Rapid want to get back on track in domestic competition after last night’s convincing Europa League win.
The Green-Whites beat Romanian club FCS Bucharest 3-1 in the first leg of the final qualification round for the lucrative Europa League group stage. The return leg next Thursday will be Rapid’s most crucial make-or-break moment so far this season, but their upcoming fixture is essential too.
The Vienna-Hütteldorf side lost 1-2 in Pasching against LASK last Sunday. This Sunday, they face Wacker Innsbruck for the first time in more than four years. Rapid beat the Tyrolean team 2-0 in May 2014 in what was the last of 721 competitive match at Gerhard Hanappi Stadium, Rapid’s former ground.
Innsbruck supporters had to endure several years of second-league football, but last season Wacker fought their way back into the Bundesliga. They are now coached by former FK Austria boss Karl Daxbacher, with ex-Rapid striker Florian Schwarz acting as assistant manager.
Rapid coach Goran Djuricin is expected to give his dynamic duo a rest on Sunday (kickoff at the Allianz Stadion is at 5pm). Striker Deni Alar was marked out of the game last night but will be of great importance in Bucharest next week. Christoph Knasmüllner however once more took the starring role. The former Admira midfielder – who was the driving force behind Rapid’s 4-0 against Slovan Bratislava last week – scored the opener yesterday after having missed a penalty against LASK.
While Alar, 28, and Knasmüllner, 26, will probably warm the bench against Wacker Innsbruck, 21-yeard-old Andrei Ivan and Jeremy Guillemenot, 20, might be part of the starting line-up.