Tonight AA Gent will play all or nothing in the third Champions League preliminary round. Rapid Wien is the opponent in the Ghelamco Arena. We serve you 5 facts about the Austrian vice and record champion.
1. Rapid did win last weekend
While AA Gent suffered a 4th season defeat in Eupen on Friday-evening, Rapid Wien kicked the Austrian league off with a 4-1 win against Admira Wacker. The Greek number 9 Taxiarchis Fountas immediately made it 2. Last season he finished as club top scorer on 19 goals.
“He would like to take a step higher and is looking for a transfer,” says Wolfgang Eichinger, sports reporter at the Austrian public broadcaster. “Only when Rapid makes it to the group stage of the Champions League, will I see him stay in Vienna.”
“Fountas is a small attacker who forms a great duo with Ercan Kara, a great striker who scored the only goal against Lokomotiv Zagreb (0-1) in the previous Champions League round.”
2. Coach played in the final at the King Baudouin Stadium
At AA Gent they have just said goodbye to Laszlo Bölöni, not immediately a popular coach with the fans. Dietmar Kühbauer is like that at Rapid Wien. The 49-year-old coach caused a furore with the club as a central midfielder in the 90s.
Wolfgang Eichinger: “A real fighter who never gave up. That’s why he made it to the Team of the Century. Ernst Happel does not enjoy the status of Ernst Happel yet, but you can safely call him a Rapid legend.”
Kühbauer also participated in Rapid Wien’s last European top campaign. In 1996 the club made it to the final of the Cup Winners’ Cup. Kühbauer – Didi to the friends – was one of the 11 base pawns in the renewed King Baudouin Stadium against PSG. Rapid lost 1-0 in Brussels.
Dietmar “Didi” Kühbauer made it to the Team of the Century, now he is Rapid’s coach.
3. The team of Club Brugge legend Ernst Happel
With Ernst Happel, Rapid Wien has produced a legendary Austrian player and trainer. As a coach you may remember him from his time at Club Brugge.
In the 1970s Happel guided blue-black to 3 national titles, a final in the UEFA cup (1976) and a final in the European Cup I (1978). In 1981 he would also help Standard to the Belgian title.
In between, Happel coached the Dutch national team to 2nd place at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina.
Rapid legend Ernst Happel as a successful coach of Club Brugge in the 1970s.
4. National champion with Belgian striker in 2005
Ernst Happel is not the only Belgian link with Rapid Wien. Boli Bolingoli and Axel Lawarée also defended the green and white colors in their careers.
The latter won the Austrian Bundesliga in 2005 with Rapid. Lawarée – former striker of Seraing, Standard and Mouscron – scored 13 league goals in that season.
With this Lawarée Rapid delivered the penultimate national title. Another was to follow in 2008: a 32nd.
Since then, the Austrian record champion has been dry. The current number 1 in the Alps is called Red Bull Salzburg.
Axel Lawarée (r) helped Rapid Wien to the Austrian league title.
5. The Rapid Viertelstunde: almost World Heritage
Mazzu-time became established in our competition. Under coach Felice Mazzu, Charleroi invariably pitted against in the final minutes.
In Austria this is a trademark of Rapid Wien. At the start of the final quarter, the supporters start to clap rhythmically. The Rapid Viertelstunde, a tradition that has existed for 100 years, almost made it a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Wolfgang Eichinger: “It gives the players wings. More than once the team goes up and over the opponents. Unfortunately for the fans and for the players, Rapid will not be playing at home tonight, but in Ghent.”
Fifteen minutes before time, the Rapid fans start with a rhythmic applause.
Follow the match from 8.30 pm on sporza.be and Radio 1