Out of form AZ Alkmaar welcome Austrian Bundesliga leaders LASK Linz to the AFAS Stadion in the first leg of their Europa League last 32 tie. Kick off on Thursday is at 8pm.

AZ Alkmaar came second in their group behind Manchester United in the last stage to book a tie with LASK Linz.

Arne Slot’s side were fighting on three fronts until earlier this month. They were stunned 3-1 at home by NAC Breda last week in the KNVB Cup and then lost 2-0 at FC Twente at the weekend which leaves them six points off the top of the Eredivisie.

Slot is hoping his side can match LASK, who he sees as their toughest opponents of the campaign, “We will have to be very good on the ball. It will be a physical fight, but they are often won with the head. It’s a beautiful match. We get the greatest resistance we have had in seven months.”

LASK Linz currently sit at the top of the Austrian Bundesliga after a 2-1 win at Red Bull Salzburg at the weekend. They came out of a Europa League group containing PSV Eindhoven, and defeated them 4-1 at home earlier in the campaign.

Team News

AZ are without injured duo Stijn Wuytens and Fredrik Midtso for the first-leg, while Ron Vlaar and Pantelis Hatzidiakos are also on the sidelines.

Slot may have to place Teun Koopmeiners in the centre of defence alongside Ramon Leeuwin.

Possible AZ line-up: Bizot, Svensson, Wijndal, Leeuwin, Koopmeiners, Sugawara, Clasie, De Wit, Stengs, Idrissi, Boadu

LASK will be without the injured Oh in Pyo and Wostry.

Possible LASK Linz line-up: Schlager; Wiesinger, Trauner, Filipovic; Ranftl, Holland, Michorl, Renner; Goiginger, Frieser; Klauss

Odds

AZ 5/4 Draw 5/2 LASK Linz 21/10

Can AZ take a victory to Austria?

Lask Linz are having an exceptional campaign and they turn up in Alkmaar at a time that AZ are going through a difficult period.

AZ will need to hope that their makeshift defence can keep the impressive Austrian’s out and that Stengs, Boadu and Idrissi can do some damage at the other end.

This is a tie that looks 50-50 on paper and could go either way on the night.




admin (8806 Posts)

Follow @Footballoranje_ on Twitter