Rapid hammer Mattersburg 6:1
Bundesliga action returned for Rapid on Saturday evening following the international break in the shape of a tough looking trip to Burgenland to face SV Mattersburg. What appeared a difficult assignment on paper turned out to be anything but on the field. Rapid produced a stunning first half of football which cut Mattersburg to ribbons: fast, incisive, accurate and clinical; Rapid led 5:0 going into the half time break. A final score line of 6:1 was truly reflective of the Green & Whites dominance and showed that the boys are in belligerent mood ahead of Thursday’s trip to Spain to face Villarreal in the Europa League.
A big crowd of 8,200 crammed into the Pappelstadion and most of them wouldn't have been able to quite believe the devastating performance Rapid delivered on a ground notoriously difficult to win on. The Hütteldorfers pushed their recent indifferent league form to one side, and playing at break neck tempo set about dismantling their hapless opponents. Philipp Prosenik had a sight of goal early on, but couldn't convert a cross with his head (3.), but just two minutes later the first goal of the evening did arrive. Flo Kainz picked the ball up in space in the Mattersburg defensive third, drove forwards a few yards and unleashed a rasping long range effort that sailed past home keeper Kuster into the right hand top corner - 1:0 (5.)!
With Rapid flying at their wobbling opponents from all angles, it was then Stefan Stangl's turn to get involved in the action. Having already been once denied by Kuster after some neat build up play (18.), the full back wasn’t going to miss out again as he found space in the Mattersburg box at the back post from a Steffen Hofmann free kick to plant a firm header across Kuster and into the back of the net - 2:0 (21.). It was no surprise at all when the third arrived: a beautifully weighted pass from Stefan Schwab ripped the Mattersburg defence apart again, as he played the advanced Stangl in behind the right back. Stangl looked up, and slid the ball across the box to the unmarked Philipp Prosenik who even had time for a sight miss-control before he tapped into an empty net - 3:0 (29.) and Mattersburg simply couldn’t live with the quality Rapid were producing.
Every time Rapid surged forward it looked as if they would find the net: a superb ball from Hütteldorfer skipper Hofmann played Philipp Schobesberger in on goal between centre back and full back, but Schobesberger's chip over Kuster drifted just the wrong side of the left hand post (25.). The waves of attacks continued as Rapid ruthlessly continued putting their opponents to the sword. Steffen Hofmann nearly added a fourth but his effort from close range crashed into the crossbar after Stangl had again got in behind the Mattersburg right back and crossed across the face of goal, having this time been played in by Flo Kainz (32.). Mattersburg's only shot on target in the first half saw Novota produce a fine low save and Rapid launch a swift counter attack: Philipp Schobesberger burst down Mattersburg’s vulnerable left flank before playing a defence splitting pass to Kainz, who rounded the keeper, kept his cool and slid a pass almost across the goal line to Prosenik, who gratefully tapped into an empty net - 4:0 (35.). If the battered hosts thought that was it they were sorely mistaken as Rapid still weren’t finished: a long ball down the right flank was flicked on by Prosenik to Schobesberger, who opened his legs to power away from his marker. Displaying the customary cool all Green & White players had this evening, he looked up and picked out Steffen Hofmann on the penalty spot, who simply flicked the ball with his heel as it passed through his legs to the unmarked Kainz on the other side of the box. Kainz made no mistake, producing an ice-cold low finish into the far corner, giving Kuster absolutely no chance - 5:0 (39.)!
If the game had been a boxing match the referee would have stopped the fight. Rapid were unleashing a master class on their beaten opponents, getting rid of all the frustration that has built up in the previous weeks which saw them slip below their own high standards they have set for themselves this season. It was a truly wonderful and majestic team performance from the Hütteldorfers, with the only positive for Mattersburg being that they were lucky not to have conceded more.
A quick check of the statistics: the last time Rapid hit five goals during the first half was during the legendary 7:0 victory in Salzburg, almost seven years ago now.
Unsurprisingly Zoran Barisic elected to make no changes at half time. Also unsurprisingly, with the game dead and buried Rapid took their foot off the accelerator for the first time in the match. Villarreal lie in wait for Barisic’s men on Thursday evening in what will be a very thorough examination of this young side’s European credentials. A Patrick Bürger header pulled a goal back for the hosts, but it was never going to be anything more than a consolation (52.). In the closing stages Tomi, Deni Alar and Matej Jelic all got some minutes on the pitch, with Jelic also getting himself on the scoreboard: Christopher Dibon picked out the superb Kainz with a long ball to the left hand side of the penalty area, where Kainz dashed inside, pulling his man out of position, before playing a perfect reverse pass into Jelic who did the rest, beating Kuster at his near post to round off the scoring and make it 6:1 (83.). Jelic's goal proved to be the last of the evening as Rapid recorded a truly stunning victory on away turf. Up next is Villarreal.
tipico Bundesliga, 16th round:
Mattersburg - SK Rapid 1:6 (0:5)
Pappelstadion, 8.200 Attendance, Ref Harkam
Goals: 0:1 Kainz (5.), 0:2 Stangl (21.), 0:3 Prosenik (29.), 0:4 Prosenik (35.), 0:5 Kainz (39.), 1:5 Bürger (52.), 1:6 Jelic (83.);
Mattersburg: Kuster - Höller, Malic, Mahrer, Maksimenko - Jano (46./Bürger), Prietl - Röcher, Perlak (46./Sprangler), Farkas (77./Novak) - Onisiwo;
SK Rapid: Novota - Pavelic, Sonnleitner, Dibon, Stangl - Grahovac, Schwab - Schobesberger (81./Alar), S. Hofmann (78./Tomi), F. Kainz - Prosenik (63./Jelic);
Yellow Cards: Kuster, Sprangler; Schwab;