The first weeks of 2. Bundesliga action were tough on Ewald Linen and his FC St. Pauli side. The brown and white club began the new campaign by losing to VfB Stuttgart 2-1, Eintracht Braunschweig 2-0 and last year’s 3. Liga winners, Dynamo Dresden, 1-0. The Hamburg side clinched their first three points in the fourth match day when they defeated Arminia Bielefeld 2-1, before drawing away to Karlsruher SC 1-1.
One can argue that St. Pauli is on the right track again after avoiding defeats in their last two games, but head coach Ewald Linen will still be under some pressure going into Thursday’s encounter at home against TSV 1860 München. The 62-year-old saw positive glimpses during the club’s game against Bielefeld, not least in the form of the many goal scoring opportunities that St. Pauli created throughout the game, and now hopes that their fortunes will turn to the better.
“We are obviously disappointed that we could not take all the three points,” Linen is quoted as telling St. Pauli’s official website. “Aziz [Bouhaddouz] gave us the lead and three minutes later, [Kyoung Rok] Choi had a huge opportunity after a counterattack through Bernd [Nehrig] and Ryo [Miyaichi].”
“We would have won the game had we scored the second goal. We did not, and instead of 2-0 or 3-0, we only got a compensation. The game tilted following this, since there were two dangerous situations that we had to overcome. Finally, we had a huge chance by Marvin Ducksch, but we could not take advantage of it.”
“We take the point now and wants to continue the upward trend,” the former midfield player says.
St. Pauli might have to make do without the services of center forward Fafa Picault and Sören Gonther. Picault missed the games against Bielefeld and Karlsruher, but has been doing workout sessions at a rehab center recently. Team-captain Gonther missed the game against Karlsruher due to a knee injury, but completed a personalized training on Monday, St. Pauli says on Twitter.
Summer acquisition Vegar Eggen Hedenstad got his season ruined last year due to different injuries, but has been fit ever since joining St. Pauli. The 25-year-old has been deployed at the right back position in four out of five games this season, and knows the importance of recovery after a game, especially with the English week coming up.
“You have to be professional. To eat well, drink plenty of water and sleep. We also have the massage and ice pool,” the 25-year-old is quoted as telling St. Pauli’s official website when asked what he does in order to recover in time for the midweek encounter.
“We get around, especially since we have a big squad and can rotate,” he adds.
Summer signing Bouhaddouz has scored three goals in the opening stage of the new season, despite St. Pauli’s slow start. The attacker has played the full 90 minutes in four out of five games, with the season opener against Stuttgart being the exception since he was taken off after 70 minutes. The 29-year-old will be vital in St. Pauli’s journey out of the bottom half of the table.
1860 believe in a win – Despite an injured captain
Off-field scandals involving fan conflicts with local rivals FC Bayern München have surrounded 1860 München recently, and two of the clubs most dedicated and influential fan groups have dissolved in the summer.
Fortunately though, that hasn’t stopped the club’s performances on the field from being slightly superior to that of St. Pauli, despite losing the season premier against SpVgg Greuther Fürth by a 1-0 score line. The loss against their fellow Bavarians was followed by snatching seven out of a possible nine points in the following three match days, through wins against Bielefeld (1-0) and 1. FC Nürnberg (2-1), in-between a 0-0 draw against Karlsruher SC. FC Union Berlin made sure that 1860’s fine form came to an end on Friday, though, by traveling from the German capital to Münich, and returning back home to Köpenick with a 2-1 win.
1860 head coach Kosta Runjaic says that he is looking forward to the sixth game of the season in Hamburg, and that his side have what it takes to return to southern Germany with all the points.
“Thursday night at the Millerntor will be something special,” he tells 1860’s official website.
“Of course we want the points. But the opponents also have that approach. Nevertheless, I’m confident that we will not only play well, but also take the points,” Runjaic says, before praising St. Pauli’s head coach, along with the club itself.
“Last season they [St. Pauli] played a great football, and they have been very successful at home. It is a team with a high quality. And with Ewald Linen, they have a coach that always has something on his list.”
1860 München have a number of players on their injury list, like summer signing Ribamar, who are yet to make his debut as a die löwen player. The centre-forward are currently undergoing rehabilitation, and is closing in on his first game in Germany, according to 1860’s official website. Former Eintracht Frankfurt player, team-captain and 1860 returnee Stefan Aigner will sit out the encounter due to a knee injury.
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