Three times against Sturm

Rapid: No full risk at the start of the trilogy

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19.04.2024 07:39

Rapid have to face Sturm Graz three times in twelve days - the highlight being the ÖFB Cup final. The Green-Whites see this as a pleasant pressure, but there are still question marks and a few absentees.

"This is a special situation. But we're going into the games as if there wasn't a cup final." In his eleven years as a Rapid professional, veteran Max Hofmann has already experienced a lot - but not yet this: three matches against Sturm, "interrupted" by the league match for third place against LASK, topped off by the cup showdown on May 1 at Wörthersee - all within twelve days!

Thinking from game to game? That would be the goal. "Because every win gives us a good feeling for the next task. But we have a rough plan for all four games," says Rapids coach Robert Klauß, who doesn't just have to pay attention to the workload. Green-White is not yet on its last legs. "But we have to weigh up how much risk we're taking," admits Klauß.

Rapid coach Robert Klauß (Bild: Screenshot Rapid TV)
Rapid coach Robert Klauß

In defense, Querfeld and Moormann are out for good, while for Kongolo "the question of pain" arises for Klauß. "Nothing is broken, but he has fluid in his ankle." The Dutchman is therefore unlikely to play in Graz today. Cvetkovic will celebrate his comeback at Rapid II in the Eastern League.

In Liebenau, Max Hofmann is expected to hold the team together. "I've been there for so long," he says, taking a relaxed view of the lack of match practice in the spring. "I know what I have to do." Perhaps as captain again today.

Because Burgstaller (hip problem) is also questionable. In addition, Sattlberger is suspended and six players are in danger of yellow cards.

"We want to win all three games"
"We're solid, stable and won't fall apart after a negative experience," says Hofmann optimistically. The first two duels of the season ended 1:1, and there will be no feinting and deceiving - also in view of the cup final. "We want to win all three games," says Hofmann. "But it can also go the other way." Sturm coach Ilzer speaks of a "tremendous feat of strength" and praises the fact that everything is very "coherent" at Rapid.

The "question of pressure" does not arise for Klauß: "It's a pleasant situation. We want to finish third. I don't care whether Sturm is first or 14th. If they are, then only Salzburg has something to lose."

In the title fight - for Klauß it's no coincidence that "the two teams with the most money are ahead". But Sturm versus Rapid is the most atmospheric duel thanks to the fans in Austria. Now three times within twelve days ...

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