Preview: St. Pölten vs. Red Bull Salzburg

In the first game after the international break, the league leaders confront their closest competitors St. Pölten at the NV Arena on Saturday evening.

Who would have thought that the first dual of the season against last year’s bottom club will be a top of the table clash on the seventh round of fixtures? With fours win and two draws under their belts after six games, the team currently sit second in the table with 14 points. It took until a win over Rheindorf Altach in round 34 to reach such feat. Since then, including friendlies, they are on a 12-game unbeaten streak.

But why are things going so well in St. Pölten at the moment? Head coach, Dietmar Kühbauer, has had an integral role. Taking the reigns in April, he was able to steer some things into the right direction. During the summer window, he was significantly involved in the composition of his squad, thus able to ensure a harmonious mix of young talents and experienced players.

Irrespective of their current run of form, Red Bull Salzburg still remain the favourites against the side they achieved a clean sweep against last season. Entering the international break, Die Roten Bullen were able to recuperate some pride after a night of capitulation in the Champions League with a 3-1 win over Admira Wacker.

Coming into the encounter, Salzburg have a minor crisis in attack as Smail Prevljak and Frederik Gulbrandsen are sidelined, while Munas Dabbur and Patson Daka’s involvement is questionable.

Match information

Date: Saturday, September 15, 2018

Kick-off: 17:00 (CEST)

Venue: NV Arena (capacity: 8,000)

Referee: Andreas Heiß

Broadcasting: Sky Sport 8 (Austria)

Previous Meetings

22.04.17: St. Pölten 1-2 Red Bull Salzburg

20.08.17:  Red Bull Salzburg 5-1 St. Pölten

05.11.17: St. Pölten 1-3 Red Bull Salzburg

18.02.18: Red Bull Salzburg 4-0 St. Pölten

29.04.18: St. Pölten 0-2 Red Bull Salzburg

Current Form

Red Bull Salzburg

Hartberg 2-0 (H) | Red Star Belgrade 0-0 (A) | Rheindorf Altach 2-3 (A) | Red Star Belgrade 2-2 (H) | Admira Wacker 3-1 (H)

St. Pölten

Sturm Graz 2-0 (H) | Wacker Innsbruck 0-2 (A) | Austria Vienna 0-0 (H) | Rheindorf Altach 1-2 (A)| Amstetten 1-2 (H)

Team News

Red Bull Salzburg

Injured: Patrick Farkas (anterior cruciate ligament) | Kilian Ludewig (ankle) | Zlatko Junuzovic (thigh) | Frederik Gulbrandsen (thigh) | Smail Prevljak (ligament lesion)

Doubtful: Munas Dabbur (adductors) | Patson Daka (adductors)

SKN St. Pölten

Injured: Daniel Drescher (torn ligament) | Osarenren Okungbowa (thigh) | Martin Rasner (hip problems) | Eldis Bajrami (thigh)

Press Conference

Marco Rose: “If you have watched St. Pölten this season, it’s no surprise what they have done. They are a team that has found the right system for them to defend well and solidly but cause danger going forward. They have a really good shape and had the momentum on their side in the odd match or two. For us, it is about taking this momentum away from them and getting the better of them, as we also want to extend our run.”

Alexander Walke: “St. Pölten have done a very good job so far and taken a lot of points. They have kept six clean sheets already under Didi Kühbauer, so they are defensively very solid and always good for a goal going forwards. It will be a difficult task for us.”

Predicted Line-ups

Red Bull Salzburg

Walke

Lainer – Ramalho – Pongračić – Ulmer

Haidara – Samassékou – Schlager

Wolf

Dabbur – Yabo

SKN St. Pölten

Riegler

Ingolitsch – Luan – Meisl – Puchegger – Haas

Hofbauer – Mislov

Luxbacher

Gartler – Pak

Score Prediction

St. Pölten 1-3 Red Bull Salzburg

[Photo: GEPA pictures/ Philipp Brem]

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