MX23RW : Monday, May 17 07:05:17| >> :600:586338:586338:
Mar 31, 2021 at 7.45pm UK at Ernst-Happel-Stadion
FT(HT: 0-0)
Skov Olsen (58', 74'), Maehle (63'), Hojbjerg (67')
Wind (60')

Preview: Austria vs. Denmark - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's World Cup Qualifying clash between Austria and Denmark, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Group F's top two sides face off in World Cup 2022 qualifying on Wednesday evening as Austria welcome Denmark to the Ernst-Happel-Stadion.

The visitors have kicked off their qualifying campaign with victories over Israel and Moldova, while Austria drew with Scotland in their opener before seeing off the Faroe Islands.

Match preview

Austria's Christoph Baumgartner celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates on March 28, 2021© Reuters

No team across Europe has made a better start to World Cup qualifying than Denmark, who have scored 10 unanswered goals across their opening two fixtures.

Winning 2-0 away at Israel was a positive way to kick things off, and Kasper Hjulmand's men then went and put eight goals past Moldova on Sunday night.

Those wins make it just two losses for Denmark in their last 25 matches, winning seven of their last eight and keeping a clean sheet in six of those - a phenomenal return.

As top seeds, Denmark were favourites to finish above Austria, Scotland, Faroe Islands, Israel and Moldova in top spot.

Austria were among the second seeds when the draw was made, meanwhile, so Group F is panning out the way as expected with 'The Boys' occupying second place.

Denmark's Mathias Jensen celebrates scoring their fifth goal with teammates on March 28, 2021© Reuters

However, drawing 2-2 with Scotland in their first match has now put a little pressure on Franco Foda's men if they are to finish in a qualifying spot.

Indeed, at this point the target will still be to push Denmark all the way for automatic qualification to the World Cup finals, 24 years after their last appearance.

Sunday's routine 3-1 win over the Faroe Islands was a good response, but Scotland host the minnows on Wednesday and will surely take all three points from that game.

Like their opponents, Austria have been on a positive run of form over the past two years, losing only two of their last 18 matches - albeit one of those coming against Latvia.

Past encounters suggest that this should be a tight contest, the sides sharing four wins apiece from their nine meetings, the most recent of those ending 2-0 in Denmark's favour two-and-a-half-years ago

Austria World Cup Qualifying - Europe form:
  • D
  • W

Austria form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W

Denmark World Cup Qualifying - Europe form:
  • W
  • W

Denmark form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

Team News

Denmark's Lasse Schone in action with Moldova's Igor Armas Ritzau on March 28, 2021© Reuters

Denmark's front three clicked brilliantly in the win over Moldova, with Mikkel Damsgaard in particular standing out with two goals and two assists.

The emphatic win came despite Hjulmand making changes from the Israel match, which included Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Martin Braithwaite and Christian Eriksen dropping to the bench.

Hjulmand therefore has a tough call to make on Wednesday, though he is likely to revert back to something close to the same XI that started the opening qualifying fixture.

As for the home side, David Alaba is part of their squad after Bayern Munich last week reversed their decision to let the versatile defender link up with his national side.

Martin Hinteregger has played no part in March's two fixtures because of injury, however, and Julian Baumgartlinger is another notable name who is missing from the squad.

Sasa Kalajdzic has been in fine form for Stuttgart and should retain his place up top alongside Marcel Sabitzer, though Michael Gregoritsch is another pushing for a start.

Austria possible starting lineup:
Schlager; Lainer, Dragovic, Lienhart, Alaba; Baumgartner, Grillitsch, Ilsanker, Schlager; Kalajdzic, Sabitzer

Denmark possible starting lineup:
Schmeichel; Wass, Kjaer, Christensen, Maehle; Hojbjerg, Delaney; Poulsen, Eriksen, Braithwaite; Dolberg

SM words green background

We say: Austria 0-1 Denmark

Denmark have lost two of their last 25 matches in both friendly and competitive fixtures, while Austria have lost two of their last 18.

The visitors' form over the last six months in particular has been superb, especially in a defensive sense, and we cannot see past a Denmark victory in this clash between Group F's top two seeds.

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Scotland's John McGinn celebrates scoring against Austria on March 25, 2021
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