Opening day draw with Mattersburg
The honour of kicking off the 2017/18 tipico Bundesliga was bestowed upon the Allianz Stadium on Saturday. SK Rapid welcomed Burgenland outfit SV Mattersburg to the capital, with all the other weekend fixtures being played afterwards either later on in the evening or on the Sunday. July 22nd also marked a special occasion in the Green & White history books: the kick-off of the Bundesliga season fell on the founding club's 120th birthday, the "1. Wiener Arbeiter Fußball-Club"! A huge milestone for a club so connected to its past and aware of its roots on the smelting grounds and the factory floors…
The following workers were sent out onto the field by Trainer Djuricin: Richard Strebinger took his place in goal as the club's new number 1- with the number proudly emblazoned on his back. Steffen Hofmann was also in the starting 11, as was debutant Eren Keles, the talented 23-year-old winger who made the step up to the first team squad over the summer. Tamas Szanto was unlucky to miss out through injury, having put in impressive work during pre-season.
The early stages of the match were lively, with both sides manufacturing clear sights of goal. The first concrete chance for the Hütteldorfers fell to Thomas Murg, who drew a good save from SVM keeper Kuster (21.). Minutes later a crucial double blow was struck, one that left both teams reeling. Having been on the end of a rash challenge, Joelinton reacted in a way deemed excessive by referee Hameter, and was shown a straight red card which looked extremely harsh given the circumstances. Hameter did, however, award a free-kick to Rapid. Auer stepped up and lashed his first effort into the wall, but did much better with the rebound which he struck left footed into the bottom right hand corner of Kuster's net - 1:0 to Rapid, but Djuricin’s team now had negotiate the best part of 70 minutes with ten men (25.)! Despite the oppressive heat and numerical disadvantage, Rapid began bossing the game: Keles worried Kuster with a good effort (32.), before Steffen Hofmann set-up new captain Stefan Schwab who was denied by a wonder save by the Mattersburg keeper (44.). The half ended with Rapid in a well-deserved one goal lead.
The start of the second half saw the guests beginning to exploit their man advantage and threaten Strebinger's goal. A free-kick from Gruber went dangerously close (53.), but just as Mattersburg looked to be getting on top, a goal materialised at the other end: Thomas Schrammel swung a cross deep into the box, beautifully picking out Max Wöber, who rose to power a header past Kuster and double Rapid's advantage - 2:0 (57.)!
The Green & Whites were on the cusp of getting off to the perfect start, but Mattersburg continued to look dangerous going forwards and threatened with regularity. In front of a healthy 17,800 strong crowd, ex-Rapid striker Maierhofer headed over from a promising position to send out a warning (65.). However the warning wasn't heeded as Prevljak latched onto a defence splitting pass to slot past Strebinger and drag his side right back into the contest - 1:2 (74.). The Rapid bench reacted by sending on Louis Schaub, Alex Sobczyk and another debutant Boli Bolingoli, as the Hütteldorfers sought to stem the tide and wrest back control of the game. But it was Mattersburg who remained in the ascendency, and only a smart stop from Strebinger from Bürger's overhead preserved his side’s now slender looking advantage (79.). From the resulting corner Maierhofer bundled the ball over the line from close range as Rapid let slip their two goal advantage - 2:2 (80.).
Rapid did muster a reaction as they sought to salvage the three points, but when Schaub's fine solo run ended with a shot over the bar, the Green & Whites finally ran out of time and steam and had to settle for a point (88.). Next week we travel to Lower Austria to face St. Pölten looking to register an early maximum points haul.
tipico Bundesliga, 1st round:
SK Rapid - SV Mattersburg 2:2 (1:0)
Allianz Stadion, 17.800 Attendance, Ref Hameter
Goals: 1:0 (25.) Auer, 2:0 (57.) Wöber, 2:1 (74.) Prevljak, 2:2 (79.) Maierhofer;
SK Rapid: Strebinger - Pavelic, Sonnleitner, Wöber, Schrammel - Auer, Schwab - Murg (66. Schaub), S. Hofmann (75. Sobczyk), Keles (82. Bolingoli) - Joelinton;
SV Mattersburg: Kuster - Hart, Ortiz (75. Bürger), Rath, Novak (51. Pink) - Erhardt, Jano - Höller, Ertlthaler (46. Prevljak), Gruber - Maierhofer;
Yellow Cards: Sonnleitner, Rath, Höller
Red Card: Joelinton (23.);