Rapid 2 are determined to follow the example of the club’s senior squad who celebrated a convincing Europa League victory last night.
The Green-Whites’ 2-1 over Dinamo Zagreb was a triumphant team effort – which was desperately needed after a string of disappointment performances keeping the team in 8th in the 12-team Bundesliga.
Rapid 2 are struggling too. Having already suffered five defeats this season, the Hütteldorf youngsters are in 11th position in the 2. Liga which consists of 16 clubs. FC Dornbirn, their next opponents (Allianz Stadion Vienna, Saturday 2.30pm), are second from last.
Rapid coach Dietmar Kühbauer is in hot water after a series of defeats pushed his team far down the table – and today’s match could be his last in charge of the Green-Whites.
With nine matches played, Rapid are second from last of the 12-team Bundesliga. Only their opponents WSG Tirol (2.30pm) have fared worse so far.
Things must improve for both teams as of now. But while WSG bosses are not expected to dismiss manager Thomas Silberberger in case of a poor performance at the Allianz Stadion today, Kühbauer could be fired during the upcoming international break in a bid to achieve a turnaround in the league without him.
The most recent encounter of the Viennese side and the Tyrolean club in Vienna dates back to last December when WSG celebrated a convincing 3-0 victory.
Having suffered five defeats in the Bundesliga, Rapid have never started worse into a league season. To add insult to injury, the Austrian vice champions lost both of their first two Europa League matches against KRC Genk and, on Thursday, at London Stadium against West Ham.
“I have been annoyed by the complaining about increased exhaustion caused by European competition,” Kronenzeitung commentator Michael Konsel said, adding that “double pressure is the actual target. Rapid want to, and have to, earn money in Europe.”
The former Rapid and national team keeper claimed speculations about the departure of strikers Ercan Kara and Taxiarchis Fountas have generated disruption at the club.
Konsel added he was certain Rapid were capable of getting back on their feet – with his former team mate Kühbauer in charge. “Beating WSG would calm everyone down a bit. A win would suddenly put the top six within reach,” Konsel underlined.
The special appeal of the match between Rapid and Sturm lies in the confrontation of the teams’ fans.
The supporters groups of the tradition-rich clubs are famed for their loyal backing. Magnificent choreographies and a vibrant atmosphere can be expected for the fiercely anticipated Bundesliga clash at the Allianz Stadion this Sunday (5pm).
Rapid reached the third round of the ÖFB Cup in rather unconvincing fashion last night, celebrating a 2-1 win in extra time against Admira.
Sturm passed the test with flying colours in Vorarlberg on Wednesday, beating third-league outfit VfB Hohenems 4-0.
Having suffered just one defeat, Sturm are currently in second in the Bundesliga. The competition is once more dominated by a faultless Red Bull Salzburg who won all of their first eight fixtures. Rapid, who are ninth of 12 teams, experience a difficult season so far, having garnered just eight points.
Solid centre backs and a touch of brilliance were the ingredients of Rapid’s victory over GAK today.
GAK just could not lay a glove on agile right-back Lukas Sulzbacher and Rapid 2 captain Nicholas Wunsch whose fantastic half-volley decided the match in the 69th minute.
Sulzbacher had equalised Lukas Gabbichler’s opening goal (29′) three minutes into the second half. The defender’s previous attempt (37′) was not precise enough.
Minutes earlier (31′), GAK winger Benjamin Rosenberger had failed to score after having embarrassed several opponents. Marco Gantschnig’s powerful header was thwarted by Rapid keeper Niklas Hedl on 25.
Eventually the flawless partnership of centre backs Leopold Querfeld and Dalibor Velimirovic ensured the first 2. Liga win of Rapid 2 in seven weeks. Winger Tobias Hedl and central midfielder Denis Bosnjak were once more reliable parts of Rapid 2 today. A considerable number of today’s audience of 710 were supporters of the team in red and white from the capital of Styria.
The young Green-Whites seemed much more confident throughout the game compared to the past few fixtures. Just one week ago, the team of ex-Rapid defender Patrick Jovanovic suffered a devastating 2-6 defeat against FC Liefering in Salzburg.
Today’s result is a significant blow for GAK’s ambitions of promotion. The side managed by former Rapid and Hansa Rostock right-back Gernot Plassnegger garnered just 11 points in eight league matches, keeping them locked in 9th in the 16-team league while Rapid 2 are in 13th (eight points).
A febrile atmosphere is certain when Rapid launch their Europa League campaign tonight (6.45pm).
The Green-Whites face Belgian Pro League side KRC Genk at the Allianz Stadion Vienna. Rapid must whip their act into shape if they want to stand a chance against John van den Brom’s team as the Belgian vice champion’s market value is much higher.
Genk, who drew with Union Saint-Gilloise on Sunday, are 5th of 18 teams. Rapid muddle along in the Bundesliga so far this season. They are only 9th in a competition dominated by Red Bull Salzburg who won all seven matches.
Rapid coach Dietmar Kühbauer denied feeling cornered after the disheartening defeat against Admira. He revealed having received a call by club president Martin Bruckner. “He ensured my that all the good work of the past two years will not be put into question now.”
Kühbauer added: “We have to remain calm. I’m certain that we will soon be heading into the right direction again.”
Rapid have produced a performance of exceptional poverty as they were beaten at home by Admira yesterday.
Hardly anyone had expected ex-national team captain Andreas Herzog’s side to gain anything at the Allianz Stadion. But since Rapid appeared toothless up front, Admira became more and more confident.
A goal by defender Stephan Zwierschitz six minutes before the end – which got the referee’s green light after a lengthy waiting period for the VAR’s decision – came as a devastating shock for the Green-Whites and the audience of 16,000.
Rapid were incapable of striking back. Srdjan Grahovac had scored the opening goal with a brilliant free-kick from just outside the box shortly before half-time, but Roman Kerschbaum equalised on 51.
Already on Thursday, Rapid welcome KRC Genk in Hütteldorf for matchday one in the Europa League. Next Sunday, the Kühbauer travel to Salzburg to face faultless Bundesliga leaders Red Bull.
One of the finest stages in Vienna is returning with “Travels with my Aunt” from its Covid-19 safety measures interruption.
Performances of an adaption of the popular novel by Graham Greene from 1969 have started earlier this week at Vienna’s English Theatre.
Chris Polick and Anthony Glennon are starring in the play directed by Philip Dart who was in charge of many previous productions of the institution including “Lend me a Tenor” and “Moonlight and Magnolias”.
“Travels with my Aunt” is on every night at 7.30pm except Sundays until 23 October at the popular theatre in Josefstadt district which was founded in 1963. American and English classics, thrillers and comedies have delighted audiences ever since.
From the 8th of November, there will be regular stagings of “Private Lives” by Noel Coward also directed by Dart.