Our football match prediction:
Thursday’s football match at Ernst-Happel-Stadion pits together Austria Wien and Rijeka. Austria Wien suffered a heavy 5-1 loss to Milan in the opening match of their Europa League campaign, but they were on the verge of beating AEK in Athens in their second group game. However, the Greeks eventually scored a late equalizer and shared the spoils with the Violets at Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis. Rijeka, on the other hand, have yet to recover from a loss to Olympiakos in the Champions League play-offs and they head into Thursday’s clash against Austria following back-to-back defeats to the likes of AEK Athens and Milan. The Croatian champions have been struggling at the back in the group stages of the Europa League and we do not believe that away win should be considered. It has to be noted that the two teams meet for the first time ever in European competitions.
Highlighted Player (Raphael Holzhauser):
After spending his youth career at the likes of ATSV Teesdorf, Rapid Wien and VfB Stuttgart, Raphael Holzhauser started playing for the reserve team of Stuttgart at senior level. The 193-cm tall midfielder scored 11 goals in 77 appearances for the team and he played 23 games for the first team of Stuttgart as well. The Austria international was loaned to Augsburg in 2013, but he made no more than 13 appearances for the Bundesliga side in the 2013/2014 season. In the winter of 2015 Raphael Holzhauser returned to his homeland, signing a contract with Austria Wien. The left-footed midfielder has been playing for the capital club ever since and it has to be noted that he scored 8 goals in 35 appearances for the VIolets in the 2016/2017 Austrian Bundesliga campaign, while providing ten assists for his teammates. Raphael Holzhauser has a contract with Austria Wien which should expire on June 30, 2018. His main position is central midfield.
Highlighted Team (Rijeka):
Founded on July 29, 1946 as Sportsko Drustvo Kvarner, Rijeka are a Croatian football club that have always been in Dinamo Zagreb’s shadow. Dinamo are undisputedly the biggest football club in Croatia, but Rijeka did well to put an end to their dominance in the HNL in the 2016/2017 season. The Rijecki bijeli won their first ever domestic trophy and, as a result, they made it to the Champions League qualifiers. However, Greek champions Olympiakos proved to be a big catch for Matjaz Kek’s troops in the play-offs for the group stages of the elite competition. Before the breakup of Yugoslavia Rijeka won two domestic cups (1977/1978, 1978/1979) and it has to be noted that they clinched their fourth Croatian Cup title in 2017, with the team beating Dinamo Zagreb in the final of the competition. Rijeka welcome their rivals at Stadion Rujevica and the capacity of the stadium is 8.279. The venue was opened in August 2, 2015.