Here we go again. It’s 83 days since the last competitive game for St. Pauli, but AC/DC’s ‘Hells Bells’ will finally ring out at the Millerntor later today as St. Pauli host Ingolstadt (2.30pm kick off, UK time).
St. Pauli struggled massively at home last season, losing 7 home games which cost them their chance to really fight for the promotion places. But there’s no looking back for coach Roland Vrabec, “We are focused on the new season. I look forward to goosebump moments when the stadium explodes”.
St. Pauli will be missing Fabian Boll, with the iconic captain retiring at the end of last season, and Fin Bartels has moved to the Bundesliga with Werder Bremen. But new recruits Lasse Sobiech, Daniel Buballa and Michael Görlitz have arrived, and all that is missing from the shopping list is a new striker. Sporting director Rachid Azzouzi has been frustrated in his efforts to bring in a new forward, so for the time being the existing strikers will have chance to prove their worth. And there’s a new captain too, Sören Gonther will take the armband.
St. Pauli has have an almost full squad to select from. Unfortunately Christopher Nöthe picked up an injury in training during the week so is a doubt. Only Marcel Halstenberg and Robin Himmelmann will definitely miss the game. In contrast, Ingolstadt have a number of injury concerns ahead of the game.
As ever, competition in the 2.Bundesliga is fierce. Vrabec highlighted this, saying “Only Nuremberg is the clear favorite. However, Braunschweig, Fürth, Dusseldorf, 1860 and Leipzig have claims”.
St. Pauli have a good record in opening day games, with the last defeat coming in 2007 against FC Cologne. Let’s hope that continues later today…