October 24, 2017

2017-18 Season Preview: FC St. Pauli — Full Speed Ahead for the Buccaneers

Basics

  • Name: FC St. Pauli (Fußball-Club St Pauli von 1910 e.V.)
  • Nicknames: Buccaneers, naturally.
  • Founded: 1910
  • Club colors: brown and white
  • Primary rivals: Hamburger SV
  • Fan friendship: FC Bayern München, SV Babelsberg 03

Millerntor-Stadion

  • Capacity: 29,546
  • 2016-17 attendance: 499,822  (29,401 per match)

Trophies

2. Bundesliga Champion: (1) 1976/77.

2016-17 Finishes

2. Bundesliga: 7th place with 45 points (39 goals scored, 35 allowed, 4 GD)

DFB Pokal: 2nd round (2-0 loss to Hertha Berlin)

  • Number of Matches won by 2 or more goals: 7.
  • Number of Matches won by 1 goal: 5.
  • Number of Matches drawn: 9.
  • Number of Matches lost by 1 goal: 8.
  • Number of Matches lost by 2 or more goals: 5.Number of matches in which a led was blown, resulting in loss: 2.
  • Number of matches in which a led was blown, resulting in draw: 4.
  • Number of matches in which a deficit was overcome to earn a draw: 2.
  • Number of matches in which a deficit was overcome to earn victory: 3.

Top 2016-17 Scorers

Aziz Bouaddouz: 15
Christopher Buchtmann: 6
Cenk Sahin, Lasse Sobiech: 4

Summer Test Results

Record: 6-0-0
Goals Scored: 21
Goals Allowed: 4

St. Pauli – SV Werder Bremen 2-1

FC Will – St. Pauli 1-2

VfB Oldenburg  St. Pauli 1-2

VfL Osnabrück – St. Pauli 0-3

St. Pauli – Sportfreunde Lotte 1-0

Buxtehuder SV – St. Pauli 0-11

View from Canada

No one in Canada knows FC St. Pauli better than the Calgary based podcasters Shawn and Samathna from the Fell In Love With A Girl: An FC St. Pauli Podcast  So we asked them to give their view on the season ahead.

Keep an eye out for . . .

The attacking partnership between Sami Allagui and Aziz Bouhaddouz. Aziz proved last season that he’s dangerous and can produce.  The support of a player like Sami, with vision and top flight experience, creates within us expectations of great things this season from the pairing.

Terrace favorite . . .

Jan-Michael Kalla has shown good form in the first match this season, playing Jeremy Dudziak’s game surprisingly well for a guy nicknamed ‘schneke’ (snail). He’s played his entire senior career at St. Pauli and has a special place in the supporter’s hearts.

Player that should be driven to another club . . .

We think every player on the roster right now fits well or hasn’t had an adequate chance to prove themselves.

Advice you’d give your manager . . .

You have two phenomenal goalkeepers in Philipp Heerwagen and Robin Himmelmann. Utilize them both.

Opposition player you despise . . .

We’ve only been watching the league for a short while, and the history isn’t there for us to despise anyone in particular. 1860 München gave us a battering in our two fixtures, but they won’t be bothering us this season…

What will opposing sides underestimate?

Opponents will overlook how well-rounded the first team is in it’s current iteration. They’re not world beaters, but there’s quality in every part of the pitch. Hopefully they’ll focus on defending the right side against the speed and quick counter attacking of Sahin and Dæhli and leave the left exposed.

What are fans overestimating?

How fragile our position is. We’re very confident,having kept the core of our team from last year, and making some very smart signings. We were brimming with confidence at the start of last year. It only takes a handful of injuries and the ball to bounce the wrong way a few times to completely change the potential final position in the season.

Tip you’d give foreign fans visiting Millerntor-Stadion for the first time.

We haven’t visited the Millerntor yet but we’re planning to go to there for the last home match of the season.

Where will St. Pauli finish? . . .

Shawn says 4th. Samantha says 7th.

What is your standout St. Pauli memory from last season?

We travelled to visit the East River Pirates, the New York St. Pauli supporters club for the last match versus Bochum. They held an amazing fundraiser for Viva Con Agua, a global clean water project. After the devastating form of the Hinrunde, which buried us in 18th, the last game was such a huge release of the tension accumulated over the course of the season.

When last we saw them

St. Pauli’s Hinrunde was a huge disappointment to everyone involved in the club and they only managed to nail out two wins before the Christmas break. However, the season was salvaged during the spring as St. Pauli turned their fortunes around in a way that should inspire every relegation-treated club in the future. The boys in brown’s form went from embarrassing to the most impressive in the league during the Rückrunde and St. Pauli managed to climb out of the relegation race once and for all in April.

FCSTP 2016-17 season went from relegation battle to the safety of the middle.

St. Pauli opened the season by losing 10 of their first 15 matches, winning only one and drawing four in the process. Ewald Linens men stayed at the bottom of the table until the middle of February.

But things changed dramatically in the end, and St. Pauli was one of the strongest clubs in the league during the blooming spring. The club even bid farewell to the season by winning six of their last seven matches, with a +11 GD.

