Rapid have reached the next round of the Austrian Football Cup but last night’s success must be viewed with suspicion as it followed a 1-2 defeat in Salzburg.
The Viennese team once more failed to achieve anything against Bundesliga powerhouse Red Bull on Sunday. However, the side from Hütteldorf vanquished SV Mattersburg in a dramatic penalty shootout to enter the ÖFB Cup round of 16.
Now Rapid face SKN St. Pölten. If the league was based on budgets, the team from the capital city of Lower Austria would be found at the bottom of the table each season. But Dietmar Kühbauer set the team back on the path of success.
First St. Pölten avoided being relegated by beating Wiener Neustadt at the end of last season. Then the retired midfielder – who was of vital importance for Rapid’s fantastic trophy-winning team in the 1990s – accelerated them to third while Rapid edged down to seventh position due to two defeats in a row.
Rapid coach Goran Djuricin – who still faces harsh attacks by some supporters who think he is not capable of doing a good job – is expected to rest Deni Alar against St. Pölten on Saturday (5pm). The striker has been part of Rapid’s starting line-up in each competitive fixture so far this season. Defender Mario Sonnleitner could also find himself on the bench.