Derby Week: Rapid vs Austria - The battle for Vienna tinged with fading former glory

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Derby Week: Rapid vs Austria - The battle for Vienna tinged with fading former glory
The last Vienna derby ended in a 0-0 draw in October 2023. How will the next one turn out?
The last Vienna derby ended in a 0-0 draw in October 2023. How will the next one turn out?
Profimedia, Flashscore
Rapid and Austria, Vienna's biggest clubs, are the two most successful teams in Austria. Since 1911, when they first clashed, neither have ever been relegated from any top competition held on Austrian territory, regardless of the political situation. Their derby is the most played in continental Europe, only the British rivalries in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Belfast have been held more often.

Rapid Vienna were founded in 1898 as the First Workers' Club of Vienna (Erster Wiener Arbeiter-Fusball-Club). Their original colours were red and blue, which the team still uses on their away kit. Before the end of the 19th century, they were renamed to the current form: Sportklub Rapid Wien. In 1904, they adopted today's iconic combination of green and white.

Austria Vienna were founded in 1910 and the purple and white of their jerseys are also a hallmark of the club. The aforementioned shades are also the nicknames of the two city rivals - the Green and Whites (Die Grün-Weißen) and the Purple and Whites (Die Veilchen).

Rapid, thanks to their origins and founders, are traditionally supported by the urban working class. In contrast, Austria were a club for the middle class and intelligentsia before World War II and was seen as part of Vienna's famous café culture.

Since then, especially with the growing success of both, Rapid and Austria have gained fans across Austria and nowadays their supporters cannot be so clearly classified into different social classes. However, certain socio-economic differences between both sets of fans still remain.

Bican versus Sindelar

Inter-war Vienna was the arena for a duel between two of the great footballers of the time, perhaps two of the very best. One of them was Josef Bican, who was born to Czech parents in what is now the Austrian capital. According to many sources, he is the best striker of all time (he is said to have scored 1,468 competitive goals, but FIFA counts him as scoring just 805, mainly due to the problems of the war period). In the '30s, Bican shone in the jersey of Rapid.

The other big star in Vienna was Matthias Sindelar. The player who was named Austrian footballer of the 20th century was born in Kozlov near Jihlava (Czech Republic). When he was two years old, his whole family moved to Vienna in search of a better life. Later, he became the cornerstone of Austria Vienna's success.

In addition to facing each other in the jerseys of two of Vienna's biggest teams, Bican and Sindelar also competed for the position of centre forward in the Austrian national team. In the 1930s, the team was known as the 'Wunderteam' (Miracle Team). In addition to the great performances of these two strikers with Czech roots, the coach and manager Hugo Meisl (who was also of Czech descent) was the other driving force behind the success of the Austrian national team at the time. He set global trends in terms of playing style, tactics and formations.

This successful era of Austrian football, along with everything else afterwards, was fundamentally affected by the annexation of the country by Nazi Germany and the Second World War.

The prosecution of Austria and Rapid by the champion

At the time of the Anschluss, Bican was already in Prague. He had been playing in the colours of Slavia since 1937 and the Czechoslovak national team since 1938. Sindelar, still in Austria, refused to play for the national team of the new Third Reich. His excuse was poor health as he was suffering from a knee injury. In January 1939 he died under suspicious circumstances, namely from carbon monoxide poisoning in his apartment. He was just 35 years old.

Austria Vienna didn't just lose their biggest star, they suffered in general. Many of their players and officials were of Jewish descent, and because of this, the club immediately became one of the leading targets of repression by the incoming Nazi regime. Austria were given the label 'Judenklub' (the Jewish club). Many of their players and employees managed to emigrate but many others were executed or ended up in concentration camps.

In the meantime, most Austrian clubs joined league competitions within the Third Reich. Austria Wien survived the war period as a club with some difficulties. They then fought their way back into the limelight in the '50s. Rapid continued to thrive during the war - in 1941, they even became champions of Nazi Germany.

From a historical perspective, Rapid and Austria are the most successful Austrian clubs. Rapid have won the most championship titles (32). However, in terms of the total number of trophies won, Austria have the upper hand (59). For the last decade, though, Red Bull Salzburg have been the reigning champions of Austrian football and are in the running for their 11th consecutive title in the current season. The last time another club won the Bundesliga was Austria in 2012/13. Since then, the Viennese sides have often fought among themselves for second place behind Salzburg, but even that is no longer the case.

In recent years, other competitors such as Sturm Graz and LASK Linz have been ahead of Austria and Rapid. Their current positions in the table do not quite match the greatness of the two Viennese giants. Nevertheless, this does not detract from the importance of their rivalry and the famous and traditional derby. The 342nd Vienna derby kicks off on Sunday, February 25th at 17:00 CET.

The Argentine weekend of derbies:

We featured the Argentine weekend of derbies back in September. So for the forthcoming fixtures, here's just a brief calendar of derbies there.

