Rapid will first play at the Allianz Stadium in Vienna against last year’s Conference League and Italian Cup (Copa Italia) finalists, AC Fiorentina – the game starts at 7pm (live on ORF1). LASK then take on champions of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Zrinjski Mostar, at Linz’s Raiffeisen Arena – kick-off is at 9pm (live on ORF1).
Hutteldorfer, who recently won 5–0 (first against Debrecen in the Conference League qualifiers, then against BW Linz in the championship), does not want to “stand at the front of the queue like a rabbit”, as Rapid coach Zoran Baricic said in advance of the game. Instead, Rapid wanted to “act with courage”. Baricic hopes for a good result “with luck”, meaning the green-white still have “a chance in the second leg”.
LASK, which did not want to be relegated to the Austrian championship despite several costly summer additions, was immediately handed the role of favorite by rivals Zrjanski Mostar. “LASK is the big favorite in both games, but we see our chance,” said coach Krunoslav Rendulić. The biggest threat to LASK will probably come from Mostar striker Nemanja Bilbija. The Bosnian-Herzegovinian teammate scored 31 goals in 42 competitive games last season.