Rapid, who haven’t made a three in the last six games, took the lead with a quick double strike from Marco Grüll (10′) and Jonas Auer (13′) with their first Bundesliga goal. WSG striker Giacomo Vrioni (27th) reduced the deficit with his 19th league goal and drew level with Salzburg’s Karim Adeyemi in the scorer list – the goals in the play-off games are also counted. The Feldhofer-Elf also won the fifth duel of the season against the Tyroleans. Watten’s Kofi Schulz was sent off after a tactical foul with yellow-red (89th). On Sunday, the Viennese could also benefit from the away goal rule practiced in the play-off.
Feldhofer made a change compared to the last Bundesliga game at WAC, when his team lost fourth place in the table with a 1-2 loss. Right-back Pascal Fallmann made his Bundesliga debut, replacing Thorsten Schick due to muscular problems. Just like Yusuf Demir, who twisted his ankle in training and injured his ankle, Schick is hoping for a comeback in the decider on Sunday. WSG coach Thomas Silberberger fielded the same starting XI as in the 2-1 win in the play-off semifinals against LASK.
At the Tivoli, however, the Viennese got off to a dream start in front of almost 6,000 spectators. “We have a problem and that is efficiency,” Feldhofer criticized before the game. His players initially solved this problem. First, after a solo, Robert Ljubicic served the completely free Grüll, who hit the far post. Just three minutes later, the WSG defense was again indisposed: Auer got the ball, sprinted past two opponents and gave WSG goalie Ferdinand Oswald no chance with a well-placed shot.
Rapid striker Bernhard Zimmermann had his sights set on the third goal after 22 minutes, but he didn’t get his diving header on target after a counterattack. Instead, the home fans were able to celebrate shortly afterwards: Zan Rogelj had a lot of space on the right wing and found Vrioni in the centre, who nibbled on Fallmann and placed the ball in the goal with ice cold.
After half an hour, the referee team took center stage. Grüll was knocked off his feet by Oswald in the penalty area, but referee Sebastian Gishamer’s whistle remained silent. VAR Alan Kijas also saw no offense and no reason to send Gishamer to a TV monitor to view the pictures. Shortly before the half-time whistle, Rapidler’s bad luck continued, captain Maximilian Hofmann broke his cheekbone in a collision with Gartler.
After the break, Vrioni almost pulled off a stroke of genius: the Albanian international lobbed the ball from the center line, and the Juve loanee’s attempt just missed. After that, a game developed at eye level. While the Rapidlers tried to be stable on the defensive, the Watteners lacked the last penetrating power.