Painful defeat in 315th Vienna derby
Rapid needed to put Thursday night's Europa League heroics against Viktoria Plzen to the back of their minds on Sunday: our cross city rivals were the guests in the Ernst Happel Stadium as the 315th Vienna derby rolled around. The big shock in the line-up was the absence of Jan Novota who had been suffering from flu. In his place came Richard Strebinger for his sixth appearance of the season. Over 32,200 fans turned up to witness a spectacle which, in truth, took a while to get going. There were few chances in the opening half an hour of the game, with Austria Vienna registering a couple of attempts, as firstly a Holzhauser free kick missed the target (14.), before Zulechner also attempted a shot that failed to trouble Strebinger (25.). There was little to cheer for the Rapid contingent in the crowd, as the Green & Whites struggled to find the fluidity so evident on Thursday.
With Rapid struggling to find attacking momentum it was crucial to keep things tight at the back, and that is exactly what Christopher Dibon did, as he flew into a challenge on Grünwald just as it looked like the Austria man might make use of a very promising position (36.). Zoran Barisic's side continued to huff and puff, but failed to hit their straps in the attacking third. If Rapid were going to pierce the Violets’ defence an attacking improvement in the second half would be required.
Goals arrive in second half
The second half began with far more promise for the Hütteldorfers: a fluid attack involving Louis Schaub and Steffen Hofmann was brought back for offside, but finally Rapid were beginning to get their attacking passing going and move the opposition defence around into uncomfortable areas. Stefan Stangl was the Rapid player who finally threatened the Austria goal, but as he got on the end of a Flo Kainz corner he failed to keep his headed effort down (52.). Just as Rapid appeared to be finding some rhythm and attacking purpose, disaster struck: a free-kick from Holzhauser was swung deep into the Rapid box where Max Hofmann attempted to clear the danger, but on the stretch the young centre back guided the ball past Richard Strebinger and into his own net - 0:1 (54.). Just minutes later the Green & Whites nearly found an equaliser, but a teasing ball across the goal mouth found no takers as both Matej Jelic and Flo Kainz arrived too late on the scene (59.). With time running down one could sense the calmness that often characterises Rapid’s play slipping away.
But a palpable sense of relief came over the whole stadium when Rapid forced and equaliser just before the Rapid-Viertelstunde: an excellently weighted pass from Kainz slipped substitute Philipp Prosenik in, who carried the ball into the box before firing into the corner of the net - 1:1 (74.)! Rapid tried to build on the goal with the raucous home support at the backs, but nevertheless the going remained tough. At the other end the Violets continued to show menace on the break and from set pieces, as highlighted in the 84th minute when Strebinger tipped a free kick from Gorgon over the bar. Just minutes before the end came the harsh blow that broke Hütteldorfer hearts: a swift counter by Austria culminated with Friesenbichler sweeping the ball into Strebinger’s net at the near post - 1:2 (88.).
After two thumping derby victories on the trot Rapid once again tasted defeat. With the games coming thick and fast Rapid will have plenty of chances to put this painful loss behind them. The first opportunity to do just that presents itself on Wednesday in the form of a home ÖFB-Cup tie against Austria Salzburg.
tipico Bundesliga, 13th round:
SK Rapid - FK Austria 1:2 (0:0)
Ernst-Happel-Stadion, 32.200 Attendance, Ref Lechner
Goals: 0:1 M. Hofmann (53./Own Goal), 1:1 Prosenik (74.), 1:2 Friesenbichler (89.);
SK Rapid: Strebinger - Pavelic, Dibon, M. Hofmann, Stangl - Petsos, Schwab - Schaub (63./Schobesberger), S. Hofmann, F. Kainz - Jelic (59./Prosenik);
FK Austria: Almer - F. Koch, Windbichler, Rotpuller, Martschinko - Holzhauser, A. Grünwald - Gorgon (91./Vukojevic), Kehat (75./Serbest), Zulechner (86./Friesenbichler) - Kayode;
Yellow Cards: Dibon; Martschinko, Windbichler, Almer, Vukojevic;