Aspiration

Top of the table. St. Pauli’s supporters have plenty of reasons to be optimistic going into the new season. Most of the players behind last season’s sporting U-turn have remained loyal to the brown shirt, with Lennart Thy being the one and only exception. Ewald Lienen has stepped down from the position as head coach in favor of Olaf Janssen, but that shouldn’t change St. Pauli’s aspiration one bit as the new coach knows the club very well after spending some time as an assistant under Linen.

The position as the strongest team in the league is up for grabs in the absence of Vfb Stuttgart and Hannover 96, and St. Pauli has little reason not to dream of overtaking it.

Reality

Don’t embrace any high hopes, St. Pauli fans. 2. Bundesliga is far too unpredictable to point to a certain club and say “they will win it this year”. Anyone can beat anyone and St. Pauli can win promotion after going undefeated for 25 match days as well as being relegated.

Sami Allagui is an exciting new addition to the squad, but so was Ante Budimir back in 2014 and the only goal he managed to score as a St. Pauli player was in the Regionalliga Nord.

Olaf Janssen might not be the most exciting head coach the world has ever seen or the one with the most coaching experience on his resumé, but he knows the club well. Such knowledge, though, has never been a guarantee for success and won’t be this time around either.

The Boss

Janssen arrived in Hamburg last year after a (very) short spell as interim coach at VfB Stuttgart. He’s resumé includes tenures at TSV 1860 München, Rot-Weiss Essen, Azerbaijan’s national team and Dynamo Dresden. He failed to save Dresden from relegation to the 3. Liga back in 2014, but Dresden’s five wins that season came with Janssen on the bench, so he wasn’t worse than his predecessor.

Philosophy

Janssen will probably stick to the philosophy that Ewald Linen created during his time as the head coach, with the 4-2-3-1 formation being St. Pauli’s standard. Linen did begin the season by formatting his team as a 4-4-2 with a double 6, and Janssen might pick up on that because of the arrival of Allagui.

Sören Gonther and Lasse Sobiech spent some time together at the heart of the defense last season, but Sobiech will have to partner up with someone else this campaign as Gonther has left to try his luck at Dynamo Dresden. That new partner will probably be Clemens Schoppenhauer, who St. Pauli signed from Würzburger Kickers this summer.

Bouhaddouz had to spend some time outside of the starting lineup last season due to minor injuries and Lennart Thy, on loan from Werder Bremen last season, was loaned to Dutch side VVV Venlo by the green-whites in July.

Allagui’s arrival at the Millerntor-Stadion leaves the St. Pauli with some offensive alternatives. Bouhaddouz can be deployed alone at the top like last season, but he will probably link up with Allagui more often than not. Thus might the plan B simply be to recreate last season’s formation at times, with Cenk Sahin and Waldemar Sobota playing at the flanks behind a lone striker.

Janssen begun the new season with Marc Hornschuh and Lasse Sobiech as the centre-backs, and he’s got alternatives on the bench in the form of Clemens Schoppenhaur and Philipp Ziereis if any injuries appear.

Notable Transfers

Out:

  • Dennis Rosin (Werder Bremen II)
  • Sören Gonther (Dynamo Dresden)

In:

  • Clemens Schoppenhauer (Würzburger Kickers)
  • Sami Allagui (Hertha BSC)
  • Luca Zander (Werder Bremen, loan)

Strengths

Bouhaddouz is a reliable goal scorer and will probably score more than just a handful of goals this season, while Christopher Buchtmann’s six goals last season was his best offensive production yet, and he started the new season with the game-winner against Bochum and had three shots on target. St. Pauli will have a great strength in attack if those two, as well as newcomer Sami Allagui, can continue to feed the club with goals.

Lasse Sobiech will most likely bring defensive stability to St. Pauli this season as well, and he will be an even more valuable asset to the club if he can score four goals during the league campaign a third consecutive time.

Weaknesses

Hard to say, but Robin Himmelmann failed to keep a clean sheet more than once last season and he was demoted to the bench during St. Pauli’s fantastic run during the latter half of the season, so maybe the weakness lies in the goalkeeping, though Himmelmann did make the whoscored.com MatchDay 1 Team of the Week? Philipp Heerwagen is a reliable backup when his services are needed, but he is 34-year-old and is probably not going to shine much brighter than he already has. However, it’s not really fair to complain about St. Pauli’s goalkeeping since both actually looks like fine second division shot-stoppers.

Crucial Stretch in Schedule

St. Pauli needs to take more than a few points between Match day 20 and 27 if they want to be a force to be reckoned with in the 2. Bundesliga this season. The boys in brown face SV Darmstaft 98, 1. FC Nürnberg, FC Ingolstadt, Fortuna Düsseldorf, Eintracht Braunschweig and 1. FC Kaiserslautern during that time.

Verdict

5th place. I think that St. Pauli will be involved in the promotion battle for quite some time this season, but I can’t see them keeping up with the top three all the way. My guess is that the excitement will live on until just a few matches remain and that the mathematical chance to reach the top three will die quite late.

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Linus Vedmar

Linus is a 20-year-old Swede who follows all Bundesliga clubs but have a soft spot for FC St. Pauli. You can follow Linus on Twitter @LinusVedmar.

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