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European Championship qualification: Azerbaijan has a winning streak under its belt

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European Championship qualification: Azerbaijan has a winning streak under its belt

European Championship qualification

At the start of the European Championship qualification for the 2024 finals, Austria’s footballers will face an opponent in Azerbaijan on Friday (8.45 p.m.) in Linz, against whom they still have an almost perfect record. Although the Azeris were only able to get one point in four attempts against Austria, it would be fatal to underestimate the guests. Because in the second half of 2022, the form curve of Azerbaijan pointed upwards.

The Azeris are currently “only” number 121 in the FIFA world rankings, but they have all won the last five games under their Italian coach Giovanni De Biasi. In the autumn, Azerbaijan defeated Slovakia (2-1), won in Moldova (2-1) and North Macedonia (3-1). There was also a 3-0 home win against group winners Kazakhstan in League C of the Nations League. Before the recent winning streak, however, the Azeris were 13 games without a win. Azerbaijan have never made it to a major finals either.

Attacker Mahir Emreli from the Turkish first division club Konyaspor, one of four legionnaires whom De Biasi – who led Albania to the EM in 2016 – had called into the squad for the start of the qualifiers, had to pull out due to injury. The other three are striker Renat Dadashov of Grasshopper Club Zürich, attacker Ozan Kökcü of Dutch second division club FC Eindhoven and defender Anton Krivotsyuk of Daejeon Hana of South Korea. The captain’s ribbon is worn by midfielder Emin Mahmudov from Neftci Baku.

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AP/Peter Morrison

De Biasi and his team really got going last autumn

Positive balance

In any case, the ÖFB record against the team from the Caspian Sea reads well: in four games so far there have been three wins and one draw. The two home games each ended with zero wins for Austria. The only loss of points, a 0-0 on September 7, 2005 in Baku, not only deprived Austria of its last chance to qualify for the 2006 World Cup in Germany – it was also Hans Krankl’s 31st and last game as ÖFB team boss. The contract with the former “Goleador” was not extended after that, and sports director Willi Ruttensteiner took over at short notice.

Game scene from Austria vs Azerbaijan, 2011

GEPA/Christian Ort

In the last duel with Azerbaijan, Vienna sports director Andreas Ivanschitz wore the red ÖFB jersey

He also sat on the ÖFB coaching bench on an interim basis in the most recent international match against Azerbaijan, a 4-1 win in Baku on October 7, 2011. The two home wins against the Azeris came in September 2004 under Krankl 2-0 and in October 2010 under Dietmar Constantini 3-0. In the game twelve and a half years ago, Marko Arnautovic scored his first two international goals. In the Linz doubles against Azerbaijan and on Monday (8.45 p.m., live on ORF1) against Estonia, Austria’s record team player is missing due to a foot injury.

ÖFB international match record against Azerbaijan

4 games – 3 wins, 1 draw (goal difference 9:1)

September 8, 2004, Vienna (World Cup qualifier): Austria – Azerbaijan 2-0

September 7, 2005, Baku (World Cup Qualifiers): Azerbaijan – Austria 0:0

October 8, 2010, Vienna (European Championship qualifier): Austria – Azerbaijan 3-0

October 7, 2011, Baku (European Championship qualifier): Azerbaijan – Austria 1:4

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