Northern Ireland face a tricky battle to keep their survival hopes alive as they visit Austria at Ernst-Happel Stadion, Vienna, in Nations League B1.
Victory would put Austria on the verge of promotion to League A whilst Northern Ireland simply need to win to boost their survival hopes, although if they lose and Romania don’t get a result against Norway then they will meet on Wednesday in a relegation decider otherwise they will be down.
Marko Arnautovic could feature for Austria if he can prove his fitness after a long trip from Shanghai to Vienna following his late call-up.
Christopher Trimmel is meanwhile an injury doubt for the League B1 leaders.
Northern Ireland will be without George Saville after he withdrew from the squad for personal reasons.
Niall McGinn and Jordan Thompson didn’t travel with the squad after suffering injuries in Thursday’s Euro 2020 Qualifying Play-Off Final defeat to Slovakia, whilst Stuart Dallas could feature despite playing much of that match with an elbow injury.
- Austria have won all three previous Nations League meetings against Northern Ireland (W3).
- Northern Ireland have won just one of their last four trips to Austria (W1, D1, L2).
- Only one of Austria’s last five goals have come in the first-half, courtesy of Michael Gregoritsch in the reverse fixture against Northern Ireland last month at Windsor Park, Belfast.
Austria come into this match off the back of a confident performance in their midweek friendly win over Luxembourg, although they did grind out one goal wins in their last two competitive games whilst keeping three consecutive clean sheets overall.
Northern Ireland meanwhile were defensively solid for much of their clash against Slovakia despite those key mistakes which cost them a spot at Euro 2020, yet their lack of sharp finishing ultimately was their downfall because if they had been clinical then they probably could of won the match.
I therefore expect Austria to have a tough job on their hands to break this Norn Iron team down but defending has been Northern Ireland’s biggest fault in their last seven matches, so it is hard to see them getting a win here but a draw is possible if Austria have a rare off day.
Prediction: Austria 1-0 Northern Ireland
Result: Austria 2-1 Northern Ireland