BRAUNSCHWEIG HOLD BOYS IN BROWN TO FOURTH SUCCESSIVE DRAW
Friday, 01. September 2023, 21:25 Uhr
After three consecutive stalemates, FC St. Pauli were held to another draw by Eintracht Braunschweig on Friday evening. Elias Saad gave his side a deserved lead on the hour, only for Thórir Jóhann Helgason to restore parity for the home side ten minutes from time.
Head coach Fabian Hürzeler made one change to the side that drew 0-0 with Magdeburg last time out, Karol Mets returning to the back three from suspension alongside Eric Smith and Hauke Wahl, with David Nemeth dropping to the bench. Deadline day signing Simon Zoller was not named in the squad. Braunschweig boss Jens Härtel had to do without experienced skipper Jannis Nikolaou, who was sent off in the 2-0 defeat at Karlsruhe. He was replaced by Brian Behrendt. Like the Boys in Brown, the home side also bolstered their attack just before the end of the transfer window. Florian Krüger, who has played in the second division for Erzgebirge Aue and Arminia Bielefeld, returned to Germany from a one-year spell at FC Groningen and went straight into the starting lineup.
The away section remained empty for the first five minutes of the game due to a boycott by the travelling support in protest against rising ticket prices. A banner bearing the slogan "Football must remain affordable!" was hung on the fence of the deserted terracing. The home fans also joined the protest, showing a banner that read "Choreo cancelled today due to top game markup". During the protest the Hürzeler XI sought to get in behind the Braunschweig backline with some clever crossfield balls and registered the first attempt on goal five minutes in through Marcel Hartel, but Eintracht keeper Ron-Thorben Hoffmann made a comfortable save.
Braunschweig failed to mount any pressure in the opening quarter of an hour, and when they eventually did get forward, they were unable to fashion any chances of note against the solid brown-and-white rearguard. Hürzeler’s charges regained the initiative from the 20th minute and launched repeated attempts to get into the box with quick passing play. Any threat came largely from distance, however, as in the 24th minute when Lars Ritzka angled a shot narrowly past the right-hand post. Five minutes later, the Boys in Brown stepped up the pressure, but a scuffed close-range effort by Albers was the sole meaningful opportunity before the interval.
Both teams emerged unchanged for the second period and the first ten minutes belonged to the Boys in Brown, who looked particularly dangerous down the left through Elias Saad and Lars Ritzka, while centre-midfielders Jackson Irvine and Marcel Hartel repeatedly sought to get forward. The hard work on the left flank paid off on the hour when Saad, fresh from his call-up to the Tunisian national team, sidestepped a defender in the penalty box and steered a shot past Hoffmann into the bottom left corner. It was the first league goal for the Hürzeler XI in 330 minutes.
With space opening up as the home side went in search of an equaliser, the Boys in Brown looked to extend their lead in the final 20 minutes with some rapid-fire counterattacks. The home side made little headway against the tight St. Pauli rearguard, and with the Hürzeler XI looking more likely to score, Härtel responded with a double substitution, introducing Kaan Caliskaner and new Icelandic recruit Thórir Jóhann Helgason.
The best chance in this phase fell to Saad, whose curling effort towards the far corner was turned away by former Bayern keeper Hoffmann. But instead of a second goal for the Boys in Brown, the home side levelled ten minutes from time when Helgason was perfectly placed on the edge of the box to drive an undercooked headed clearance into the bottom corner. That was followed by another blow when Scott Banks hobbled off injured ten minutes after coming on as a substitute. In time added on there were appeals for a penalty from the home side when Krauße went down in the box under a challenge by Connor Metcalfe, but after taking another look at it in the review area, referee Florian Lechner elected to stay with his decision not to award a spot-kick and the game ended 1-1 – the fourth league draw in succession for the Boys in Brown.
Hoffmann - Griesbeck (Rittmüller 60’), Ivanov, Kurucay (Decarli 81’) - Wiebe (Helgason 76’), Krauße, Behrendt, Donkor - Gomez (Caliskaner 76’) - Krüger (Kaufmann 60’), Ujah
Head coach: Jens Härtel
FC St. Pauli
Vasilj - Wahl, Smith, Mets - Saliakas, Irvine, Hartel, Ritzka (Treu 90’) - Afolayan, Albers (Banks 76’/Sinani 90’), Saad (Metcalfe 90’)
Head coach: Fabian Hürzeler
Goals: 0-1 Saad (60’), 1-1 Helgason (80’)
Yellow cards: Ivanov, Gomez – Irvine, Saliakas, Banks
Referee: Florian Lechner (Hornstorf)
Photos: FC St. Pauli