The league is halved, the points as well – the hot phase in the Austrian Bundesliga will kick off on the Easter weekend. Ten match days are still to be played before the champion of the 2020/21 season is decided. At the start of the championship round, defending champion and league leader Red Bull Salzburg will welcome SK Sturm Graz.
After the Bundesliga reform, the champion will be determined in this way for the third time this season. More excitement is guaranteed, especially due to the halving of points, but so far industry leader Salzburg has not been deterred and underlined its role as favourite by winning the title. Before the play-off opener, the Marsch eleven has a four-point lead over pursuer Rapid Wien in the current table of the Austrian Bundesliga.
Unsurprisingly, the best bookmakers rate Red Bull Salzburg vs. Sturm Graz as clear favourites according to current betting odds, but the Bullen are definitely warned. The Ilzer eleven presented itself more consistently before the international break and earned the reputation as a Bullen fright this season. The match in Wals-Siezenheim starts at 5 pm on Sunday afternoon.
Prediction & Live Odds for Red Bull Salzburg vs. Sturm Graz 04/04/2021
The champions from the city of Mozart are looking for revenge, after all the Marsch eleven had to accept two of the four defeats of the season against the Blackies. The Ilzer eleven will by no means be underestimated on Easter Sunday. With the best possible line-up and the right attitude, victory can only come through the home side. On the three-way market, however, betting on Red Bull Salzburg vs. Sturm Graz does not seem particularly lucrative due to the low odds.
Already in the Cup semi-final, Salzburg showed the right reaction and straightened out the balance of power. This must now be repeated in the league and a similarly clear success as in the cup would not be surprising. Accordingly, the forecast for the clash between Red Bull Salzburg and Sturm Graz is for a handicap victory (1 – 1.5 AH) for the home side. ✅
Red Bull Salzburg – Statistics & current form
Thanks to the 1-0 win in the last game of the first round and the simultaneous upset of Rapid Wien, Jesse Marsch’s team has a comfortable cushion of four points and 25 goals going into the last ten games of the season. Anything less than an eighth title win en suite would be a big surprise.
Farewell tour for many players?
The last ten Bundesliga games and the ÖFB Cup final against LASK will probably be a kind of farewell tour for some of the players in the Bullen camp. The summer of 2021 is just around the corner and with it the next upheaval in the city of Mozart. Players like Patson Daka (20 goals in the season), Sekou Koita (14 goals in the season) or Mergim Berisha (nine goals in the season) are in great demand internationally.
It is also possible that Jesse Marsch will leave the club, as the US-American is considered a coaching candidate by Celtic Glasgow, among others. Compared to last season, Salzburg have taken another step forward and have collected four more points than last year despite the double burden.
4.14 goals per game
It is not surprising that the three possible departures mentioned are all offensive players. Salzburg’s offensive continues to be convincing all along the line. On average, three goals were scored per league match. The defence, however, continues to be relatively susceptible and thus there was an average of 4.14 goals per game in the 22 games in the basic round.
In total, 17 games ended with over 2.5; 14 with over 3.5; eight of them with over 4.5 and four times there were at least six goals in Salzburg games. The performances are accordingly entertaining and also in the top match between Red Bull Salzburg and Graz the forecast for a goal festival is absolutely obvious.
In terms of personnel, the two players from Mali, Sekou Koita and Mohamed Camara, are still suspended. In addition, Albert Vallci was seriously injured during the international break (ruptured Achilles tendon) and Noah Okafor and Luka Sucic are also unavailable. Despite these partly serious absences, there is nothing to shake about the role of the favourites.
Red Bull Salzburg’s line-up:
Stankovic – Ulmer, Wöber, Ramalho, Kristensen – Aaronson, Junuzovic, Bernede, Mwepu – Berisha, Daka
Sturm Graz – Statistics & current form
Despite halving their points tally, SK Sturm Graz are seven points behind the team from the city of Mozart before the start of the championship round. After a completely disappointing season last year, this would be quite satisfactory, but the Blackies were actually still top of the table on points lost at the end of 2020.
Mixed year 2021
In the autumn, Christian Ilzer formed the Graz team into a homogeneous unit again, which could rely on a very strong defence and still played well forward. However, defensive stability was lost at the turn of the year. After Jörg Siebenhandl had to concede only five goals (!) in the autumn, the Styrians now have 20 goals against.
In eleven autumn matches, Siebenhandl kept his box clean a total of seven times. In 2021, Sturm Graz only managed to keep a clean sheet twice – in the first and the last match. In between, the Ilzer team conceded at least one goal in nine consecutive matches, but also scored in eight of those nine games.
Only three away wins
Sturm Graz won exactly half of all their matches in the Bundesliga. But of these eleven victories, the Styrians were only able to celebrate three away from home. The last away win was a long time ago – on 5 December Christian Ilzer celebrated a 4-0 victory at his former club Austria Wien. In six away games this calendar year, three defeats and three draws are on the books.
In terms of personnel, the Styrians are still worried about the deployment of the fast winger Kelvin Yeboah. With his speed, he could certainly be a danger on the Ulm side. Vincent Trummer, Sandro Ingolitsch and Philipp Huspek will definitely be absent.
Predicted line-up of Sturm Graz:
Siebenhandl – Dante, Nemeth, Wüthrich, Gazibegovic – Kiteishvili, Gorenc-Stankovic, Hierländer – Ljubic – Jantscher, Friesenbichler