After conceding a two goal leading to eventually draw 2-2 with Bielefeld last weekend, St. Pauli will be looking to pick up three points against a Bochum side that who are without a win in 5.
Bochum won all 3 of their matches in November, having struggled in the early part of the season. However they’ve not won in their 5 matches since that run of victories, and they lost 2-1 at home to FSV Frankfurt in their first game back after the winter break last weekend. But Bochum’s away form is better than their home form, and they’ve won 4 games on the road this season. One of the main successes of their away form is their defence – having only conceded 6 goals in 10 away games. Their unbeaten in their last 4 away fixtures, picking up very respectable 0-0 draws in Dresden and Karlsruhe, and winning 2-0 in Bielefeld and 1-0 in Cottbus.
Just like Bochum, St. Pauli have performed better on their travels this season, and their form at the Millerntor has been inconsistent to say the least. St. Pauli have lost their last two home games without even scoring, 2-0 against Karlsruhe and 3-0 against Koln. The quality of the opponent may have been better than today’s visitors, but if St. Pauli are going to push for the top of the league then Roland Vrabec has to make the Millerntor a fortress in the second half of the season.
The reverse fixture earlier in the season finished 2-2, with John Verhoek scoring twice. The last time the two teams met at the Millerntor it also ended in a draw, with a 1-1 scoreline.
Sebastian Schachten is the main injury doubt going into the game, having missed training earlier this week due to muscle problems. If he misses out, Nehrig is likely to play at right-back as his replacement. Christopher Buchtmann will definitely not play, having picked up 10 yellow cards. Kalla is likely to replace Buchtmann in the defensive midfield position, unless Vrabec wants to make an offensive change and play Maier or Kringe instead.
Fabian Boll is also ruled out, but the captain had some good news this week – his knee injury does not require further surgery and he can continue working on his comeback.
The league table suggests this game should be a good home win, but a closer look at the form table suggests otherwise. St. Pauli need to attack from the outset, but ensure that they don’t leave themselves vulnerable to counter attacks. I’d expect Bochum to sit back in numbers and play for a clean sheet, so an early goal could be vital. Prediction? A 1-0 victory for St. Pauli.