teams (D1 L1). In short, this game is tough to call. But if you don’t want to take the plunge on a home win, we’d recommend backing both teams to score. That has happened in 10 of the last 11 league clashes between the clubs.
Rapid Vienna v Austria Klagenfurt
A turbulent season which has seen Rapid eliminated from European competition by minnows from Liechtenstein and defeated by derby rivals Austria for the first time in years spiraled further last weekend as coach Ferdinand Feldhofer was sacked following a defeat to Ried. He has since been replaced in the dugout by the interim duo of sporting director Zoran Barisic and sporting coordinator Steffen Hofmann, who guided the Green & Whites past fellow Bundesliga club WSG Tirol in the cup in midweek.
Austria Klagenfurt won away from home in the cup as well, continuing their upturn in form over the past month and proving that they were by no means a one-season wonder on their return to the Bundesliga last term. Peter Pacult’s men sit in fourth place on 17 points – three ahead of Rapid, who have a game in hand – and have a clean bill of health. The same cannot be said of the capital club, who could be without first-choice goalkeeper Niklas Hedl, defender Kevin Wimmer and right winger Nicolas Kühn.
For a club in such disarray, it is hard to say with any certainty whether the new manager bounce will extend into a second game for Rapid – especially against an Austria Klagenfurt side that has won each of their past three Bundesliga away games, scoring 11 goals in the process. Instead, we think banking on both teams to score is your safest bet: Rapid Vienna have found the net in nine of their last 10 Bundesliga home games, while Austria Klagenfurt have done so in 10 of their last 11 league away outings.
Austria Lustenau v Ried
This early-afternoon kick-off will be a meeting of two teams on opposing trajectories: Austria Lustenau made the best start of any promoted club since the league was reformatted in 2018 over their first five games but have now lost their last four matches, while Ried recently found themselves bottom but have since put together their first three-match winning run in all competitions in two and a quarter years. That means they will head into this clash only a point apart in the table, with Lustenau in ninth and Ried in 11th.
The form book very much points in Ried’s favour, as does the head-to-head record in the Bundesliga too. The Vikings are undefeated in all of their previous 13 meetings in the Austrian top flight, picking up seven wins and six draws – a record that includes three wins and three draws away from home too. In short, there is no other team against which Ried boasts a better record in their Bundesliga history.
While there can be no guarantees – especially in the unpredictable, topsy-turvy world of Austrian football – our instincts say that Ried will be the favourites for this one, even if they do have to do without right-back Josef Weberbauer, who recently ruptured knee ligaments. However, to play it on the safe side, we’ll tweak our recommendation to a draw no bet in favour of Ried – as we could certainly envisage this one ending in a stalemate too.
LASK v Austria Vienna
Early-season frontrunners LASK seemed to completely go to pieces in September, transitioning from league leaders to winless in five games at an alarming speed, but have now put together back-to-back wins in the league and cup. The same cannot be said of Austria Vienna, who fell victim to an ÖFB-Cup giant-killing in midweek when they lost to third-tier amateurs Wiener Sport-Club.
The only injury concerns for LASK boss Dietmar Kühbauer are the central defensive duo of Jan Boller and Philipp Ziereis, although the former has not played consistently for the Linz outfit this season anyway. The situation is a little more strained over at the capital club, where defender Lukas Mühl has a groin strain, attacking midfielder Muharem Huskovic has been in intensive care following a traffic accident and forward Marko Raguz is set to miss the reunion with his former club with a knock.
LASK have the far superior recent head-to-head record in Bundesliga meetings between the two clubs, with nine wins, four draws and only one defeat from the last 14 clashes. With home advantage on their side and the better recent form too, we think that the money has to be on the Linzers to take the three points in this fixture. If they do so, they will already be 10 points clear of Austria Vienna at this early stage of the season.
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