It’s busy days for FC St. Pauli! The famous Hamburg club has failed big-time to live up to expectations in the 2. Bundesliga and currently fights for its survival in the second tier.
The idea some fans had prior to the first match day was that the club would be fighting for promotion alongside league rivals such as Fortuna Düsseldorf, FC Kaiserslautern, and FC Nurnberg, as well as newcomers RB Leipzig, during the course of the season. However, that turned out to be nothing but an unrealistic dream. Failed signings, alongside way too many injuries and a staggering defense, has resulted in the club not being able to position itself anywhere else but at the foot of the standings.
Most of the brown and white faithful may have thought that St. Pauli’s campaign would turn to the better during the Rückrunde since the club took a comfortable victory at home against VfR Aalen before the break, but that has not materialized. Instead, St. Pauli has collected two points of a possible twelve and thus has cemented its position in the relegation battle.
The last of many setbacks came Sunday when St. Pauli failed to defeat 16th positioned Erzgebirge Aue at home. The Brown-and-Whites looked worryingly bad, and when the encounter came to a finish, the home supporters once again had to walk home disappointed. St. Pauli did not lose and therefore got a very important point since the game ended as a 0-0 draw, but they desperately needed a victory to raise out of the relegation spot. The result was therefore not much to rejoice.
Head coach Ewald Lienen, St. Pauli’s third man at the helm this campaign, stressed after the game that Aue was one of the better teams his side had come up against this campaign, a fact that probably surprised many of the supporters who found the way to the Millerntor on Sunday.
“Aue was by far the strongest opponent we have lined up against so far this year,” he told St. Pauli’s official website. “We could not prevent their game, so they created many scoring opportunities.”
St. Pauli did lose most of their rhythm during the latter part of the second half, something with which Lienen was far from pleased.
“We didn’t take on the duels properly. We had too long distances to our opponents and thus came in too late,” he says.
Since the start of the Rückrunde, St. Pauli has drawn to Sandhausen and Aue, and lost to Greuther Fürth and 1860 München, but team captain Sören Gonther has still been pleased with his side’s effort in most of the encounters. Though the draw against Aue was a disappointment.
“We were clearly better than the opponent during the first three games of the year, but we only had Aue during the first 20 minutes, then no more,” the 28-year-old is quoted as telling St. Pauli’s website. “Just look at when we played Sandhausen, Fürth, and 1860. There were six or seven points in it, but we only got one. We have not taken care of our many scoring chances and therefore, none of the four games have resulted in a win.”
St. Pauli has shown some positive signs in their offensive displays at times this campaign. The Hamburg club put in some fine attacking during the early stage of their encounter with SV Sandhausen last month, as well as towards the end of their highly important away game at the Allianz Arena against 1860 München on February 21.
Eleven games remain before the season comes to an end. The club will face, among others, Nürnberg, Kaiserslautern, Leipzig, and SV Darmstadt 98 on their road to a renewed 2. Bundesliga contract. A better effort than the one at home against Aue is required in order to avoid relegation to the 3. Liga/
“At the end of the day only the points matter. It doesn’t matter against whom you get the draw,” Lienen says.
“It can be like a dirty victory. If we chase the ball in Braunschweig for 89 minutes but still win and celebrate our first away win, I would take it. A sense of achievement is necessary and would do us very well. Then we can score multiple games in a row,” Gonther says.
St. Pauli will be hoping that Braunschweig’s winless run continues on Saturday when the two clubs lock horns.
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