1. FC Heidenheim 1846 vs. FC St. Pauli
Voith-Arena | 04.02.2018, 13:30
FC St. Pauli slipped to a 3-1 defeat at FC Heidenheim on Saturday afternoon. Aziz Bouhaddouz give his side an eighth-minute lead, only for Timo Beermann and Maximilian Thiel to turn the game round with two goals in quick succession for the hosts before former striker John Verhoek added a third just after the restart to complete the scoring.
Head coach Markus Kauczinski made three changes to the side that succumbed 1-0 at home against SV Darmstadt 98 last time out. Captain Bernd Nehrig and Lasse Sobiech returned from a cold and a calf injury respectively, while Dimitrios Diamantakos was handed his first start. Clemens Schoppenhauer, Cenk Sahin and Sami Allagui were the players to make way.
The game kicked off in bright sunshine and with temperatures slightly above freezing. Having failed to win a single point on their previous three visits to the Voith Arena, the Boys in Brown were determined to get a result, and after a brief phase in which the two sides felt each other out Markus Kauczinski's team took an early lead on eight minutes. Waldemar Sobota threaded the ball through to Diamantakos, who knocked it back to Daniel Buballa, and his cross was headed beyond the helpless Kevin Müller into the bottom right corner by Aziz Bouhaddouz.
Five minutes later it was almost two. Sobota delivered a free-kick into a crowded penalty area and found Christopher Avevor who, perhaps slightly surprised to receive the ball, was unable to make a proper contact with the header. The ball took one bounce and flew agonisingly over the crossbar. It could have been 2-0, then, but within three minutes the Boys in Brown incredibly found themselves 2-1 down. First Timo Beermann met a Marc Schnatterer free-kick with a powerful header to level from six metres and then Maximilian Thiel beat Himmelmann with a lofted effort from outside the box. Just 83 seconds separated the two goals.
After the hectic start to the proceedings things calmed down briefly as the two sides cancelled each other out, but then the Boys in Brown stepped up a gear and almost restored parity through Nehrig with 29 minutes gone. The St. Pauli skipper collected a cross from Luca Zander and stepped inside before pulling the trigger just inside the box. Unfortunately, the ball took a slight deflection, allowing Müller to make the defuse the danger.
Three minutes before the interval the home side carved out another decent opportunity, Denis Thomalla laying the ball off for Marcel Titsch-Rivero from a Robert Strauss cross, and his shot from eight metres produced a smart stop by Himmelmann. The final chance of the half fell to Bouhaddouz from a Sobota free-kick in the second minute of time added-on, but his header cleared the crossbar by some distance.
Kauczinski opted to make an attacking change at half-time, introducing Cenk Sahin for Buballa. Jeremy Dudziak slotted in at left-back, with Sahin asked to probe down the right. But it was Heidenheim who resumed the better. A quick counterattack saw Schnatterer knock the ball in for John Verhoek to finish from seven metres and bring his former side down to earth with a bump just three minutes after the restart.
The Boys in Brown responded with two attempts of their own, but the long-range efforts by Nehrig and Bouhaddouz were both far too high. At the other end the hosts came within a whisker of adding a fourth on 53 when Thiel slipped the ball to the advancing Beermann, whose left-foot shot fizzed just past the far post.
St. Pauli cranked up the pressure in response and quickly fashioned two more chances. Bouhaddouz was denied with a header, as was Avevor from close range a minute later. Heidenheim hit back and missed another opportunity to extend their lead when Schnatterer hesitated a moment too long after receiving a cutback from Thomalla, allowing Himmelmann to make a fine stop with his outstretched foot.
Kauczinski reacted by making a second change, Sami Allagui entering the fray for Diamantakos, but within eight minutes he was forced to make a third and final switch when half-time replacement Sahin hobbled off to be replaced by Richard Neudecker for the final 20.
With Heidenheim content to sit back and wait for a chance to break, the Boys in Brown had little space in which to find a way through. On 76 they did unlock the home defence, however. Allagui fed Bouhaddouz, who drilled a low cross from the left-hand edge of the box back to the Tunisian. Under challenge from two defenders the striker stuck out a foot and the ball flew just over the top.
Kauczinski's side threw everything at it in the closing stages but were unable to manufacture a goal. Allagui was unfortunate to see his header smash back off the bar from Zander's cross two minutes from time, and soon after the referee blew the final whistle to make it four defeats out of four at Heidenheim.
Müller - Strauss, Kraus, Beermann, Theuerkauf - Thiel, Griesbeck, Titsch-Rivero, Schnatterer (Steurer 85') - Thomalla (Dovedan 68'), Verhoek (Glatzel 76')
Head coach: Frank Schmidt
FC St. Pauli
Himmelmann - Zander, Sobiech, Avevor, Buballa (Sahin 46' [Neudecker 70']) - Nehrig, Flum - Dudziak, Diamantakos (Allagui 62'), Sobota - Bouhaddouz
Head coach: Markus Kauczinski
Goals: 0-1 Bouhaddouz (8'), 1-1 Beermann (15'), 2-1 Thiel (16'), 3-1 Verhoek (48')
Yellow cards: Sobiech, Dudziak
Referee: Patrick Alt (Heusweiler)
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