SKN face Rapid as Dibon and Schobesberger are still sidelined

SKN St. Pölten welcome an absolute top club in today’s Bundesliga match.

The Lower Austrian side – who sensationally managed to avoid being relegated last season – are determined to secure at least one point against SK Rapid today (kickoff: 6.30pm). St. Pölten were defeated 2-3 by Sturm Graz in a spectacular first round match last weekend.

Now Jochen Fallmann’s team want put pressure on Rapid’s defence which looked feeble and insecure against Mattersburg. Despite a comfortable 2-0 lead, Rapid only garnered one point against the brave team from Burgenland.

Rapid coach Goran Djuricin – whose team want to reconcile with fans after a horrific season – must do without several players who are currently recovering from serious injuries. Winger Philipp Schobesberger, centre-back Christopher Dibon and striker Giorgi Kwilitaia would normally be part of his preferred starting eleven.

“Anything but a victory would be a disappointment,” Djuricin underlined. The manager knows he would soon be in hot water if his team fail to convince fans and club bosses. Next week Rapid are up against FK Austria in another edition of the infamous Viennese derby.

>> http://www.skn-stpoelten.at

>> http://www.skrapid.at

Rapid restart against Mattersburg

A green-white duel kicks off the new Bundesliga season.

Rapid Vienna, traditionally clad in green-white jerseys, face SV Mattersburg, who have the same club colours, at the Allianz Stadium in Vienna at 4pm on Saturday.

It was another busy summer of comings and goings at the Pappelstadion while Rapid bosses acted rather cautiously. SVM coach Gerald Baumgartner had to accept the departure of outstanding players like Patrick Farkas and Thorsten Röcher. To replace them, the former FK Austria manager’s club signed Florian Sittsam from Wiener Neustadt, ex-Sturm Graz ace Andreas Gruber and former SV Ried star Florian Hart.

Rapid director Fredy Bickel dumped flopped Icelandic international Arnor Traustason and defender Christoph Schößwendter. Left-back Boli Bolingoli Mbombo joined the 2007/2008 league champs from Club Brugge.

Rapid only came fifth in the 10-team league last season but fans hope that this was just a small bump in the road on the club’s road to glory. However, Red Bull Salzburg are once more considered as absolute top favourites for the title.

Rapid recently beat Cypriot side Apollon Limassol and third-league club FCM Traiskirchen. The team of Goran Djuricin achieved draws against Celtic Glasgow (1-1) and as Monaco (2-2). Mattersburg beat FK Vardar Skopje from Macedonia 1-0. Their friendly against Szombathely Haladas ended 1-1.

Both Rapid and Mattersburg proceeded in the ÖFB Cup last week. Rapid beat Tyrolean club SC Schwaz 2-0 while Mattersburg celebrated a 6-1 win over Saalfelden.

>> http://www.skrapid.at

>> http://www.svm.at

Book look: Pointillism & pub quiz power

A new publication enables art fans to discover the impeccable paintings of Georges Seurat, Paul Signac and other iconic personalities of pointillism. Hirmer’s “Ways of Pointillism”, at 290 pages a not so tidy distillation of facts and stories about the movement, its painters and their era. The book has been released in German and English. It features mesmerising paintings that were part of an unanimously acclaimed exhibition at Vienna’s Albertina and the Kröller-Müller Museum of Otterlo in the Netherlands. Edited by Heinz Widauer, it contains essays by Michael Baumgartner, Liesbeth Heenk and Claudine Grammont informing about techniques, historical background and artistic developments between impressionism and fauvism.

Ways of Pointillism
By Heinz Widauer, Helewise Berger and others
Published by Hirmer (www.hirmerverlag.de)

Fun facts concerning booze and fags in Tarantino flicks, drink & drive cops in France and young Germans’ cannabis consumption. “Neon Unnützes Quizzen. Alcohol & Drogen” is arguably anything but the textbook definition of card game. Based on Neon magazine’s Unnützes Wissen series, this game contains 99 extraordinary facts. Anyone determined to leave the well-trodden playing paths should click the buy button on this one – which, all the fun aspects aside, might even mean a turning point in some players’ life towards a healthier daily routine.

Neon Unnützes Quizzen. Alkohol & Drogen
By Michaela Rogalli & Sebastian Schwamm
Published by arsEdition (www.arsedition.de)

Book look: Syrians’ struggle for survival

Few Austrian journalists know Syria better than Petra Ramsauer. The reporter, who has previously released acclaimed books about the Muslim Brotherhood and young jihad fighters, visited Aleppo and other battlegrounds many times in recent years.

Ramsauer interviewed human rights activists, judges, opposition group fighters and victims of the conflict. Extracts from these conversations can be found in her new book, “Siegen heißt, den Tag überleben” which is out now by Kremayr & Scheriau. More importantly, however, are her fact checks and summary of what happened so far in the horrific war which killed over 500,000 residents.

Ramsauer underlines that 2010, one year before the conflict broke out, 90 per cent of the country’s exports went to European Union member states. Especially oil was shipped to Europe which put an embargo on the regime later on. Between 2011 and 2016, 1.2 million Syrians applied for asylum there while 35,000 volunteers joined various rebel groups in the fight against the Syrian army. Around 7,000 came from Europe. Back in 2010, Syria welcomed eight million tourists.

Ramsauer analyses how the civil war started and why it escalated. She portrays the situation of people in Dara’a where a group of teenagers sprayed anti-regime graffiti on a school wall. Ramsauer also examines why none of the various international conferences’ ceasefire agreements stood the test of time. Whereas other authors concentrate on the rise of the Islamic State which seemed unstoppable for years despite an international alliance’s air strikes and even boots on the ground, “Siegen heißt, den Tag überleben” includes a brilliant examination of how Jabhat al-Nusra evolved into one of the most feared organisations in Syria.

The author of “Muslimbrüder. Ihre geheime Strategie. Ihr globales Netzwerk” and “Die Dschihad-Generation. Wie der apokalyptische Kult des Islamischen Staats Europa bedroht” points out that not just radical Islamist groups but also Free Syrian Army troops and Kurdish units committed war crimes. She hits out at organisations like the United Nations which splashed out vast sums on their employees’ hotel bills while cooperating with regime ministries concerning donations. At the same time, Bashar al-Assad’ troops blocked food, diapers, drugs and even water from being delivered to cities like Darayya, just seven kilometres from the president’s residence. Hundreds starved in the besieged towns while thousands were tortured and murdered in camps and prisons run by the Syrian army and its infamous secret service agencies.

Ramsauer does not just focus on recent occurrences. The author also names the mistakes of Great Britain and France during colonisation and occupation. Her conclusion concerning Syria’s future is anything but optimistic due to the abysmal condition of the country but also because of people’s broken hearts and traumatised minds.

Siegen heißt, den Tag überleben. Nahaufnahmen aus Syrien
By Petra Ramsauer
Published by Kremayr & Scheriau (www.kremayr-scheriau.at)