VIENNA (AP) — Austria captain Christian Fuchs and defensive midfielder Julian Baumgartlinger are doubtful for the team's decisive World Cup qualifiers against Sweden and Faeroe Islands.
The pair is struggling with injuries but has been included in the 23-man squad announced by coach Marcel Koller on Tuesday. "Fuchs has only just started training again and Baumgartlinger has hurt his knee," Koller said. "We'll see after the weekend if they are available or not."
Midfielder Zlatko Junuzovic, who missed last month's matches against Germany and Ireland, has returned from injury to replace Marcel Sabitzer in the otherwise unchanged squad. Austria plays Sweden in Stockholm on Oct. 11 and travels to the Faeroe Islands four days later. After eight matches, Germany has all but secured victory in Group C with 22 points, while Sweden with 17 and Austria with 14 are battling it out for second place.
"I expect a really tough match," said Koller, who prepared a list of 15 players he could call up as replacement if needed. "We are going to Sweden for a victory and we believe we can do it." Austria beat the Scandinavians 2-1 in Vienna four months ago.
"Sweden is the favorite. They are above us in the group and in the world rankings," Koller said. "But they were also the favorites against us in June." Austria co-hosted the 2008 European Championship but has failed to reach a major event since the 1998 World Cup, when it beat Sweden twice in qualifying.
Goalkeepers: Robert Almer (Energie Cottbus), Heinz Lindner (Austria Vienna), Ramazan Oezcan (Ingolstadt).
Defenders: Aleksandar Dragovic (Dynamo Kiev), Christian Fuchs (Schalke), Gyoergy Garics (Bologna), Florian Klein (Salzburg), Emanuel Pogatetz (Nuernberg), Sebastian Proedl (Werder Bremen), Manuel Ortlechner (Austria Vienna), Markus Suttner (Austria Vienna).
Midfielders: David Alaba (Bayern Munich), Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City), Julian Baumgartlinger (Mainz), Guido Burgstaller (Rapid Vienna), Andreas Ivanschitz (Levante), Zlatko Junuzovic (Werder Bremen), Veli Kavlak (Besiktas), Christoph Leitgeb (Salzburg).
Forwards: Martin Harnik (Stuttgart), Philipp Hosiner (Austria Vienna), Marc Janko (Trabzonspor), Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa).