The “Bulls” have a big chest after the surprise in Lisbon. “We have seen that when everyone performs at their highest level, it is possible to beat any opponent. Everyone noticed that we were really, really good as a team,” explained goalkeeper Alexander Schlager. A similar top performance was needed again on Tuesday in front of a not entirely sold-out crowd with 28,000 fans expected. “We must march massively to our borders to pick up where we left off in Lisbon. “It takes every single person in the right flow,” said Struber, who expects “playful power coupled with individual quality and a lot of football cleverness” from the opponent from the Basque Country.
The team from San Sebastian, for which two Austrians, Marcus Pürk (1995/96) and Dietmar Kühbauer (1997-2000), once played, comes stronger with the 3-0 win in the Basque derby against Athletic Bilbao and four wins recent five games to Salzburg. The only defeat of the season so far was a 2-1 defeat at Real Madrid; the team was efficient in attack, but also repeatedly vulnerable defensively. The 1-1 draw at the start of the CL brought Inter Milan to the brink of defeat. Offensive man and veteran Mikel Oyarzabal is getting back to his old form after his injury, and 22-year-old Japanese Takefusa Kubo is posing a big threat on the side.
Salzburg hosts Real Sociedad
Salzburg hosts Real Sociedad in the Champions League on Tuesday. A win against the Spaniards would be a huge step towards the round of 16.
“They are currently performing fantastically”
“He can score goals, he can assist in all directions. “We will adapt to how we can defend him well together,” said Struber with regard to Kubo, but generally praised the Spaniards.
IMAGO/Ricardo Larreina Amador It’s not just the Japanese Takefusa Kubo that Real Sociedad needs to pay attention to
“They define themselves extremely by their own possession of the ball, they always manage to lure players to one side and look for their one-on-one duels away from the ball,” said Struber, characterizing the fifth-placed team in La Liga. “But they can also be very energetic in all other phases of the game, are man-oriented in defense and have massive power in transition. It’s an opponent who is a bit understated, but is currently performing fantastically in the league and seems very stable.”
Schedule and tables
Champions League, Group D, second matchday
Tuesday, 6:45 p.m.:
Salzburg – Real Sociedad
Wals-Siezenheim, Salzburg Stadium, SR Frankowski/POL
Salzburg: Schlager – Dedic, Solet, Pavlovic, Terzic – Gourna-Douath – Bidstrup, Gloukh, Kjaergaard – Simic, Konate
Sociedad: Remiro – Traore, Zubeldia, Le Normand, Munoz – Merino, Zubimendi, Mendez – Kubo, Oyarzabal, Barrenetxea
If Salzburg manages to achieve a “threesome” again, they will be very close to their goal of overwintering in Europe, i.e. at least finishing third in Group D, before the away game at Inter (October 24th). One could even dream of the second CL round of 16 after the one in 2022. Struber tries to keep such thoughts away.
Fears about running machine Bidstrup
His team simply has to try to play “typical football with real power. We have to get involved from the first second, be diligent – and also have to endure it if the opponent comes up a little stronger. But we want to keep the steering wheel in our hands at every stage. Our core principles are our greatest leverage.”
One, who Struber likes to call a “prototype” for this game idea, could be missing against “txuri-urdin” (“Blue-White”). Midfielder Mads Bidstrup, a tireless running machine from Denmark, suffered a shin injury in the 4-0 win at Austria Lustenau on Saturday, and his performance was still shaky on Monday. “We are in constant communication with the medical department,” said Struber, who very much hopes to be deployed. “If he fails, it would be a tough story.”
Soriano warns about Salzburg
Ultimately, however, the action should only be tough for the opponent. “If they (Real, note) don’t start with concentration and intensity, they could be in for a surprise,” warned Salzburg’s former goalgetter Jonatan Soriano in the sports daily “Mundo Deportivo”. Just like what happened to Benfica two weeks ago.
Sociedad coach Imanol Alguacil is also warned. “We face a dangerous opponent. It’s no coincidence that they won at Benfica. It will be a very complicated game for us. They are a team that I really, really like. With their extreme pressing they build up enormous pressure. They play very high and have quick and dangerous tips.” He expects Salzburg to get off to a brisk start.
“They put a lot of pressure on from the first minute, so we have to go into the game focused. We need a good performance like against Inter and in the first half against Real Madrid to get a good result here.” Alguacil emphasized that he firmly rejects calling Salzburg the weakest opponent in the group. Defense chief Igor Zubeldia was equally respectful. “They are a very young, courageous team. They are very strong, with a lot of quality, we have to be fully focused from the first minute. We have to use all of our strengths and qualities to survive here.”