Cup victory would be even more important for LASK this year than usual

LASK meets SK Sturm Graz twice within three days. On Thursday (8.30 p.m., ORF one) in Graz it is about entering the ÖFB Cup final, on Sunday (5 p.m.) there will be a league duel in Linz, in which LASK wants to secure third place. 11,000 tickets have already been sold for this game. This means that according to the current status, the upper tier on the back straight and on the family seating grandstand behind the gate should remain closed. On the other two sides, the upper tier is also open.

But which of these two games is more important? “This question does not arise for us. We are professionals and want to win every game,” says LASK trainer Didi Kühbauer. That’s not entirely true, because after the end of Salzburg, the ÖFB Cup is more valuable and competitive than ever, also with regard to the European Cup places. Because Salzburg has always been champion and cup winner, the starting place reserved for the cup winner was never needed.

The cup winner – if he does not become champion or runner-up – receives the fixed starting place in the European Cup group phase that is actually reserved for the third-placed team – and thus currently for the LASK. So what does that mean for the black and white in the fight for the European Cup millions?

  • LASK becomes cup winner: Regardless of their place in the league table, the Black and Whites are guaranteed a starting place in the European Cup group stage. The only open question is whether in the Europa League (you have to win the play-off for that) or in the Conference League (if you lose the play-off).
  • LASK does not win the cup: Should Sturm win the cup and LASK remain third, then everything is exactly the same as if LASK had won the cup. Then LASK gets a place in the group phase – and the millions that are guaranteed.

However, if a team other than LASK and Sturm wins the cup, then it gets tricky for LASK. Even if they were third in the championship, LASK would no longer be qualified for a European Cup group stage, but would have to enter the UEFA Conference League qualification in the third (of a total of four) qualifying rounds.

Either LASK or Sturm

And already as fourth in the table you would have to win an additional internal qualifying round in Austria in this constellation in order to be allowed to play the European Cup qualifier afterwards. That’s why the following applies today: With all your might into the cup final – or in the event of a elimination in the final, keep your fingers crossed for SK Sturm Graz.

The five European Cup starting places for Austria

  • Starting place 1: is reserved for the champions starting in the Champions League group stage.
  • Starting place 2: the runner-up, who starts in the Champions League qualification and, in the worst case, has a fixed place in the Europa League group phase, gets a fix.
  • Starting place 3: The cup winner takes precedence over the third in the league (see article). Start in the Europa League play-off, then group stage in the Europa League or Champions League.
  • Starting place 4: The next best in the league starts fixed in the third round of the conference league qualification and would have to survive two rounds.
  • Starting position 5: will first be played within the league in a play-off, then start in the second qualifying round of the Conference League.
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Harald Bartl

Deputy Head of Sport

Harald Bartl

Harald Bartl

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