Narrow margins and little luck: 0:1 in Altach
Three days after the trip to Belarus in the Europa League, domestic issues were back on the agenda as Rapid made the long journey westwards to take on Altach. The team had already flown out on Saturday, however without the services of amongst others Ivan Mocinic, who picked up a knock during the match against Zhodino.
After blitzing Ried 5:0 on the opening day the Hütteldorfers were looking to build momentum in a traditionally tricky venue. That the game was to be no walk in the park for Rapid was highlighted as early as the second minute when Harrer went close with a headed chance for the hosts. In reply Stefan Schwab sent a free kick over the bar after Philipp Schobesberger had been fouled (5.), whilst an effort from Arnor Traustason also cleared the crossbar (9.). A clear pattern to the match was quickly discernable, with Altach looking to invite the Green & Whites onto them before launching counter attacks into the available space. However, Mike Büskens' side marshalled Altach’s attacking threat largely well but were also grateful to the woodwork when Harrer's effort from distance clipped the outside of the post (24.).
Seconds later Rapid responded by creating their best opening of the half: A one-two involving Schwab and Thomas Schrammel opened up some space in the Altach defensive third, with the former being sent through on goal only to see his low drive cannon back off the foot of the post (24.). With the rain setting in and the clock ticking down towards half time Louis Schaub played in Schwab, who again get his angles wrong as he lifted the ball over the target (41.).
Rapid clearly enjoyed the better of the first half in footballing terms, and at the start of the second period the ascendency was nearly turned into a lead on the score board: A throw in from Schrammel was flicked on to Traustason, who became the second Rapid player of the afternoon to strike the woodwork when his shot rebounded off the far post (51.). The increasingly heavy rain started to influence proceedings more and more as the half wore on, making conditions difficult under foot. Tamas Szanto came off the bench to make his competitive debut in place of Traustason as Rapid looked to find a way through the stubborn Altach resistance.
With the Green & Whites pushing for the win, it was against the run of play when the hosts snatched a late winner: Oberlin evaded the attentions of the Rapid defence before playing in Salomon with a deft ball, who beat Jan Novota to hand his side the lead - 0:1 (76.). Mike Büskens reacted by throwing Thomas Murg and Maximilian Entrup into the fray, but it was Mario Pavelic who had the next effort, dragging his shot from range wide of the far post (80.). During the closing stages of the game Rapid struggled to create any clear cut openings and were condemned to an unlucky and undeserved narrow defeat.
On Thursday the squad return to international action as we welcome Torpedo Zhodino to Vienna for the second leg of our Europa League tie.
tipico Bundesliga, 2nd round:
Altach - SK Rapid 1:0 (0:0)
Cashpoint Arena, 6.237 Attendance, Ref Eisner
Goal: 1:0 Salomon (75.);
Altach: Lukse - Lienhart, Jäger, Netzer, Zech, Galvao - D. Luxbacher (71./Salomon), Prokopic, Dovedan (60./Oberlin) - Ngwat-Mahop, Harrer (82./Zivotic);
SK Rapid: Novota - Pavelic, Schößwendter, M. Hofmann, Schrammel - Grahovac (77./Entrup), Schwab - Schobesberger, Schaub (77./Murg), Traustason (63./Szanto) - Joelinton;