Football champions Salzburg want to keep the minimum chances of reaching the round of 16 in their penultimate group game of the Football Champions League. With a win at Lok Moscow on Tuesday (6:55 p.m. / Sky), the “bulls” can also overtake the important third place. In the Russian capital, Salzburg can expect a dangerous game against a draw king, which so far has hardly been defeated.
“We have to win”, Jesse Marsch left little doubt about the starting position. The Salzburg coach hoped for the necessary balance between attack and defense. “We have to play our aggressive game and then we have to be safe at the back. We can always score, but fewer goals are always important.”
Marsch once again described the opponents two points ahead, who kidnapped a 2: 2 from Salzburg in the first comparison, as “very experienced, very clever”. “A team that defends incredibly, they do everything to protect the goal.” Three draws – including in both games against Atletico Madrid (1-1, 0-0) – and a total of only five goals conceded in four games are warning enough for the Salzburgers, who have conceded 14 goals themselves. While the “Bullen” express roared over St. Pölten at 8: 2 in the league, Lok chugged at his dress rehearsal in Grozny for the fourth 0: 0 of this competitive season.
In order to reach the round of 16, Salzburg, who hold one point, are also dependent on the fact that the leaders of the table Bayern Munich (12 points) are not defeated in Madrid. Only then would the promotion be possible before the home game against Atletico (5) at the end of the group. If Austria’s Primus loses in Moscow, the international elimination before spring is fixed.
First, however, Salzburg boarded the plane to Moscow on Monday morning, with optimism and a passenger on board whom they had briefly written off into the new year: Patson Daka (22), Salzburg’s most dangerous striker since the departure of Erling Haaland, is returning a thigh muscle injury returned to the squad after almost exactly a month. “Patson is ready for Tuesday, but we don’t know for how many minutes at the moment,” said Marsch.
The twelve-time goal scorer of the season would make his comeback in front of spectators who are still allowed in Russia. According to UEFA’s Corona guidelines, the stadium can be filled up to a third – that would be around 8,000 seats in the RZD Arena – and 5,500 spectators attended the last home game against Atletico. “I don’t even know when we were allowed to play in front of a large crowd,” said defender Rasmus Kristensen. “But I’m really looking forward to experiencing something like a real stadium atmosphere again.”
Lok trainer Marko Nikolic spoke of the “most important game of the season” at the press conference. The Serb indicated that he did not want to run into the open knife. “We need our best performance against this fast and aggressive team tomorrow. But we know what we have to do: We will be disciplined over 90 minutes and pay great attention to the defense.” The Muscovites will miss the striker Fyodor Smolow, who is injured in the hip. The use of midfield player Anton Mirantschuk is also questionable, the Russian team player has a cold.
In Salzburg, Zlatko Junuzovic is about to make his 50th European Cup appearance. Only Walke (50), Ramalho (60) and Ulmer (110) have played more international club games from the current squad. Karim Adeyemi, who justified his appearance against St. Pölten with four points, said: “We can smell it in the air that we really want to play in the Champions League. We will show that too.” The matter should be quite fresh for the first time this year. Temperatures around freezing point are the order of the day.