28.02.2016 16:31
Team, tipico Bundesliga

Green & Whites call up the Rapid spirit to turn match

On the back of Thursday's painful defeat at the hands of Valencia, Bundesliga football was back on the agenda. The visit of SV Grödig represented a chance to immediately banish any Europa League hangover in front of 15.000 in the Ernst Happel Stadium. Mario Sonnleitner was unavailable for selection owing to flu, but there was positive news as Christopher Dibon came back into the starting 11 for the first time since picking up an injury against Villarreal in November, whilst Florian Kainz was also back in the frame having recovered from concussion suffered last time out.

In the opening minutes of the game, Rapid's proud defensive record of having kept clean sheets in their last three Bundesliga outings came to an abrupt end: a whipped corner was met by a Maak header, which crept in at the far post after evading Mario Pavelic's efforts to clear (8.). Rapid responded by looking to exploit space down the Salzburg side's flanks, and the first real sight of goal lead to the equaliser: a Thanos Petsos volley from a Stefan Nutz corner found its way to Matej Jelic, who controlled the ball with his chest before stabbing home from close range - 1:1 (21.). With the bit between their teeth, the Green & Whites began forcing Peter Schöttel's side deeper and deeper, and could have snatched the lead when Stefan Nutz fed the ball to Mario Pavelic, but the full back's effort lacked the required accuracy (32.).


If the majority of the crowd expected the lowly guests from Salzburg to simply roll over in the second half they were to be disappointed. The Grödig defence was proving a tough nut to crack at the beginning of the second period, and Rapid's task got doubly difficult as the Salzburgers snatched the lead on the counter when a cross found Schütz in space in the area, with the Grödig man planting an unstoppable header into the back of the net - 1:2 (66.). With the chips down Rapid then produced the sort of magic associated with this club's rich history that has created the Rapid-Viertelstunde legend.  

The Green & Whites upped the tempo and refused to give in. Their determination was rewarded with an equaliser five minutes from time when a deep cross from Kainz was met with a header by Stefan Schwab that nestled in the net - 2:2 (85.). Not satisfied with pulling a point out of the fire, the Hütteldorfers saved the real drama for injury time: a crunching tackle from Dibon saw off two Grödig players, stopped a counter attack and gave Rapid forward momentum. Dibon fed the ball to Kainz, who in one swift movement lofted the ball over the Grödig defence, setting Jelic through on goal. The in form marksman made no mistake, and with the keeper rushing out of his goal, cutely tapped the ball beyond his despairing lunge and into the goal for a late, late winner - 3:2 (91.)!! At the end of the match the celebrations indicated that this victory represented more than just a three points. Come the end of the season, all in Green & White may reflect upon a crucial turning point and victory earned through pure determination and the Rapid spirit...



tipico Bundesliga, 24th round:
SK Rapid - SV Grödig 3:2 (1:1)
Ernst-Happel-Stadion, 14.200 Attendance, Ref Kollegger

Goals: 0:1 Maak (7.), 1:1 Jelic (21.), 1:2 Schütz (66.), 2:2 Schwab (85.), 3:2 Jelic (91.);

SK Rapid: Strebinger - Pavelic, Dibon, M. Hofmann, Stangl - Petsos, Grahovac (77./Schwab) - Schobesberger (68./Murg), Nutz (68./S. Hofmann), F. Kainz - Jelic;

Grödig: Swete - T. Kainz, Maak, D. Baumgartner, Denner - Brauer, Rasner - Ofosu (60./Schütz), Kerschbaum (78./Völkl), Goiginger - Derflinger;

Yellow Cards: Petsos, M. Hofmann, S. Hofmann, Jelic; Schütz, Maak, Brauer