In the review of the Ingolstadt game a couple of weeks ago, I questioned the tactics and formation used for the new season. I was concerned with the lack of creativity and pace in the side, something which wasn’t helped by the formation. After 3 league games that haven’t seen us pick up a victory, those concerns have escalated.
The performance against Energie Cottbus was simply not good enough. In truth, the 2-0 scoreline flattered us. On another day, Cottbus may have had 4 or 5 goals. However, the most concerning thing was that it wasn’t just one bad performance from a player or two, it was the whole team.
Perhaps most worrying is that Schubert doesn’t seem to know his best 11. He changed the side that had won the cup match in Offenburg, with Thy and Gogia replaced by Bruns and Ginczek. The first half performance was dreadful, with no chance of any note for the away side. Cottbus took the lead due to an error by Tschauner in goal, but realistically they could have had 3 or 4 but they wasted chances.
At half time Schubert made two changes, clearly aware something needed to change. Kalla, who is seemingly back in favour with Schubert after he spent the second half of the season in the U23 side, switched from right back to left back at half time, and Avevor replaced Schachten at right back. Ebbers also came on upfront to replace Ginczek.
But the chances didn’t make any notable difference, and Cottbus scored a second just after the hour mark. Banovic wasn’t closed down properly, and was allowed to shoot from outside the box, with his low shot going in off the post. It was a deserved second goal for the home side.
Only after the second goal did St. Pauli show any sign of life. Ebbers and Saglik almost combined twice, but Ebbers took too long on the ball when inside the box, Saglik had a shot cleared off the line and then Saglik couldn’t combine with an Ebbers cross a couple of minutes later.
That aside, Cottbus controlled the game and should have scored more. St. Pauli had little quality on the ball, didn’t have enough movement going forward and seemed nervous defensively.
The exact cause of the poor performances is unclear. Even during defeats in previous seasons, St. Pauli have battled and fought and put on a performance, but in recent weeks this hadn’t been the case. Do the team need more more time to gel, or are the problems with the management? Things have to improve on the pitch, otherwise it’s going to be a very long and difficult season. That said, the rendition at the end of the game summed up the feelings perfectly – You’ll Never Walk Alone.