Off-colour Rapid labour to home draw with WAC
Sunday's home match against WAC provided Rapid with the perfect opportunity to banish lingering disappointment from Thursday night's game in Bratislava. A win would mark the first maximum points haul on Hütteldorfer soil for the season, and would be a big confidence boost ahead of the make-or-break return leg this coming Thursday. As expected, Goran Djuricin did make some changes to the starting eleven: Stephan Auer, Mert Müldür plus new boys Manuel Martic and Andrei Ivan were all drafted into the side for the visit of Wolfsberg.
The Green & Whites got off to a lively start, looking to utilise space down the flanks and push full backs high up the pitch. Nice build up play between Knasmüllner and Berisha set up a chance for the latter, but Berisha didn't connect properly and afforded the WAC defence the chance to close and clear the ball (7.). Having suffered heavy defeats on their last visits to the capital (1:5, 2:4), it soon become clear that Wolfsberg hadn't arrived in Vienna to make up the numbers and be turned over. Liendl found space in the box and got on the end of a cross, guiding a volleyed effort onto the roof of Richard Strebinger's net (10.). Soon after Wernitznig had another attempt, but he lifted his shot from the corner of the box over the bar (12.). The Wolves began to turn the screw as they created another chance - a header going just wide of the target (17.).
Ritzmeier was the next to try his luck, as he drove a well-struck shot into Strebinger's midrift. There were more worrying signs for Rapid, when Ritzmeier again got involved, weaving through a porous Hütteldorfer defence only being denied by outstanding goalkeeping from Strebinger (33.). The guests from Carinthia continued to boss the rest of the half, with Rapid enjoying only a solitary half chance that resulted in a Berisha shot being charged down.
There was more to worry about for Rapid, when captain Stefan Schwab failed to emerge for the second half owing to a muscle problem. In his place came Dejan Ljubicic, whilst Thomas Murg was also introduced at the expense of Andrei Ivan. Rapid found a touch more defensive stability in the second half, but chance remained few and far between. WAC still presented a threat however, and carved out further chances for Sollbauer (73.) and Schmerböck (80.).
The game finished 0:0 and did little to entertain an underwhelmed 14,800 spectators. On Thursday attention turns to the all-important UEFA Europa League second leg against Bratislava.
tipico Bundesliga, 3rd round:
SK Rapid - WAC 0:0
Allianz Stadion, 14.800 Attendance, Ref Heiß
SK Rapid: Strebinger - Auer, Müldür, Barac, Potzmann - Martic, Schwab (46. D. Ljubicic) - Ivan (46. Murg), Knasmüllner, Ve. Berisha - Alar (64. Guillemenot)
WAC: Kofler - Novak, Sollbauer, Gollner, Schmitz - Sprangler, M. Leitgeb - Ritzmaier (73. Schmerböck), Liendl, Wernitznig (80. Kigbu) - Orgill (93. Gschweidl)
Yellow Cards: Martic; Novak, Gollner, Kigbu