The pressure was high on St. Pauli head coach Ewald Linen going into Saturday’s away game against SV Sandhausen. The 62-year-old coach hasn’t lived up to expectations this season, but his team actually performed not too badly at the start of the game. The visitors had plenty of possession, but could not materialize that into opportunities to score.
Instead, it was Sandhausen that opened the scoring. Andrew Wooten won the ball high up in the pitch, served Korbinian Vollmann with a pass, who found Thomas Pledl in a dangerous area. The 22-year-old fired from range, and Robin Himmelmann had to make the first real save of the day. However, the rebound was shot into the net by Lucas Höler, making the save rather pointless.
Vollmann and Pledl wasn’t finished there, though, and just seconds before the first half concluded, the duo was involved in another goal. Vollmann served Pledl with a simple but effective pass, and the 22-year-old could run from the center line to the penalty area without any visitors pressing, and score the 2-0-goal.
Sandhausen could have made it 3-0 and 4-0 in the middle of the second half when they created two brilliant chances in the span of a minute. The first opportunity was missed by Pledl, who shot just wide of Himmelmann’s left post, and the second opportunity was wasted by Wooten, who out-ran the St. Pauli defense after snapping up a failed headed pass from the visitor’s Bernd Nehrig. Wooten wasn’t able to find the net though, despite coming one on one with Himmelmann, instead firing the ball straight at the goalkeeper, who could make a very important, but easy, save
St. Pauli looked nothing but disappointing in the second half, and Sandhausen could secure three points with 20 minutes left on the clock. Höler found Wooten with a brilliant pass, and the center-forward got rid his defender easily, before putting the game to bed with a distinct finish.
SV Sandhausen: Knaller – Paqarada, Knipping, Gordon, Klingmann – Kulovits (Karl), Linsmayer – Vollmann (Vunguidica), Pledl – Wooten (Sukuta-Pasu), Höler
St. Pauli: Himmelmann – Hornschuh, Avevor, Sobiech, Kalla (Buballa) – Buchtmann, Nehrig, Sobota, Dudziak (Miyaichi), Rosin (Picault) – Ducksch
Goals: 1-0 Lucas Höler (26rd minute), 2-0 Thomas Pledl (46rd minute), 3-0 Andrew Wooten (72rd minute).
Augenblick: A 2-0 lead doesn’t necessarily mean a win for the leading team, but when SVS scored the second goal of the day late in the first half through Thomas Pledl, anyone present at the stadium knew how this game was going to end. It’s fair to say that this game was won by the home side in the first half, the moment Pledl scored his goal.
Man of the match: Sandhausen had plenty of players that stood out, but Lucas Höler was the brightest star of the day. Höler scored a goal and assisted another, making him the most productive player of the game, and man of the match.
Stat of the game: Sandhausen shot six times on goal, St. Pauli just one. It paints a quite clear picture of what today’s game was like. SVS didn’t necessarily dominate the encounter completely, but they created almost every chance, and deserved to win.
How far can SV Sandhausen go? The small Baden-Württemberg-based club was thought to compete for their survival ahead of the new season, but the win against St. Pauli raised them to an eighth place in the table, and far from the relegation battle. Are they in for a secure position in the middle, will they lose ground eventually, or can they actually put some pressure on the clubs above them in the standing? We are yet to find out.
Was this the end of the Ewald Linen era in Hamburg? St. Pauli has been unlucky at times this season, but today’s defeat was nothing but an embarrassment for the club, and the pressure will be enormous on Linen. It’s yet to be seen if Linen will remain in charge of the club throughout this weekend, but the odds for him to be fired probably reached an all-time low with today’s defeat. Dieter Hecking is available on the market, and if he is willing to take over a second division club and start a new project, then St. Pauli will probably not hesitate for long, but fire Linen and hire the former Wolfsburg head coach.
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