The 336th big football derby in Vienna becomes a game worth millions. Rapid not only defended his third place in the championship group in the away game in Austria on Sunday (5:00 pm), but he also managed to decisively oust his city rivals with the victory. Third place means a solid place in the European group stage in the fall. Already at 2:30 pm, the old and new Salzburg champion welcomes Wolfsberger AC. Sturm Graz plays in Austria Klagenfurt.
With Red Bull Salzburg (45 points) and Storm (34) the champion and runner-up already three rounds before the end of the season. However, it is still exciting behind that in the struggle for places in the European Cup. Rapid (24) is currently in third place coveted, which means a solid place in the European group stage in the fall and at least three million euros. They are followed by Austria Vienna (22), ahead of Wydad (22) and Austria Klagenfurt (20) with the same number of points.
It is doubtful whether fast Austria or their arch-rival can change the situation in the derby. There are already six matches in total that no team has been able to win. The previous three seasons ended all 1:1. But at Rapid they definitely want complete success this time around. “It doesn’t matter how – if we get three points, we can be satisfied,” coach Ferdinand Feldhofer said before the match. In this case, the third place will be almost fixed, confirmed Styria, who will have to replace injured striker Verdi Drogov and suspended goalkeeper Niklas Heidel.
But Austria also has staff concerns: Eric Martel has been suspended and Matthias Braunuder injured. Striker Marco Djurisen could return to the starting line-up. However, Austria wants to end its current six-round negative streak without a win and is hoping for a full back. “What better time than to start winning again in the derby?” asked Manfred Schmid. The Austria coach expects great feelings. He does not feel any pressure because of the situation at the table. “We have a huge starting point, and now it depends on us what we take from it,” Schmid said.
WAC wants to snatch valuable points in the exciting race for the European Cup, starting with series champion Salzburg. Wydad’s coach, Robin Dutt, said he wanted to take something that could be counted against “every opponent, no matter who against them,” as the German said before the duel at Wals-Siezenheim. For Salzburg, there are still two records at stake in finishing the championship. With three hat-tricks, they could equal the Bundesliga win record with Wiener Austria (26) from the 1985/86 season and also break the points record (52) since the Bundesliga reform four years ago. That’s why coach Matthias Giseli assured his players’ full commitment: “The goals remain the same and the demands are the same. Of course we want to win again here in front of our fans on Sunday.”
Sturm Graz also doesn’t want to give up after determining the runner-up position. “We don’t play the last three games for honor – anyone who thinks they don’t know me and my team,” coach Christian Elzer before the match in Klagenfurt. Three points should come in, like six times in the last seven games. For people from Klagenfurt, a high level of motivation is self-evident, even third place isn’t entirely out of reach with a four-point deficit. “It’s up to us if we want to get an international starting point. We have to score to stay there,” coach Peter Bacolt said.
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