Preview: Austria vs. Serbia – prediction, team news, lineups

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Preview: Austria vs. Serbia – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday’s friendly clash between Austria and Serbia, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Before their respective Euro 2024 campaigns take precedence, Austria and Serbia commence their preparations for the tournament on Tuesday, meeting in Vienna for an international friendly.

Ralf Rangnick‘s men are on a phenomenal sequence of results and are seeking a sixth straight win this week, but their foes have prevailed in just one of their last four contests.

Match preview

© Reuters

One of many coaches to turn down the chance to take over from Thomas Tuchel at Bayern Munich, Rangnick has instead masterminded an exhilarating run of form at the Austria helm, culminating in Das Team’s third-straight Euros finals qualification.

Failing to win any of their group-stage games in the 2016 edition before progressing to the last 16 three years ago, Austria finished just one shy of qualification Group F winners Belgium to join the Red Devils in the automatic top-two positions, accruing 19 points from 24 on offer.

Since closing out a successful preliminary campaign with back-to-back triumphs over Azerbaijan and Estonia, Austria have remained irrepressible in a trio of friendlies, stunning Euro 2024 hosts Germany 2-0 before opening the calendar year with a 2-0 beating of Slovakia.

Turkey may have denied Rangnick’s men a fifth straight clean sheet on March 26, but Das Team hit their beleaguered foes for six themselves to prolong their excellent winning streak, thanks in no small part to a Michael Gregoritsch hat-trick.

Since concluding a doomed 2022-23 Nations League campaign, only one of Austria’s last 14 matches in all competitions has ended in defeat – another 11 have ended in victory – although pipping either France or the Netherlands to one of the top two spots in Euro 2024 Group D should still be a tall order.

Serbia coach Dragan Stojkovic on March 25, 2024© Reuters

Another taxing battle against Switzerland is in store for Austria on June 8 following their showdown with Serbia, who are also not many people’s picks to advance from Euro 2024 Group C over either England, Denmark or an in-form Slovenia outfit later this month.

Led by national team icon Dragan Stojkovic, Serbia came up short in both of their qualifying games against Group G winners Hungary and also dropped four points against Bulgaria, but by doing doubles over Montenegro and Lithuania, the Eagles sneaked into second place.

However, Serbia’s overall record does not spark optimism of a deep run in Germany, as despite edging out Cyprus 1-0 in March’s friendly thanks to a Sergej Milinkovic-Savic strike, that triumph was just a third victory from nine games for Stojkovic’s side.

Nevertheless, after three World Cup appearances since 2010, Serbia have already made history with their first Euros qualifications as an independent nation; the last time they competed at the continent’s premier tournament in 2000, they were still known as Serbia and Montenegro.

Furthermore, three of the Eagles’ previous four showdowns against Austria have ended in victory, although the one outlier is their most recent meeting in a 2018 World Cup qualifier, where Das Team left it late to prevail 3-2 thanks to an 89th-minute Louis Schaub effort.

Austria friendly form:

Austria form (all competitions):

Serbia friendly form:

Serbia form (all competitions):

Team News

Real Madrid's David Alaba is helped off the field after sustaining an injury on December 17, 2023© Reuters

While he was able to join in with Real Madrid’s Champions League celebrations, key defender David Alaba is still on the mend from a devastating knee injury and will not be captaining his country at Euro 2024; luckless striker Sasa Kalajdzic is in the same boat.

Earlier this month, a third ACL problem reared its ugly head for Austrian boss Rangnick, who has lost midfield fulcrum Xaver Schlager to an identical injury, although Marcel Sabitzer – now a Champions League runner-up with Borussia Dortmund – is a highly competent alternative.

All-time record appearance maker Marko Arnautovic – on 111 caps for his nation – is back in the ranks after missing March’s successes due to a hamstring problem, but Turkey hat-trick hero Gregoritsch has seemingly nailed down the number nine spot.

Meanwhile, Serbia boss Stojkovic has already trimmed down his squad for Euro 2024 – axing as many as nine players from his original selection – although all of the household names remain in the ranks.

Among them is all-time top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic, finding nets for fun in Saudi Arabia and set to earn his 90th cap for the Eagles, potentially as part of a two-man strikeforce with Juventus marksman Dusan Vlahovic.

Just behind the pair, Milinkovic-Savic – one of Mitrovic’s teammates at Al-Hilal – should bring up a half-century of Serbia appearances, potentially forcing captain Dusan Tadic to accept a place on the bench.

Austria possible starting lineup:
Lindner; Posch, Danso, Wober, Mwene; Sabitzer, Seiwald; Laimer, Baumgartner, Wimmer; Gregoritsch

Serbia possible starting lineup:
Rajkovic; Milenkovic, Gudelj, Pavlovic; Zivkovic, Lukic, Maksimovic, Kostic; Milinkovic-Savic; Vlahovic, Mitrovic

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We say: Austria 2-1 Serbia

Neither manager should be adopting an all-guns blazing approach for an inconsequential win on Tuesday night, where avoiding pre-Euros injuries will be the overriding goal, although Serbia could do with an injection of morale.

Stojkovic’s men may briefly benefit from Austria’s existing fitness concerns, but Rangnick’s in-form troops should emerge victorious by the close of play.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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