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Preview: Red Bull Salzburg vs. Sevilla - prediction, team news, lineups
08/12/2021 11:14:52

With the top two spots in Champions League Group G still up for grabs, Red Bull Salzburg host Sevilla on the final matchday on Wednesday night.

Matthias Jaissle's side occupy second spot in the group - one point behind leaders Lille - while their Spanish counterparts are down in third.

We say: Red Bull Salzburg 0-1 Sevilla

It is remarkable to see this incredibly youthful Salzburg side in with a shot of making the last-16, but Sevilla's greater experience in high-pressure situations such as this could prove invaluable.

The visitors are dealing with some major injury blows in attack and have developed an affinity for Champions League stalemates on the road, but the defensive nous of Diego Carlos and Jules Kounde should help them march on to the knockout rounds.

Match preview

The relentless winter fixture schedule now appears to be taking its toll on this youthful Salzburg outfit, who have been knocked off their perch at the top of Group G following back-to-back defeats to Wolfsburg and Lille in November.

Jonathan David's 31st-minute strike was enough to hand Les Dogues all three points against Salzburg on the penultimate matchday, with that result seeing the Ligue 1 champions leapfrog their Austrian rivals into first place with one game remaining.

Salzburg remain second in the section and their fate is in their own hands - with a victory guaranteeing them a place in the last-16 - and a draw would also see them stave off the threat of Wolfsburg due to their greater head-to-head goal difference.

Avoiding defeat has not exactly been a cakewalk for Salzburg in recent weeks, though, with Jaissle's side winning just two of their last seven games in all competitions, one of which came at the weekend in a 2-1 success over TSV Hartberg.

Furthermore, both of Salzburg's Group G defeats so far have come on the road, with the Austrian giants taking six points from six on their own turf against Lille and Wolfsburg as they bid to make the knockout rounds for the very first time.

Without a win in the 2021-22 Champions League heading into the penultimate matchday, Sevilla kept their hopes of a knockout berth alive when Wolfsburg paid a visit to the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in a long-awaited 2-0 European success.

Joan Jordan's strike propelled Sevilla into the ascendancy before Rafa Mir made sure of the win in the seventh minute of second-half injury time, and as is the case with their upcoming hosts, Sevilla's destiny is in their own hands.

All three points in Salzburg would guarantee a spot in the last-16 for Julen Lopetegui's side, who head into this contest having claimed a pair of 1-0 victories over Cordoba and Villarreal in the Copa del Rey and La Liga earlier this month.

Sevilla's form during the packed autumn and winter schedule has been patchy to say the least, but while they have only won four of their 11 matches away from home all season, they are unbeaten in nine Champions League away fixtures stretching back to October 2017.

Ivan Rakitic and Luka Sucic both netted from the spot as Sevilla and Salzburg played out a 1-1 draw in Seville back in September, but Lopetegui's men will not even consider the possibility of taking just the one point from this crunch clash.

Team News

Salzburg's attacking options have taken a hit with Noah Okafor's recent hamstring injury, which leaves Benjamin Sesko and Junior Adamu battling for the opportunity to partner Karim Adeyemi up top.

A trio of defenders in Bernardo, Bryan Okoh and Maximilian Wober are also set to miss out, while long-term absentee Zlatko Junuzovic continues to struggle with heel pain.

Brenden Aaronson and Nicolas Capaldo both started on the bench in the win over Hartberg but will aim to return to the first XI here, and Kamil Piatkowski could beef up the defence if Jaissle opts to play for a draw.

As for Sevilla, Marcos Acuna had to be taken off with a suspected adductor problem in the win over Villarreal at the weekend, so Ludwig Augustinsson may be required to deputise on Wednesday.

Erik Lamela has undergone surgery on his shoulder injury and will spend a few months in the treatment room, and Lopetegui is also expected to do without Suso, Jesus Navas and Youssef En-Nesyri for the trip to Salzburg.

Papu Gomez should hold his place in the front three with Lamela and Suso both out of contention, with the bulk of the XI that started the Villarreal win likely holding their places here.

Red Bull Salzburg possible starting lineup:

Kohn; Kristensen, Solet, Onguene, Ulmer; Capaldo, Camara, Siewald; Aaronson; Adeyemi, Sesko

Sevilla possible starting lineup:

Bono; Montiel, Carlos, Kounde, Augustinsson; Jordan, Fernando, Rakitic; Gomez, Mir, Ocampos

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