Austria midfielder Harnik returns for Ireland qualifier

VIENNA (AP) " Hannover midfielder Martin Harnik has been summoned by Austria for next week's World Cup qualifier against Ireland and a friendly against Slovakia.

Harnik, who missed the games against Wales and Serbia in October with a calf injury, replaces Sturm Graz striker Deni Alar in the 23-man squad announced Wednesday by coach Marcel Koller.

"He is fit again and playing well. He is an important player for us," Koller said about Harnik, who scored 14 goals in 61 games for the team.

Frankfurt goalkeeper Heinz Lindner has been added because Koller's first-choice goalkeeper, Rober Almer, was ruled out for six months with a knee injury.

"We know he can play on this level," Koller said about Lindner, who is not a regular starter at Frankfurt. "We don't have the opportunity to test other options."

Austria plays Ireland at the Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna on Nov. 12, and hosts Slovakia at the same venue three days later.

After three qualifying matches, Ireland and Serbia lead Group D with seven points. Wales has five points and Austria has four.

"It's an important game at home," Koller said. "They play a British type of football, physically strong, and are dangerous going forward. They are patient, don't get hectic. It's a tough task for us."

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Austria squad:

Goalkeepers: Heinz Lindner (Frankfurt), Andreas Lukse (Altach), Ramazan Oezcan (Bayer Leverkusen)

Defenders: Aleksandar Dragovic (Bayer Leverkusen), Martin Hinteregger (Augsburg), Florian Klein (Stuttgart), Valentino Lazaro (Salzburg), Sebastian Proedl (Watford), Stefan Stangl (Salzburg), Markus Suttner (Ingolstadt), Kevin Wimmer (Tottenham)

Midfielders: David Alaba (Bayern Munich), Marko Arnautovic (Stoke), Julian Baumgartlinger (Bayer Leverkusen), Martin Harnik (Hannover), Stefan Ilsanker (Leipzig), Zlatko Junuzovic (Werder Bremen), Marcel Sabitzer (Leipzig), Louis Schaub (Rapid Vienna), Alessandro Schoepf (Schalke)

Forwards: Michael Gregoritsch (Hamburg), Lukas Hinterseer (Ingolstadt), Marc Janko (FC Basel)

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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