Noise from outside and inside – St. Pauli loses his nerve | – Sport

Status: 25/04/2022 13:17

From second division leaders to fourth places struggling with themselves: second division football team FC St. Pauli loses his nerves in the last sprint of the season. Captain Philipp Ziereis will probably also leave the club.

by Martin Schneider

“Tragedy is like love without a happy ending,” sings Thees Uhlmann in the song “Das hier ist Fußball”, a tribute to his favorite club FC St. Pauli. He continues melancholy: “And one thing is for sure: that St. Pauli knows the tragedy.” Lines that seem like a prophecy and a description of reality at the same time after the defeat on Saturday against SV Darmstadt 98 and Kiezkicker, which fall out of the promotion ranks.

There are now four winless games in a row for Hamburg, which is about to run out of breath in the final sprint of the second division. How could it even get this far?

From outsider to leader – and back again

At the end of the first half of the season, the fall champions had St. Pauli all seven points in front of a non-promotional spot, played exciting football and made their fans dream. “It was an unusual situation for many of my boys to lead the league in the winter,” coach Timo Schultz said Saturday night. “Expectations are getting higher and higher.”

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But the coach has not given up hope: “Maybe now that many are already writing us off, the team will click. That the players say: Come on, we do everything again in the last three games, go ‘all in’ and turn things around again.”

Depressive performance in emotionally charged games

Anyone following the second half of the Hamburg season, who are currently in twelfth place in this table, should be in doubt. For weeks, Schultz defended his team’s weak performance with the same narrative: The league is “tight and exciting to the end” – and it’s “nice” for all fans. Also for your own?

They were served one disappointment after the next in the second half of the season. In emotional battles against HSV and Hansa Rostock, Kiezkicker seemed discouraged and admitted bitter and well-deserved bankruptcies. There were also unnecessary points losses and setbacks towards the Erzgebirge Aue, Hannover 96 and Sandhausen. Even the few wins in the second half of the season were more of a nail-biter that no longer radiated the ease of the first half of the season.

First the defense crumbles, then the offensive weakens

But what is the reason for this decline in performance? Something seems to be wrong with the overall structure of the team. At the beginning of the year, the shaky and damaged defense caused concern. The young Jakov Medic and Ziereis representative Marcel Beifus did their job well, but also made serious mistakes. The failure of the injured “six” Eric Smith caused a loss of stability in Hamburg’s game. And now the previously highly praised offensive is weakening. A year ago, St. Pauli often matches in the first half and scored a total of 37 times, in the second half of the season the goal difference was negative 19:22.

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Second division championship trophy © Witters Photo: Valeria Witters

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The goals from Guido Burgstaller, who has been chasing form in the first half of the season for weeks, are missing St. Pauli in the fight for promotion. The same goes for Daniel-Kofi Kyereh. The Ghanaian international can not be replaced for Hamburg, he is out (injured) and does nothing offensive. But reliance on Kyereh’s brilliant moments becomes a problem in games where he lacks his potential – as against Darmstadt.

Will Kyereh and Burgstaller be?

It is very possible that the next three matches will still be the last in the brown-and-white jersey for Burgstaller and Kyereh, and that St. Pauli faces the fate of any top team in the second division that fails in promotion. Kyereh is said to have had offers from the Bundesliga, Burgstaller is affiliated with his ex-club and promotion competitor 1. FC Nürnberg. Left-back Leart Paqarada is also said to be in demand, U20 national team player Finn-Ole Becker, who looked like a foreign body against “Lilien”, has already signed for TSG Hoffenheim.

St.  Paul's coach Timo Schultz © IMAGO / photo booth

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Disagreements are also said to have existed between the team council and sports director Andreas Bornemann over the bonuses for winning the DFB Cup against Borussia Dortmund and a possible promotion payment, as the media in Hamburg recently reported.

Ziereis will probably leave St. Pauli

Nine player contracts also expire with the brown-and-whites, whose extensions have turned into unnecessary hanging games in recent weeks. According to the “kicker”, the first decisions have now been made. The most prominent: Captain Ziereis’ contract should not be extended. Even with Rico Benatelli, Christopher Buchtmann, James Lawrence, Jannes Wieckhoff and Sebastian Ohlsson, the signs seem to point to separation. In return, the working papers of assistant coaches Loic Favés and Fabian Hürzeler will have to be extended.

HSV breathes in St. Pauli

Much is gathered at St. Pauli, on and off the field. And then the unloved city rivals breathe Kiezkickers neck. HSV in fifth place have reduced the distance to two points and can overtake their city rivals with a victory against FC Ingolstadt if St. Pauli again fails against Nuremberg (18.30 in NDR Livecenter) on Friday.

In the winter, people around the neighborhood still dreamed of the change of guard in Hamburg football, of the Bundesliga in Millerntor next season with simultaneous second division football in Volkspark. It seems that the district club has once again stumbled upon itself with this historic opportunity. Or as Thees Uhlmann sings: “You really are that great, but that’s the reality.”

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