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FC St. Pauli contest their final league fixture before the winter break on Saturday when they entertain VfL Bochum at the Millerntor. After the crucial 2-0 win at Fürth, Ewald Lienen's side are targeting another three points against Bochum to put themselves in an improved position for the second half of the season.

"It's a huge weight off our shoulders, of course," said Lasse Sobiech straight after the win at Fürth. The sense of relief and jubilation after the first victory since the 2-1 home defeat of Bielefeld in early September was tangible. Team-mate Aziz Bouhaddouz, who grabbed a vital opener to end a goal drought of over 500 minutes, described it as an "emotional game", one the Boys in Brown eventually won 2-0 on the back of probably their best performance of the season.

No matter who you were – player, coach, member of staff, fan or friend of the club – it was simply a great feeling to be able to celebrate another three-point afternoon after such a long time. The second win of the season, which Lienen put down to the hard work in training of recent weeks, allowed his side to reduce the gap to second-division safety to four points. The aim now, of course, is to build on that success with another victory.

Speaking on behalf of his team-mates moments after the final whistle at Fürth, however, Bouhaddouz urged caution, saying: "We can't afford to relax after the win, we still won't get anything for nothing." Bochum, who come to the Millerntor for the final game of the year, will certainly not be in the mood for distributing presents. On the contrary, Gertjan Verbeek's men, who have won just once on the road this term, would obviously like to go into the winter break with back-to-back wins following the home defeat of 1860 Munich last time out.

Lienen's charges will be out to prevent that as they attempt to secure their second home win of the campaign with another solid defensive performance. After 14 games in which they conceded at least one goal, the Boys in Brown have managed two shutouts in a row, with neither Kaiserslautern nor Fürth producing a single shot on target. And through they drew a blank in the scoreless draw with Lautern, it was a different story a week later at Fürth. Bouhaddouz pounced midway through the second half to break the deadlock before Cenk Sahin, who is unfortunately suspended against Bochum after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season, exhibited a filigree touch to settle it with a delightful stoppage-time lob.

The players will not be resting on their laurels after their second win of the season at Fürth, then, as nothing has been achieved yet. There is still a long way to go. To lay the foundations for a successful second half of the season, which begins in late January, three points against Bochum are an absolute must.


Photo: Witters