The result was clear, as was the message. Not only thanks to an unleashed triple packer Patson Daka, soccer series champion Red Bull Salzburg made a clear statement in the title fight on Sunday with a 4: 2 in the league battle against pursuers Rapid. The superiority against the supposed challenger was clear and could also be seen as the answer to the “Bulls” ‘2-0 draw three days earlier against Villarreal. In any case, nationally one remains the clear benchmark.
In any case, the performance on Sunday should give hope, even if the comparison is limping, as Marsch said. Without the Sekou Koita and Mohamed Camara, who were banned for doping, without the still ailing Maximlian Wöber and with a personnel change shortly before kick-off – Brenden Aaronson came for the injured Noah Okafor: Salzburg could not be disrupted by this either. And so Rapid, who had come with some hopes, was only able to imagine itself lucky for a few seconds. Taxiarchis Fountas had scored the alleged 1-0 after a quick counterattack (28th), but a questionable offside decision prevented real cheers and cleared the way for the hosts’ clear victory.
Apart from about 20 minutes in the middle of the first half, Salzburg had the game completely under control – thanks to a lot of aggressiveness and excessive offensive power that overwhelmed Rapid. In addition to Daka, who single-handedly made the decision with his three goals to 1-0, 2-0 and 3-0 (30th, 64th, 70th), Mergim Berisha acted as a four-time assistant for Daka and the substitute Karim Adeyemi (92nd) emerged, Aaronson also pointed out. Daka took over the lead from teammate Koita (14) in the goalscorer list with 16 goals this season.
“It was a dominant evening for us, an extremely important moment this season,” said Marsch, who vehemently opposed all rumors on “Sky” that he could succeed his Salzburg predecessor Marco Rose in the summer at Mönchengladbach. “I haven’t heard from Gladbach. I haven’t had any contact with any other club. The gate is closed. I worked here in Salzburg.”
And if Rapid coach Dietmar Kühbauer has it, his colleague doesn’t have to worry about being left empty-handed in summer. The faint hopes of being able to “grab” the series champion this year are currently buried. “Ultimately, we have to accept the strength of Salzburg,” said a somewhat disillusioned Kühbauer, looking back on recent encounters, where only 1-1 in the first duel of the season can be seen as a small sense of achievement. “We’ve tried so much against Salzburg, but in the end Salzburg was always better,” said Kühbauer.
In the most recent duel, “we didn’t succeed in what we intended to close the center, because they’re incredibly dangerous and incredibly fast,” the Burgenlander analyzed. “We lost the balls too quickly. The team simply didn’t have enough ideas and the courage, and they weren’t very good at tackling either.”
Only the alleged Fountas goal could have saved the game, according to Kühbauer “. In return, the goal is conceded, then it’s very, very difficult here.” The inclusion of Srdan Grahovac for Fountas at the break also had no effect. “Even then, the team did not bring on the pitch what we set out to do.”
But he did not want to go too hard with his troops after the first defeat in 2021. “I found the team to be able to deliver a good game here,” said Kühbauer and emphasized: “We can do better.” However, Salzburg is just the league breakout. “ The y are just incredible quality, they have spent eleven million on Okafor. I haven’t spent that in my entire time since I’ve been with Rapid,” he cited a financial example.
To knock Salzburg off the throne, you would need “a flow like Austria Wien back then (2012/13, note), but the gap has widened because Salzburg has done well for years,” says Kühbauer. “You have the best opportunities over 32 laps.”