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FC St. Pauli began the 2019-20 season with a 1-1 draw at Arminia Bielefeld in front of 23,000 fans at the SchücoArena. Debut boy Christian Conteh opened the scoring in the 32nd minute, only for Manuel Prietl to head a late equaliser from a corner.

After an intensive pre-season lasting several weeks, the Boys in Brown finally kicked off the second-division campaign on Monday evening. Marc Hornschuh was the man with the longest wait, however. After 681 days, and thus almost two years, the 28-year-old celebrated his return to competitive football. Hornschuh began in defensive midfield, with Marvin Knoll dropping back into central defence alongside captain Christopher Avevor in place of the injured Leo Østigård. As in the previous warm-up matches, head coach Jos Luhukay opted for a 4-1-4-1 formation.

The game was only three minutes old when the 22 protagonists were confronted with one of the new rule changes this season. When Marvin Knoll was alleged to have handled the ball in a penalty-box challenge with Fabian Klos, referee Bastian Dankert contacted video referee René Rohde, who saw no reason to get involved.

Bielefeld enjoyed slightly more of the ball in the opening stages, largely because the Boys in Brown were content to keep a deep defensive line. The home side penetrated the penalty area several times from the flanks, but Jos Luhukay's side maintained good concentration at the back, as when Robin Himmelmann cut out Jonathan Clauss's attempted square ball to Klos with his foot. At the other end, Dimitrios Diamantakos worked some space for himself with some great footwork, but his shot struck Brian Behrendt and looped into the goalkeeper's arms. But it was debut-maker Christian Conteh who took centre stage in the first half, showing an incredible turn of speed to latch onto a pass from Mats Møller Dæhli and cap off a textbook counterattack with a composed finish.

The home side came flying out of the traps in the second half. In the 48th minute, Reinhold Yabo hit the crossbar with a shot that took a slight deflection, and three minutes later Robin Himmelmann saved a Clauss piledriver with his foot. The Boys in Brown somehow weathered the early onslaught and managed to launch a few counterthrusts of their own through Conteh and Finn Ole Becker, but it was clear that the closing stages would be nothing for the faint-hearted.

And so it was. In the 72nd minute, the 2,000 travelling St. Pauli fans looked on in dismay as Dankert pointed to the spot after another handball in the box, this time by Daniel Buballa, only to change his mind after looking at the replays in the review area. The home side put the setback behind them and kept pushing without ever finding a way to unlock the St. Pauli defence, now featuring Under-23 centre-back Niklas Hoffmann on his first-team debut. When they finally did get the equaliser, it came from a set piece, Manuel Prietl heading home from a corner five metres out. A bitter pill to swallow! Viktor Gyökeres became the third player to make his debut in the five minutes of time added on, but he was unable to help his side find a winner and so the game ended in a 1-1 draw.



Arminia Bielefeld

Ortega – Clauss, Behrendt, Salger (Consbruch 86'), Hartherz – Edmundsson, Prietl, Yabo (Yabo 69') – Staude (Soukou 59'), Klos, Voglsammer

Head coach: Uwe Neuhaus


FC St. Pauli

Himmelmann – Park, Avevor, Knoll, Buballa – Hornschuh (Hoffmann 63') – Miyaichi, Møller Dæhli (Zehir 80'), Becker, Conteh (Gyökeres 90'+2) - Diamantakos

Head coach: Jos Luhukay


Goals: 0-1 Conteh (32'), 1-1 Prietl (90')

Yellow cards: Behrendt, Prietl – Miyaichi, Hoffmann

Referee: Bastian Dankert

Attendance: 23,000


Photos: Witters