Hütteldorfers beat Admira to climb above them
The mission was clear ahead of Sunday's clash with surprise package and early table toppers Admira Wacker: get the victory over our southerly neighbours and ensure the weekend finishes with Rapid back top of the Bundesliga. However, Admira have proved to be something of a bogey side for the Green & Whites in recent seasons, with Rapid incredibly failing to emerge from any of the previous six encounters between the clubs victorious. With confidence brimming after beating Villarreal on Thursday, it was time to put this statistic to bed.
With Rapid battling the rigours of juggling domestic and international football it would have surprised few when Zoran Barisic shuffled his pack somewhat for the Admira game. Philipp Huspek and Philipp Schobesberger came in for Louis Schaub and Flo Kainz, whilst in attack new signing Matej Jelic made his competitive debut. Despite Admira executing their customary high intensity off the ball style, once Rapid had negotiated the initial press chances began to present themselves. An early effort from Steffen Hofmann narrowly went the wrong side of the post (3.), before good work down the left flank from Stefan Stangl lead to a sight of goal for Jelic, but our new striker failed to adjust his body in time to take on a difficult snap shot, failing to make meaningful contact with the ball (10.).
Schwab heads home against former club
Following Jelic's chance the game entered something of a lull in terms of goal mouth action. But the good football did continue to flow from the Hütteldorfers, who bossed the game in terms of possession and tempo despite lacking a real cutting edge. But as the game edged towards half time Stefan Schwab stepped up against his ex-employers to put that right: Steffen Hofmann floated an inviting cross into the penalty area where it was met by Schwab, who rose highest to guide his header via the underside of the crossbar and Admira keeper Siebenhandl into the back of the net - 1:0 (42.)! Schwab almost doubled the lead just seconds later, but his excellent low left footed drive from the edge of the area was expertly turned round the post by Siebenhandl (43.), ensuring his side remained only one goal adrift going into half time.
Having offered little threat during the first 45 minutes Admira set about ensuring that wasn’t to be the case in the second: Jan Novota did exceptionally well to turn a shot from on loan Rapid forward Dominik Starkl onto the post, saving Starkl's close range effort with his heel as the ball threatened to squirm between his legs (48.). Minutes later Starkl was again causing problems as he drew another save out of Novota after shrugging off the attentions of Christopher Dibon (50.). The determined start to the half from Admira demanded a response from Rapid - and they came within inches of providing one: Philipp Schobesberger cut in off the left flank and made his way into a shooting position, slipping as his shot. The ball then spooned up to Christopher Dibon at the back post, who threw himself at the ball, turning it goal-wards, but his effort rolled agonisingly wide of the target with Siebenhandl nowhere to be seen (52.).
Rapid turn pressure into goals
Flo Kainz and Philipp Prosenik came off the bench for Rapid, and with them came a renewed sense of urgency in the attacking third. Kainz played provider for Mario Pavelic, whose deflected shot from the substitute’s cross flew just wide of the target (61.). Grahovac then fired off a long range effort as Rapid upped the tempo and put their opponents under increasing pressure, which finally told: another ex-Admira man, Christopher Dibon, found himself in space in the Mödling penalty area following a Kainz corner and made no mistake as he powered a header beyond Sibenhandl, which, despite being within the keeper's reach had more than enough power on it to beat him - 2:0 (66.)! Four minutes later Kainz thought he had added a third: on receiving a beautifully weighted, deft pass from Steffen Hofmann at the back post, Kainz lobbed the ball over the on rushing Admira keeper, only to see Zwierschitz scramble back onto the goal line to head away to safety (70.).
The remainder of the game saw Rapid continue to play their pleasing brand of football and more or less play Admira out of the game. By the time the final whistle came Admira had given up the ghost as they hadn’t been able to make any sort of impression on a solid and professional Hütteldorfer outfit after going two behind. The win rounds off a brilliant week for Rapid: victory over Villarreal in the Europa League, and this victory which yielded not only three points against a difficult opponent and bogy team - but also top spot in the Bundesliga table.
tipico Bundesliga, 9. round:
SK Rapid - Admira Wacker 2:0 (1:0)
Wien, Ernst-Happel-Stadion, 15.500 Attendance, Ref Schörgenhofer
Goals: 1:0 (42.) Schwab, 2:0 (66.) Dibon;
SK Rapid: Novota - Pavelic, Sonnleitner, Dibon, Stangl - Schwab, Grahovac - Schobesberger, S. Hofmann (79. Schaub), Huspek (57. Kainz) - Jelic (60. Prosenik);
Admira: Siebenhandl - Ebner, Zwierschitz, Wostry, Wessely - Lackner, D. Toth - Sax (70. P. Zulj), Blutsch, Spiridinovic (46. Grozurek) - Starkl;
Yellow Cards: Schwab, Hofmann; Blutsch