Sturm Graz will have to pull off a mammoth comeback against PSV in the second leg of their third-round qualifying game for the UEFA Champions League. When the two teams met at the Philips Stadion, Peter Bosz’s team gave their forthcoming opponents a lesson in football, and only a midweek disaster would prevent them from moving on to the playoff rounds today.
Preview (Sturm Graz vs PSV)
Isaac Babadi scored four minutes into the first leg of last week’s match. It was game over for Sturm Graz. Bosz’s goal-happy players then repeatedly pierced the hitherto reliable Schwoazn backline. Jon Gorenc Stankovic gave the Austrian supporters something to cheer in the 40th minute. Luuk de Jong got in on the action with a brace. However, PSV recovered their three-goal margin with Ibrahim Sangare’s header. They put one foot firmly in the knockout stages. Christian Ilzer’s team faced Austria Klagenfurt in their most recent Bundesliga matchup.
The hosts have thus far this season remained unbeaten and unbreached in top-flight play, earning two victories, a draw, and maintaining three clean sheets. However, their defensive solidity was nowhere to be found in Eindhoven, and a return to the group stage for the first time since 2001 is now undoubtedly nothing more than a pipe dream. Instead, while PSV prepares for the penultimate hurdle of the preliminary rounds, Sturm Graz will likely accept a spot in the Europa League group stages for the second year in a row (after being eliminated from Champions League qualifying at this point by Dynamo Kyiv last term).
Bosz’s stay at PSV has been off to a wonderful start with three victories from three separate competitions. PSV defeated Feyenoord in the Dutch Super Cup before defeating Sturm Graz by four goals last week. Noa Lang and Yorbe Vertessen scored goals on either side of halftime to record a simple 2-0 victory. They lost 3-0 to eventual champion Sevilla in the Europa League back in February. PSV has gone 20 games without a loss in all competitive matches, both domestically and abroad.
PSV hasn’t faced Sturm Graz in the Champions League group stage since the pre-COVID days. They are looking for their fourth consecutive victory. PSV previously defeated the Austrian team 6–1 in two Europa League games during the 2021–22 season. Less than a year later, Rangers eliminated PSV from the Champions League qualifying process in the playoff round. However, with Rangers leading Servette 2-1 in their third-round match, PSV may have the chance to exact revenge.
Sturm Graz left defender Schnegg will be able to play on Tuesday at the Liebenauer Stadium because his weekend red card-related ban only applies to domestic matches, while midfielder Otar Kiteishvili allegedly left the field injured against Klagenfurt at halftime. Meanwhile, attacker Szymon Wlodarczyk, who also played for only 45 minutes, now faces stiff competition from Mohammed Fuseini and William Boving. PSV may very well follow up a 4-1 thumping of Sturm Graz with a more understated two-goal victory. It would assure a smooth trip into the playoff round, simulating the 2021–22 Europa League group stage.
Sturm Graz 0 – 2 PSV
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