Infoinsport.com – One week after comfortably winning 4-1 on their home ground, PSV Eindhoven aims to finish the task as they encounter Austrian team Sturm Graz in the second-leg match of the Champions League third-round qualifying on Tuesday.
Peter Bosz’s team thoroughly outplayed their upcoming opponents during their match at the Philips Stadion, and only a disastrous performance in the upcoming midweek game would prevent them from securing a spot in the playoff rounds.
The writing was on the wall for Sturm Graz when Isaac Babadi scored just four minutes into last week’s first leg, and afterward, Bosz’s goal-happy charges easily breached the previously strong Schwoazn defense.
Luuk de Jong contributed with two goals, followed by Jon Gorenc Stankovic’s goal in the 40th minute, which brought joy to the Austrian supporters. However, PSV reestablished their three-goal advantage with Ibrahim Sangare’s header, putting them in a strong position to advance to the knockout stages.
The effects of the devastating defeat in the continental competition were somewhat apparent when Christian Ilzer’s team faced Austria Klagenfurt in their latest Bundesliga match. Left-back David Schnegg was sent off after only 33 minutes, but Sturm Graz, who were reduced to 10 players, successfully maintained a goalless draw.
The hosts have remained unbeaten and have not allowed any goals in top-flight action this season. They have won two matches, drawn one, and kept three clean sheets. However, their defensive strength was not evident in Eindhoven, and it seems unlikely that they will make it to the group stage for the first time since 2001.
Instead, Sturm Graz is likely to accept a place in the Europa League group stages for the second consecutive year. They were eliminated in the Champions League qualifying round last season by Dynamo Kyiv at this stage. Meanwhile, PSV is focusing on the final obstacle in the preliminary rounds.
Three wins from three different competitions represent the ideal beginning to Bosz’s tenure at PSV. They narrowly defeated Feyenoord in the Dutch Super Cup and subsequently scored four goals against Sturm Graz at the Philips Stadion last week.
Utrecht was not expected to pose a strong challenge to PSV in their Eredivisie opener over the weekend. However, Bosz’s team managed to secure a comfortable 2-0 victory with goals from Noa Lang and Yorbe Vertessen, both scored before the break.
PSV have started both domestically and continentally in the way they intend to continue, and they are now on a 20-game unbeaten streak in all competitive matches since their 3-0 loss to Sevilla, who eventually won the Europa League, in February. It seems that Bosz’s new manager bounce is clearly having a significant impact.
Since the 2018-19 season, which was before COVID, PSV has not made an appearance in the Champions League group stage. Currently, they are looking to achieve their fourth consecutive win against Sturm Graz. Furthermore, PSV defeated the Austrian team 6-1 in two Europa League matches during the 2021-22 season.
In less than a year, PSV’s qualifying journey for the Champions League came to an end in the playoff round, as they were defeated by Rangers. However, it was the Scottish team that emerged victorious.
Sturm Graz vs PSV Eindhoven Prediction
Sturm Graz possible starting lineup:
Scherpen; Gazibegovic, Affengruber, Wuthrich, Schnegg; Kiteishvili, Gorenc Stankovic, Hierlander; Prass; Boving, Teixeira
PSV Eindhoven possible starting lineup:
Benitez; Teze, Ramalho, Boscagli, Van Aanholt; Veerman, Sangare, Til; Bakayoko, Vertessen, Lang
Sturm Graz 0-2 PSV Eindhoven (PSV win 6-1 on aggregate)
PSV could potentially replicate the scenario of the 2021-22 Europa League group stage, where they convincingly defeated Sturm Graz 4-1, by achieving a more subdued two-goal victory, thus securing an effortless path into the playoff round.
Bosz may feel tempted to make changes to his lineup, which could potentially give the hosts a small amount of hope. However, the Dutch Super Cup champions should have a variety of talented players on the bench, ready to make a significant impact if things don’t go as planned.