The home defeat on Monday against Koln could have signaled worrying times ahead for St. Pauli. Down to nine men, failing to score for another game and losing again. But it didn’t. Strangely, despite the result, there was a renewed belief in St. Pauli. As the game ended on Monday night, the crowd stood strong in support of their team. “You’ll Never Walk Alone” echoed around the Millerntor, recognising the courage of the players in defeat. Despite losing with nine men, the players had shown spirit in defeat – something that had been lacking in the hammering in Sandhausen the previous week.
It is in these tough times that the St. Pauli spirit rises. It would have been easy for fans to jeer the players, to boo them off the field and show their disappointment at yet another defeat and yet another game without a goal. But they didn’t, they raised their voices, lifted their scarves and stood with their team.
This spirit was apparent as St. Pauli took on FSV Frankfurt this evening. St. Pauli were missing first choice defensive pairing Mohr and Thorandt through suspension, the captain Fabian Boll was missing due to a bout of flu and Fin Bartels was injured. The team had their backs to the wall from the naming of the team. Kevin Schindler, usually an attacking midfielder played at right back and Jan-Philipp Kalla was made captain and put into central defence with youngster Christopher Avevor. It was a make-shift defence to say the least.
Team: Tschauner – Schindler, Avevor, Kalla, Schachten – Funk, Kringe – Thy, Buchtmann, Gogia – Ginczek
The atmosphere inside the Millerntor was even louder than usual, and the players responded. St. Pauli start strongly from the first whistle, eager to create chances going forward and playing with a high tempo. However the first chances fell for FSV Frankfurt. A deflected shot could have gone anywhere inside the box but it was cleared eventually for a corner, and a header from the resulting corner was headed over from a good position.
But St. Pauli fought back, chasing down the opposition when in position and playing with a quicker tempo when attacking. On 11 minutes Ginczek found his way into the box and hit a shot with the outside of his foot which beat the goalkeeper, but unfortunately it hit the post and bounced away from goal. Minutes later, Ginczek played a neat reverse pass into Buchtmann inside the area, but his shot from an awakward angle could only find the side-netting.
It was a highly encouraging start. The team had struggled for goals all season, but they were showing a renewed optimism on the ball and were playing with a quick tempo that FSV Frankfurt were struggling to cope with. Schachten and Ginczek both had chances before the half hour mark, and the missed chances were soon piling up.
Finally the boys in brown found the back of the net. It started at the other end of the field though, with Rasmus Jönsson one-on-one with Tschauner on the edge of the St. Pauli box. Tschauner tackled Jönsson with his feet as Jönsson tried to go round the goalkeeper, and the resulting ball fell to the feet of Kalla to clear the danger. Kalla played a long ball forward, which GInczek ran onto and managed to exquisitely lob the onrushing goalkeeper. It was a deserved lead and an excellent goal.
The goal didn’t change the flow of play, with St. Pauli growing in confidence and looking more likely to score the next goal. Even the make-shift defence was looking composed after a bit of a nervous start, with Schindler and Schachten pushing forward when possible to offer width, and Kalla and Avevor strong at the back when needed.
FSV Frankfurt responded at half time with two changes, and they had a brief spell at the start of the second half when they could have found an equaliser. For the first five minutes of the second half, St. Pauli were forced to defend. On 51 minutes, Ginczek picked up a clearance on the half way line. With no-one in support, he knocked the ball behind the defender next to him, and beat him for pace. Ginczek sprinted towards goal, but was closed down by another defender. He didn’t panic, he slipped the ball passed the defender and slotted the ball into the back of the net. It was a great solo run and finish from a quality striker.
It was the first time that St. Pauli had scored two goals in a game since the 4-1 defeat of Duisburg at the end of November. The second goal seemed to ease the nerves of the St. Pauli players, and they started to pass the ball with confidence with every pass cheered on by the Millerntor crowd. The confidence brought about another goal, with Ginczek tapping in a cross from close range after some good passing work. Ginczek was replaced on 85 minutes to a standing ovation, a much deserved acknowledgment of his match-winning performance.
But whilst Ginczek will gain the plaudits for the magnificent goals, the whole team were magnificent. Every player fought for each other, chased every single ball and put their heart into the game from start until finish. Schindler at right back didn’t put a foot wrong, Kalla seemed to win every header despite lacking a physical presence, Kringe and Funk controlled the game and Gogia, Buchtmann and Thy fought defensively whilst also creating chances when going forward. The 3-0 score did not flatter the home side, it was deserved. Every player deserved it. Ginczek provided the icing on the cake, with a match winning performance and a couple of magical goals. Equally important though, the fans stood by the team. In times of adversity, you have to stand together, stand up and be counted. The players, the management and the fans did that. These 3 points are for all of us.
MAGIC SANKT PAULI.