But the team boss Franco Foda has announced a squad with Leipzig legionnaire Konrad Laimer, who, like Xaver Schlager, would be eligible for the U21 European Championship play-off against Greece.
Vienna – Austria’s national football team can once again rely on captain Julian Baumgartlinger in the decisive Nations League phase. The Leverkusen professional will return to the ÖFB squad for the games on 15 November in Vienna against Bosnia-Herzegovina and on 18 November in Belfast against Northern Ireland after missing the last four international matches due to a knee injury.
David Alaba, Florian Grillitsch and Michael Gregoritsch, who were also absent from the latest Nations-League match, the 1-0 home win over Northern Ireland four weeks ago, are also back. Marc Janko, who was then nominated for Gregoritsch, appears on the call list. Defense chief Sebastian Prödl is not available because of a muscle injury.
The Styrian captained the test match against Denmark 0:2, but now the loop goes back to Baumgartlinger. “I’m very happy that he’s back again. He is an important part of the team,” team boss Franco Foda said on Tuesday at the squad announcement in Vienna. “He is important for us because of his personality and as a player, he challenges the ball even in difficult situations and sets the direction.”
At least for the time being there was no place in the line-up for Janko, in addition to the last nominated Gernot Trauner (LASK) and Stefan Hierländer (Sturm Graz). However, it cannot be ruled out that the 35-year-old will come back to national team honours if one of the strikers fails. “He surprised me extremely positively in October, both as a person and in training,” said Foda about Janko. The German had a long telephone conversation with the Lugano attacker. The bottom line: “He’s ready when he’s needed.”
That doesn’t apply to the injured junk dealer. “He is an important player for us, but I only deal with those who are currently in the team,” Foda stressed. Among them is Konrad Laimer, who would also be eligible for the U21 European Championship play-off with Greece. The ÖFB coach indicated that Laimer could join the U21 team after his return from Northern Ireland. The return match against the Greeks in St. Pölten will start two days after the match in Belfast.
The guest appearance in Northern Ireland could be of decisive importance for the ÖFB kickers for the group win and thus for their promotion to League A – provided that the 0:1 from the first duel with the Bosnians is reversed before that. “Our goal is to take first place. That’s absolutely possible, we have it in our own hands. But second place can also bring us into the European Championship play-off,” explained Foda.
Currently Austria is second behind the Balkan team (9/3) and ahead of Northern Ireland (0/3) with three points from two games. This means that second place would be fixed even before the final match if the match against Bosnia-Herzegovina ended with a draw or a win with a goal difference and a goal scored. In a defeat against Edin Dzeko and Co. there would be a final on the island against the relegation from League B and the slipping into pot three of the European Championship qualifying draw.
This constellation is quite explosive for the Bosnia match. For example, the question arises as to how Foda will react if they are 0-0 in the Happel Stadium a few minutes before the end. “There are different situations that we will be preparing for,” Foda said and made it clear: “We really want to win. But it’s also important to have the patience. We have 90 minutes to win the game.” See Action bank to know more about them.
So far, around 32,000 tickets have been sold for the Vienna Prater game. ÖFB President Leo Windtner is hoping for around 40,000 spectators and expects a “huge crowd” of fans of the guest team.