Sturm vs Rapid by Gustav
Sturm lost two really important points away to Wolfsberger last weekend when they had only a goalless draw. The team entered the match in quite a passive way, as their opponents even had some good goal scoring chances and they were lucky not to concede a goal. Later on, they had the domination over the ball, but without any effectivity when speaking about offensive tasks.
The team is now in a obvious downtrend of their form, since they have only one victory in last seven matches and have slipped down the table, being now below the first three positions. Currently, they stand at fourth position and have eight points less than third placed Austria Vienna and already twelve points less than leaders from Salzburg. There is obvious concern in the club's administration, but also between the fans, as the team remains under pressure to get a positive outcome here. Defensive midfielder Simon Piesinger (14/1) is injured, same as offensive Donis Avdjijaj (12/2). Coach has said that all the team needs to do is to be more effective in their chances created and that he believes correct results will come in time.
Rapid Vienna, on the other side, got completely outplayed and demolished last Thursday evening when the team suffered 6:0 defeat away to Spain against Valencia. Their second leg will be just of a procedural nature, so the team can quickly focus back on domestic league only now.
Coach said after the game that he doesn't want to see the heads of his players bowed, adding that it's a success for them that they made through to the knockout stage of Europa League and that the club feels content with it. Few days earlier, they won over Austria Vienna 3:0 on the road in a city derby and are now at the second position, having three points less than Salzburg but also a game less played, which puts them in a great position in the title race. Team captain and central midfielder Steffen Hofmann (17/4) is injured for this one, same as left midfielder Florian Kainz (21/5). On the bright side, central defender Christopher Dibon (13/1) is back in the team, while long term absentees remain midfielder Louis Schaub (12/2) and main goalkeeper Jan Novota (12/0), plus few other less important.
Rapid is in a better shape at the moment, but neither of them inspire with real confidence. Having in mind the way Sturm plays, I see plenty of value in little number of goals here. This game should hardly become fast paced on with both teams actively seeking goal.