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Tom Middler’s Austria v North Macedonia preview: Austria need to solve Alaba conundrum

| 09.06.2021
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Our Matchday Squad journalist will be covering Austria throughout Euro 2020

Austria’s build-up to their third appearance at the Euros has seen them drawing a blank in each of their last three matches.

The recent goal drought means that coach Franco Foda probably has more questions than answers from the friendlies against England and Slovakia.

One position that is now settled is that of goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann; the Watford man has seized his chance and looks set to earn just his third cap when Austria open against North Macedonia.

In a crucial game, Marko Arnautovic could be deployed up front once again after bringing a listless attack to life in Austria’s last match – that is, if he’s deemed sharp enough to start after his return from China.

The key issue of David Alaba’s deployment remains unsolved too; will he be used on the left of the midfield, or further back as a playmaker? Either way, the new Real Madrid signing is unlikely to run out in his club position as full back.

Austria might abandon their defensive midfield “double 6” and hope to rely on the more offensive qualities of players like Marcel Sabitzer and Christoph Baumgartner, but they’ll be under serious pressure to win this game. North Macedonia are going in on great form and it shouldn’t be seen as a shock if they get a result.

Check out the latest Euro 2020 odds.

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Author

Tom Middler

Tom Middler is a freelance football journalist based in Vienna, Austria.

He’s a host on the English-language podcast The Other Bundesliga which covers Austria’s domestic league and national team, as well as The Sweeper which takes a wider look at football from around the continent.

Tom has featured on the BBC’s Football Focus as well as Sky Sports’ Premier League Today show, and can also be heard as a TV commentator for European qualifying matches, the AFC Champions League and numerous other football competitions each year.