Vrabec stakes his claim.

Roland Vrabec has made an impressive start to his spell as interim manager – with 3 wins in 4 games, 2 of which came away from home. The latest victory, a 2-0 win against Aue, was the first time St. Pauli had won in Aue. The only blip was the 3-0 defeat at home against Köln, who will finish the first half of the season in top spot and are favourites to return to the Bundesliga. At the half way stage of the season, St. Pauli will sit 4th, 5 points behind Köln and well within reach of the top places.

Vrabec has been positive in his team selections and on Friday he stated he wanted to “go for the win”, playing an attacking diamond 4-4-2 formation. He dropped Christopher Nöthe to the bench and gave a first league start to Michael Gregoritsch, the 19 year old striker on loan from Hoffenheim.

St. Pauli were the better team throughout the game, which hasn’t often been the case away from home in recent seasons. It could have been a different story though, had Tschauner not saved an early penalty. Justice had been done, as the penalty was one of the softest decisions you will see this season. A couple of minutes later and St. Pauli were ahead from one of the goals of the season. A long ball from Buchtmann was inch perfect to find Bartels, who was playing as a secondary striker alongside Gregoritsch, and he controlled it beautifully on the edge of the box before curling an unstoppable shot with his left foot into the top corner of the goal.

Fin Bartels then turned provider to set up Gregoritsch for his first goal for the club in a competitive game. Bartels again got behind the Aue defence and played in Gregoritsch for a simple tap-in. St. Pauli’s first half display more than merited the 2-0 lead at half time.

Aue were more of a threat in the second half, but were kept out by an unbeatable Tschauner, who pulled off a series of magnificent saves. In the post match interview, Aue manager Falko Götz said “If St. Pauli had an average goalkeeper, they would have had more problems.”

St. Pauli and Vrabec now have two huge games before the winter break. A trip to 1860 Munich (6th) on Monday 16th before a home tie against Karlsruhe (5th) on the following Friday. If Vrabec can take points from those games and keep St. Pauli in amongst the sides chasing promotion, it’d be difficult for the board not to give him the job on a permanent basis.