Rapid Bucharest vs Steaua Bucuresti by Rostick
Rapid was relegated on a financial basis two seasons ago and the team was very close to bankrupcy, but they somehow managed to get back to the top division this season, thanks to a mix of young players and veterans, most of them avid supporters of the club, some of them being promoted from the youth ranks. The players were playing basically for free last year and still promoted, so there is one department where Rapid is a world class team: the players have heart and are fighters! There are still big financial problems at the club, initially they were revoked the right to play in Liga 1 but won an appeal at Lausanne (TAS). Another important fact is that, while Rapid will play this match at home on their famous “Giulesti”, there will be only 3000 fans in the stands, due to danger of the stadium collapsing – Eastern European football, what can we say. Quality wise, Rapid is a team that will fight for relegation this year, but they have always brought their best against Steaua, the team they hate the most, and in these special circumstances we are sure to witness a “do or die” performance from the home team. Rapid defeated a rather strong Craiova side in the qualifying stage of the League Cup, winning 1-0 against a team expected to finish in the top half of the table this year in Romania.
Steaua lost a lot of key players and most notably coach Reghencampf this summer, and they probably won`t be able to dominate Romanian football like they did in the last two years. They lost a lot of their previous strength, it is also worth mentioning that the jailed owner is not willing to invest in the team anymore and that the general manager is also in jail, both of them due to tax fraud. The first two official matches were decent, a 1-1 draw with Astra (lost at penalties) in the Supercup and a narrow 1-0 win in the UCL qualies at Stromsgodset a couple of days ago. New, inexperienced coach Galca adopted a rather safe approach so far, trying to strengthen up defensively and rely on individual performances up-front. Steaua has requested 5 (five) tickets for the visiting supporters in this derby. The Champions will field their best lineup today despite playing in UCL on Wednesday, it`s an important match against a rival.
Team news & lineups
Both teams healthy ahead of this game, but Steaua will again miss regular center back Gardos.
Rapid: Draghia – Tinc, Iacob, Paun, Stoica – Coman, Sandulescu, Negru, Selagea – Pancu – Ciolacu
Steaua: Arlauskis – Rapa, Varela, Szukala, Latovlevic – Prepelita, Sanmartean – Chipciu, Stanciu, Tanase – Iancu
Steaua is the better team here, no doubt about that, but they are coming after a tough travel in Norway and a spirited, motivated Rapid Bucharest side could give them some trouble at home, especially considering that Rapid played above expectations against Craiova a few days ago. This should be a very tense and heavily contested affair, Rapid will defend with a lot of hearth, Steaua will keep possession trying to create a couple of chances and hopefully take them. I do think Steaua will get a win in the end, they are simply the much better side, but they are not too sharp up front and with all the tension I can’t see too many goals being scored in this one. My tip is under 2,5 goals – a bet that would have been a winner in all of the last 7 meetings between the two! Considering this, th
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