Austria midfielder David Alaba returns from knee surgery for Liechtenstein, Bosnia games

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FILE - In this Saturday, March 14, 2015 file photo Bayern's David Alaba from Austria celebrates after scoring a free kick goal during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich in Bremen, Germany. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)


VIENNA — Austria midfielder David Alaba is returning to the national team for next week's European Championship qualifier in Liechtenstein and a friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The Bayern Munich player missed the games against Russia and Brazil in November following knee surgery but has been included in the 23-man squad announced Tuesday by coach Marcel Koller.

Austria leads Group G with 10 points from four games, four points clear of Sweden and five ahead of Russia and Montenegro. Liechtenstein has four points.

"It's important that we don't become arrogant," Koller said. "They have a strong defense, are patient, not hectic. They won't dictate the game but can get dangerous if you give them the chance."

Austria Vienna defender Markus Suttner also returned from knee problems, but Christoph Leitgeb and Rubin Okotie were missing with injuries.

Oktotie scored the winner in each of Austria's 1-0 victories over Montenegro and Russia. The striker will be replaced by Salzburg's Marco Djuricin, who received his first call-up.

Austria plays Liechtenstein in Vaduz on March 27 before hosting Bosnia in Vienna four days later.

Austria has never qualified for a European Championship but took part in the 2008 event as a co-host with Switzerland.

The top two teams in each group and the best third-place team will qualify directly for the tournament in France, while the remaining third-place teams will advance to the playoffs.


Austria:

Goalkeepers: Robert Almer (Hannover), Heinz Lindner (Austria Vienna), Ramazan Oezcan (Ingolstadt)

Defenders: Aleksandar Dragovic (Dynamo Kiev), Christian Fuchs (Schalke), Gyoergy Garics (Bologna), Martin Hinteregger (Salzburg), Florian Klein (Stuttgart), Sebastian Proedl (Werder Bremen), Markus Suttner (Austria Vienna), Kevin Wimmer (FC Cologne)

Midfielders: David Alaba (Bayern Munich), Marko Arnautovic (Stoke), Julian Baumgartlinger (Mainz), Martin Harnik (Stuttgart), Veli Kavlak (Besiktas), Stefan Ilsanker (Salzburg), Zlatko Junuzovic (Werder Bremen), Marcel Sabitzer (Salzburg), Andreas Ulmer (Salzburg)

Forwards: Marco Djuricin (Salzburg), Lukas Hinterseer (Ingolstadt), Marc Janko (Sydney FC)

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