Austria v Russia preview

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 2:13

Austria v Russia preview

Russia are currently second in Group G, two points behind Koller’s side, having been held to a 1-1 draw at home to Moldova last time out.
Fabio Capello’s men travel to Vienna on Saturday night looking to pick up the victory that would take them to the top of the table, with Koller of the belief that Russia are the stronger outfit.
“The initial position has not changed, Russia are the favourites in our group,” he said at his pre-match press conference.
“Russia has a very strong team with great players. They are very controlled and (possess) disciplined play.”
But Koller did admit Austria can take heart from Moldova’s performance in Moscow and from other underdogs picking up memorable results throughout the whole of the qualifying groups.
“It is interesting to see that the supposedly little teams are taking away points from the big ones,” he added.
“They are – and I have always said – very close games. When I look only to our group, there were already some surprising results. The (smaller) teams have developed physically and tactically further and dutiful victories are no longer an actuality.”
Former England boss Capello goes into the game with reports that he has not been paid by the Russian Football Union for five months – but he will want attention to stay on the pitch.
Montenegro and Sweden meet in Podgorica knowing that a win for either of them could see them capitalise on the result in Austria.
Erik Hamren’s Swedes are level on points with Russia whilst Montenegro are only a point adrift in fourth place.
Captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic may not be fully fit in time for the game but Hamren would still consider playing the Paris St Germain forward with the qualifier taking preference over a friendly in France next week.
“Much depends on how Zlatan (feels) himself,” Hamren replied when asked if his star attraction would play.
“The players know their bodies better themselves. Zlatan is not 100 percent, but a player like Zlatan is good for us even if he plays at 70 or 80 percent.
“We concentrate on the first match. Then we’ll see if we’re going to rest him or any other player for the second match against France. We’ll see. Right now it’s full focus on the European Championship qualifying match against Montenegro.”
The third game of the evening sees the two strugglers meet in Chisinau as Moldova host Liechtenstein with both sides looking to add to their solitary point of the campaign so far.

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