The first home game of the season had been met with good news on the eve of the game, with the club given the go-ahead to provide tickets to 4000 season ticket holders on the new ‘gegengerade’ stand, albeit still only partially built.
Ingolstadt have been tipped by many to have a good season, due to the funds injected into the club by Audi, whose head quarters are based in the Ingolstadt. The large sponsorship deal has meant that the club have managed to secure several high profile signings from the Bundesliga, including a couple of St. Pauli targets. Striker Christian Eigler and young defender Danny da Costa were both targets of André Schubert but opted to join Ingolstadt., and lined up for the away side at the Millerntor.
The teams came out to ‘Hell’s Bells’ for the first time this season, before the crowd and the players paid their respects to St. Pauli legend Günter Peine, who died just over a week ago. The two sides gathered on the half way line as the crowd fell silent, and the club played a video of Günter talking about the club during the centenary celebrations two years ago. It was a moving tribute, which was followed by an impromptu chorus of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” which echoed round the stadium as the game kicked off.
Schubert had named an unchanged side from the side that started the season with a draw in Aue, and St. Pauli should have taken the lead in the opening minutes. Fin Bartels drove a shot straight at the Ingolstadt ‘keeper who could only parry it out to Ebbers inside the box, but Ebbers couldn’t control his volley and blasted it over the bar. A well worked corner then from Daube then picked out Kringe on the edge of the box, but his goal bound volley was blocked in the box.
St. Pauli in truth had struggled having missed the early chances, and Ingolstadt started to see more of the ball. On 37 minutes St. Pauli were almost made to pay for their lacklustre start, when Ingolstadt striker Caiuby launched an unbelievable shot from the edge of the box which flew past Tschauner but rattled off the top corner of the woodwork. The warning signs were there. St. Pauli could have taken the lead on the stroke of half-time, Bruns floated in a cross to the back post where Ebbers was waiting, but Bartels flung his head to the ball without realising his team-mate was behind him ready to pounce and the effort from Bartels went hopelessly wide.
The home side started the second half slowly, and a moment of genius from Caiuby put the home side ahead. The striker showed great skill to beat a couple of defenders on the edge of the box, before squaring the ball across goal for Eigner to finish from close range. As was the case many times last season, St. Pauli would have to come from behind again. The spirits of the home side and the fans inside the Millerntor were immediately lifted though, with an immediate response. A good free-kick from Daube found Mohr with a free header inside the box, and the defender found the net for his first league goal in a St. Pauli shirt. Two goals in the space of a minute.
Bruns had been replaced by Akaki Gogia, and the 20 year old winger on loan from Wolfsburg was troubling Ingolstadt with his pace. However his final pass let him down on several occasions in key possessions to waste good chances. Schubert rotated his strike force, bringing on Saglik for Thy on 68 minutes, before replacing Ebbers with Ginczek on 82 minutes. Both strikers were involved in the final stages and missed good chances to secure the victory in the last ten minutes. Firstly Ginczek controlled the ball on the edge of the area, but he wasted the opportunity and his shot went high over the goal in a good position. Kringe then connected with another volley on the edge of the box, which was inches from finding the top corner.
Saglik then controlled the ball well and ran at the defence, but once he’d found his way into the area he went for power with his shot and saw it go well wide. The final chance of the game fell again to Ginczek who had looked lively since he came on, and having played a neat one-two on the edge of the box he only needed to find the corner of the net however he timidly hit his shot straight at the goalkeeper. It just wasn’t to be from St. Pauli, who had played below par for the majority of the game, but could have own it with a host of chances in the last few minutes.
Although St. Pauli had created a number of chances, the overall play was disappointing. The new 4-4-2 system under Schubert seems to focus on playing the ball out from the back, avoiding long balls wherever possible. Whilst it must be applauded that we are trying to play football ‘in the right way’, we almost caused ourselves a couple of problems during the first half when trying to play too neatly in our own half. The idea of the system in theory is good, but does it fit the team that is playing?
Whilst Bruns and Bartels are good wingers, they lack the pace and trickery of a modern winger so quite often our play was far too narrow without any width. Gogia seemed to provide this when he came on, but his passing and decision making was poor at vital times. It also seems odd playing the system with two tall target men in Ebbers and Thy, yet not utilising their height and physical presence. Although it could be coincidence given that we were pushing for a goal to win the game, but the team created a lot more chances in the last 10 minutes with Saglik dropping deep and picking up the ball, and Ginczek getting into good positions behind the defence. I’m sure some (such as the match reporter on the official site, who described the match as “really exciting”) were pleased with the performance, but I think we will need to improve and take our chances if we are going to be successful this season. Hopefully this is down to the players needing time to adapt to the new system, and not a major problem.
Still, least we’ve got a cup match next weekend. We always do well in the cup…
Here’s a few quotes from post-match interviews.
Schubert: We have given a lot to the performance, and we were the team who looked to win. Ingolstadt were defensive, we knew that from last year. After conceding, we were only briefly shaken and pulled it back. We have given a lot, and it’s obviously disappointing if you have so many chances and don’t score. We have to just play more effectively, in some situations we were too hasty and hectic. But we must have patience. Particularly with our young players. We will continue to give them confidence and they are us and reward yourself for it
Finally, former St. Pauli player Ralph Gunesch who played for Ingolstadt today: “I would like to thank the St. Pauli fans for the great welcome they have given me, it has made me really happy. It shows me that they have still have not forgotten, and proves once again why I was here for a long time and why I felt so comfortable. These are moments that I will never forget.”