Austrian Bundesliga Round 2: LASK 1-1 Rapid Vienna

Hier geht’s zum deutschen Spielbericht

Alexander Schmidt’s equaliser eleven minutes from time secured LASK a well-deserved draw in an enthralling, high-quality clash against Rapid Vienna in a sold-out Raiffeisen Arena. The 23-year-old forward tucked in the ball from close range to cancel out Taxi Fountas’s eighth minute opener for the visitors. Leo Grieml had hit the woodwork for Rapid on the hour, but Dominik Thalhammer will be pleased with a positive, attacking display from his side.

After 18 months with no home fans in the Austrian Bundesliga, LASK finally made their bow in front of a raucous sold-out 6,000 capacity crowd in Pasching and their opponents, for the 156th time, were Rapid Vienna. LASK had a 100% record after beating Altach away on the opening weekend, whereas Rapid sat at the bottom of the table after a surprise defeat to TSV Hartberg. However, in recent fixtures, the Green and Whites had generally come out on top against the Linzers with an unbeaten run of seven fixtures. In the line-up, Dominik Thalhammer deployed his regular 3-4-3 formation and chose an unchanged team, meaning new signings Dario Maresic and Florian Flecker both had their respective home league debuts.

In front of a wonderful atmosphere, Rapid had their first opportunity after barely 20 seconds with Fountas acting hastily, but Rene Renner almost delivered the ideal start for LASK after an intelligent chest control but blazed it over the bar.

In the eighth minute, the visitors took the lead after a quick, efficient attack that saw a long ball forward chased down by Ercan Kara who outmuscled two defenders and backheeled into the path of Greek striker Fountas who simply couldn’t miss the open goal. Not the start that Thalhammer and his side would’ve wanted.

LASK improved after the goal with repeatedly attempted to play quickly and directly through the midfield, but Rapid were set-up well to counteract this. LASK’s best opportunity for an equaliser came via a free-kick after Thomas Goiginger was fouled, he then delivered a devilish ball into the area and Husein Balic came inches from getting a touch. This was shortly followed by Schmidt failing to latch onto a cross as the Black and Whites went into the break behind.

LASK continued their mission for an equaliser in the second half, but Rapid kept defensively strong and cleared away each threat that came their way. Rapid were lucky to remain with eleven on the field after goalscorer Fountas went in very strong on Grgic and saw a yellow card for his troubles, but this seemed to kickstart the contest once again as the game became more hectic. Thomas Goiginger tried to engineer something on the right and found Renner in the area, but Richard Strebinger was there to thwart the LASK attacker followed by a tame Peter Michorl low drive from outside the box.

The pendulum swung Rapid’s way once again on the hour mark with youngster Leo Grieml hitting the woodwork after a storming header from a corner – a big let-off for LASK. Shortly after, LASK’s best chance of the afternoon thus far saw Renner shooting from the left side of the box and forcing a sensational reflex save from the Rapid goalkeeper Strebinger. They continued pushing with Goiginger, who saw his cross just miss Grgic in the middle.

With 11 minutes to go LASK’s positivity and endeavour finally paid off with Florian Flecker laying the ball into the middle for Schmidt to steer home from close range and send the sold-out home crowd into raptures.

There was last gasp drama in stoppage time as Marco Grüll found his way in behind the defence, and one-on-one with Alex Schlager, but shot wide and Mamoudou Karamoko being denied a penalty call after a clumsy challenge by Kelvin Arase in the area – but nothing was given.

By Simon Clark from The Other Bundesliga (@OtherBundesliga)

The line-ups:

LASK: Schlager; Filipovic, Maresic, Wiesinger (Letard 90+3‘), Renner, Grgic, Michorl, Flecker, Balic (Karamoko 60‘), Schmidt, Goiginger

Subs: Potzmann, Succar, Wild, Hyun-seok, Gebauer

Goal: Schmidt 79‘

SK Rapid Wien: Strebinger; Stojkovic, Grieml, Wimmer, Schick (Arase 65‘), Petrovic (Grahovac 65‘), Schuster, Ullmann, Knasmüllner (Kanuric 84‘), Fountas (Grüll 65‘), Kara

Subs: Gartler, Auer, Dibon

Goal: Fountas 8‘