May 27, 2017

Preview: FC St. Pauli – 1.FC Heidenheim

It’s time for die ganze Kurve to singt und tanzt für dich again as FC St. Pauli takes on FC Heidenheim at home on Wednesday. The Hamburg-club has opened this year’s 2. Bundesliga season in an impressive fashion, winning four of their opening seven games and drawing another two. The club’s only defeat this far into the season came away to FSV Frankfurt, where St. Pauli lost 1-0 after an all but entertaining game.

The last match day ended in a 0-0 draw away to Eintracht Braunschweig, and the point was enough for St. Pauli to climb up to third place in the standings. The visitors showed signs of a fine defense during the game, and were only rarely exploited at the back. Going into the game with Heidenheim, head coach Ewald Linen echoes the club’s defensive work rate.

“Our best defense in Braunschweig was in our possession,” the 61-year-old says, according to St. Pauli’s official website.

“If the ball was in the possession of the hosts, the whole team did great to fight and win it back.”

St. Pauli did little to win at the Eintracht-Stadion though. The visitors created few clear chances, and the club will have to improve on the offensive end of the field if they are to send FC Heidenheim back to the Voith-Arena without any points.

“That’s the way football is. If you don’t create any chances, you can’t win,” Linen said after the encounter in Braunschweig.

St. Pauli will have to make do without the likes of Sören Gonther, Ryo Miyaichi and Bernd Nehrig, the club confirms on their official website. Moreover, Jan-Philipp Kalla might miss the game as well.

fchFC Heidenheim’s way of opening this year’s league campaign is also very impressive. The Baden-Württemberg-outfit has, like their brown and white opponent, only lost once in the 2. Bundesliga thus far. However, they are still behind St. Pauli in the table as they have won one game less than the Millerntor-outfit.

Heidenheim has fond memories from their last visit to the Millerntor-stadion as they won easily 3-0 at the famous ground a year ago. The club’s head coach Frank Schmidt expects a completely different game this time around, however, because of the fact that St. Pauli has left the days of being a struggling and relegation threatened side behind them, for now.

“Things have changed compared to last year,” the 41-year-old says, according to Heidenheim’s official website.

“What you can see now is that they have put a lot more emphasis on keeping the ball. It’s less about long balls, they have not played like the past season.”

Some people expected Heidenheim to struggle this year because of the loss of top scorer Florian Niederlechner to FSV Mainz in the summer transfer window. However, offensive duo Robert Leipertz and Smail Morabit has thus far filled the void left by the 24-year-old nicely, scoring two goals each in seven games. Heidenheim, though, will have to make do without the services of their important right defender Robert Strauss, the club confirms on their official website.

Not a sold out crowd

The Millerntor-stadion will not be completely sold out when the two teams lock horns. St. Pauli writes on their official website that there are about 400 tickets left at the north and south stand, and FC Heidenheim expects fewer fans than last year to make the trip to Hamburg to support their local football club. The stadium will be as loud as usual, however, and the roar from the stands when the signature “Hells Bells” is heard from the speakers will once again put fans in danger of losing their ability to hear.

And expect the home supporters to once again sing ‘die ganze Kurve singt und tanzt für dich, unser ein und alles ja wir lieben dich.’

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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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