Red Bull Salzburg v Real Sociedad
Red Bull Salzburg and Real Sociedad are set to lock horns in their first-ever Champions League showdown at the Red Bull Arena.
Salzburg couldn’t have hoped to get their bid to progress into the Champions League knockouts for just the second time in club history off to a better start than toppling Benfica 2-0 on the road on matchday one. Real Sociedad’s visit to Austria offers the perennial Bundesliga champions a chance to post back-to-back Champions League wins for the first time since October 2021, a season where they last made it out of the group stages. After putting domestic rivals Austria Lustenau to the sword with an overwhelming 4-0 victory at the weekend to consolidate a near-perfect start to their Bundesliga title defense (W7, D1, L1), Gerhard Struber’s side should take the pitch in high spirits despite their underwhelming all-time record against Spanish clubs (W5, D3, L12).
In the meantime, Real Sociedad came agonizingly close to getting their first Champions League group stage campaign since 2013/14 off to a winning start but slipped to a 1-1 home draw against Inter Milan on day one. Imanol Alguacil’s side conceded from the only shot on target, which might have served as a wake-up call for ‘La Real,’ who have since strung together three consecutive La Liga victories via a combined score of 8-3, including a morale-boosting 3-0 derby win over Athletic Bilbao at the weekend. However, the visitors remain notoriously inconsistent on the road, as evidenced by their indifferent three-game away record this season (W1, D1, L1). That’s hardly an encouragement for Sociedad’s effort to avoid losing all three away matches, as they did in their most recent Champions League group stage foray.