DAVID SMITH - Monday, September 15, 2014
Conor O'Brien and Wiener Neustadt will try to find an edge against local rivals Rapid while Shawn Barry and Linz will likely need a win at Kapfenberger SV to keep pace at the top of the standings.
SC Wiener Neustadt - Rapid Vienna
After having their weekend home game against Rapid Vienna called off due to heavy rain, Conor O'Brien and Wiener Neustadt will try to give it another go on Wednesday in a midweek makeup contest.
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 just before the international break.
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 fourth place, although with having played one less game than the three teams ahead them in the standings.
While a win could push them to third, a highly lopsided table headed by runaway leaders Wolfsberger AC and RB Salzburg means that they are actually much closer to the relegation zone than the Champions League places.
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.
Kapfenberger SV - LASK Linz
Shawn Barry and Linz need to carry their momentum from Friday's performance to Kapfenberger SV's Franz-Fekete-Stadion on Tuesday if they hope to stay within reach of the league's top spot.
A 5-1 win against FAC on Friday evening left Linz in second place just three points behind FC Liefering. However, with the leaders hosting dead-last team Hartberg also on Wednesday, anything short of victory by Linz will likely see their rivals open up a formidable lead atop the standings.
The task awaiting them is not a simple one, as Kapfenberg have been on a roll as of late.
Their 3-1 weekend win over Austria Lustenau made it three in a row without a loss, and their mid-August loss to Liefering is their only defeat since the first game of the season.
Linz can draw some confidence from that season-opening duel, as they were the very team who inflicted the damage in their 2-1 win over Tuesday's opponents.
Linz is not reporting any absences while Kapfenberg will be missing midfielder David Harrer due to yellow card suspension.
Keith Cardona is not expected to make the gameday squad on Tuesday night for Liefering's home game against last-place TSV Hartberg.