Can visiting Holstein Kiel get back to winning ways Sunday at the Millentor Stadion or will FC St Pauli get involved in the fight for 3rd place in the table? (The match is available on FOX Soccer MatchPass in the USA at 6:20 am with the match archived for later viewing)
With another win, St Pauli could join the fight for the playoff spot. The morale of the team is high after two very good games against Nürnberg and Ingolstadt. Kauczinski’s team impressed by strong defense and lightning fast counter attacks. He sends his boys in a 4-4-2 system, which becomes 6-2-2 during the defensive phase. The full backs become a sort of centre backs and their initial positions are occupied by the wingers. They don’t venture too much forward either.
Nehrig and Dudziak are placed in front of the back line, with duties to stop or delay Kiel’s attacks. One of the strikers (probably Bouhaddouz) should drop to block Kinsombi and assure midfield numerical balance. Once the ball in conquered, it’s going to be sent to the quick wingers, Sobota and probably Neudecker, or to the strong Bouhaddouz, who can send it to his faster partner, Allagui. Two other options for fast actions are Cenk Sahin (fit again) and Möller Daehli, but probably only for the second half.
This is the strategy to expect against Kiel — overcrowd the back line to stop the highly dangerous Kiel offense (the most creative in the league – 173 scoring opportunities) and hit on the break.
Kiel’s air is getting thinner, without a win in 10 matches, they are still 3rd, but the self-confidence of the promoted side seems to be gone. They simply cannot keep the high rhythm for 90 minutes and they create less clear-cut chances than a few months ago. Coach Anfang arranges his team in a 4-1-4-1 system, with very offensive wingers (high-speed and good technique, strong in 1v1 duels when they have the ball) and an attacking midfielder, Drexler, who enjoys a lot of freedom. He is the key in Kiel’s game as he roams from his initial position left, right or forward, being very unpredictable and bringing a lot of creativity. He is the best offensive midfielder in the league with 9 goals and 5 assists, plus 2.5 successful key passes and 4.4 successful dribbles per match. But will he find space in St Pauli’s highly populated defense? Or will he roam only left or right to create superiority on the flanks?
Kiel is one of the most prolific offensive sides in Bundesliga 2, with 102 attacks per 90 minutes (12% ending with shots), but the major problems lately have been the individual errors in defense, which cost them points and affect the confidence of the entire squad.
We should see Kiel controlling the possession and dictating the tempo. But the only question remains if they can fool St Pauli’s strong defense in order to find space. Another exciting point of interest will be to witness whether or not the unsafe Kiel defense will manage to stop St Pauli’s quick attacks and dangerous set pieces.
St Pauli: Hornschuh, Miyaichi, Buchtmann (injured)
Holstein Kiel: Lenz, Janzer (injured)