Austria vs Belgium preview

March 23, 2011
By: Frank Beresford

Together with Turkey, Austria and Belgium will be fighting for the second place in Group A, meaning a lot will depend on this clash for both sides.

After beating Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan at home, Austria managed to hold Belgium to 4:4 draw in Brussels, having scored last minute equalizer.

The Austrians went on to lose next two friendly games, at home to Greece and away to Netherlands, so they could have problems in this match as well.

Ekrem Dag, Umit Korkmaz, Marc Janko and Martin Harnik return to the side, but Paul Scharner sits out with suspension. Veli Kavlak and Sebastian Proedl are out with injury.

Austria squad:

Goalkeepers: Pascal Grünwald (FC Wacker Innsbruck), Jürgen Macho (Panionios GSS), Helge Payer (SK Rapid Wien).

Defenders: Ekrem Dağ (Beşiktaş JK), Aleksandar Dragović (FC Basel 1893), Christian Fuchs (1. FSV Mainz 05), Florian Klein (FK Austria Wien), Emanuel Pogatetz (Hannover 96), Franz Schiemer (FC Salzburg), Manuel Ortlechner (FK Austria Wien).

Midfielders: David Alaba (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim), Marko Arnautović (SV Werder Bremen), Julian Baumgartlinger (FK Austria Wien), Martin Harnik (VfB Stuttgart), Zlatko Junuzović (FK Austria Wien), Ümit Korkmaz (VfL Bochum 1848), Yasin Pehlivan (SK Rapid Wien), Paul Scharner (West Bromwich Albion FC).

Forwards: Erwin Hoffer (1. FC Kaiserslautern), Marc Janko (FC Twente), Roland Linz (FK Austria Wien), Stefan Maierhofer (MSV Duisburg), Roman Wallner (FC Salzburg).

Belgium have shown a lot of potential during this qualifying campaign, even though Georges Leekens’ side should have taken at least few more points.

Following unlucky defeats to Germany and Turkey, Belgium beat Kazakhstan before sharing spoils with Austria and they simply have got to win this game in order to remain in contention for the second place in the group.

The visitors will be without Marouane Fellaini, Jonathan Legear and Bjorn Vlemincx, but boss Leekens should still be able to field a pretty strong side.

Belgium squad:

Goalkeepers: Silvio Proto (RSC Anderlecht), Jean-François Gillet (AS Bari), Simon Mignolet (Sunderland AFC).

Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (AFC Ajax), Laurent Ciman (R. Standard de Liège), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City FC), Nicolas Lombaerts (FC Zenit St Petersburg), Sébastien Pocognoli (R. Standard de Liège), Daniel Van Buyten (FC Bayern München), Jan Vertonghen (AFC Ajax), Anthony Vanden Borre (KRC Genk).

Midfielders: Steven Defour (R. Standard de Liège), Vadis Odjidja (Club Brugge KV), Timmy Simons (1. FC Nürnberg), Jelle Van Damme (R. Standard de Liège), Axel Witsel (R. Standard de Liège), Eden Hazard (LOSC Lille Métropole).

Forwards: Nacer Chadli (FC Twente), Moussa Dembélé (Fulham FC), Romelu Lukaku (RSC Anderlecht), Dries Mertens (FC Utrecht), Kevin Mirallas (Olympiacos FC), Marvin Ogunjimi (KRC Genk), Jelle Vossen (KRC Genk).

Austria are the favourites here according to Bet365 with home win paying 2.50 (3/2), but I feel there is a much better value in backing Belgium at 2.88 (15/8) offered by Victor Chandler.

Watch Austria vs Belgium live stream here. Check this page for the full Live Stream schedule of the Euro 2012 qualifiers.

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