Clash of the crisis clubs

It will be an encounter of two teams under enormous pressure when Rapid face Sturm Graz on Saturday.

The Green-Whites lost 1-2 to Admira last Sunday due to a last-minute own goal by Mario Pavelic but coach Goran Djuricin’s job is not on the line, according to club bosses. Being forced to perform without several injured players including skipper Stefan Schwab, Rapid’s defence appeared fragile while striker Joelinton missed a bunch of top chances.

Sturm started poorly into the decisive part of the season too. The tradition-rich Graz club lost both matches since the Bundesliga restarted after the winter break. Now Red Bull Salzburg are five points ahead of the 2011 league champs. Sturm must score on Saturday (Allianz Stadion Vienna, kickoff: 4pm) to quiet down critics who are already raising doubts concerning the competence of the team’s new manager. Heiko Vogel took over from Franco Foda a few weeks ago after the former Sturm midfielder was appointed new Austrian national team coach.

Rapid’s poor performances have only be a fringe concern recently despite the immense interest in the club as the team’s supporters once more set pulses racing. Rapid’s match against city rivals FK Austria was almost broken off after lighters, cups and other objects were thrown on players of the opposite team. The referee eventually decided to continue after an interruption of more than 10 minutes, but league officials slapped a 100,000 Euro fine on Rapid earlier this week. Furthermore, the club must not let supporters enter the west stand. Other parts of the stadium have to remain empty as well at one fixture in the near future which has not yet been determined.

The Bundesliga after 22 of 36 rounds:

Red Bull Salzburg, 49 points
Sturm Graz, 44
SK Rapid, 35
Admira, 34
LASK, 33
FK Austria, 27
Mattersburg, 27
Altach, 26
WAC, 20
St. Pölten, 7

>> http://www.skrapid.at

>> http://www.sksturm.at

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