Austria forward Weimann returns for Russia, Brazil
VIENNA (AP) — Austria winger Andreas Weimann has been recalled to the national team for next week’s European Championship qualifier against Russia and a friendly against Brazil.
The Aston Villa forward was overlooked for the team’s previous three matches but was included in the 23-man squad announced Tuesday by coach Marcel Koller.
Weimann has played 12 matches for Austria since his debut two years ago but has failed to score a goal yet.
Also returning was striker Marc Janko, who missed Austria’s 1-0 win over Montenegro last month because of suspension, and Salzburg defender Andreas Ulmer. Defender Markus Suttner and midfielder Valentino Lazaro were both missing because of injuries.
Austria plays Russia in Vienna on Nov. 15 and hosts Brazil at the same venue three days later.
“We aren’t changing much,” Koller said. “We are full of confidence after two straight wins and don’t want to change our playing style.”
Austria is unbeaten since a 2-1 loss at Sweden in World Cup qualifying in October 2013. Austria leads Russia and Sweden in Group G by two points. The group also includes Moldova and Liechtenstein.
The top two teams in each group and the best third-place team will qualify directly for the tournament in France, while all remaining third-place teams will advance to the playoffs.
“Russia is a very important game,” Koller said. “Our focus is on that match. Afterward, we can enjoy playing Brazil. You don’t get the chance to play them every year so it’s special for us.”
Koller regarded Russia as the toughest opponent in the group.
“I’ve seen a lot of games of Russia,” the coach said. “It’s a really strong team, even when many of the names might not sound too familiar with the Austrian fans.”
Goalkeepers: Robert Almer (Hannover), Heinz Lindner (Austria Vienna), Ramazan Oezcan (Ingolstadt)
Defenders: Aleksandar Dragovic (Dynamo Kiev), Christian Fuchs (Schalke), Gyoergy Garics (Bologna), Martin Hinteregger (Salzburg), Florian Klein (Stuttgart), Sebastian Proedl (Werder Bremen), Andreas Ulmer (Salzburg), Kevin Wimmer (FC Cologne)
Midfielders: David Alaba (Bayern Munich), Marko Arnautovic (Stoke), Julian Baumgartlinger (Mainz), Martin Harnik (Stuttgart), Stefan Ilsanker (Salzburg), Zlatko Junuzovic (Werder Bremen), Christoph Leitgeb (Salzburg)
Forwards: Lukas Hinterseer (Ingolstadt), Marc Janko (Sydney FC), Rubin Okotie (1860 Munich), Marcel Sabitzer (Salzburg), Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa)