15.09.2015 09:14
Team, Match report

No countryside comforts: Rapid suffer first away defeat since March in Altach

Rapid arrived in sunny Vorarlberg on Saturday to be greeted by glorious conditions ahead of the clash with SCR Altach in the eighth round of tipico-Bundesliga fixtures. A superbly prepared pitch and a packed house greeted the teams onto the field, but a little over two hours later a disappointed Hütteldorfer contingent in the crowd were making the long journey back east empty handed.

New signing Matej Jelic was absent from the starting line-up, but Zoran Barisic had shuffled his pack somewhat following the 2:4 defeat against Mattersburg last time out: Jan Novota returned between the sticks, Stefan Stangl made a welcome return to the starting eleven following injury, Srdjan Grahovac come in for the injured Thanos Petsos, whilst captain Steffen Hofmann made his first appearance since celebrating his 35th birthday.

Good chances at both ends

There was little in the way of attacking fireworks during the first half an hour of the game. Despite Rapid largely bossing play, chances were at a premium for the Hütteldorfers, the best of which fell to Deni Alar: a smart pass from Steffen Hofmann following a quick counter provided Alar with a clear shooting opportunity, but his effort was turned round the post for a corner by ex-Rapid keeper Andreas Lukse (26.). Just five minutes later Lukse was again at the centre of the action, this time denying Steffen Hofmann what would have been his 94th Bundesliga goal with a close range reaction save.

After having sleepwalked their way through the opening half an hour as an attacking force, Altach suddenly sprang into life but passed up two golden opportunities: firstly, Jan Novota had to be at his brilliant best to keep out a shot from Andreas Lienhart. From the resulting corner Alexander Pöllhuber found himself in an alarming amount of space, but fortunately for all in Green & White, contrived to miss the target from close range with the goal at his mercy.

Improved Altach claim three points with Harrer's second half double

During the customary half time interviews with Sky TV, Sporting Director Andreas Müller did not cut a happy figure, criticising the Green & Whites' "static" football and the "lack of dynamism" in the final third. Straight from kick-off a sluggish Rapid were once more indebted to Jan Novota, as he pulled off a brilliant stop, this time denying Harrer. The early stages of the second period suggested that Zoran Barisic's half time team talk was doing the trick, with Rapid looking a bit sharper going forwards, albeit without really troubling the under worked Altach keeper. However, the balance of play suggested that if a goal was to materialise it might well be at the other end of the pitch, and so it proved: Martin Harrer again found too much space in the Rapid penalty area, this time - despite getting a hand to the ball - Novota couldn't rescue his team mates as Harrer's shot had just enough on it to beat him - 1:0 (54.).

Minutes later Rapid finally had a clear sight of goal and the chance to quickly get back on terms, but Lukse was on hand to deny Stefan Schwab, who may feel he should have done better with his shot from about 10 meters out (58.). Pavelic and Prosenik came on for Stangl and Alar as the Rapid bench looked to influence the proceedings from the side-lines, and Prosenik duly provided a hearts in mouths moment for the hosts, but his dangerous low ball across the six yard box was hacked to safety by a relived Altach defence (70.). Philipp Schobesberger came on at the start of the Rapid-Viertelstunde, and could have had legitimate shouts for a penalty, but - to his credit - elected to try and stay on his feet and didn't complain to the referee in the manner which we are these days accustomed to. In the closing stages Rapid continued to press and probe, but they struggled to create any chances of note against a solid and well organised Altach rear guard. The travelling Viennese were put out of their misery in the 89th minute when Harrer grabbed his second of the afternoon, slamming past Novota to consign Rapid to their first away defeat in roughly half a year.

In his post-match interview, a disappointed Stefan Schwab did little to hide his obvious frustration: "Today we bungled everything in front of goal. In games like this you have to make the most of the few chances you get. But we’ll put this defeat behind us as this week we still have two important games ahead of us."


tipico Bundesliga, 8. round
SCR Altach - SK Rapid 0:2 (0:0)
Saturday, 12. September
7.250 Attendance

Goals: Harrer (54., 89.)

SK Rapid: Novota; Auer, Sonnleitner, Dibon, Stangl (58. Pavelic); Schwab, Grahovac; Schaub, S. Hofmann, Kainz; Alar (65. Prosenik);

Altach: Lukse - Lienhart, Ortiz, Pöllhuber, Schreiner - Jäger, Netzer (72./Prokopic) - Ngwat-Mahop (67./Seeger), Hofbauer, Harrer - Aigner (87./Zwischenbrugger);

Yellow Cards: Pöllhuber, Hofbauer, Ortiz bzw. Novota, Grahovac;