2:1 vs. Nürnberg: Wrapping up pre-season with a win
This year's international friendly match marked the final high-profile challenge of pre-season: 1. FC Nürnberg were the guests in Hütteldorf - a club whose supporters share a special connection with Rapid fans. The game would represent a good barometer of where the Green & Whites were in terms of fitness and preparation with the first competitive fixture of 2019/20 just around the corner as next week we ravel to SV Allerheiligen in the first round of the cup.
This particular matchday was an opportunity for a festival atmosphere between sets of supporters sympathetic to the other, but also for sombre remembrance: there was a minute of silence to mark the recent passing of Rapid's oldest fan, Otto Filipsky, who supported the club for the majority of his 107 years.
Didi Kühbauer's side took to the field shorn of the services of Mario Sonnleitner (continuing his pre-season build-up) and the injured Dejan Ljubicic in a familiar 3-5-2 formation. Three at the back has been the Rapid head coach’s preferred tactic throughout pre-season and on this occasion the line-up included summer recruit Thorsten Schick, who made his Hütteldorf debut.
The visitors got off to the better start in front of a healthy 12,600 fans and played attractive football under the tutelage of ex-Rapid trainer Damir Canadi. It took 10 minutes for the first opportunity of the afternoon to arrive, and it was the Green & Whites who created it against the run of play, as Aliou Badji brought a high ball under control before firing over the crossbar (10.). But it was the guests who made their early dominance count, when Margreitter headed home from close range from a corner - 0:1 (15.). With the storm clouds over a rainy Penzing clearing, Rapid struck back: Thomas Murg stepped up, and arrowed an excellent free-kick from outside the area beyond the Nuremberg keeper at the near post to level - 1:1 (36.)! Two further opportunities came and went before the break: A shot from Philipp Schobesberger was kept out, before a teasing low ball from Stefan Schwab across the goalmouth found no takers (42.).
Christoph Knasmüllner was introduced at half time in place of goal scorer Thomas Murg in Kühbauer's only change. A great atmosphere was ringing down from the Block West where Nürnberg and Rapid flags were flying alongside each other, but on the pitch, chances were few and far between. Petrak came the closest for the Germans, testing Richard Strebinger from distance (74.).
But the Green & Whites saved the best for last and produced a flowing move worthy of winning the game: An arrowed pass from substitute Niki Wunsch found Mert Müldür, who played the ball first time into the middle of the goal for Knasmüllner to turn home with a simple finish - 2:1 (80.)! The match was a good work out for Rapid as they round off their pre-season preparations against a quality opponent in a special atmosphere of fan solidarity! RAPID and FCN!!
International Friendly 2019 powered by OMV
SK Rapid - 1. FC Nürnberg 2:1 (1:1)
Allianz Stadion, 12.600 Attendance
Goals: 0:1 Margreitter (16.), 1:1 Murg (36.), 2:1 Knasmüllner (80.);
SK Rapid: Strebinger; Müldür, Dibon, Barac (78. Hofmann); Schick (82. Auer), Murg (46. Knasmüllner), Grahovac, Schwab (78. Wunsch), Potzmann (61. Greiml); Badji (82. Arase), Schobesberger (61. Fountas);
Yellow Cards: Barac, Badji; Dovedan;