Salzburg got back to winning ways on Sunday after losing 4-1 away to third-placed Rheindorf Altach immediately before the international break. The stats from that game are interesting. Salzburg enjoyed 60% possession but Rheindorf forced 66% more chances by playing on the break, scoring twice in the closing 10 minutes as Salzburg pushed for an equaliser.
A point on Thursday would be an acceptable result for Salzburg so they could be caught between trying to defend and playing their normal game. Either way it’s likely they will hold possession for long periods.
No team is completely dependent on one player but this truism is probably tested more by Salzburg and their talismanic striker, Jonathan Soriano, who has scored 26 times in 27 outings this season. Consider for a moment if we had such a prodigious striker………..
Salzburg coach Adolf Hutter must decide how far tp change his usual game plan. Salzburg’s entire strategy is to attack. They have scored 50 league goals already this season, twice as many as any other team, while their goals against record is within a handful of the majority of teams in the league.
My preference would be to tempt them out, have them fall between the two stools of playing their natural offensive game and the more cautious approach they may be tempted to play away in Europe. One note of caution, the Ajax team who beat Celtic comfortably in Amsterdam last season were shredded 0-3 by a counter-attacking Salzburg in the same venue a few months later.
Ajax failed to box clever, we can be smarter. Stop Soriano, closed-down space at the back and play on the counter.