Soccer-We won't change tack if Poles get Lewandowski back, says Austria's Rangnick


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Euro 2024 - Group D - Poland v Netherlands - Hamburg Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, Germany - June 16, 2024 Poland's Robert Lewandowski during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Annegret Hilse/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - Austria expect Poland striker Robert Lewandowski to start Friday's Group D game, with both sides hungry for victory after losing their opening matches to France and Netherlands respectively, but coach Ralf Rangnick will not be making many changes to accommodate him.

Although Poland's record goal-scorer missed the 2-1 defeat by the Dutch due to an injury picked up in a friendly against Turkey, Austria coach Rangnick and captain Marcel Sabitzer are convinced he will be back in action on Friday.

"It doesn't change our way of playing a lot, basically they will play the way they have been played. Lewandowski is the (main) player in Poland, everyone tries to pass to him, especially if they counter at speed," Rangnick told reporters.

"In Munich, I had the joy of playing together with him for one year, therefore I know his qualities," midfielder Sabitzer said.

"I know he's an exceptional player but for us as a team, when it comes to tactics, nothing will change."

The Austrians lost 1-0 to France in their opening game and with Netherlands awaiting in their final outing, they will be looking to get a win against Poland to give themselves the best possible chance of going through.

"The team that wins tomorrow holds the good cards and has a good chance of going through to the next phase, so therefore it's a game you have to win, that's absolutely clear to us," Rangnick said.

Sabitzer said his side was ready for the pressure that comes with a must-win game.

"We already said to each other that we want to win the match tomorrow, and Poland the same to each other internally," the 30-year-old said.

"I think if we change those things (from the France game), if we follow our principles and are intense, and if we bring all that on the pitch, then we have a good chance of winning tomorrow."

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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