Austria's self-belief has grown
and they will feel capable of ending a 26-year victory drought
against Germany in Tuesday's World Cup qualifier, said visiting
coach Joachim Low.
Low, who had spells in charge of FC Tirol and Austria
Vienna earlier in his career, said Germany's opponents were now
a bigger threat than they had been in previous meetings.
"Austria have improved and are more self-confident," he told
reporters on Monday. "This time you can feel they mean it when
they say they are sniffing a chance to beat Germany."
Low has previously won 1-0 and 2-1 in Vienna as Germany
"We have had big problems here before and there is always a
heated atmosphere," he said. "The whole country is feverish
about this match.
"They have learned a lot in terms of organisation and
structure, they are a courageous and attacking team.
"The players who have come on the scene over the last few
years all play abroad... it used to be the other way round with
foreign players moving to Austria so the players had less match
practice," added Low.
"They all have regular first team action, they are all
important players in their clubs and there are eight or nine in
tomorrow's starting lineup who play in Germany.
"The danger posed by players such as Marko Arnautovic and Martin Harnik has increased
because they have asserted themselves in the Bundesliga," said
Austria have lost their last seven meetings with Germany and
have not qualified for a tournament since the 1998 World Cup.
They were included automatically as co-hosts for Euro 2008
and were eliminated in the group stage but they are unbeaten
this year under new coach Marcel Koller.
"We shouldn't underestimate ourselves," said Austria captain
Christian Fuchs. "We have some good qualities.
"Losing to favourites Germany would not be the end of the
world in a group where Austria are likely to fight for second
place with Ireland and Sweden, with Kazakhstan and Faroe Islands
as rank outsiders," added the Schalke 04 defender.
"Germany are not our only opponents," he said. "Even if we
beat them it is only one game and we have to keep looking
Low said Germany had to be more clinical in front of goal.
"We have lots of shots but we have converted too few of them
into goals," he said, referring to Friday's 3-0 win over the
Faroes in a game where they could have trebled that tally.
"We have to talk it over and look to keep our concentration
so we can put a decisive end to our attacks."
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