Position last season: 4th place
Under Razvan Lucescu, who went for a very experienced roster, thinking about the present, not the future, Rapid failed and I have to agree with the always discontent owner George Copos. The team was strong, very strong, last season, yet something happened along the way, when all the hunger and the flamboyant style slowly faded away and Rapid’s problems were exposed: lack of creativity in midfield, the absence of a goalscorer upfront and a general lack of determination among the top players. Rapid remains a very inconsistent team, strong at home, weak when playing away, and it will be interesting to see what will change under the command of former Rapid midfielder Ioan Ovidiu Sabau, who gets his first shot to fight for something important, after some good work for the likes of Gloria Bistrita and FCM Targu Mures. Used to coach small clubs and use very defensive setups, he will have to adapt quickly, to please the passionate fans who at least want to see some spectacular football, if they’re to lose the title, as usually happened in recent years…
Important transfers out: Dani Coman (goalkeeper, key player); Marcos Antonio (central defender, key player); Dan Alexa (defensive midfielder, key player); Ciprian Deac (winger, key player)
Position last season: 5th place
Looking at the way they blew it last season, it’s difficult to find the guts to bet on the Red Dogs this term. They’ve dominated the league for half of season, then thought that changing Liviu Ciobotariu would produce a shock and deliver results, finishing in 5th place instead, as Dario Bonetti couldn’t deliver more than a Romanian Cup triumph. The Italian made a promising start though, winning the Supercup a few days ago, but he struggle to keep his position safe, once the results will be anything short of great. The fans have nothing against him, but they’re not close enough to the team in big numbers to influence things, the board members have different opinions, while the influential agents Victor and Giovani Becali are 100% against the man. Same story like last season, then?
Important transfers out: Cosmin Moti (central defender, key player); Djakaridja Kone (defensive midfielder, key player)
Two experienced, dedicated players who were part of the team’s back bone. Moti went to Ludogorets in search of a new challenge, while Kone’s playing a dangerous game. Wanted a couple of months ago in France, the move isn’t done yet and I wonder if the rumors had any truth in them or if this is just another agent playing with a client’s career. Anyway, both will be hard to replace, and Bonetti decided to move Srdjan Luchin in the middle (last season, regular starter at right back), with Cristian Scutaru, who played second division football last term, ready to step in and… that’s about it. Very delicate situation in the long run, but it’s not too late to add at least another name for this role.