Aussies Abroad Preview: Rogic and Irvine return to ramp up title challenges

Our Socceroos return back to their clubs this weekend, hoping to gather momentum for the second half of their campaign.

For the likes of Tom Rogic and Jackson Irvine that involves loft goals like fighting for league titles and promotion to the top flight. 

We take you around Europe as our Aussies Abroad enter an important few weeks of club action. 

England & Scotland

The Wizard of Oz may well find himself returning to a very happy Celtic camp this weekend, with Tom Rogic's side defeating cross-town rivals Rangers mid-week, in the famous Glasgow Old Firm. Now sitting top of the Scottish Premiership for the first time, Rogic's Hoops will need to back up their sublime derby efforts away at Motherwell (Monday 12:30am AEDT).

The fixture has proven difficult over the years for Celtic, with their Australian attacking midfielder needing to bring that same energy seen in a green and gold jersey, if his side are to extend their title lead further.

Riley McGree's new club Middlesbrough are out of action for the weekend, but will be paying close attention to the results of other Championship sides around them. Boro currently sit just one place behind the play-off spots, with only goal difference separating the North-East club from possible promotion back to the Premier League.

Riley McGree Boro
Riley McGree will have to wait a little longer before he makes his competitive debut for Middlesbrough


In Germany, Ajdin Hrustic and Eintracht Frankfurt have European football in their sights, trailing the Europa League spots by just three points, with Champions League football still a realistic possibility - just needing to accrue six more points compared to the sides ahead of them. That task starts on Sunday morning, with Hrustic's side being given a golden opportunity for three points, when relegation battlers VFB Stuttgart travel north (Sunday 1:30am AEDT).

One side properly in the hunt for not just silverware but also promotion, is Jackson Irvine's FC St Pauli. The Hamburg outfit will hope that the international break doesn't halt any momentum made, after the second-division side defeated German giants Borussia Dortmund in the DFB Pokal. However, Irvine and Co, do sit in a precarious position heading in to their match against mid-table opponents Paderborn (Sunday 6:30am AEDT). Four matches in the league without a victory, along with a group of title challengers hot on the heels, St Pauli will require three points at home to keep control of their position inside the league's two automatic promotion places.

Jackson Irvine


Mainland Europe

Fran Karacic may well be added to the list of Socceroos plying their trade in one of Europe's first divisions, with his team Brescia placed comfortably within Serie B's play-off spots. Three points this weekend away at relegation battlers Cosenza (Sunday 12am AEDT), might be enough for Karacic's team to jump ahead of second place Pisa, occupying an illustrious automatic promotion spot.

Trent Sainsbury will be looking to summon all his career experience, as KV Kortrijk look for their first league win since December. European football is still very much achievable, but requires Kortrijk to erase the form slump when they play host to Saint-Truiden (Sunday 2:30am AEDT).

Also in Belgium, Jimmy Jeggo could make his debut for new club KAS Eupen as they face Anderlecht for the second time in a matter of days. The two teams drew 2-2 on Friday morning in the first leg of their Cup semi-final matchup, with attention turning back to league action on this time around (Monday, 4:30am AEDT). 

The Socceroos may have handled themselves without Aziz Behich, after the defender was trapped in an Istanbul snowstorm, but his club side Giresunspor may well be more reliant on the wing-back's services, with the team recently dropping back around the Turkish Süper Lig relegation zone. The task may not get any easier this weekend however, with Behich set to travel to a red-hot Konyaspor (Saturday 4am AEDT), who currently sit second, fighting amongst Turkey's giant clubs.