New arrivals on show as Rapid host HSV in annual International Friendly
Just 24-hours on from the Day of the Open Door, the next appointment in the build-up to the new season was upon us: the annual international friendly had rolled around, with SK Rapid welcoming German giants Hamburger SV to Hütteldorf. Despite Hamburg's relegation to the second tier of German football for the first time in their history last season, the fixture provided a worthy addition to the array of eye catching guests from previous years. In glorious Vienna sunshine, 10,700 fans filed into the Allianz Stadium, and bore witness to no less than four debutants in the Green & White line up. Deni Alar found himself in the starting eleven, as did new arrivals Marvin Potzmann and Christoph Knasmüllner, and - perhaps more surprisingly - Mateo Barac, who had only had a few days with his new team mates.
The opening phase of the match bore familiar pre-season characteristics: following weeks of gruelling fitness work, the players were able to relax into a game situation for the first time, and tried to get on the same wavelength as their new team mates in terms of movement and finding runs. A long range effort from Thomas Murg represented the first effort on target (23.), before Rapid created the game's first real opening: a perfectly weighted through ball put Veton Berisha in on goal, but HSV keeper Pollersbeck came out on top in a one-on-one duel (24.). The game begun to find a rhythm, with Berisha again denied by the visitors' goalie (37.), before Knasmüllner almost opened his Rapid account, connecting sweetly with a rebound only to see his effort cannon back off the post (39.)! A goal did arrive before half time, but it was at the other end of the pitch where Ito set up Steinmann to tap home a simple chance from close range - 0:1 (42.).
With a host of half-time changes came fresh impetuous for the second half. Newly introduced Philipp Malicsek, who has returned from a season long loan to St. Pölten, took on a long shot from roughly 18 meters, catching it perfectly and seeing the ball whistle into the corner to bring the Hütteldorfers back on level terms (47.)! It didn't take long for the side from northern Germany to muster a response though, as the lively Ito hammered a shot just wide of the target (54.). It was the Japanese schemer who again proved to be the thorn in Green & White sides, when he rounded off a clinical counter attack with a crisp finish to restore HSV's lead - 1:2 (59.). As the first Rapid-Viertelstunde of the year was ushered in by the customary clapping, Rapid upped the pressure in search of a second equaliser: Pollersbeck was again forced into a great stop, this time to deny Andrei Ivan from distance (69.), before both Berisha and substitute Martic passed up opportunities to pull the Hütteldorfers level (74.).
In the closing stages of the game, Ivan again tested Pollersbeck, but couldn't find a way past the in-form HSV goalkeeper (86.). The score remained 1:2 as the final whistle blew, with Rapid having showed plenty of spirit and effort, and glimpses that the work done in pre-season is starting to pay dividends ahead of the new season. The fixture had served its purpose, giving the new arrivals a run out and allowing the team a chance to get to know each other in a match situation. Next week more serious matters return in the shape of competitive football, as Rapid make the trip to take on regional league outfit FC Kufstein in the first round of the UNIQA ÖFB Cup.
SK Rapid - Hamburger SV 1:2 (0:1)
Saturday, 14th Juli 2018
Allianz Stadion, 10.700 Attendance
Goals: 0:1 Steinmann (42.), 1:1 Malicsek (47.), 1:2 Ito (59.);
SK Rapid: Strebinger (60. Knoflach); Potzmann (60. Thurnwald), M. Hofmann (46. Sonnleitner), Barac (46. Müldür), Bolingoli (46. Auer); Ljubicic (46. Malicsek), Schwab (60. Martic); Murg (60. Arase), Knasmüllner (46. Ivan), Berisha (74. Gashi); Alar (60. Kostic);
HSV: Pollersbeck – Ambrosius (25. Vagnoman), Bates, van Drongelen, Narey (59.Knost)– Steinmann – Jario (59. Kwarteng), Holtby, Janjicic (83.David), Ito (76. Lasogga) – Wintzheimer (59.Arp);