World Cup qualifier: Austria v Wales
Coverage:Live on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio 5 live and the BBC Sport website and app.
Wales will be without Aaron Ramsey once again as the Arsenal midfielder recovers from a hamstring injury.
That means Chris Coleman’s men could be unchanged from their opening 4-0 win over Moldova, with Leicester’s Andy King continuing in Ramsey’s absence.
The only other injuries are to squad men, goalkeeper Danny Ward, striker Simon Church and midfielder Jonny Williams.
Austria could replace injured Martin Harnik with winger Marcel Sabitzer.
That would be the one enforced change following their 2-1 win in Georgia.
Captain Ashley Williams hopes Wales’ travelling fans will prove the difference in their World Cup qualifier in Austria on Thursday.
Top seeds Wales are currently top of Group D but face potentially their toughest game of the campaign as they take on second seeds Austria.
More than 4,000 Welsh fans are expected in Vienna.
“Hopefully they come in numbers and drive us on again,” said Williams.
“I’ve always said the travelling fans are brilliant. We saw that at the Euros throughout – it was unbelievable. At times when you need a lift, they gave it to us.
“I think they know how much we appreciate them so hopefully they can stick with us and keep pushing us on.”
Wales’ players dubbed their fans the ‘Red Wall’ during their run to the last four of Euro 2016.
That was their first appearance at a major tournament semi-final, and Chris Coleman’s side started their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign with a flourish as they beat Moldova 4-0 in their opening game.
Austria did not fare so well in France. Despite an impressive qualifying campaign in which they won nine and drew one of their 10 games, Marcel Koller’s men were knocked out in the group stage.
However, Austria started this campaign with a 2-1 win in Georgia and are expected to be one of Wales’ chief challengers for top spot in Group D.
“If you want to qualify you have to pick up points in difficult places,” said Williams.
“We’ll be looking to take something back with us. If not a win, we’ll want a point and make sure we don’t get beaten.”
- The teams have played each other eight times, with Austria winning five times, Wales twice and one draw
- Wales manager Chris Coleman scored on his international debut when the teams drew 1-1 in 1992
- Wales are currently 10th in the Fifa world rankings, 16 places above Austria
- Austria’s David Alaba scored three penalties during their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign
- Austria have won their last 10 games in qualifying tournaments, taking in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers and Euro 2016 qualifiers
- Austria did the double over Wales in World Cup qualifiers within four days during March 2005, beating teams that included Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy
- Gareth Bale is closing on on Ian Rush’s Wales scoring record. Bale has 24 goals in 62 games while Rush had 28 to his name
- Wales have lost all three of their games while playing in their current grey away strip
- Wales had John Charles, Ivor Allchurch, Cliff Jones, Jack Kelsey and Trevor Ford in the line-up the first time they faced Austria, losing 2-0 away on 9 May, 1954
MOST RECENT MEETING
Wales 2-1 Austria (6 February, 2013)
This was only Wales’ second win in seven games under manager Chris Coleman as Gareth Bale scored the opener and sent in the cross that gave Sam Vokes the chance to head the winner.
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37424261