Preview: Hartberg vs. Austria Vienna – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday’s Austrian Bundesliga clash between Hartberg and Austria Vienna, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Aiming to progress into the qualification rounds of the Conference League for a second straight season, Austria Vienna will meet Hartberg for the second leg of the European playoff in the Austrian Bundesliga on Tuesday night.

Die Steirer will welcome Die Veilchen to PROfertil Arena, with the latter possessing a narrow one-goal advantage following a highly-competitive first leg in Wien.

Match preview

After an extremely-productive regular season in which they finished inside the top six of the Austrian Bundesliga, European hopefuls Hartberg are hitting a rough bit of form at the wrong moment, with Tuesday’s hosts now having won just one of their last four matches after Friday night’s first-leg defeat in Wien.

Following a goalless first half, it looked as if Die Steirer had thrown their continental dreams away when James Holland and Dominik Fitz both managed to breach the net of Raphael Sallinger, but a late strike from substitute Maximilian Entrup means that Hartberg still have a good chance of completing a comeback in the second leg.

Having endured a difficult spell at Championship strugglers Barnsley at the beginning of the 2021-22 term, head coach Markus Schopp returned to Hartberg in December 2022 and has helped his troops to major improvement in the Austrian Bundesliga, with the 50-year-old on the verge of taking his side into the Conference League.

Leading his teammates in terms of goals following the post-season split, Kosovo international Donis Avdijaj will be hoping to have a conclusive say on second-leg matters at PROfertil Arena, with the marksman netting on six occasions in nine matches during the Championship Group.

Hartberg are bidding to make their way onto the European stage for only the second time in their history, with Die Steirer suffering defeat to Polish outfit Piast Gliwice during the second round of Europa League qualifying at the start of the 2020-21 campaign.

Collecting just a single point from four Austrian Bundesliga matches during a poor patch of form between the end of April and the middle of May, Austria Vienna have turned their fortunes around at a critical time to give themselves a distinct chance of returning to the Conference League next season.

Following a sobering 4-0 defeat to Wolfsberger on May 11, Die Veilchen opted to part ways with former boss Michael Wimmer, and since the arrival of Christian Wegleitner onto the managerial hotseat, Tuesday’s visitors have managed to record three straight successes in the league.

The latest of those triumphs was completed at Generali Arena in the first leg versus Hartberg on Friday night, when despite having just 40% possession, Vienna were able to create the majority of the clear-cut chances and earn a one-goal lead thanks to strikes from Fitz and veteran midfielder Holland.

Having made it onto the continental stage through this route in the Austrian Bundesliga last season, Die Veilchen will be hoping to go two steps further than they managed at the start of this campaign, when they were bested by Legia Warsaw 6-5 on aggregate over two legs in the third round of Conference League qualifying.

Requiring a positive result on Tuesday night to avoid missing out on their continental dreams, Wegleitner’s men need to avoid a repeat of their most recent trip to Hartberg back in September, when a brilliant brace from Kosovo’s Avdijaj fired 10-man Die Steirer to a 2-1 success over their visitors.

Hartberg Austrian Bundesliga form:

Austria Vienna Austrian Bundesliga form:

Team News

After being replaced during the half-time interval on Friday night, attacker Maximilian Fillafer is expected to drop out of the Hartberg XI to make room for goalscorer Entrup.

Frenchman Ruben Providence provided the assist for Die Steirer’s consolation in the first leg, with the 22-year-old tabling a strong case to be promoted to the starting side.

Despite conceding two goals in quick succession last time out, Hartberg are set to continue with a centre-back pairing of Englishman Ibane Bowat and Paul Komposch.

Following a hectic 2023-24 schedule, Austria Vienna’s medical room is packed to the brim ahead of Tuesday’s all-important trip to Hartberg, with Florian Wustinger still recovering from a cruciate ligament injury.

Die Veilchen are short of options at both ends of the pitch due to the absences of centre-back Lucas Galvao and 25-year-old striker Marko Raguz.

Fisnik Asllani only played 45 minutes of the first leg on Friday and could drop out of the visitors’ front three here, with Moritz Wels a candidate to be included in the XI.

Hartberg possible starting lineup:
Sallinger; Heil, Komposch, Bowat, Pfeifer; Sangare, Diakite, Kainz; Frieser, Entrup, Avdijaj

Austria Vienna possible starting lineup:
Fruchtl; Handl, Plavotic, Meisl; Pazourek, Holland, Fischer, Guenouche; Gruber, Wels, Fitz

We say: Hartberg 1-2 Austria Vienna (Austria Vienna win 4-2 on aggregate)

Since the arrival of Wegleitner into the manager’s position, Austria Vienna have been a different beast, meaning that they should be confident of recording a fourth straight win on Tuesday night.

Hartberg still have a good opportunity on home soil to make their European dreams a reality, but we feel that Die Steirer will fall short in the second leg.

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

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