Saturday & Sunday’s Austrian Bundesliga Predictions and Best Bets

Andy

Admira Wacker v LASK

Saturday 19th February – 4:00PM KO

Permanent top-half finishers since returning to the Austrian Bundesliga in 2017/18, LASK are in real danger of missing out on that minimum objective this term: they are currently ninth and absolutely must beat lowly Admira before facing the top two in their final two games of the regular season. Admira, two places below them, need the points for a different reason: they have been ever-presents in the top tier over the last decade but, now only four points above the drop zone, the spectre of relegation looms large for the Lower Austrians.

They will at least be able to count on important centre-back Wilhelm Vorsager, who returns following his one-match suspension, but they will be without right winger Josef Ganda, who missed the Hartberg game after sustaining an eye injury. LASK, meanwhile, will have to cope without talismanic midfielder Peter Michorl, who was sent off for two bookable offences against Austria Klagenfurt. Attacking duo Husein Balic and Alexander Schmidt are expected to miss out too, although they have contributed only one goal each this season.

The head-to-head stats will definitely make for pleasant reading for LASK fans: the Linzers have won nine Austrian Bundesliga matches in a row against Admira – including the last four away games – and have never conceded more than one goal during that run. That, plus the fact that Admira have not won any of their last nine league matches this season (D5 L4), makes a LASK victory a reliable bet.

Prediction: LASK to Win, 1.80 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)


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Austria Vienna v Hartberg

Saturday 19th February – 4:00PM KO

Of all the games taking place in this round of fixtures, none has more significance for the top-six battle than this one. With three games to go before the points are halved and the league splits in two, Austria Vienna sit in sixth place on 24 points, while Hartberg are two places and two points behind. A win for the capital club would see them open up an almost insurmountable lead over the Styrians, as they bid to reach to reach the Championship Round for the first time in three years.

They do have some absentees to contend with in the attacking department – top scorer Marco Djuricin plus the attacking duo of Dominik Fitz and Muharem Huskovic are injured – but young Englishman Noah Ohio stepped up to the plate in their absence in the victory over bottom club Altach last time out. Hartberg’s biggest personnel concern will be Rene Swete: the goalkeeper missed the draw with Admira with the coronavirus but is expected to be part of the travelling contingent heading north to the capital this weekend.

It’s hard to predict a winner when these two meet: Austria Vienna have won the last three – including a thrilling 4-3 victory in the reverse fixture – but Hartberg won the three clashes prior to that. That’s why we’re instead recommending a bet on both teams to score: that happened in five of the league’s six matches last weekend, and both of these teams have found the net on each of their last four outings.

Prediction: Both Teams to Score, 1.65 on Betfair  (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)


Ried v WSG Tirol

Saturday 19th February – 4:00PM KO

Championship Round-chasing Ried, who dropped down to seventh place after their defeat against Wolfsberg last time out, have made the Josko Arena into a real fortress this season: they have won eight and drawn six of their past 14 matches on home soil – their longest such unbeaten run in 13 years – and almost defeated runaway league leaders Salzburg there a couple of months back. On the road, 10th-placed WSG Tirol have beaten the two teams below them – but otherwise have not tasted an away league victory since March.

But while the form book points to a win for the Upper Austrians, they did lose the reverse fixture 4-2 and have a number of worrying injury problems to contend with. Top scorer Seifedin Chabbi, who is still recovering from surgery, was a big miss last weekend, and regular midfielders Marcel Ziegl and Daniel Offenbacher are expected to miss out with illness. Centre-forward Thomas Sabitzer, who has an Achilles tendon problem, is the only new injury doubt for the Tyroleans, who are otherwise more or less at full strength.

That all makes us slightly wary of predicting a Ried win outright, so we believe that backing the Upper Austrians on a draw no bet is the most sensible option. We think they’ll probably win, and if not, it certainly seems unlikely that struggling WSG will come out on top when the home side still have so much to play for and are gunning for their first top-six finish since the new league format was introduced in 2018.

