this is the kind of football we all love. a big match every week - after wins against sturm and rapid, can we notch another great result against lask?
Things feel slightly different to the past two years. We are at the business end to the season, but LASK are not our closest title-race rivals this time, even if they are just a point off that status. Let's not allow ourselves to be fooled by the table though. A quick glance at our clashes with LASK this season show they have been closer than the ones against Rapid. Aside from Sturm Graz, we have found no other side in the champions group more difficult to beat. We won 3-1 in our last home meeting after going behind. Our last away trip was won by a single goal. Okay, we have enjoyed the upper hand, winning our last four encounters even, but Sunday's opponents are more than capable of pushing us all the way.
Could LASK end this barren run against us? They certainly could. LASK have already won five away matches in the Tipico Bundesliga in 2021, as many as they did in the entire year of 2020. There is plenty at stake on Sunday, but there is also a psychological advantage to play for. We will face them again in two weeks' time, after all, in the cup final at the Wörthersee Stadium.
Our boys have their own impressive record to boast, however. They have won 13 of their 14 domestic competitive matches in 2021 - becoming the only team since the Austrian Bundesliga was founded to do this. They have scored 73 goals in 24 matches so far this season, only scoring more in 2013/14 (79 goals) and 2019/20 (82 goals).
Our side have been in sensational form in recent weeks. A clear starting XI has emerged that has been unchanged over the past three matches. Our performances have been so good recently that there can be no argument of dropping anyone. There are strong claims being made from the substitutes' bench for inclusion though from the likes of Karim Adeyemi, who shone with two late goals in our win at Rapid Vienna.
It's the kind of problem that a coach can only dream of. Also pleasing is that nobody has joined the recovering Albert Vallci on the injury list. You can be the first to find out the side Jesse Marsch selects in our Mobile App. Our English Twitter page will post regular updates on the match from 14:20 CET.
Albert Vallci is out for the long term with an achilles tendon tear.
Jesse Marsch on …
… the importance of big matches against Rapid or LASK:
These kind of matches help us to keep our concentration and focus high. We did that really well last weekend at Rapid Vienna, and got a good result. We now have a home match against more good opponents, and we'll have to put in another top performance and be prepared for a tough battle. We love these kind of situations as they help to develop us.
… the last clash against the Linz side:
It wasn't easy when we played at their place, as it snowed a lot shortly before kick-off. The pitch there is also a bit smaller, making it tough to play football and it's all about battling. We need a similar attitude this time, although it will come down to football a little more. We have won 13 out of 14 matches this spring. We are doing well, and I am very satisfied with the mentality of our team.
Cican Stankovic on …
… premature title claims:
For us it just means that we have put ourselves in a very good position in the table. We are not in this position for the first time, and we know what it takes to win the title. We still have eight matches ahead that we want to win. That's what we are concentrating on.
… the big match against LASK:
We have shown in recent years that we can perform when we need to in big matches. We are very sharp and focused for them, and that is a great attribute of ours. This match doesn't have any extra importance for me. Even if some in the public think that way, all that counts for me is how I perform for FC Red Bull Salzburg. I am concentrating 100 percent on that.
most recent Bundesliga clashes v LASK:
20.03.2021 LASK 0–1 FC Red Bull Salzburg
13.12.2020 FC Red Bull Salzburg 3–1 LASK
05.07.2020 LASK 0–3 FC Red Bull Salzburg
14.06.2020 FC Red Bull Salzburg 3–1 LASK