SCR Altach v FC Red Bull Salzburg
Having only staved off relegation on the final day of last season, Altach look set for another battle for survival this term – but did manage to beat fellow strugglers Ried 3-2 away from home last weekend. It was only the second win of the season for the Vorarlbergers, whose coach Miroslav Klose will be without a trio of midfielders – Dominik Reiter, Stefan Haudum and Sebastian Aigner – for the visit of the champions.
Salzburg were on course for their first Bundesliga home defeat in almost two years against high-flying LASK last time out, only for defender Oumar Solet to pop up with a 96th-minute goal to keep them two points clear at the summit. Matthias Jaissle’s charges followed that up with an impressive midweek victory against Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League and currently top their group at the halfway point of the group phase.
The Red Bulls tend to fare particularly well when they come up against Altach: they have taken 40 points from the past 15 Bundesliga meetings (W13 D1 L1) and have scored in every match during that run. We can therefore envisage a clear victory – maybe not by as large a margin as on their last visit to Vorarlberg when they beat Lustenau 6-0, but a comfortable one nonetheless – and would recommend backing Salzburg to get the three points and score at least twice in the process.
Austria Klagenfurt v Austria Lustenau
Austria Klagenfurt have been a breath of fresh air following their promotion to the Bundesliga last summer. They now seem to have gotten their disciplinary issues under control and are proving this term that they were by no means a one-season wonder: the Carinthians currently sit in fifth place in the table and have scored seven goals across their last two games – 4-1 and 3-2 away wins against Altach and Hartberg respectively.
Their next opponents are this season’s promoted side Austria Lustenau, who kicked off their campaign quite brightly and occupied third place with 10 points after five games – the best start by a newcomer since the league format was changed in 2018/19. But they have picked up only two points in their five matches since and dropped down to eighth place in the table following a 3-1 loss against Wolfsberg – their third defeat in a row – last time out.
But while the form book makes Klagenfurt heavy favourites for this match – the first-ever meeting between the teams at Austria’s top table – we think that the most predictable outcome is that both teams will find the back of the net. This is a clash of two of the leakiest defences in the division, after all (both 19 goals conceded): Klagenfurt have kept only one clean sheet in their 10 matches this season, while Austria Lustenau are yet to do so.
SK Sturm Graz v WSG Tirol
It’s second versus ninth in the Bundesliga table, as Sturm come in off the back of three league wins, and WSG have veered wildly between win, draw and loss in their last three.
Lautaro Rinaldi has proven himself to be a goal-getter for WSG, and Nik Prelec was unlucky to have a goal chalked off in their last game, but in the end the team were hammered 5-0, and the service to the strikers has been severely lacking in many of the Tyroleans’ games of late. This year they’ve struggled without the presence of a top-class loan striker as they’ve had in recent seasons. They produce the occasional moment of magic, especially on the break, but the consistency simply isn’t there, and away trip to Sturm is probably not the game they would want after last week’s drubbing.
For their part, Sturm can count on the league’s joint tightest defence, with only five goals conceded this term. That strength was on show in the Europa League on Thursday evening, as they put in a fantastic shift to thoroughly outplay Serie A side Lazio, before relying heavily on their defenders once down to 10 men. Amadou Dante in particular looks strong at full back, and Jon Gorenc Stankovic has become a real team leader in the centre. Last time they played in Europe they recovered to win comfortably at home three days later, and we back them to do the same this week. Last season’s “MVP” Jakob Jantscher will be a big return for them, and the pace of Mohammed Fuseini up front could torment WSG and give the Grazers a fourth win on the bounce.
Wolfsberger AC v SV Ried
Two teams with very different recent trajectories face off in Carinthia on Sunday, as fourth placed WAC welcome bottom club Ried to the Lavanttal Arena.
Wolfsberg are the form team in the Austrian Bundesliga at the moment, and after a tough start to the campaign they’ve won four of their last five to propel themselves up into the top half of the table. Only a 3-4 defeat at home to Austria Klagenfurt blots a copybook which has read very nicely since late-August’s European exit. Since bringing in Maurice Malone on loan from Augsburg, the WAC forward line has transformed. Malone has been involved in much of the good work the team have managed up front, netting two goals and three assists in just four appearances, and he’s helped Tai Baribo to score in four successive games.
Ried slipped to last place after defeat at home to Altach last week. Two stunning goals out of the blue can only mask so many problems for a poorly performing team. Conceding three to goal shy Altach is a real concern, and although Samuel Radlinger has done his best in goal, he’s been given too much to do by a porous defence. Perhaps more worryingly, Ried have scored just six times this season, a league low, and they badly miss Ante Bajic who left in summer.
WAC have gone a little under the radar after their poor start, and there’s good value here given their home record hasn’t been as solid as their away form. However their last home match was a routine 3-1 win over Hartberg, and with Ried in freefall, Wolfsberg should be more than capable of adding three points to the home tally on Sunday.
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