Austria v Northern Ireland Betting Tips & Preview – Friday 12th October 2018

A crunch game awaits in this Nations League group as both Northern Ireland and Austria trail leaders Bosnia by six points. Victory for either nation would keep their hopes of promotion to the heights of Group A alive while forcing the other to stare down the barrel of relegation.

Austria will be hoping that the home crowd can guide them to a much needed three-points. Franco Foda’s men have won six of their last seven matches on home soil, defeated only by a strong Brazil side featuring all of their stars. This form has helped make them the odds-on favourites for this match with unfancied Northern Ireland trading at 6/1 to secure a surprise win.

Top Tips

Under 2.5 goals @ 4/6

Austria to nil @ 6/5

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

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Austria News: Alaba ruled out

Austria's Ernst Happel Stadion Football Stadium
Peter Gugerell, Wikimedia Commons

Try as he might, David Alaba was helpless to prevent Austria falling to an opening Nations League game defeat to Bosnia. The Bayern Munich man is often the person Austria turn to when they need that extra bit of spark but he struggled to make much of an impression. The 65-time capped utility man was all set to try his luck again this time but picked up a hamstring problem during last weekend’s 3-0 loss to Borussia Monchengladbach. While the injury is thought only to be a minor strain, it’s been enough to see him withdrawn from the squad.

Northern Ireland News: O’Neill not willing to risk McCauley

Northern Ireland Footballer Celebrating Goal
deargdoom57, flickr (Image Cropped)

Gareth McCauley secured a summer move to Rangers in the transfer window but he’s yet to play for his boyhood club due to injury. He is verging on a return though and there was a decent chance he could’ve have built up his fitness sufficiently to take part in Friday’s match. Michael O’Neill erred on the side of caution though, saying that for his and Rangers’ sake, he would not risk the 38-year-old. The Northern Irish manager also added that after a four month absence, putting him on the field to mark Marko Arnautovic wouldn’t be the particularly fair or wise.

Evans and Davis lacking match sharpness

Jonny Evans and Stephan Davis have 165 caps between them and the Premier League duo still have plenty to offer on the international stage. Neither have been getting regular minutes for the respective clubs though. Evans has been an unused substitute for the Foxes’ last two matches while Davis has played just 113 minutes for Southampton this season. This is something that has not gone unnoticed by O’Neill who has expressed slight concern at their lack of action. He did add however that the pair were excellent against Bosnia so they won’t necessarily be below their usual standards here.

Vassell handed first call-up

Personal reasons saw Conor Washington left out of the Northern Ireland squad alongside the injured Jamie Ward and Niall McGinn. Helping to fill one of the attacking vacancies is the un-capped Kyle Vassell, a decision that highlights how short Northern Ireland are upfront. The Rotherham striker is yet to score all season despite featuring 12 times for the Championship outfit. Liam Boyce remains as Norther Ireland’s most productive striker this season with seven goals but all but one have come against League One opposition.

Analysis: Perfect preparation needed for N. Ireland

Northern Ireland are very much the underdogs for this test but the plucky nation have regularly held their own against side’s with greater stature. Preparations and tactics will have to be spot on though for them to get something from this match and Michael O’Neill thinks he has the first part sorted out. His team are heading towards the same training camp they worked at prior to their solid Euro 2016 performance. The 49-year-old stated that his men very much enjoyed the top facilities on offer there and he’s hoping this can make some sort of difference this Friday.

Visitors able to make life tough

Northern Ireland were soundly beaten in their last away match but the heat in the San Jose was a big part of their unusually loose performance. Looking at the five away games before this, all coming in far less testing climates, you’ll see that Michael O’Neill’s side have conceded just one goal, and even that was scored by one of their own, Chris Brunt. They’ll be setting up to defend once again here and even without Gareth McCauley the visitors will be hard to break down. Austria will be fairly limited with the opportunities they get as a result, making under 2.5 goals (4/6) a tempting option in this match.

Austria heading in the right direction

Franco Foda has done brilliantly since taking charge of the Austrian national side, guiding them to six out of a possible eight victories including against the likes of Uruguay and Germany. His first competitive match ended in defeat but he deserved more in the loss to Bosnia after registering 13 shots on goal to their opponents five. The result should not be used to discredit the Austrians who look capable of returning to winning ways here. It won’t be easy but a win to nil (6/5) is worth backing given the visitor’s struggles scoring on the road and their lack of in-form striking options.

Recent Matches

A 20-year-old Stephen Davis may have vague memories of facing Austria. He remains the sole survivor from when the two nations last met in what was the Southampton midfielder’s breakout year on the international stage. The Austrians were victorious on the day but it was only the second time in nine meetings they’ve been able to topple Northern Ireland.

12th October 2005: Austria 2 – 0 Northern Ireland

David Healy was punished for missing two good opportunities as Rene Aufhauser later opened the scoring. Frustration began to creep in to the visitors’ play, boiling over when Damien Johnson dangerously lunged in on Emanuel Pogatetz. The challenge earned Johnson a straight red and Pogatetz joined him for an early bath due to his retaliation. Both sides had chances to score after this but it was Aufhauser who again proved to be the only one clinical enough.

13th October 2004: Northern Ireland 3 – 3 Austria

A last second Stuart Elliot strike handed Northern Ireland a point and dented Austria’s hope of qualifying for the World Cup finals. It was the scrappiest of goals, a stark contrast to David Healey’s wonder strike that made it 1-1. The then Preston striker hit home a dipping volley of the highest quality with his left boot that looped over a stranded Alex Manninger.

15th November 1995: Northern Ireland 5 – 3 Austria

Windsor Park has never since seen so many goals as the eight that flew in during this match. The hugely entertaining Euro 1996 qualifier went the way of the hosts despite Austria improving significantly in the second half. Current Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill grabbed a brace in the match, half of the goals total he managed in his entire international career.

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