Win slips away against Altach
There were few changes to note to the Rapid starting eleven as Bundesliga football was once again the order of the day at the Allianz Stadium. The Green & Whites welcomed SCR Altach to town for their first home match of the new season, and Head Coach Goran Djuricin opted to stick with the starting line-up that had performed so well at Admira. There was only one change, with Mario Sonnleitner coming into the defence in place of the unavailable Max Hofmann.
With temperatures reaching 33 degrees it was unlikely that the game against Altach was going to be blood and thunder for 90 minutes. But, what the Hütteldorfers delivered in the opening stages would've pleased an expectant crowd in Penzing: Rapid got their collective foot on the ball, let the ball do the work and had their opponents chasing and covering. The guests from Vorarlberg sat typically deep, challenging Rapid to produce a moment of inspiration and force the breakthrough. Set pieces could be one way to unlock the visitors, who at times had all ten outfield players behind the ball, with Christoph Knasmüllner's free-kick highlighting this potential avenue, as his effort narrowly cleared the crossbar (10.). Rapid looked to get the ball into Knasmüllner's feet, with the forward one of the most likely candidates to find a killer pass. Indeed, our new signing from English football was showing promising movement and understanding with fellow forwards Murg and Ivan.
The next good opportunity arrived with half an hour of the first half played, as captain Stefan Schwab almost managed to turn a cross from Marvin Potzmann onto the target from a tight angle (30.). Just five minute later the first goal celebration of the season was ringing round the ground: A lofted ball into the area found its way to Deni Alar via Knasmüllner, with the returning striker stabbing home from close range to open the scoring - 1:0 (35.)! The goal was Alar's first of his second spell in Green & White. The lead was more than deserved for Rapid, who looked in little or no danger at one end, and kept creating half-openings at the other. Ivan and Mateo Barac both had sights of goal before the half-time whistle.
The second half got off to a promising start, but within a few minutes the feel and balance of the match began to change. A curiously inconsequent Rapid side lost the zip and spark that had seen them dominate the first half, with mistimed runs and poor final balls allowing Altach to build confidence and stay in the game. The first opportunity of the second half didn’t arrive until the 65th minute, when a cross-cum-shot from Murg drifted wide of the far post.
The game woke from its slumber as we entered the Rapid Viertelstunde: The Hütteldorfers could have put the game to bed when substitute Veton Berisha slid the ball into Knasmüllner, whose shot beat the keeper but clipped the post (75.). Patience and composure were required in order to see the game out and claim an awkward three points, but with seconds left on the clock Altach landed a sucker punch: A ball into the box found Aigner, who beat Richard Strebinger with a header, earning his side a point with their first noteworthy attack of the game - 1:1 (88.). There was still enough time for Rapid to build a head of steam and almost snatch back the victory, but under intense pressure, Knasmüllner managed to chip goalie Lukse but just put too much on his lifted effort, with the ball coming back off the bar rather dropping in the net (89.). Dramatic. Bolingoli drew a save from Lukse with a long-range shot (90.), before Alar headed a glorious opportunity over the bar in the dying embers (92.).
The game finished 1:1, which on the balance of play is a disappointing result. Rapid will have to show greater concentration on Thursday, when they travel to the Slovak capital to take on Bratislava in the Europa League.
tipico Bundesliga, 2nd round:
SK Rapid - SCR Altach 1:1 (1:0)
Allianz Stadion, 15.200 Attendance, Ref Chiochirca
Goals: 1:0 Alar (35.), 1:1 Aigner (88.);
SK Rapid: Strebinger - Potzmann, Sonnleitner, Barac, Bolingoli - D. Ljubicic, Schwab - Murg (85./Kostic), Knasmüllner, Ivan (62./Berisha) - Alar;
Altach: Lukse - C. Gebauer, Zech, Netzer, Zwischenbrugger, Schreiner - Fischer, Oum Gouet, Karic (77./Aigner) - Meilinger (57./Gatt), Grbic (77./Dobras);
Yellow Card: Potzmann;