FK Austria Wien will be looking to continue their run of success against Spanish sides when they welcome Real Zaragoza back to the Ernst Happel stadium for the first leg of their UEFA Cup Round of 16 tie.
Austria opened their UEFA Cup Group C campaign by defeating Zaragoza in Vienna on 4 November, then two goals from Libor Sionko enabled them to see off another Primera División side, Athletic Club Bilbao, in the Round of 32 a fortnight ago. Understandably, Austria take on Zaragoza for a second time with confidence high. "If you can beat Bilbao, you can beat Zaragoza," Sionko said. "There is no difference, they are not a better team."
Austria general manager Günther Kronsteiner disagrees, saying: "I think Zarogoza are stronger than Athletic. It's definitely not easy to play them and we might not have many chances because Zaragoza have a good defence and midfield. We should try not to concede - a draw would be perfect but we want to win. We will play our own game, no matter what Zaragoza do."
Austria's form in recent months has been better against Spanish opposition than Austrian. The weather has severely hampered the resumption of the Bundesliga campaign, and since the turn of the year Austria have won and drawn against Athletic, and lost their only league match, 1-0 away to SK Sturm Graz last weekend, to stay second.
In addition to the continuing snow in Vienna, coach Lars Söndergaard has injury problems to contend with. Štepán Vachoušek is still suffering from the ligament injury he picked up against Athletic and is doubtful, while Vladimír Janocko will not play after sustaining a similar injury against Sturm.
Zaragoza have climbed to eleventh in the Primera División since qualifying for the last 16 with victory against Fenerbahçe SK. Coach Víctor Muñoz give reserve midfield player Juan José Camacho his first outing with the senior side against Sevilla, and, with defensive pair César Jiménez and Delio Toledo still long-term absentees, midfield player Cani should shake off a bout of flu to play.
Brazilian winger Sávio Bortolini warned his team-mates not to underestimate their opponents. "Austria are a very tactically astute team and they are having a great season," he said. "People think it will be easy but we're expecting a difficult game."
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