“It’s great to be back!”
It is a return to well-trodden terrain: just as they did last year, the Rapid squad travelled to Windischgarten on Sunday as the pre-season preparations got under way. There was a short stop off in Hausmening, with Rapid completing a gentle work out in the shape of a 14:0 victory over a Mostviertel Representative. After the game, the team jumped back on the bus, eventually arriving at the Hotel Dilly in the early evening.
"It's great to be back, we know the excellent facilities from our time here las year", explained a happy Goran Djuricin: "We can get straight on with the week!" The players will complete daily training sessions between approx. 09:45 - 16:00 on the training facilities which belong to the hotel, conveniently located next to the accommodation. If you are in the area, you are welcome to come to the complex and see the Rapid stars up close and in person!
The rapidly approaching domestic season kicks off at the ends of July, but the sessions weren't only used to build match fitness and conduct technical drills, but also to integrate the various new faces that have been added to the squad over the close season. "For me this isn't anything new, I’ve been around for a while", said a smiling Mert Müldür, who recently made the jump to the senior squad after rising through the academy ranks. The nineteen-year-old centre back was included in the party that travelled to Benidorm during the winter break, earning his senior debut in the wake of his efforts in Spain.
For players such as Christoph Knasmüllner, who has already given Rapid fans a glimpse of his talents in the hitherto friendly matches, Windischgarten represents entirely new surroundings - as it does for the likes of the new signings Marvin Potzmann and Andrei Ivan: "Everything is improving day-by-day here; I felt comfortable at Rapid from the moment I arrived", explained the first Romanian to don the famous Green & White.
For the younger players who travelled with the party such as Aleksander Kostic or returning loanees like Philipp Malicsek, the challenge is impress the trainer team and stake their claims for a spot in the first team squad. One thing is for sure: all the players with their various hopes and goals will be put through their paces in the Windischgarten sunshine!