Early on Monday evening, a one-year contract extension with Head Coach Goran Djuricin was formally agreed: the 43-year old Viennese has extended his stay in the Hütteldorf hot-seat until summer 2019 with an option to extend the agreement by a further season. Djuricin’s extension had been recommended by Sporting Director Fredy Bickel at an extraordinary board meeting, and was unanimously agreed to by way of a vote.
Goran Djuricin initially arrived at the club as assistant to newly appointed Head Coach Damir Canadi in November 2016, taking over the reins on an interim basis in April 2017. A crushing 0:3 defeat away to bottom side SV Ried in the 28th round of Bundesliga matches left Rapid languishing in seventh place, just five points ahead of the Innviertel side, and a mere point ahead of second bottom. In the remaining matches, Djuricin guided the Green & Whites to five victories, steering his side to comfortable safety and fifth place. Under Djuricin's tutelage, Rapid also made their first appearance in the final of the ÖFB Cup in twelve-years, narrowly losing out 1:2 to reigning champions and cup holders Salzburg after a herculean effort.
Fredy Bickel gave his thoughts on Goran Djuricin's extension: "He (Djuricin) took over the team in an incredibly precarious position and has managed to keep them on an upward curve ever since. Despite suffering setbacks - which are to be expected - we are currently delivering a promising season, with a credible points haul when you look at where we were. It's even more important though that you can see a team clearly improving and developing, whilst it's also clear that we have individual players that are improving under Goran’s guidance. 'Gogo' works in a very professional manner: he is incredibly committed and hard-working, whilst the working relationships between on and off-field staff are now superb and underpinned by mutual respect and trust", explained the 52-year old Swiss, who continued: "I'm delighted that the Board and my colleague Christoph Peschek were fully behind and supportive of this decision." On the timing of the decision Bickel explained: "Its enormously important to have clarity now, as we’re coming into the crucial planning stage for the team and the squad for the coming season. The Head Coach is always a lead figure in such discussions."
President Michael Krammer, who was also heavily involved in the discussions, said: "The early part of the season had already shown that with Goran and his team we are on the right track. A glance at recent history shows that stability breeds positive results as appose to constant fluctuation. We are doing everything we can to ensure this improvement continues into next season and are convinced that with Djuricin and his staff we’ll realise this goal."
Goran Djuricin offered the following thoughts himself: "I’'e worked hard with my staff and the team to deliver as many arguments as possible to allow us to continue working together. Therefore I’m even more delighted with the extension and I’m grateful for the trust that is being placed in me. This position comes with a great responsibility, and I give my word to the entire Rapid family that I’ll continue to commit every last drop of energy to the job. The task of being Rapid's Head Coach is both an honour and a duty, and my personal commitment and ambition means I’ll strive to fulfil the job as successfully as possibly, ideally with titles and silverware."
The exact details of the contract will, as ever, remain undisclosed. Goran Djuricin's staff will remain the same for the forthcoming season: Thomas Hickersberger (Assistant Trainer), Helge Payer (Goalkeeping Coach), Toni Beretzki (Fitness Coach) and David Lechner (Physio) all have running contracts. Additionally, the services of Martin Bernhard (Assistant Trainer) and Maurizio Zoccola (Analyst) will also be retained.