Saturday, February 24th

Independiente - Racing Club

Clásico de Avellaneda

Sunday, February 25th

Belgrano - Talleres de Cordoba

Clásico cordobés

River Plate - Boca Juniors

Clásico platense

Gimnasia La Plata - Estudiantes

Clásico platense

Newell's Old Boys - Rosario Central

Clásico rosarino

Other derbies of the week:

Saturday, February 24th

Czech Republic - FORTUNA:LIGA

Liberec - Jablonec

Podještěd derby

The clash between clubs from neighbouring towns in the north of Bohemia - Liberec and Jablonec - is named after the Ještěd mountain with its iconic hotel and transmitter at its peak. Ještěd towers above both cities, with good views from the stadiums of both clubs. Liberec also has it in its emblem.

Brazil - Campeonato Pernambucano

Nautico - Sport Club do Recife

Clássico dos Clássicos

Nautico and Sport Club Recife are based in Recife, the capital of the state of Pernambuco in northeastern Brazil. Hence, their derby is also called the Clássico do Nordeste (the Northeast Clásico). However, in the city, it is known as the Clásico of all clásicos. It has been played 564 times and has been a tradition since 1909.

Brazil - Campeonato Mineiro

America - Atletico Mineiro

Clássico das Multidoes

The biggest derby in the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte is the match between Atletico Mineiro and Cruzeiro. However, Atletico's bigger city rival used to be America. This match has traditionally attracted the most spectators, hence its nickname Clásico of the crowds (which is also a common name for many other derbies elsewhere in Brazil).

Sunday, February 25th

Mexico - Liga MX

Club America - Cruz Azul

Clásico Joven

Club America and Cruz Azul are based in the capital - Mexico City. The former is the club of the rich and powerful, while the latter represents the working classes. The nickname of the Cruz Azul footballers and fans is "the cement workers" (the club was founded in 1927 as part of the cement company of the same name).

Belgium - Jupiler Pro League

Club Brugge - Anderlecht

De Topper

This rivalry is historically the biggest match in Belgian football, especially for the Flemish - the Dutch (or Flemish) speaking Belgians. Therefore, it is referred to as De Topper or De Klassieker (the classic) in Dutch (Flemish is a dialect of Dutch).

Germany - 2. Bundesliga

Greuther Furth - Nurnberg

Frankenderby

Nurnberg and Greuther Furth are two traditional clubs from Bavaria. This is not a city derby, nor is it a typical regional rivalry. Furth was part of Nurnberg until 1922. Nowadays, the two cities are intertwined in a common conurbation.

Netherlands - Eredivisie

Alkmaar - Ajax

Noord-Hollandse derby

The city of Alkmaar lies just 40 kilometres north of Amsterdam. The last derby between the two most important representatives of the two cities ended in the autumn with Alkmaar winning, Ajax was in a crisis at the time. However, they are currently back towards the top of the table, in fifth place just three points behind their rivals.

Hungary - OTP Bank Liga

Ujpest - Ferencvaros

Budapest derby

The Budapest derby between Ferencvaros and Ujpest is one of the most important matches in Hungarian football. Regardless of the current form, the stadium is always full and the duel is tense. However, Ujpest have not beaten their rivals since 2015. The last derby, the first this season, was won by Ferencvaros 3-0.

Brazil - Campeonato Carioca

Flamengo - Fluminense

Fla-Flu

Fla-Flu (Flamengo vs. Fluminense) is a city rivalry between two big Brazilian clubs from Rio de Janeiro. The Fla-Flu derby holds the world record for attendance at a league match. In 1963, 194,603 spectators came to the famous Maracana stadium to watch the current Copa Libertadores winner play Flamengo.

Brazil - Campeonato Gaúcho

Internacional - Gremio

Grenal

International and Gremio are two big clubs from Porto Alegre, the capital of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. Both belong to the so-called 'Big 12' of Brazilian teams. It is the biggest rivalry of the state. The match is often accompanied by heated emotions, both on the pitch and in the stands.

Bolivia - Division Profesional

Bolivar - The Strongest

Clásico paceño (Clásico o La Paz)

Bolivar and The Strongest, both in the Bolivian capital La Paz, are the country's two biggest teams. Bolivar have won 30 championship titles, The Strongest 16 (with the last in 2023). Their derby bears the city's name, but it is often referred to as the biggest match in all of Bolivia - the Clásico Boliviano.

Monday, February 26th

Club Blooming - Oriente Petrolero

Clásico cruceño (Clásico o Santa Cruz de la Sierra)

A city derby will also take place in Bolivia's second-largest city, Santa Cruz de la Sierra. It is home to four premier league teams: Blooming Club, Oriente Petrolero, Real Santa Cruz and Royal Pari. The biggest of these are Blooming and Oriente Petrolero, both of which have won five championships in their histories.

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