Thursday, February 17
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Dec 9, 2021 at 5.45pm UK
Sturm GrazSturm Graz
Jantscher (7' pen.)
Prass (63')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Volland (30')
Pavlovic (6'), Aguilar (32'), Golovin (54')

Preview: Sturm Graz vs. Monaco - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Sturm Graz vs. Monaco - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League clash between Sturm Graz and Monaco, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Monaco head into Thursday's fixture with Sturm Graz having already sealed their place in the last 16 of the Europa League.

With the home side unable to qualify for the Europa Conference League, both clubs have little to play for in their final Group B game.

Match preview

Monaco have certainly not lit Group B up over the past three months, the French side netting just six goals during their five games.

Nevertheless, Nico Kovac's side have progressed from a difficult group with a game to spare, form which has gone a long way to keeping the Croatian in a job.

To their credit, however, Monaco have shaken off their early season woes with a seven-match unbeaten streak in all competitions, and 12 goals have been scored in their last five outings.

Convincing victories over Angers and Metz have moved Monaco into seventh position in the Ligue 1 standings, just five points adrift of second spot.

Wissam Ben Yedder remains the key man in the final third, the 31-year-old top goalscorer chipping in with three more strikes in five outings.

Sturm Graz were always going to struggle in a group featuring three strong European clubs, but Christian Ilzer will be disappointed to have only collected one point.

That draw came against the odds in Real Sociedad, although they could not build on the share of the spoils against PSV Eindhoven as they went down by a 2-0 scoreline.

Ilzer's attention will now be on domestic matters, Graz sitting 14 points adrift of leaders Red Bull Salzburg and facing a battle for second with Wolfsberger.

Nevertheless, having claimed four points from their last two league fixtures, Graz will want to build further momentum with a positive result against the group winners on home territory.

Sturm Graz Europa League form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L

Sturm Graz form (all competitions):
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • D

Monaco Europa League form:
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W

Monaco form (all competitions):
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W

Team News

With top spot already secured, it would come as a surprise if Kovac did not make mass changes to his Monaco XI.

Second-choice goalkeeper Radoslaw Majecki is in line for a rare outing, while Ruben Aguilar, Caio Henrique, Eliot Matazo and Aleksandr Golovin can also expect to feature in the team.

Guillermo Maripan and Youssouf Fofana are both suspended for this contest.

Changes are also likely to be made to the Graz starting lineup with Ivan Ljubic and Andreas Kuen among the players who should be handed a recall.

Jon Gorenc Stankovic may be rested, while David Affengruber, Gregory Wuthrich and Kelvin Yeboah could drop down to the substitutes' bench.

Sturm Graz possible starting lineup:
Schutzenauer; Jager, Borkovic, Geyrhofer, Dante; Sarkaria, Ljubic, Prass; Niangbo; Jantscher, Kuen

Monaco possible starting lineup:
Majecki; Aguilar, Pavlovic, Disasi, Henrique; Matazo, Golovin; Volland, Lucas, Diop; Boadu

We say: Sturm Graz 0-2 Monaco

With both managers likely to make widespread changes, this is a difficult contest to call. Nevertheless, Monaco will want to go through the group unbeaten, potentially leading to an extra edge in the final third.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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