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FC St. Pauli beat Arminia Bielefeld 2-0 in front of a sell-out crowd at the Millerntor on Saturday afternoon. The Boys in Brown were the better team from the off but squandered several good chances in the first period. Marcel Hartel gave his side a long overdue lead on 53 before Lukas Daschner added a second 16 minutes later. After Jomaine Consbruch had pulled one back on 73, the visitors threw everything at it but were powerless to stop the Boys in Brown returning to winning ways after back-to back defeats.

Head coach Fabian Hürzeler made two changes for the visit of Arminia Bielefeld following the 4-3 defeat in the derby. Adam Dźwigała slotted into the back three for the suspended Eric Smith, while Elias Saad was handed his first start in place of Afeez Aremu. Bielefeld coach Uwe Koschinat also made two adjustments after the 3-1 home defeat against Hannover 96, Sebastian Vasiliadis and Andrés Andrade coming in for former St. Pauli player Marc Rzatkowski (suspended) and Jomaine Consbruch.

The match began in ideal conditions – 15 degrees and bright sunshine plus another perfect pitch and a packed Millerntor – all the ingredients for a fantastic atmosphere. Fabian Hürzeler's side took control of the proceedings from the off but were unable to create any chances of note in the opening stages. With their high pressing game, Arminia made life difficult for the Boys in Brown and kept things tight whenever they cleared their lines. The first big chance arrived in the tenth minute when Arminia keeper Martin Fraisl was unable to deal with a Manolis Saliakas cross and scooped the ball straight to Elias Saad, who headed just over from five metres under heavy pressure from a defender.

On the quarter-hour Jackson Irvine had an opportunity to give his side the lead when Hartel dispatched a pinpoint free-kick into the penalty area from the left and the skipper's attempted header ended with the ball skewing over off his shoulder. Two minutes later the decibel levels went up another notch. Saliakas sent Oladapo Afolayan on his way into the penalty area with an excellent through pass and, instead of going for goal himself, the former Bolton man elected to square the ball to Hartel, only for Frederik Jäkel to slide in to intercept. It remained one-way traffic, and after Saad had attempted to meet a Saliakas cross with an overhead kick, the ball found its way to Leart Paqarada, whose powerful 20-metre volley was punched to safety by Fraisl.

Five minutes later, Afolayan did find the net, but the goal didn't count, referee Max Burda correctly ruling that the winger had fouled Fraisl before converting. Soon after that the ball was pinging round the Bielefeld penalty area as the Boys in Brown stepped up the pressure. Lukas Daschner and Afolayan both missed opportunities from a Hartel free-kick, and then Jakov Medić's side-footed effort fell to Karol Mets, whose header was cleared just short of the line before Paqarada hammered a shot into the side netting from an acute angle. For all their superiority (12:2 attempts on goal and almost 70 percent possession), the Boys in Brown simply couldn’t find the net. Paqarada then curled a shot narrowly wide from 22 metres on the stroke of half-time to send the teams in goalless at the break.

Oladapo Afolayan had the ball in the net on 28 but was adjudged to have fouled Bielefeld keeper Martin Fraisl beforehand.

Oladapo Afolayan had the ball in the net on 28 but was adjudged to have fouled Bielefeld keeper Martin Fraisl beforehand.

Fabian Hürzeler had every reason to be happy with the performance in the first half, if not the scoreline, and sent out the same 11 players for the second. The visitors also emerged unchanged. As before the interval, Bielefeld attempted to stifle the Boys in Brown with their high pressing strategy and a string of niggling fouls prevented any flow in the play. The pattern was broken in the 53rd minute when a long ball from Paqarada sent Hartel on his way from the halfway line. The former Arminia player bore down on Fraisl and steered a low pinpoint shot past the keeper into the bottom-left corner to give his team a long overdue lead!

Koschinat responded with a double switch, and substitute Bryan Lasme immediately had a great chance to level the scores. Allowed far too much space on the left, he cut into the box unchallenged, only to miss the target by some distance with only Nikola Vasilj to beat. That prompted Hürzeler to make his first change and Connor Metcalfe entered the fray in place of Elias Saad.

The onus was on the visitors to do more in a bid to ward off the impending defeat and though they stepped up their attacking efforts, they lacked the tools to unpick the St. Pauli rearguard. At the other end, Hartel pulled the trigger from distance and forced a fine save from Fraisl. The resulting corner eventually found its way to Daschner, and he netted with the outside of his right boot from six metres to double the advantage. The joy proved short-lived, however, as Bielefeld pulled one back just four minutes later when Fabian Klos headed a cross from the right square for Jomaine Consbruch to head home from close range.

That made for plenty of excitement in the closing stages, as the visitors went out in search of an equaliser. The Boys in Brown dropped a little deeper to close down the space in their own half, and Hürzeler made a double substitution, throwing on Afeez Aremu and David Otto for Oladapo Afolayan and Lukas Daschner ten minutes from time.

Then, in the 82nd minute, the visitors must have thought they had scored when Consbruch met a Lasme cross with his head, only to be denied from point-blank range by a fine reflex save from Vasilj, who tipped the ball over the top. Fellow substitute Theodor Corbeanu then fired over from 14 metres. It remained a nervy affair, with Bielefeld pushing forward to the end, but the Boys in Brown defended with passion and managed to keep them at bay. Corbeanu unleashed one more shot from range, but Vasilj was equal to it and the Boys in Brown saw out an exciting finale to secure all three points.

FC St. Pauli

Vasilj - Dźwigała (Zander 88’), Medić, Mets - Saliakas (Ritzka 88’), Irvine, Hartel, Paqarada - Saad (Saad 65’), Daschner (Otto 80’), Afolayan (Aremu 80’)

Head coach: Fabian Hürzeler


Arminia Bielefeld

Fraisl - Jäkel, Ramos (Lepinjica 76’), Andrade (Consbruch 61’) - Klünter, Prietl, Vasiliadis (Lasme 61’), Oczipka (Bello 80’) - Hack, Klos, Okugawa (Corbeanu 76’)

Head coach: Uwe Koschinat


Goals: 1-0 Hartel (53’), 2-0 Daschner (69’), 2-1 Consbruch (73’)

Yellow cards: Saad – Ramos, Andrade

Referee: Max Burda (Berlin)

Attendance: 29,546 (sold out)


Photos: FC St. Pauli/Witters