For Sturm Graz, a victory is needed at PSV Eindhoven, the Blacks and Whites want to hibernate in Europe. However, this does not change the role of foreigner from Styria.
Ilzer and Co. is aiming for three points in Eindhoven. APA / WALTER KOWATSCH
After the show of force against LASK, Sturm Graz does not see himself without luck in the Europa League at PSV Eindhoven. The 3: 3 deficit after 0: 3 was reflected before the departure for the Netherlands. According to coach Christian Ilzer, Sturm will once again be a “flagrant outsider” in Eindhoven on Thursday (9pm). With a view to a possible winter in the Conference League, one thing is clear: the Graz team wants to enter the penultimate group match.
Europa League, Matchday 5
In order to access the intermediate round of the third highest European Cup competition, the jump to third place must be completed. This is only possible if Sturm kidnaps the three counters of Eindhoven. The Styrians last won their first point in San Sebastián. PSV have five, Real Sociedad six and Monaco seven. It’s also a lot for the Dutch if they want to be in the Europa League this spring. “It’s a key game for both teams,” Ilzer said. The match will be played in front of empty stands after Dutch spectators will again be excluded due to Corona measures as in Austria.
Sturm pays for difficulties
Philips Sport Vereniging won 4: 1 with Austrian international Phillipp Mwene in the first leg. It was part of Sturm’s learning process. In the meantime, respect for the big names has been dropped, Ilzer said. “We have paid for the difficulties. Sporting director Andreas Schicker also highlighted the development on the international stage. “We know that we have improved steadily in the four games and that we have made a great development as a team. It is encouraging,” said Schicker before leaving for Eindhoven.
Still, there are six competitive matches that Sturm has played without success. Ilzer noted that either player would have physically exceeded the limit against LASK. One thing is therefore clear for the Sturm coach: a rotation will be necessary in the next matches. In terms of personnel, the people of Graz are again in a better position after surviving the corona wave. With the exception of long-term injuries Stefan Hierländer and Otar Kiteishvili, all the regular staff are there.
Eindhoven is plagued by staff concerns
PSV is plagued by problems in this regard. Austrian horror personified Eran Zahavi is also absent due to a knee injury, as are Jordan Teze, Cody Gakpo, Ryan Thomas, Noni Madueke and Maxi Romero. Left-back Philipp Max gave a positive corona test the week before. Its use would only be possible in the event of a negative PCR test, the German being initially in quarantine. Especially on the offensive, the workforce is thin. Brazilian striker Carlos Vinicius, on loan from Benfica Lisbon, has recently shown himself to be in great shape. “He’s a top striker,” Ilzer said.
PSV coach Roger Schmidt also stressed their importance ahead of the game. “The pressure is still there. A win is needed. There are only two games left and the mistakes can no longer be corrected,” said the former Salzburg champion. Sturm Graz proved in San Sebastian that you can counter that. “And our win against them was big, but not really easy to play. Sturm played very courageously and actively,” Schmidt said. PSV are second in the Ehrendivision after the 2-0 victory over Vitesse Arnheim this weekend, tied with leaders Ajax Amsterdam. Out of the 13 rounds so far, Eindhoven has won ten times.