The final winter friendly ends 1-1 against SV Horn
After the squad returned from their training camp in Belek last Wednesday, one final test was scheduled for Saturday as part of the club’s winter preparations. For this last friendly, we welcomed SV Horn at the training ground of the Ernst Happel Stadium. Our team had a tough time against the second division club - incidentally the former club of our new striker Ercan Kara - especially in the early stages, and the opponents took advantage. Sanchez hit the bar after just a few seconds (1’) before having another attacking opportunity snuffed out (6’). For our side, Thomas Murg tested goalkeeper Gessl (6’) with a deep cross that came dangerously close to the opponent's goal. A shot from midfield also threatened but ended up wide (8’), before the visitors took the lead in strange circumstances. After a delivery from SV Horn the ball came to keeper Richi Strebinger, whose punched clearance rebounded off Stefan Schwab - and somehow back into the Rapid goal (12’).
Rapid felt unjustified in trailing, and tried everything to force a way back into the first half, but shots from Schwab (14’), Max Ullmann (18’) and an angled effort from Taxi Fountas (23’) couldn’t find a way in. In return, an attempt by the Lower Austrians landed hit out woodwork (27’), and Strebinger parried from the live-wire Sanchez once again to ensure that it stayed just 1-0 at the break.
After the break, Koya Kitagawa got a taste of the action (further changes would follow later) and Rapid created their best opportunity thus far: Murg served up a ball for Christoph Knasmüllner in the penalty area, but his shot from close range was saved (50’). After a period full of challenges and a lack of momentum, our team turned up the heat once again before the final Rapid quarter-hour: A high ball landed at the feet of Kelvin Arase, who broke away from the defence and rounded the goalkeeper to level at 1-1 (70’). With a header from Schwab (75’) we came close to a second goal, while Richi Strebinger saved us from falling behind again with a strong parry (78’). Finally, Stephan Auer couldn't connect cleanly with the ball after a pass came his way not far from the goal (88’), and that was that, it finished as a 1-1 draw.
Head coach Didi Kühbauer said afterwards: "We weren't as ready to get stuck into the challenges as we should have been, we didn't invest enough against an opponent who threw everything at this game. It's a learning curve before the spring season starts next week, because we're going to have a very hard time if we show up playing like this. In the games in Belek we performed well, today we should have given a much better account of ourselves. But we'll work on that in the next few days."
SK Rapid - SV Horn 1-1 (0-1)
Saturday, February 8, 2020
Ernst-Happel-Stadium Training ground, 250 attendance
Goals: 0:1 Schwab (12’, own goal), 1:1 Arase (70’);
SK Rapid line up: Strebinger; Stojkovic (67. Auer), Dibon (67. Hofmann), Barac (67. Sonnleitner), Ullmann (76. Hajdari); Grahovac (67. Velimirovic), Schwab; Murg (72. Schick), Knasmüllner (67. Kara), Arase (72. Bozic); Fountas (46. Kitagawa).