Home » Now LIVE: ÖFB Cup quarter-finals Sturm Graz against Austria Vienna – football

Now LIVE: ÖFB Cup quarter-finals Sturm Graz against Austria Vienna – football

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Now LIVE: ÖFB Cup quarter-finals Sturm Graz against Austria Vienna – football

From . – 02/02/2024 7:39 p.m. (act. 02/02/2024 9:03 p.m.)

In Graz, Vienna Austria is fighting for promotion to the ÖFB Cup semi-finals. ©APA/ERWIN SCHERIAU (archive image)

On Friday evening, the reigning cup defending champions Sturm Graz will start the spring season as favorites in the quarter-finals of the ÖFB Cup against Wiener Austria.

Sturm Graz is warned before the duel with Austria Vienna (8.30 p.m., live on ORF 1): This season, the Graz team suffered their only defeat at home in the national competition so far with a 0-1 against the Viennese. In addition, Sturm Graz cannot rely on a full stadium in the ÖFB Cup quarter-finals. Due to safety concerns, some seats in the Merkur Arena will likely remain empty at the start of the year.

Austria Vienna coach Wimmer before the ÖFB Cup quarter-finals: Need top defensive performance against Sturm Graz

Sturm has won five of the last six duels with the Violets. “The 1-0 win was good for the chest. Before that, we always looked stupid against Graz since I’ve been there,” reminded Austria coach Michael Wimmer. The gold goal scorer at the end of October was ex-striker kicker Andreas Gruber, who should now form the offensive trio with Muharem Huskovic and Dominik Fitz.

According to Wimmer, Graz will, above all, “need a top defensive performance” in order to advance to the next round. Sturm certainly hasn’t forgotten the 0-1 loss in the fall. “They are the cup defenders, they will give it their all. We have to be prepared for the fact that we have to defend a lot first. We know that this is a huge goal and Graz is the favorite. We want to fight back and try to create a surprise can create.”

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Mirko Kos is in the Austria Vienna goal in the ÖFB Cup quarter-finals

In addition to reaching the cup semi-finals as eighth in the league, Austria is also fighting for a place in the championship group – probably the more important goal for the financially struggling club. But you also have something to lose in Graz, emphasized Wimmer. “It’s a knockout game.” The first against Sturm since 2018. Back then, the Viennese team won 2-0 at home in the second round of the Cup.

As usual, Mirko Kos will guard the Austria goal in the cup. However, the 26-year-old Styrian will also be required in the league in the next few weeks due to Christian Früchtl’s knee injury. “You always have to be ready for day X,” said Kos. The cup quarter-finals were “probably the biggest game of my career so far,” explained the substitute. You go to Graz with a broad chest. “There are only two games left until the cup final.”

In contrast to Graz, where Liverpool loanee Vitezslav Jaros will make his debut, Austria will not sign a goalkeeper until the transfer deadline on Tuesday. It cannot be ruled out that a midfielder or a striker will be added to the distribution circle. “If nothing happens, we are not afraid that we won’t be able to achieve our goals,” emphasized sports director Manuel Ortlechner. “We’re keeping our eyes open.” Ortlechner said it was difficult to find a player suitable for the purple purse in the winter, especially in the striker area. “It only makes sense if a player comes along who will immediately make us better,” added Wimmer. “We have width ourselves.”

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Sturm Graz in short training camp before the ÖFB Cup quarter-finals

At Sturm, Arsenal loanee Mika Biereth could make his debut in attack alongside ÖFB team player Manprit Sarkaria. According to coach Christian Ilzer, the 20-year-old Dane is an issue for the starting eleven. “He is a classic professional striker with depth, power and explosiveness in the first few meters,” said Ilzer. Other options include Szymon Wlodarczyk and the fit-again William Böving. There is speculation in the defense center that Gregory Wüthrich will return, although the Swiss still lacks some match practice.

Last year, Sturm laid the foundation for the Cup title at the start of the spring in the quarter-finals with a promotion in Salzburg that was secured on penalties. “The team was there at the point in the first game against Salzburg last year, and that gives us confidence,” said sports director Andreas Schicker. “I have a good feeling we’ll be there.”

As in 2023, Sturm held a short training camp in Catez immediately before the Cup quarter-finals. The runner-up returned from Slovenia on Thursday afternoon after a three-day stay and was given a “wonderful” welcome by his own fans in Messendorf. “We are excited for the game and have been preparing ourselves for the challenges ahead over the last few days,” emphasized Ilzer. Against Austria, his team had to use “the entire package” in order to leave the pitch as winners.

Protected sale of tickets for the ÖFB Cup quarter-finals between Sturm Graz and Austria Vienna

By midday on Thursday, 12,000 cards were gone. Sturm could have easily sold out the game, but for security reasons he decided to sell it only to members and subscribers. The club apparently wanted to prevent more away fans than the 1,400 in the Austria sector from securing tickets. Parts of the purple appendage maintain a fan friendship with Slovan Bratislava, Sturm’s opponents in the second round of the Europa Conference League (February 15th and 22nd).

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