Final friendly before Bundesliga restart ends in a draw
The opponents were Czech top division outfit 1. FC Slovacko, who travelled to Vienna along with a band of 100 or so hardy and vocal supporters. Aside from keepers Tobias Knoflach and Christoph Haas, and outfield players Kelvin Arase, Christopher Dibon, Ivan Mocinic and Manuel Thurnwald, every single squad member got a run-out in Goran Djuricin's last opportunity to fine tune his squad ahead of the return of competitive action.
In mild but windy playing conditions, it took a good fifteen minutes before the game sparked into life. Captain Stefan Schwab registered three decent efforts on goal in as many minutes and was on one occasion denied by the woodwork. Schwab continues to go from strength to strength in Green & White: the skipper recently had the honour of being voted player of the year by Rapid supporters. Philipp Schobesberger again rattled the frame of the goal just minutes after Schwab, before an effort from Joelinton was deflected behind for a corner (19.).
Goran Djuricin's charges could easily have lead 3:0 after the first 20 minutes, and when Schobesberger passed up another glorious chance after superb interplay involving Louis Schaub, it appeared just a matter of time before the Hüttledorfers would break the deadlock. But when the first goal did eventually arrive on the half-hour mark, it was Jakub Petr who was celebrating after producing a sumptuous finish that left the hitherto underworked Richard Strebinger with absolutely no chance. Bouyed by the goal, the Czech visitors nearly stole further ahead, with the Green & Whites grateful for Max Hofmann's goal line intervention. There was little further goalmouth action of note in the remaining minutes before half-time, with Rapid going into the break trailing their opponents by a one-goal margin.
The second half got under with three personnel changes: Mario Sonnleitner, Stephan Auer and Tamas Szanto came into the fray, whilst the trio of Max Hofmann, Mario Pavelic and the impressive Louis Schaub made way. Slovacko continued to pose more of an attacking threat, and Richard Strebinger was forced into early action, coming out on top in a one-on-one duel to keep arrears at 0:1 (49.). Rapid probed at their opponents, but chances were somewhat hard to come by: an offside goal from Joelinton, and a shot over the bar from Schwab (63.) were the only real moments of danger the guests. But in the 68th minute Schwab did find his range, stroking an elegant effort into the net to level proceedings - 1:1 (68.).
Just two minutes later Djuricin decided, as planned, to ring the changes, bringing on seven new players for the final twenty minutes. In worsening conditions there were no further additions to the score, and at the final whistle a draw seemed a fair result on the balance of play.
Goran Djuricin gave his thoughts on the game: "Of course we weren't as lively as we want to be for the league re-start. We had good spells and a few poor ones during today's game, which was an important outing for us."
SK Rapid vs 1. FC Slovacko 1:1 (0:1)
Training Centre Ernst- Happel-Stadium, 300 Attendance
Goals: Schwab (68.); Petr (29.)
SK Rapid: Strebinger; Pavelic (46. Auer), M. Hofmann (46. Sonnleitner), Galvao (71. Müldür), Bolingoli (71. Kuen); Petsos (71. S. Hofmann), Schwab (71. Ljubicic); Schaub (46. Szanto), Murg (71. Mujakic), Schobesberger (71. Berisha); Joelinton (71. Kvilitaia);