Rapid Vienna boss Dietmar Kuhbauer aiming to ‘disrupt the way Arsenal play’ during Europa League opener as captain Dejan Ljubicic eyes ‘surprise’ against the Group B favourites
- Rapid Vienna boss Dietmar Kuhbauer does no plan to just defend against Arsenal
- Rapid captain Dejan Ljubicic has also said they are planning to ‘surprise’ Arsenal
- The Gunners visit the Austrian capital for the first game of Group B on Thursday
- Mikel Arteta’s team are favourites to win both the game as well as the group
The Gunners will visit the Austrian capital for the first game of Group B, with around 3,000 fans expected inside the Allianz Stadion.
While Mikel Arteta’s men will be favourites to win the game as well as the group, Vienna will be hoping to spring an early surprise.
Rapid Vienna manager Dietmar Kuhbauer does no plan to just defend against Arsenal
Kuhbauer’s side finished a distant second in the Austrian Bundesliga last season and are set for their first-ever competitive meeting with Arsenal.
‘We have to try to disrupt the way they play,’ Kuhbauer told reporters at this pre-match press conference.
‘If we play only to defend, that will not be enough. They are a very, very good team despite the probable rotation that comes.
Rapid captain Dejan Ljubicic is keen to cause an upset, even if their 28,000 stadium is not full
Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side will visit the Austrian capital for the first game of Group B
‘There are other names but we know what they want to do, how they want to play and that is what matters.
‘They play with tempo and it is always difficult to defend against that – our players will have to be very, very strong in spirit.
‘They are an attractive opponent who of course have won a lot in the past, we have to play at a very good level if we are to get something.’
Rapid captain Dejan Ljubicic is also keen to cause an upset, even if their 28,000-seater home will be at just over a tenth capacity.
‘We would like a sold-out stadium,’ he said.
‘That would definitely be something special because you don’t play against Arsenal that often. We want to surprise them and will do everything to do so.’
Arsenal will be favourites to win the game taking place on Thursday night as well as the group
Arsenal are currently making their way to the Allianz Stadion – the home of Rapid Vienna
An unnamed Rapid player tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday but the club said protocols were followed and all other members of the first-team squad were negative.
‘We have been living with this Covid story for so long and will probably have to live with it for a long time,’ added Kuhbauer.
‘We can’t change it, we still have enough players. It will probably hit every club and since there is only one case, that doesn’t bother us now.
‘It would be different if a lot of players were really sick, then it would be a huge problem for us.’