Austria v North Macedonia – Ernst Happel Stadion at 19:45 GMT live at Sky Sports
With Poland having already confirmed their place at Euro 2020 via qualification Group G, Austria are in pole position to take second spot. Das Team boast a five-point cushion over the chasing pack with only two games to play, the first of which comes against surprise candidates for progression, North Macedonia.
North Macedonia have given a good account of themselves (W3-D2-L3), although their race is likely to be run by Saturday night. The visitors have taken two of their 11-point tally on their travels and have conceded at least one goal in seven of their eight preliminary matches thus far.
The Red Lions have performed with aplomb against lower-ranked nations but Igor Angelovski’s outfit have struggled when coming up against the continental elite. Macedonia were hammered 4-1 in their reverse encounter with Austria in their Skopje home and were easily seen off 2-0 by Poland in Warsaw last month.
Austria to make their mark
That 2-0 reverse was Macedonia’s second loss outside of Skopje since 2016 and the Red Lions have held Italy on their travels in that sequence. However, Austria are beginning to purr and it will take a monumental effort from the guests to avoid Vienna heartache this weekend with the hosts fancied to turn the style on.
Austria have won their last three fixtures here by an aggregate 10-1 against Slovenia (1-0), Latvia (6-0) and Israel (3-1) and have two of the Bundesliga’s sharpest attacking minds in forward areas with Marcel Sabitzer and Michael Gregoritsch leading the offensive charge in the home ranks.
Das Team have taken top honours in five of their most recent six outings, even earning a deserved draw away at top seeds Poland. After a desperately disappointing Euro 2016 effort, and poor World Cup qualification campaign, head coach Franco Foda has awoken Austria from their slumber.
The betting angle
It’s 10 triumphs from 13 Vienna matches now for Das Team and that record should be enhanced again on Saturday evening. With Austria a little too short in the pre-match betting, it makes sense to head to the Asian Handicap market where the hosts can be backed at 1.82 with a -1.5 hurdle to overcome.
The hosts have been in fine recent form, especially so as hosts, and even more so in the final-third. With Macedonia struggling to silence opposition outfits, expect Austria to make their quality attacking artillery to prove decisive.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Austria -1.50 at 1.820
Preview by: MarkOHaire.