The UEFA Nations League features an interesting set of games this week as Northern Ireland take on a formidable Austria outfit at the Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna. Austria have been excellent this year and are the favourites to win this game.
Northern Ireland have endured a difficult UEFA Nations League campaign so far and have a point to prove going into this game. The away side suffered a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Slovakia in the Euro qualifiers earlier this week and will want to bounce back in this game.
Austria, on the other hand, are at the top of their group in the UEFA Nations League and will have to fend off competition from a strong Norway side to secure promotion to League A. The Austrians thrashed Luxembourg by a 3-0 margin in their previous game and will be confident ahead of this fixture.
Austria vs Northern Ireland Head-to-Head
Austria have a slight advantage over Northern Ireland as far as the head-to-head record is concerned and have won five games out of a total of 12 matches played between the two sides. Northern Ireland have managed only four victories and will want to level the playing field this weekend.
The previous meeting between these two teams resulted in a narrow 1-0 victory for Austria. Michael Gregoritsch scored the winning goal on the day and is likely to play a pivotal role in this fixture.
Austria form guide: W-W-W-W-L
Northern Ireland form guide: L-L-L-W-L
Austria vs Northern Ireland Team News
Austria do have a few injuries to account for and will have to do without Florian Grillitsch and Alessandro Schopf in this game. Maximilian Ullmann and Albert Vallci have tested positive for the coronavirus and cannot play a part against Northern Ireland.
Injured: Florian Grillitsch, Alessandro Schopf, Maximilian Ullmann, Albert Vallci
Northern Ireland will be unable to avail the services of Matthew Kennedy and Corry Evans against Austria. Jonny Evans also has a few fitness concerns and might not play a part in this game.
Injured: Matthew Kennedy, Corry Evans
Doubtful: Jonny Evans
Austria vs Northern Ireland Predicted XI
Austria Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Pavao Pervan; David Alaba, Martin Hinteregger, Aleksandar Dragovic, Stefan Lainer; Julian Baumgartlinger, Stefan Ilsanker; Christoph Baumgartner, Xaver Schlager, Marcel Sabitzer; Michael Gregoritsch
Northern Ireland Predicted XI (4-4-2): Bailey Peacock-Farrell; Shane Ferguson, Tom Flanagan, Danny Ballard, Michael Smith; Jordan Jones, Jordan Thompson, Ethan Galbraith, Niall McGinn; Kyle Lafferty, Josh Magennis
Austria vs Northern Ireland Prediction
Northern Ireland have endured a difficult week and will be looking for a fresh start against Austria this weekend. The away side can potentially cause an upset but will need to be organised against a formidable opponent.
Austria have built an excellent squad this year and are on course to win this game. The likes of David Alaba and Marcel Sabitzer have plenty of experience on the international stage and should be able to guide Austria to a victory against Northern Ireland.
Prediction: Austria 2-0 Northern Ireland
Published 13 Nov 2020, 21:15 IST