The draw at Red Bull Salzburg was a sense of achievement for SK Rapid in turbulent months. Coach Ferdinand Feldhofer, whose sacking last week was the subject of intense speculation, will continue to look after the club for the time being.
After seven wins in a row, Red Bull Salzburg dropped points again for the first time, but of course they stayed at the top of the table. The series champion took the lead after 17 seconds through Benjamin Sesko, but Rapid reacted well and then earned Leopold Querfeld the equalizer (21st).
After the break almost only Salzburg played, especially Sesko had numerous opportunities to regain the lead. Martin Koscelnik, Niklas Hedl, Michael Sollbauer and even the crossbar saved the Hütteldorfers 1:1.
Feldhofer: “The team reacted fantastically”
Despite a good first half, the point is flattering for Rapid but showed there is still morale in the squad. “It was a character test, only a few teams take a point with them if they fall behind after a few seconds. The reaction was great, we didn’t let ourselves be deterred and created chances and deservedly scored the equalizer,” Feldhofer analyzed final whistle at sky the party. “In the end we were lucky enough to take something with us.”
Salzburg’s opening goal brought back memories of Feldhofer’s Rapid coaching debut in the Vienna derby when the doorbell rang before the end of the first minute. “I didn’t think it could go any faster. But the team reacted fantastically, it wasn’t always like that after conceding a goal,” said Feldhofer. “The team works, I’ve never said anything else. We grow together every day, have more time to train and talk things over. Now we have 14 days to work hard.”
In the past few days, media reports have been circulating that Feldhofer’s expulsion has already been decided, after the duel with Salzburg this should be made official. Sports director Zoran Barisic should even give the interim coach until the presidential election. “Internally I didn’t notice much, it was a lot from the outside. We don’t want to let that into the inner circle. We focus on the things that we can influence,” commented Feldhofer on rumors about himself.
Barisic: “The relationship between the team and the coach is right”
There was little sign of an immediate farewell around the game. Defender Sollbauer even gave his coach extra praise: “There’s always a lot on the scales at Rapid, but the inner circle works very well, it’s committed. He set us up great, the team works.”
And Barisic even gave a temporary job guarantee. When asked if there will be a change of coach, Barisic replied dryly: “No.”
Of course you were dissatisfied with some of the results, but you wouldn’t anticipate any decision from the new presidency, said the head of sport: “A lot is happening all around us at the moment. When there is a new bureau, decisions are made. After today’s game there will be a little more calm, we’re going into the international break and the coach will prepare the team. It was evident that the relationship between the team and the coach is right. We know what situation we are in. It’s not really calm in the club. We have to find faith again and demonstrate team successes.”
Both teams can now take a deep breath, next weekend there will be the first international break of the season. Salzburg welcomes LASK on October 1, Rapid is a guest at WSG Tirol.