The statistics also speak for the Hütteldorfer. The Green-Whites have all won the last five duels with the Watteners, and the team that won the first leg has always won in the three previous play-offs. However, the personnel situation does not speak in favor of Rapid. In addition to the long-term injuries, three players, Srdjan Grahovac, Kelvin Arase and Filip Stojkovic, signed off for reasons that Hütteldorfer couldn’t really understand.
Stojkovic in particular drew Rapid’s displeasure – according to “Kurier” he celebrated the cup victory of his ex-club Red Star in Belgrade’s Maracana Stadium on Thursday, while his still-employer kicked at the same time in Innsbruck against the WSG. The Hütteldorfer immediately terminated the right-back’s contract, which ran until the end of June.
Rapid wants to play for a win against Tirol
Rapid Vienna is the favorite in the European Cup play-off second leg against WSG Tirol on Sunday. After the 2-1 win away, the Hütteldorfer want to play for victory at home despite personnel worries – but without risking everything.
“Now it’s all about the result”
Feldhofer was all the happier that it was enough to be successful in Tyrol without many seasoned professionals. “The players have done their job and deserve to play in front of our great fans again.” Looking at the flawless record against WSG, the Styrian said: “The opponent may suit us somehow, but in K.- o.-Playing is no longer interested in what was. Now it’s all about the result, about creating Europe.”
Bundesliga, play-off final, second leg
Start 5 p.m.:
Rapid – WSG Tyrol
Vienna, Allianz Stadium
Rapid: Gartler – Fallmann, Querfeld, K. Wimmer, Moormann – Aiwu, M. Oswald – Grüll, Knasmüllner, Auer – Zimmermann
WSG: F. Oswald – Koch, Behounek, Stumberger – Rogelj, Müller, Ertlthaler, Blume, Skrbo – Sabitzer, Vrioni
First leg: 2:1
Feldhofer showed respect for the WSG. “They are very efficient, making a lot out of very little. On Thursday, too, they made a goal out of their first chance,” explained the 42-year-old. “We have to play very concentrated over the entire distance, want to steer the game in our direction as quickly as possible, but we mustn’t try to counterattack, that would be very naive.”
Dense program up to the World Cup possible
Should Rapid take the WSG hurdle and actually survive three qualifying rounds in the Conference League in the summer, twelve European Cup games would be played from the end of July to the beginning of November when the World Cup break begins. In this case, with the exception of the international break at the end of September, there would be almost exclusively English weeks.
Nevertheless, Managing Director Sport Zoran Barisic has already made it clear: “If we qualify for the European Cup, the word double or triple burden will no longer be mentioned.” The Viennese announced further additions for the coming season, but also emphasized that one will consistently continue along the path with young self-made players.
Feldhofer wants a balanced squad
So far, the commitments of Nicolas Kühn, Patrick Greil and Roman Kerschbaum have been sealed, with the latter likely to be out for weeks due to an ankle injury. One of the candidates is Guido Burgstaller. Feldhofer wants a “big and balanced squad” that should be 95 percent ready when training starts – the start planned for June 13 has been pushed back a few days. In addition, the ex-team player is hoping for significantly fewer injuries in the coming season than this season.
Why there were so many failures is the subject of internal club investigations that have not yet been fully completed. There are already initial findings – among other things, the high number of games and the constant pressure situation are said to have contributed to the long list of injuries. The training control is also screened. “We will analyze everything relentlessly and have to draw the right conclusions from it,” explained Barisic.