Union Berlin Review: A cause for optimism

After the hugely disappointing defeat in Regensburg last week, arguably one of the worst St. Pauli performances in recent memory, fans could have been forgiven for fearing the worst going into the game against Union Berlin on Friday evening.

But there was a strange sense of optimism going into the game, although there was no real reason for it. The reaction to the sacking of Schubert and the appointment of Michael Frontzeck to replace him has been met with a mixed reception, but there was a renewed belief about St. Pauli on Friday night. The atmosphere inside the Millerntor was even louder than normal, with both sets of fans creating a real football atmosphere. The players didn’t disappoint either, St. Pauli started positively and attacked Union Berlin from the outset, creating several early chances, most notably of which when Mahir Saglik struck the post. St. Pauli had created more chances and shown more intent in the opening 20 minutes than they had in the rest of the previous games combined. But they were hit by a sucker punch on 21 minutes, Union Berlin had weathered the storm and managed to take the lead through an incredible strike by Torsten Mattuschka.

In truth, St. Pauli had been stunned by the goal and struggled to find the same level of performance up until half time. But the players came out for the second half with renewed passion, and found an immediate equaliser through the head of Florian Mohr. All of a sudden the players were confident again, the defenders were dominant, the midfield were creating chances and Saglik and Ginczek upfront were dangerous. Saglik especially was putting in a great performance, strong in possession and skillful on the ball, he was unlucky not to have found the net on a couple of occasions. On 69 minutes, a sublime pass from Ginczek rolled the ball into the feet of Bartels inside the area who slotted the ball home. It was a deserved lead, merited on the back of a great performance.

But as local newspaper MoPo described it, ‘the football god’ was not on St. Pauli’s side on Friday evening. Mattuschka caught a loose ball on the edge of the box, his wonderful volley firing the ball into the top corner. Tschauner could do nothing about either goal, both will be contenders for the goal of the season.

St. Pauli now sit 17th in the table after the results on Saturday and Sunday, with wins for Duisburg, Aue and Sandhausen. FC Koln host Dynamo Dresden tonight, the two sides who sit directly above St. Pauli in the table. But now isn’t the time to be worried, the team showed enough quality on Friday to suggest we can not only survive relegation but finish higher up the table.

The table does not interest me at the moment. There was clearly a significant step forward, and that will give us strength. We must go on. – Fabian Boll

With new optimism, we welcome Frontzeck into his job. He now has two weeks to work with the players before the next game at Paderborn (Sunday 21st October, we will be showing this game at Wharf Chambers, Leeds from 4pm). The performance from the team against Union Berlin will give Frontzeck optimism for the future.