This coming Sunday, Rapid Vienna and Austria Vienna meet in the league for the 292nd time. turns the spotlight on the long-running battle for bragging rights in the Austrian capital.

The term Viennese Derby first came into use back in the 1950s whenever the two leading clubs from the stately city of 1.7 million inhabitants crossed swords.

The origins
The intense rivalry between the clubs dates right back to their foundations. Rapid were formed in 1898 as a working-class club on the outskirts of the city, whereas Austria traditionally represented the bourgeois city centre elite, even incorporating a minimum intelligence requirement in their founding statutes.

However, the municipal district of Hietzing provided a home to both clubs, leading to stirring emotions and a strong element of passion associated with games between Rapid and Austria from the very earliest times. Rapid were perennial championship contenders from the start, but it took Austria until the mid-1920s to collect their first league crown.

However, as of the very first meeting, a 4-1 Rapid victory on 8 September 1911, it was clear that more was at stake for both clubs than mere league points.

Facts and figures
Taking every game ever played, the Vienna rivals have met more than 400 times. Some 300 of those matches were competitive, in the league, the cup or the supercup. Overall, the Greens of Rapid currently have the edge over the Violets of Austria.

Rapid boast the longest winning streak in the derby, although it dates back to the period between 1911 and 1917 when the men in green won 11 league fixtures on the trot. The Greens’ longest undefeated run occurred between 25 May 1996 and 9 May 2000, a 17-game series in which Rapid avoided losing to their bitter rivals. However, Austria also boast a 17-derby unbeaten run, from 12 August 2001 to 6 August 2005.

Unusually for a derby, the Viennese variety has often produced a glut of goals. The biggest margin of victory in the early days was Rapid’s thumping 9-0 win in 1916. Austria ran up a bizarre 8-4 success in 1929/30, but ten years later, Rapid turned the tables with a 9-2 triumph. In the wartime meeting of 1942/43, Rapid reached double figures in a 10-1 romp, while the highest-scoring game in the period after 1930 saw the Greens edge out the Violets by a remarkable 7-5 in the 1950/51 campaign.

Since the 1968/69 season, the pair have met in 150 competitive fixtures. Austria have won 56 to Rapid’s 45, with 49 draws.

Tales of derbies past
With so much prestige at stake and so much passion invested in the clashes, it comes as no surprise to discover a fair number of sendings-off over the years. Even players renowned as exceptionally fair, including Austria legend Matthias Sindelar and Rapid’s Franz Bimbo Binder, have received their marching orders in this fixture.

Sindelar, who rates to this day as one of the best players ever to emerge from the Alpine Republic, was sent from the pitch for the first and only time in his illustrious career after clipping Rapid’s Johan Luef round the ear. Binder similarly took his one and only early bath in a derby. The incident in fact had little impact in the grand scheme of things, as the referee abandoned the match with Austria 5-0 in front, as the Greens were down to their last five outfield players.

The rivalry today
Rapid currently hold the upper hand this term. The side currently lying second in the table secured a 1-1 away draw in the sixth match of the campaign, but won the home encounter 4-1 in November last year.

The Viennese pair are level on points in the standings behind leaders RB Salzburg, and are engaged in a desperate battle to stay in touch at the top. However, Sturm Graz are just a point behind the clubs from the capital, so neither can really afford defeat in this weekend’s meeting.

The latest clash takes place on Sunday afternoon, when a 17,500 full house at Rapid’s Gerhard-Hanappi-Stadion home ground will urge their heroes on in the quest for maximum points, but also for the pride and prestige associated with an always fiercely-contested clash.