1. FC Kaiserslautern vs. FC St. Pauli
Fritz-Walter-Stadion | 18.03.2018, 13:30
FC St. Pauli missed out on making it four wins in a row at the Betzenberg on Saturday afternoon. After substitute Aziz Bouhaddouz had converted a penalty awarded for a last-man foul on Sami Allagui by Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker (red card), the ten men of Kaiserslautern recovered to level the scores through substitute Lukas Spalvis and leave the Boys in Brown highly frustrated.
Markus Kauczinski made one change to the side that drew 0-0 against Eintracht Braunschweig last week, Aziz Bouhaddouz dropping to the bench in favour of Dimitrios Diamantakos. To the relief of the St. Pauli boss, both Christopher Avevor and Philipp Ziereis recovered from midweek injury niggles and were able to start. For Kaiserslautern, former FCSP coach Michael Frontzeck also made one change to the team that lost 1-0 at fellow strugglers Greuther Fürth last time out, Benjamin Kessel coming in for Ruben Jenssen.
In front of over 30,000 fans, including more than 2,000 from Hamburg, and with the temperature hovering around the freezing point, both teams made a cautious start to the proceedings. The crowd had to wait ten minutes to see the first attempt on goal, Brandon Borrello trying his luck from the edge of the box for the home side, only to aim two metres too high. Two minutes later, Philipp Mwene fired harmlessly wide from distance. Apart from those two efforts, the Boys in Brown gave nothing away at the back, but it took them 18 minutes to register their first attempt on goal. Richard Neudecker took advantage of a bungled clearance by Marius Müller and pulled the trigger from 25 metres, but the FCK keeper recovered quickly and gathered the ball safely.
Almost immediately, Müller denied Sami Allagui what looked like a certain goal from a pinpoint cross by Yiyoung Park, reacting brilliantly to tip the Tunisian's header over the crossbar. Sixty seconds later, Allagui collected a clever through ball from Park to take the ball round the keeper, only to fire into the side netting from a narrow angle. And two minutes after that Kaiserslautern fashioned a decent chance for Nils Seufert, but his header from Kessel's ball in flew well over the top.
The travelling fans were left with their hearts in their mouths on 31 minutes when Osawe and Leon Guwara teamed up on the left to find Mwene in front of goal. But instead of shooting, he elected to leave the ball for Borrello, who was taken completely by surprise, allowing Daniel Buballa to nip in and clear the danger at the last moment. That was the last action of note in a first half played in exceptionally good spirit, with just six fouls committed in the entire 45 minutes.
Kauczinski made two changes at the interval, introducing Aziz Bouhaddouz and Mats Møller Dæhli for Diamantakos and Neudecker. Once again, it was Kaiserslautern who registered the first shot on goal on 53, though Robin Himmelmann had no difficulty dealing with Osayamen Osawe's effort. At the other end, Sahin left FCK captain Christoph Moritz for dead and unleashed a shot on goal from 20 metres, the ball fizzing just over the crossbar.
With both teams keeping things tight at the back, the ensuing period remained low on chances, so it was no surprise when the next opening resulted from a set piece. Sahin dispatched a corner into the middle and Ziereis headed past the right-hand post. At the other end Himmelmann had to pull out all the stops to deny Osawe with a fine reflex save.
The game looked to have taken a decisive turn with 20 minutes left when Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker lost possession outside the box to Allagui, who would have been clean through had Callsen-Bracker not pulled him back. Referee Frank Willenborg pointed to the spot and showed the FCK defender the red card. Bouhaddouz stepped up and converted with aplomb to make it 1-0. Six minutes later Sahin almost doubled the advantage from a tight angle, but Müller produced a fine stop.
The Red Devils refused to give up and stepped up another gear. And when Allagui fouled Kessel six minutes from time, substitute Halil Altintop grabbed the ball and knocked a quick free-kick to fellow replacement Lukas Spalvis, who left Himmelmann no chance with a perfectly placed low drive into the far corner. The game was almost turned on its head five minutes later when Guwara forced a magnificent save from Himmelmann from just outside the box. Yiyoung Park fired over in the second minute of stoppage time and then it was all over.
- FC Kaiserslautern
Müller - Kessel, Callsen-Bracker, Vucur, Guwara - Mwene (Jenssen 78'), Moritz, Seufert, Borrello (Spalvis 65') - Andersson (Altintop 78'), Osawe
Head coach: Michael Frontzeck
FC St. Pauli
Himmelmann - Park, Avevor, Ziereis, Buballa - Nehrig, Flum (Dudziak 75') - Sahin, Allagui, Neudecker (Møller Dæhli 46') - Diamantakos (Bouhaddouz 46')
Head coach: Markus Kauczinski
Goals: 0-1 Bouhaddouz (pen. 73'), 1-1 Spalvis (84')
Yellow cards: Sahin, Park, Allagui
Red card: Callsen-Bracker (last-man foul 71')
Referee: Frank Willenborg (Osnabrück)
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