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St. Pauli came away empty-handed from Erzgebirge Aue in the clash of two teams fighting to avoid relegation. Ewald Lienen's side improved after a poor first half in which Nicky Adler gave the home side the lead with a wonderful effort, but in a game low on highlights they were unable to come up with an equaliser.

Lasse Sobiech returned to the starting lineup in place of captain Sören Gonther after serving a one-match ban in the scoreless home draw with Hannover two weeks ago. Three more changes were enforced upon head coach Ewald Lienen. Lennart Thy came in at centre-forward for the suspended Aziz Bouhaddouz and Jan-Philipp Kalla lined up on the right flank instead of the ailing Cenk Sahin, while defensive midfielder Bernd Nehrig had to pull out of the warm-up with a tight thigh muscle and was replaced by Marc Hornschuh.

The situation in the table (17th against 15th) lent the game special character as it meant Aue (23 points) could leapfrog St. Pauli (25) with a win. On the other hand, the Boys in Brown were hoping to capitalise on their recent impressive away form and widen the gap to the relegation places. The game behind in ideal conditions – bright sunshine and 22 degrees – and the visitors threated almost immediately, Sobiech heading a Waldemar Sobota corner just over Martin Männel's goal in the second minute.

That early chance was followed by a phase in which both sides were intent on building the play out of defence and remaining stable at the back. The home side mustered their first effort on goal just shy of the quarter-hour mark with a free-kick on the edge of the box, Mario Kvesic curling the ball into the side netting from the inside-left channel with Philipp Heerwagen looking beaten. Apart from set pieces, neither side offered much that resembled attractive football. A long-range effort from Hornschuh on 22 minutes carried a hint of danger, but then the home struck in clinical fashion. Philipp Ziereis initially got in the way of Dimitrij Nazarov' shot following a cross, but the ball looped down for Nicky Adler to beat Heerwagen's despairing dive with a spectacular overhead kick.

For the neutrals that was the only highlight of an opening period that offered little in the way of quality. Aue enjoyed a territorial advantage for the rest of the half and overall were worth their lead at the break, but were unable to create any clear-cut chances. The task for the Boys in Brown, who re-emerged for the second half unchanged, was to rediscover their recent good away form.

Accordingly, Ewald Lienen's side upped the tempo and soon seized the initiative, with Aue content to sit back and wait for a chance to break. It was the home side who created the first chance, though, a distance effort from Kvesic just before the hour that failed to trouble Heerwagen. The Boys in Brown, for their part, lacked pace and precision going forward, so there was little to cheer about for the 1,700 or so travelling fans, even though they continued to make plenty of noise. Lienen responded by introducing Jan-Marc Schneider for Kalla on 67 to freshen things up in attack.

The switch almost paid off just two minutes later when Schneider met a Sobota cross first time on the volley, only to see the ball fly over Männel but clip the crossbar. A second substitution followed – Kyoungrok Choi for Sobota – and the Boys in Brown stepped up a gear in the final quarter of an hour. Choi missed the target by some margin with a shot from range, however. The home side focused almost entirely on seeing the game out, making things incredibly difficult for Lienen's side to work any openings by crowding ten men around the penalty box. Lienen took his last throw of the dice on 86 minutes with the introduction of Gonther, who was tasked with making a nuisance of himself from high balls into the box.

It was to no avail, however, and in fact it was Kvesic who almost put the game to bed with a free-kick that crashed back off the crossbar in time added on. One last header by Ziereis from a corner posed little problem for Männel and it ended in a narrow one-goal defeat. That means the Boys in Brown have been overtaken by the home side and now sit 16th in the relegation-promotion play-off place.


FC Erzgebirge Aue

Männel - Kalig, Samson, Breitkreuz - Rizzuto (56. Kaufmann), Kvesic, Tiffert, Hertner - Nazarov (Soukou 76'), Köpke (Bertram 63'), Adler

Head coach: Domenico Tedesco


FC St. Pauli

Heerwagen - Dudziak, Ziereis, Sobiech, Buballa - Buchtmann, Hornschuh - Kalla (Schneider 67'), Møller Dæhli (Gonther 86'), Sobota (Choi 72') - Thy

Head coach: Ewald Lienen


Goals: 1-0 Adler (28')

Yellow cards: Tiffert, Soukou - Sobiech

Referee: Markus Schmidt

Attendance: 10,000 (sold out)


Photo: Peter Böhmer