06.03.2016 18:36
Team, tipico Bundesliga

Altach - Rapid: 0:0 in Vorarlberg

On Saturday afternoon the Rapid players and officials made the long journey westwards to what is the furthest flung corner of the Austrian Bundesliga ahead of Sunday's match against SCR Altach in Vorarlberg. Just as in spring 2015, the Green & White entourage stayed in the Hotel Gugerbauer, a health resort in Schaerding, where, incidentally, the players were housed during a Summer 2014 training camp. The hope was that the familiar surroundings would produce a familiar result: the last time the Viennese had headed into the Austrian Alpine landscape a day early to face Altach they run out 3:1 winners; a repeat would see Rapid increase the pressure on title rivals RB Salzburg.

Unsurprisingly Zoran Barisic opted to make few changes to the side that had comfortably dispatched SV Mattersburg last time out. Mario Sonnleitner though did return to the starting line up after recovering from illness, meaning Christopher Dibon dropped to the subs' bench. The rest may have come at a good time for Dibon following the glut of recent matches, as the defender continues to feel his way back into regular first team football following a difficult spell out with injury. There was further good news on the injury front: Thomas Schrammel was named in the 18-man squad for the first time since suffering a serious injury all the way back in July!

A profligate Rapid could, and should have forged a couple of goals ahead in a first half dominated by Green & White. As early as the seventh minute the pressure began to build, as a mazy run from Flo Kainz culminated in the talented forward almost squeezing a low shot past Altach keeper Martin Kobras at his near post, with Matej Jelic putting the rebound just wide after Kobras had pushed Kainz’s effort in his direction. Steffen Hofmann then had a glorious chance to put his side ahead, but the Rapid skipper was again foiled by Kobras, although Hofmann's expression afterwards suggests he thought he should have made more of the chance provided for him by Jelic’s clever cut back. The best the hosts could muster was a shot from distance from Netzer, but Richard Strebinger comfortably dealt with the effort (19.).

It was at the other end of the pitch though that most of the action was taking place, and it looked like an incisive move down the right flank would finally give Rapid the lead: Thanos Petsos broke down the Altach right, before drilling a low ball into the feet of Flo Kainz who found himself on the opposition penalty spot. Kainz in turn played Stefan Stangl in on goal with a deft reverse pass, but the attack minded full back lifted his effort over Kobras' goal from the edge of the six-yard box (25.). After the passage of play Stangl lay on the ground, clearly in pain, after being fouled by SCR defender Ortiz after the ball had gone. Unfortunately for Rapid no penalty was forthcoming however, and despite sustained pressure up until the half time whistle the sides went into the changing rooms with the deadlock still in tact.


Rapid continue to probe and push in the second half

A more determined Altach outfit arrived on the pitch for the second period, determined to get closer to the Rapid player in possession and limit the amount of time and space the Hütteldorfers had enjoyed in the first half. Nonetheless when a chance did arrive it was again Kobras who was the goalkeeper under pressure: a superb ball from Philipp Schobesberger slipped Steffen Hofmann into the penalty area, adjacent to the right hand side of the Altach six-yard box. With team mates arriving in support, Hofmann attempted to square the ball across the goalmouth, but an Altach player managed to intervene and scramble the ball out for a corner (65.). In was unselfish play from Hofmann, who could have decided to go it alone and test Kobras from a very promising position. Just minutes later it looked like the breakthrough had arrived when Jelic charged down an attempted Kobras clearance, but the ball agonizingly dropped onto the crossbar and behind for a goal kick (69.).

Stefan Stangl was the next culprit in terms of spurning good chances, when he headed over from closer range after finding himself in space in the Altach box following a corner (78.). A high quality move involving Petsos, Schwab and Kainz resulted in the dangerous Kainz once again driving at the heart of the guests' defence before powering a low right footed shot just the wrong side of the near post with Kobras looking beaten. In the 86th minute Kainz then turned provider, playing a superb ball into Matej Jelic, who just a matter of yards from goal attempted to beat Kobras with power, but drove his shot too near to the in-form Altach keeper who again produced a magnificent save to ensure his side took an unlikely point.  

It was a good performance from Rapid, but one that will leave a frustrated Zoran Barisic scratching his head and wondering how his side failed to claim all three points.



SCR Altach – SK Rapid 0:0
Altach, Cashpoint-Arena, 5.649 Attencance, Ref Muckenhammer;

Altach: Kobras - Zech, Ortiz, Jäger, Schreiner - Tajouri (67. Harrer), Salomon, Netzer, Galvao (83. Lienhart) - Ngwat-Mahop (24. Hofbauer), Aigner;

SK Rapid: Strebinger - Pavelic, Sonnleitner, M. Hofmann, Stangl - Petsos, Schwab - Schobesberger (84. Schaub), S. Hofmann (75. Murg), F. Kainz – Jelic;

Yellow Cards: Jäger, Salomon bzw. Schwab, M. Hofmann, Petsos, Kainz;