Comfortable 4:1 win makes it five in a row
Whilst the 18,600 fans filling the stands of the Allianz Stadium on Sunday looked on in anticipation of a fifth consecutive Bundesliga victory, there was - perhaps inevitably - still a palpable disappointment in the air after Wednesday's gut wrenching exit from the ÖFB Cup at the hands of Sturm Graz. There were no new injuries to report, and so with a strong squad to pick from it was up to Goran Djurcin and his players to put on a show against Admira and help banish any lingering blues as the race for third place heats up.
Straight from the kick-off it was clear that the Hütteldorfers were not suffering a cup hangover, as they pressed, harried, controlled and out-footballed their opponents from the get go. The Green & Whites have struggled on recent visits to the South City, but Admira looked anything but comfortable this time out in Penzing territory. It was little surprise when Rapid's dynamic movement and passing began to create openings: A shot from distance from Schwab was dealt with by goal keeper Leitner (7.), before Louis Schaub headed a Bolingoli cross over the bar (8.). Admira did manage to create a moment of danger of their own, when neat interplay set Schmidt through on Strebinger, with the Rapid goalie rushing off his line to narrow the angle and strangle the attacker's effort (9.). The early flurry of chances then dried up, with both sides engaged in a battle to dominate the ball.
It took until just before the half-hour mark until fully wrested control of the match back, but when they did they were determined not to relinquish it again. Quality forward play from Murg saw the forward weave past his man before chipping a delightful cross to Kvilitaia, who managed to get away an excellent looping header that was repelled by a combination of Leitner and the post (28.). It took until the 39th minute before Admira's hardy resistance was finally broken: Stefan Schwab picked out the run of Murg, who made his way into the area, cleverly stepped inside his marker with the drop of the shoulder, before rolling a composed low finish across Leitner and into the far corner - 1:0 (39.)! Curiously during the celebrations Rapid were forced into a change with Boli Bolingoli replaced by Stephan Auer after damaging his ankle. Scans in the coming days will reveal the extent of the problem. But before the break there was more good news for Rapid, as Murg doubled his haul for the afternoon: Louis Schaub won possession in midfield, drove towards the Admira box before playing a perfectly weighted low ball to Murg, who connected beautifully with his instep, sweeping a crisp low shot beyond Leitner and into the far corner - 2:0 (45.)!
There was to be no let up for Admira in the second half, as a focussed and determined Rapid picked up where they had left off: A superb cross from Berisha was met by Schaub, who just failed to get above the ball and keep his header down (49.). It looked as though a third had arrived just a minute later, but Leitner did superbly well to keep out Kvilitaia's downward header with his feet, and was indebted to his defensive colleague Wostry who kept the Georgian’s second attempt out with a goal-line clearance (50.).
It seemed as if a goal was in the offing, and so it proved, but when it did arrive it did so via an unlikely source. Latching onto a clearance from a corner, right-back Manuel Thurnwald hammered a long-range effort back towards goal where it took a touch off the unfortunate Wostry, viciously changing course and leaving Leitner with no chance - 3:0 (64.)! The cheers for Thurnwald's first goal for Rapid were ramped up a notch or two when the star man of the first half, Murg, left the field to be replaced by Steffen Hofmann. And the Rapid legend made an almost instant impact, delivering a corner with his customary whip and curve onto the head of Stefan Schwab, who guided the ball back in the direction from which it had come to ensure Admira keeper Leitner was beaten for a fourth time - 4:0 courtesy of two captains of club and team (78.)! There was to be one chink of light for the visitors when Hausjell grabbed a scruffy consolation from an offside position to reduce arrears (81.), but the afternoon belonged to the Green & Whites who had delivered a superb performance to seal a fifth consecutive Bundesliga victory! The crucial three points lifts the Hütteldorfers back above LASK Linz and into third place in the table. Rapid!
tipico Bundesliga, 31st round:
SK Rapid - FC Admira 4:1 (2:0)
Allianz Stadion, 18.600 Attendance, Ref Drachta
Goals: 1:0 Murg (39.), 2:0 Murg (45.+1), 3:0 Thurnwald (62.), 4:0 Schwab (79.), 4:1 Hausjell (81.);
SK Rapid: Strebinger - Thurnwald, M. Hofmann, Galvao, Bolingoli (40. Auer) - Ljubicic, Schwab - Schaub, Murg (70. S. Hofmann), Ve. Berisha - Kvilitaia (59. Schobesberger);
FC Admira: Leitner - Zwierschitz, Lackner, Wostry, Scherzer - Ebner, Merkel - Sax (66. Vorsager), Jakolis (46. Hausjell), Grozurek - Schmidt;
Yellow Cards: Thurnwald; Leitner