Preview: Ingolstadt – The start of ‘Englische Woche’.

St. Pauli head into Saturday dinnertime’s home game with Ingolstadt knowing that a win would take them above Paderborn into 3rd place, after some favourable results on Friday evening. With Greuther Fürth held in Dresden and Union Berlin and Paderborn sharing the points in their encounter, St. Pauli have a great chance to position themselves in the playoff place ahead of a huge ‘English Week’ in the 2.Bundesliga.

After today’s match, St. Pauli will go to Paderborn on Tuesday night before returning to the Millerntor to face Fürth on Friday. 3 games in 7 days during a week classed as ‘Englische Woche’ by the Germans because of the typically English hectic fixture schedule. Both games next week will be shown live on UK TV by BT Sport, too. If St. Pauli can pick up 7 points in 6 days, it would be a fantastic week and would cement their place in the race for promotion. 

It all starts on Saturday at 12pm UK time, as Ingolstadt head to the Millerntor. Ingolstadt will be slightly disappointed with their league position of 13th, which is primarily down to their terrible home form. They’ve only picked up 10 points from 12 home games, the joint worst home record in the league alongside Bochum, but they’ve performed excellently away from home – picking up 5 wins and 5 draws from 13 away matches. They are actually unbeaten in their 9 previous away games though, a highly impressive run dating back to September when they were beaten 4-1 by FSV Frankfurt. Within that run they’ve picked up a point at both Union Berlin and Karlsruhe and wins at Cologne and Fürth. A stat to worry any Paulianer, particularly given the clubs relatively poor record at the Millerntor this season.

Roland Vrabec called for determination and patience from his team in the pre-match press conference.  St. Pauli have already lost 5 times at home this season, with teams opting to soak up the pressure and counter attack – a tactic which has worked far too effectively. “”For us it’s about finding a balance. First, we are determined to play attacking football, on the other hand, we must be patient and do ensure we do not make mistakes. We must not lose our nerve”. Ahead of Englische Woche and 3 games in 6 days, Vrabec insisted his team were only focused on winning against Ingolstadt, rather than thinking ahead to the other games against Paderborn and Fürth. 

Vrabec is likely to rotate his squad to cope with the demands of playing 3 games in a 6 day period, and said “Everyone has the chance to play, but everyone needs to be patient. The players know that the team is the most important. The competition and the density within the squad are fortunately very high. If we want to play a role in the coming weeks, a good sub’s bench is important.”

The main selection question will be if Vrabec opts to put Markus Thorandt back into the starting line-up after his suspension last week, replacing either Mohr or Gonther who were formidable in his absence against Dusseldorf. Also back from suspension are midfield duo Rzatkowski and Trybull (perhaps good names for a TV detective duo). Nehrig (stomach muscle injury) and Thy (suspended due to 5 yellow cards) will be missing from the squad, but Christopher Buchtmann returns to the squad after injury kept him out for English week.

So. The hectic English week begins. Let’s go.