A painful defeat in Mattersburg crushed Rapid’s championship playoff ambitions last month. Now the team vow revenge.
Rapid face the Burgenland side on their home turf (Allianz Stadion, 5pm) on Saturday in what will be the third match of the relegation playoff. Not just the Green-Whites won both their opening fixtures. Mattersburg also garnered six out of six points.
The Vienna-Hütteldorf outfit are determined to recreate some sort of can-do spirit as a season of numerous defeats and disappointments draws to a close. Sporting director Fredy Bickel recently announced his decision to retire this summer, citing the failure to challenge Red Bull Salzburg for the title as main motivation for his departure. However, the ongoing spat between the club board and some die-hard supporter groups is undoubtedly another significant reason.
Former Rapid coach Zoran Barisic has been hotly tipped to replace Bickel. As a player, Barisic was one of the driving forces behind Rapid’s trophy-grabbing team in the 1990s. One of his teammates was Dietmar Kühbauer, the club’s current coach.
Meanwhile, Austrian Football Association officials have decided to relocate the upcoming ÖFB Cup final from Generali Arena in Vienna, the stadium of Rapid’s fiercest rivals FK Austria, to Klagenfurt’s Wörthersee Stadium. Police have expressed safety concerns regarding the clash between Rapid and Red Bull scheduled for Labour Day while fans of FK Austria expressed their disagreement.