Prediction: Ried Draw no Bet, 1.65 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)


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Red Bull Salzburg v Wolfsberger AC

Sunday 20th February – 1:30PM KO

Red Bull Salzburg will go into this table-topping clash 14 points clear and brimming with confidence after holding Bayern Munich to a 1-1 draw – a game they came agonisingly close to winning – in the Champions League last 16 in midweek. They could be without Swiss forward Noah Okafor, who sustained an early knock and had to come off, but his replacement Chukwubuike Adamu scored a stunner within minutes of his introduction and will be a more-than-capable deputy alongside Karim Adeyemi on Sunday afternoon. Key centre-back Maximilian Wöber will also miss this one after accumulating five yellow cards.

But Wolfsberg, who have qualified for the Championship Round for the fourth year in succession with three games to spare, will still believe they can cause an upset: they have dropped only five points in their last 10 games and are having the second-best season in the club’s history (34 points from 19 matches). Coach Robin Dutt is expected to have a full-strength squad at his disposal as well, with left-back Jonathan Scherzer and midfielder Sven Sprangler set to return after missing the win over Ried with coronavirus. Defender Michael Novak made his long-awaited return from an auto-immune disease in that match too.

The Carinthians won this fixture at the Red Bull Arena last season – Salzburg’s most recent league defeat on home turf – and have scored in 15 of their last 16 league games. That, combined with Salzburg’s midweek exertions on the continental stage, makes us think that both teams to score is the best bet, even though it is hard to foresee anything other than a Red Bull victory.

Prediction: Both Teams to Score, 1.75 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)


Austria Klagenfurt v Altach

Sunday 20th February – 1:30PM KO

Promoted clubs faring well in the Austrian Bundesliga is nothing new – LASK, Hartberg and Ried have all exceeded expectations following their promotions to the top tier over the past half-decade – but Austria Klagenfurt have suffered fewer defeats than all of them in their debut campaign. With 26 points from 19 matches, they are almost certain to book their place in the Championship Round – and will now only miss out if they collapse spectacularly and their rivals all capitalise in the final three games before the split.

Standing in their way on Matchday 20 is an Altach side that has been rooted to the bottom of the table for most of the campaign and cannot seem to score a goal for love nor money. In fact, their tally of 10 goals scored is the lowest at this stage of an Austrian Bundesliga season by any club this century. They have a new coach, Swiss tactician Ludovic Magnin, but he will have realised the scale of the task in store as the Vorarlbergers surrendered to an early defeat at home to Austria Vienna last weekend.

Both teams will have one player missing through suspension – midfielder Turgay Gemicibasi, who scored the late leveller against LASK last time out, for Austria Klagenfurt and young defender Felix Strauss for Altach – and there are a few coronavirus cases in both camps too. The biggest injury absentee is Klagenfurt’s top scorer Marcus Pink (nine goals), who has tonsilitis, but that is unlikely to alter the outcome of this game. We’re predicting Austria Klagenfurt to win and potentially seal a top-six berth.

Prediction: Over 2.5 Goals, 1.85 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)


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Sturm Graz v Rapid Vienna

Saturday 19th February – 4:00PM KO

Sturm Graz missed out on wrapping up a place in the Championship Round last time out after being held to a 2-2 draw by WSG Tirol, but they now have the opportunity to put that right against a direct rival. Christian Ilzer’s side are currently third in the table and will be sure of a top-six finish if they win against Rapid Vienna, whom they have beaten by three goals in both of their last meetings.

But the Green & Whites, who ran out narrow 2-1 winners against Dutch outfit Vitesse in the first leg of their Europa Conference League play-off tie on Thursday evening, need to take maximum points too. They currently have their noses narrowly in front in the race for the top half but cannot afford a slip-up with cross-city rivals Austria Vienna and Ried, who both also have 24 points, breathing down their necks.

There are no new injuries for Sturm Graz to worry about, with long-term absentees Otar Kiteishvili and Francisco Mwepu (both attacking midfielders) the only players set to miss out. Rapid Vienna, however, could be without right-winger Thorsten Schick, who has recently sustained an ankle injury – but will have prolific forward Taxi Fountas available again after he recovered from his bout of coronavirus. With neither side really on a consistent run of form, this tradition-steeped duel is a bit too close to call. We would instead back both teams to score. Defensively, Sturm Graz have not kept a clean sheet at home since mid-October and Rapid have not managed one on the road during that same time period. Offensively, Sturm Graz have scored in nine of their last 10 games and Rapid Vienna have found the net in all 10

Prediction: Both Teams to Score, 1.53 on Betfair (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)


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