MX23RW : Sunday, January 24 19:01:03| >> :600:3978452:3978452:
Nov 26, 2020 at 5.55pm UK at Linzer Stadion
LASKLASK Linz
0-2
AntwerpRoyal Antwerp

Goiginger (63'), Eggestein (73')
Trauner (50')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Refaelov (53'), Gerkens (83')
Hongla (28'), Haroun (48')

Preview: LASK Linz vs. Royal Antwerp - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League clash between LASK Linz and Royal Antwerp, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

LASK Linz and Royal Antwerp will both be looking to keep the pressure on Group J leaders Tottenham Hotspur when they meet at Linzer Stadion for Thursday's Europa League showdown.

Both sides boast six points from a possible nine at this stage, with Spurs in first and Antwerp occupying second spot ahead of Linz based on head-to-head goal difference.


Match preview

Husein Balic of LASK Linz celebrates scoring against Ludogorets in October 2020© Reuters

LASK Linz did actually manage to overcome Antwerp in their earlier November meeting, but with Tottenham also on six points, head-to-head goal difference between the trio of sides is what counts in the standings, and Antwerp sit above LASK with difference of zero compared to the Austrian side's -2.

That should act as an incentive for LASK to carry the momentum forward from that narrow 1-0 win over their Belgian opponents earlier in the month, with Johannes Eggestein - on loan from Werder Bremen - coming off the bench to bag the winner in that one.

With Tottenham expected to overcome Ludogorets and ultimately win the group, Antwerp and LASK are set for an intense two-horse race for the final qualification spot in Group J, and Linz will certainly be confident of winning that battle given their remarkable set of results in recent weeks.

Dominik Thalhammer's side were unable to overcome Hartberg at the weekend as the two Austrian sides played out a 1-1 draw, but LASK had won their last five on the trot prior to that stalemate, with Thalhammer's men yet to taste defeat since losing 3-0 to Tottenham over a month ago.

Royal Antwerp head coach Ivan Leko pictured on November 5, 2020© Reuters

In complete contrast, Antwerp are winless since that shock 1-0 triumph over Tottenham on matchday two, with the Belgian outfit losing two and drawing two since overcoming Jose Mourinho's men.

Prior to their narrow defeat to LASK at the beginning of November, Antwerp had suffered a 1-0 loss to Belgian giants Anderlecht, and Ivan Leko has since been unable to guide his side to victories over Standard Liege and KV Oostende, with Antwerp registering two 1-1 draws in a row.

However, Antwerp will be buoyed by the fact that as things stand, they are en route to the Europa League knockout stages, but that could all change over the course of 90 minutes on Thursday against an in-form LASK outfit.

Despite failing to prevail in any of their last four games, Antwerp's away form is rather strong; Leko's men have prevailed in four of their last six games on the road, but they are yet to keep a clean sheet on unfamiliar territory this season.

LASK Linz Europa League form: WWLWW
LASK Linz form (all competitions): WWWWWD

Royal Antwerp Europa League form: WWL
Royal Antwerp form (all competitions): WWLLDD


Team News

Royal Antwerp players celebrate Lior Refaelov's goal against Tottenham Hotspur in October 2020© Reuters

LASK Linz midfielder James Holland was sent off for two bookable offences in the win over Antwerp, and the Australia international is suspended for the visit of Antwerp.

Mads Madsen is therefore expected to fill the void in Thalhammer's midfield, and Eggestein should spearhead the LASK attack after Marko Raguz, who started the last game against Antwerp, tore his ACL.

As for the visitors, Brazilian defender Matheus is struggling with a calf problem and is unlikely to feature, while Alexis de Sart is yet to recover from a positive coronavirus test.

Jordan Lukaku is another player who contracted the virus last month, but the Lazio loanee will be eyeing a start after making an appearance as a substitute in the earlier defeat to LASK.

LASK Linz possible starting lineup:
Schlager; Trauner, Filipovic, Wiesinger; Ranftl, Madsen, Michorl, Renner; Gruber, Eggestein, Balic

Royal Antwerp possible starting lineup:
Butez; De Laet, Seck, Batubinsika; Buta, Haroun, B. Verstaete, Lukaku; Gerkens, Benavente; Mbokani


SM words green background

We say: LASK Linz 1-0 Royal Antwerp

Both LASK and Antwerp are in with a real shout of progressing to the Europa League knockout stages, but the two sides head into this fixture off the back of contrasting runs of form. LASK will be desperate to return to winning ways straight away and Antwerp struggle to shut up shop on the road, so we are expecting a repeat of the first game between LASK and Antwerp and are backing the hosts to just edge it.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data


ID:423508:cQx

Thursday's Europa League clash between LASK Linz and Royal Antwerp?

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