the wolves bared their teeth at us back in august. now they want to repeat their home success against us from last season.
If you came to one of our matches and had no idea which team was which, the distinctive way we play should make it easy within minutes to see who FC Red Bull Salzburg are. Few teams are able to match our style, but one that comes close is WAC. They already had a very attacking approach with high intensity pressing last season, and under former Salzburg coach Gerhard Struber they are virtually a copy of us. Bearing in mind their resources, Wolfsberg AC are equally successful to us. Despite a tiny budget they have left no doubt this season that they are one of the main contenders in the Austrian Bundesliga.
They have scored 34 times in 13 matches so far this season, which makes them the second-strongest attacking side after our Red Bulls. They have a clear preference for vertical play - hitting 70 passes into the final third per match on average. Only we have more of these kind of passes to our account, with 73 per match. The numbers of their top scorer is also similar to our two sharpshooters. Like Patson Daka and Erling Haaland, Shon Weissman is currently on 12 goals this season. It was a spectacular start to the season for the Israeli, but the 23-year-old has scored just once in his last eight matches for club and country.
Veteran midfielder Michael Liendl has taken an increasingly significant role, providing an incredible 12 assists so far. He has therefore levelled his best ever figure from last season just halfway through this campaign.
We can count on some relatively fresh legs on Sunday. Clearly the packed weeks of fixtures have been taking their toll, but after our match in Napoli we have had 48 hours more to rest than WAC after their Europa League defeat against. Our squad is also comfortably bigger than WAC's. They have used just 17 different players this season, whereas we have selected 23.
Desite the continued rotation we have shown remarkable consistency. We have won 11 of our opening 13 matches of the season. No other team has accomplished that since the Austrian Bundesliga was founded. Despite that, we don't have a clear cushion at the top of the table, with LASK just three points behind us. Slipping up against WAC could really ignite the title race - and that is something Jesse Marsch and our boys want to avoid.
Not available due to injury are Antoine Bernede (shin), Cican Stankovic (muscle injury) and Patrick Farkas (health problems).
Jesse Marsch on …
… the match in Wolfsberg:
WAC have a superb team, and Gerhard Struber has done really well over the season so far, also in the Europa League. I am a fan of this team. We know that we can expect a difficult match at a high level that will be intensive and feature good gegenpressing with similar football to our own.
… the three top scorers in the league meeting:
Both teams have scored a lot of goals this season. I don't know if we are going to see lots of attacking fireworks on Sunday as a result though. We definitely need lots of discipline and a clear tactical idea. That will be important if we are to get a good result.
Dominik Szoboszlai on …
… the clash with WAC:
WAC are a very strong team - they have shown that in the Europa League too. They lost 0-3 on Thursday, unfortunately, but were completely in it until the red card. It will important on Sunday that we play as we always do. We won 5-2 at home, so we have a chance to win away. What's for certain is that we need to play our own game.
… the way the Austrian Bundesliga season has gone so far:
LASK are only three points behind us, so all the points we can take are very important. After the table is split and the points halved it will be even closer. We need to concentrate on our own play though as we can't focus on the opponents.
most recent clashes with WAC:
10.08.2019 FC Red Bull Salzburg 5–2 RZ Pellets WAC (H/T:3-1)
28.04.2019 RZ Pellets WAC 2–1 FC Red Bull Salzburg (1-0)
24.04.2019 FC Red Bull Salzburg 3–1 RZ Pellets WAC (0-0)
02.03.2019 FC Red Bull Salzburg 3–0 RZ Pellets WAC (2-0)