LASK captain Alexander schlager will miss the final World Cup qualifiers for the Austrian national soccer team in Klagenfurt on Friday against Israel and next Monday against the Republic of Moldova. The goalkeeper of Linz had to cancel team boss Franco Foda because of knee problems. This is what Austria goalkeeper Patrick Pentz is for the first time in the red-white-red team.
Before Schlager, midfielder Konrad Laimer had already canceled due to muscular problems in the thigh. However, Foda did not make any subsequent nominations for the Leipzig legionnaire. In addition to the LASK goalie and the midfielder of the German Bundesliga club, the long-term injuries Stefan Lainer, Xaver Schlager, Julian Baumgartlinger, Valentino Lazaro and Sasa Kalajdzic are also missing.
It’s also about Foda’s future
A lot revolves around the future of team boss Foda before the final international matches of this year: Whether the German national team will also look after Austria’s national team in the World Cup play-off in March could partly also depend on the performances and results in Klagenfurt. “We have disappointed in the World Cup qualification so far,” said ÖFB sports director Peter Schöttel. His overall assessment, which the new ÖFB President Gerhard Milletich attaches great importance to when it comes to the team boss question, will only be given after it has been completed. Schöttel: “You have to look at the entire qualification to see why something didn’t work that way. A fifth of this qualification is still taking place.”
After completing the qualification, Schöttel first wants to exchange ideas with the team boss, then the management and the executive committee submit his report. In eight qualifying games so far, only ten points have been recorded. With two victories at the end, third place at most is still within reach behind Denmark and Scotland. “Of course we want to win both home games. I also think that we will be able to do so,” assured Schöttel. It is important to “leave this difficult year with a sense of achievement” with a view to March.
Negative backdrop expected
The ÖFB team cannot rely on the “twelfth man”. The latest performance, the 2G rule and the external conditions suggest that both games will be negative. “It’s November, there will be few spectators. It won’t be the tingling atmosphere,” Schöttel was not under any illusions either.