DAVID SMITH - Thursday, September 11, 2014
Conor O'Brien will look to continue Wiener Neustadt's rise through the ranks against a local foe while Shawn Barry and Linz need a win to bounce back towards the top of the Erste Liga.
SC Wiener Neustadt - Rapid Vienna
Having helped Neustadt maintain a shut-out in their second straight victory, Conor O'Brien will look to build upon his strong start to the Austrian leg of his career when the team welcomes area rivals Rapid on Saturday.
Neustadt has seen a major turnaround in their two games since adding Conor O'Brien to their starting midfield, transforming from a winless sieve for opposing goals through their first five games to a team which has now won two on the bounce.
The American has been a major part of this run, scoring in his debut and holding down the center of the park in their follow-up victory over Wolfsberger AC two weeks ago.
The result gave Neustadt seven points through seven games, enough to escape the relegation zone now occupied by area rivals Austria Vienna.
Their opponent for this weekend is their other major local rival, Rapid Vienna, who currently occupy third place.
While trailing only Salzburg and Wolfsberg in the standings, their place is misleading since they are a full nine points behind the top two in a highly lopsided table, and just four from the bottom spot.
Their results have improved in recent weeks, and they looked solid in their second win of the season in their last outing, a 2-0 shut-out victory over SV Grödig.
Neustadt are not reporting any absences while Rapid are without injured players Michael Schimpelsberger, Deni Alar and Brian Behrendt.
LASK Linz - FAC Team für Wien
Shawn Barry and Linz look to bounce back from pre-international break disappointment on Friday evening when they host FAC Team für Wien.
Linz looked flaccid through what looked to be a scoreless draw in their previous match in Innsbruck, however an 88th minute goal by their hosts saw them slump to a 1-0 loss.
Only their second defeat of the season through eight games, Linz can bounce back and keep pace with leaders Liefering and Mattersburg should they net the win over their visitors.
FAC came out winners in a highly eventful contest against visiting Hartberg two weeks ago, a game which saw three red cards and a total of five goals.
Linz is not currently reporting any absences while FAC will be missing Rene Herbst due to his red card two weeks ago.
Liefering backup keeper Keith Cardona will likely not be in uniform on Friday when the team visits Mattersburg in a top-two duel.