Three Points: Klauß Begins With a Win!
Marco Grüll’s second half strike was enough for Rapid to finally turn a dominant display into a precious three points on Sunday.
For Robert Klauss’ hotly anticipated first game in charge of SK Rapid, a home tie in Hütteldorf was on the agenda against ADMIRAL Bundesliga newcomers and 2.Liga champions Blau-Weiss Linz. Having won against the likes of Salzburg and LASK this season, the guests came into the game full of confidence, but having swept them aside 5-0 in the reverse fixture, there was every reason to believe that Rapid could claim a first win under the stewardship of the new boss and pick up three much-needed points on Sunday evening.
The Green & Whites started well in the game, and challenged the guests early on without creating any huge chances. A shot from Neraysho Kasanwirjo flew wide of the target (4’) before Matthias Seidl swiveled in the box and had his strike charged down (10’) and Guido Burgstaller saw an effort saved at the near post from a tight angle on the right (11’). Marco Grüll then took aim from outside the box but his low shot was simply saved (19’) as Rapid continued to enjoy the upper hand without breaking through the visitors’ defence.
The home defenders remained untroubled, but so was the Blau-Weiss keeper as Seidl’s overhead attempt went wide (25’) before the guests registered a first chance of their own when Stefan Windhager arrowed a daisy-cutter across the face of goal and thankfully past Niki Hedl’s far post (29’). A couple of tactical fouls stopped Rapid from breaking forward, but Lukas Grgic and Nicolas Kühn were both able to continue after taking some minor knocks. Grgic smartly played in Seidl down the right, but the cut back into the box didn’t find a green shirt (40’) and the first half was closed out with neither side having found a breakthrough, when Seidl was again forced to look for goal from distance, sending a shot past the post in first-half stoppage time.
The Rapid players continued to dominate the play after the break, but then that’s nothing new for the home fans to witness, what would count was being able to find the net. A deflected effort from Grüll on the right was grabbed by the guests’ goalkeeper (52’), but his next chance from the edge of the box arrowed its way to the near post, and into the net via another small deflection (60’). Rapid had made a vital breakthrough and led 1-0! That was the small touch of fortune that’s so often been lacking.
Kasanwirjo attempted to add a second, yet when he entered the area from the right, his shot was tipped over the top by the keeper (66’) and minutes later Grgic also got into the area and saw his shot bounce back off the post (69’). Grüll forced the keeper into another decent stop with his foot (72’) as Rapid remained well on top in the game, before Oliver Strunz and Moritz Oswald came on in place of Grgic and Kühn at the start of the Rapid quarter-hour.
Chances were then at a premium, and the home side were able to see the slender lead over the line without any real drama. We knew that finding a way to somehow score would be crucial, and this time the team were able to get that goal, and with it, three points which move us ahead of our city rivals in the table. Now we can look ahead to a game against WSG away next weekend, with Robert Klauss’ first home win already under his belt, and a chance to get his first victory on the road. COME ON RAPID!
ADMIRAL Bundesliga | 15. Runde | Allianz Stadion
Goals: Grüll (60.)
Rapid-11: Hedl; Auer (90.+2. Kongolo), Hofmann, Querfeld, Kasanwirjo; Grgić (76. Oswald), Sattlberger; Grüll (90. Schick), Seidl, Kühn (76. Strunz); Burgstaller © (90. Kerschbaum)
Substitutes: Gartler, Kerschbaum, Strunz, Schick, Kongolo, Gale, Oswald