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A look ahead to the first 2014 World Cup Qualifiers for Austria

Austria opens up their 2014 World Cup Campaign at home, with the powerful Germans visiting Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna on September 11. Manager Marcel Koller recently named his 23 man squad which is largely unchanged from the teams last friendly, a 2-0 victory at home over Turkey.


Keepers: Robert Almer (Fortuna Düsseldorf /Germany, 3 caps), Christian Gratzei (Sturm Graz/Austria, 10 caps), Heinz Lindner (Austria Vienna/Austria, 1 cap)

Defenders: Aleksandar Dragovic (Basel/Switzerland, 16 caps / 0 goals), Christian Fuchs (FC Schalke 04/Germany, 48/1), György Garics (FC Bologna/Italy, 27/1), Florian Klein (Red Bull Salzburg/Austria , 11/0), Emanuel Pogatetz (Wolfsburg/Germany, 48/2), Sebastian Prödl (Werder Bremen/Germany, 34/3), Franz Schiemer (FC Red Bull Salzburg/Austria, 23/4), Markus Suttner (Austria Vienna/Austria , 4/0)

Midfielders: Julian Baumgartlinger (1.FSV Mainz 05/Germany, 22/0), Guido Burgstaller (Rapid Vienna/Austria, 4/0), Martin Harnik (VfB Stuttgart/Germany, 30/8), Andreas Ivanschitz (1.FSV Mainz 05/Germany, 56/10), Jakob Jantscher (Red Bull Salzburg/Austria, 10/1), Zlatko Junuzovic (Werder Bremen/Germany, 20/2), Veli Kavlak (Besiktas/Turkey, 18/1), Christoph Leitgeb (Red Bull Salzburg/Austria, 28/0), Yasin Pehlivan (Gaziantepspor/Turkey, 17/0)

Strikers: Marko Arnautovic (Werder Bremen/Germany, 19/7), Patrick Bürger (SV Mattersburg/Austria, 2/0), Marc Janko (Trabzonspor/Turkey, 27/11)


Considering the team is taking only 3 strikers, I would imagine that the team will continue to use a 4-2-3-1. I would guess that it will the starting team will look like this.


                                      Garics                        Prödl                             Pogatetz                   Fuchs

                                                               Baumgartlinger                        Kavlak

                                                Ivanschitz                         Junuzovic                   Harnik


Recently Marcel Koller came out in support of Janko, leading me to think that he’ll shift Harnik out onto the right in order to put Janko up top.

My prediction: Germany is coming off a disappointing 3-1 loss at home to Argentina that saw their keeper get sent off with a red card and Sami Khadira score on an own goal. This team will be eager to put that match behind them. If Austria has anything going for them, it is that Germany has a match on Friday against the Faroe Islands, and while they won’t be challenged too much, they could be a little tired from the quick turn around.

If Austria is to get something out of this match, the holding midfielders Baumgartlinger and Kavlak will need to be stellar in providing a barrier to the back line.

Getting one of the Germany matches out of the way puts the team behind in the group standings,but might also mean that you are facing the Germans when they are not yet clicking on all cylanders. I think that Austria loses this one, but a scoreline of 2-1 is respectable and doesn’t damage the goal differential. Junuzovic scores on a good pass from Ivanschitz to tie up the score. Ozil will get a late winner to see the Germans get 6 points from their first 2 matches.

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