Real Sociedad vs RB Salzburg

Reale Arena forms the backdrop for a lopsided Champions League fixture as high-flying Real Sociedad take on troubled RB Salzburg.

Despite being given slim chances of progressing from a competitive-looking Group D, Real Sociedad have defied expectations to seal their knockout berth with two games to spare following a mesmerizing four-game start to their first Champions League campaign since 2013/14 (W3, D1). An overwhelming 3-1 triumph over Benfica on Gameweek 4 increased Sociedad’s chances of qualifying as group winners as they commence this round level on points with Inter Milan. Confidence is at an all-time high within the ‘La Real’ camp following a 2-1 La Liga victory against Sevilla at the weekend, strengthening their formidable home record in competitive action this season (W6, D3, L1). Defensive solidity that has seen Imanol Alguacil’s side concede a joint-fewest two goals in the Champions League this term underscores their status as pre-match favorites.

Meanwhile, visiting RB Salzburg won’t stay in the Champions League beyond the winter, but they’re still in a prime position to secure a switch to the Europa League knockouts. Although a disastrous three-game losing streak overshadowed their 2-0 away win against Benfica on the opening matchday, that success keeps them three points clear of the Portuguese heavyweights going into the last two rounds. Coming from behind to beat domestic rivals Hartberg 3-2 at the weekend might have pumped the adrenaline in the traveling camp as they bid to defy an embarrassing UEFA record on Spanish soil (W1, D3, L6). Manager Gerhard Struber can draw inspiration from Salzburg’s back-to-back away matches without conceding (W1, D1).

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