Our prediction for this match:
Despite beating the likes of Serbia and Moldova in the last two World Cup qualifying games, Austria eventually failed to book their place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals. The Austrians are now preparing for the UEFA Nations League and they face a tough fixture list in upcoming friendly games. Das Team take on Russia in Innsbruck in Wednesday’s football match and they are surely eager to extend their winning run to six games. The Russians, on the other hand, aim to make amends for back-to-back losses to the likes of Brazil and France and it remains to be seen if they are capable of putting an end to their five-game winless run. The World Cup hosts need to get back on course as soon as possible, but beating the high-flying Austrians on the road, at Tivoli Stadion Tirol, is easier said than done.
Highlighted Player (Veli Kavlak):
Veli Kavlak is an Austrian international midfielder playing for Turkish giants Besiktas since 2011. Kavlak began his professional career at Rapid Wien where he spent seven years before his move to Turkey. A defensive box-to-box midfielder, Veli Kavlak is renowned for his tireless running and endless stamina.
Most often deployed at the holding role, Kavlak is a hardworking leader to his team. During most recent times his career has been plagued by numerous injuries which have prevented him from playing his usual role for the Turkish giants. Former Rapid midfielder has endured a difficult season marked by a recurring shoulder problem which kept him out of action for the most part of the campaign.
Fitness issues continued in the 2016-17 season forcing Kavlak under the knife for the fifth time in two years. His club notoriously decided to freeze Kavlak’s contract, which means that the 29-year-old midfielder is heading into the new Champions League season without his monthly payments.
Highlighted Team (Russia):
While they won the 1960 European Championship, while losing in the final in 1964, 1972 and 1988 as Soviet Union, Russia have enjoyed little success since starting to compete as an independent country in 1992.
Their best result up to date is the third-placed finish at the Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland, while the team failed to get past the group stage at the World Cup finals in three attempts. However, with Russian Premier League getting stronger by the day, the national team have started to improve as well, and they now finally seem capable of matching the world’s top sides.
The new generation includes high-quality footballers such as Alan Dzagoev, Aleksandr Kokorin, Artyom Dzyuba and Oleg Shatov, while the likes of Igor Akinfeev, Sergei Ignashevich, Roman Shirokov and Yuri Zhirkov are nearing the closing stages of their careers. But, with plenty of exciting talent coming through the ranks, future definitely looks bright for the Russia national team.