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St. Pauli slipped to a 3-0 defeat at SV Darmstadt 98 on Friday evening. Kevin Grosskreutz gave the home side an early lead and Artur Sobiech added a second from the spot soon after the restart. Sami Allagui then missed a penalty for FCSP before Yannick Stark settled it nine minutes from time.

Olaf Janssen made five changes to the side that lost 2-1 at SC Paderborn in the DFB Cup. Robin Himmelmann started in goal, and Jeremy Dudziak, Waldemar Sobota and Sami Allagui also returned to the starting lineup. All four had started in the 2-2 draw against Dynamo Dresden. With Lasse Sobiech missing out due to the head injury sustained at Paderborn, Christopher Avevor partnered Marc Hornschuh in central defence. Before the game kicked off in proper Hamburg weather, the two teams and the sell-out crowd observed a minute's silence for the victims of the terror attack in Barcelona.

The game burst into life immediately, as both sides looked to get forward. After just 67 seconds the Boys in Brown could have gone a goal to the good when Aziz Bouhaddouz escaped his marker, Aytac Sulu, to meet a Christopher Buchtmann corner with a bullet diving header that Darmstadt keeper Daniel Heuer Fernandes defused with a tremendous reflex save. At the other end Himmelmann was called into action in the sixth minute, diving to his left to tip a 20-metre shot from Artur Sobiech round the post for a corner.

Three minutes later there was nothing the FCSP keeper could do, however. When the ball was knocked high into the box it fell kindly to the unmarked Kevin Grosskreutz, and the former Dortmund man steered an unstoppable shot into the bottom left-hand corner of the net to give his side the lead. Darmstadt remained the more dangerous side going forward, partly because they were winning more of the second balls, and on 19 minutes they fashioned another chance from a corner. Wilson Kamavuaka climbed highest and Himmelmann reacted brilliantly to turn the bouncing header over the crossbar.

Seven minutes later the Boys in Brown created a great opportunity to equalise, passing their way into the Darmstadt box, where Dudziak squared the ball to Bouhaddouz. But six metres from goal the striker got underneath it and the ball flew over the top. Janssen's team enjoyed the lion's share of the possession in the ensuing period, but the Darmstadt rearguard stood firm and allowed no further chances worthy of note up to half-time.

Robin Himmelmann was powerless to stop Kevin Grosskreutz's pinpoint effort.

Robin Himmelmann was powerless to stop Kevin Grosskreutz's pinpoint effort.

Both teams emerged for the second half unchanged. The weather also remained unchanged, as it continued to tip it down. Less than three minutes in the home side were awarded a penalty by referee Arne Aarnink. Grosskreutz went down under a challenge from Avevor, but it looked harsh all the same. Tobias Kempe stepped up and converted the spot kick to make it 2-0 despite Himmelmann going the right way.

That left the Boys in Brown just over 40 minutes to ward off their first league defeat since the 1-0 reverse at Erzgebirge Aue in late March. Darmstadt sat back in their own half and packed their defence, making it very difficult for the Boys in Brown to break into the penalty box. A long-range effort was required, but Bouhaddouz aimed way too high. Janssen responded soon after with the introduction of Cenk Sahin for Mats Møller Dæhli on 59.

Eight minutes later FCSP came close to pulling a goal back after a fine move involving Sahin, Bernd Nehrig, Bouhaddouz and Buchtmann. The latter pulled the trigger from distance, but Heuer Fernandes made the save at the expense of a corner. It was not without consequence, however, as referee pointed to the spot again, presumably for a handball. Allagui took the penalty and went for the bottom right-hand corner, only for Heuer Fernandes to guess right and palm the ball to safety.

Janssen reacted by throwing on Johannes Flum for Avevor and switching to a back three. And on 76 minutes he must have thought his side had halved the deficit when Bouhaddouz slipped the ball to Allagui, who flicked it towards goal only to see his effort bounce back off the inside of the post, allowing Heuer Fernandes to claw the ball off the line. The Boys in Brown refused to lie down and continued to push forward in search of a goal. Bouhaddouz had another chance ten minutes from time, but again his shot failed to find the target.

The game was finally settled 60 seconds later by a co-production involving all three Darmstadt substitutes. Markus Steinhöfer fed Terence Boyd, whose header drew a fine reaction save from Himmelmann, only for the rebound to fall straight at the feet of Yannick Stark, who slotted home to make it 3-0. Litka tried his luck from distance in the 89th minute before the referee blew the final whistle to condemn the Boys in Brown to their first league defeat in over four months.


SV Darmstadt 98

Heuer Fernandes - Sirigu (Steinhöfer 79'), Sulu, Höhn, Holland - Altintop, Kamavuaka - Grosskreutz, Mehlem (Stark 81'), Kempe - Sobiech (Boyd 69')

Head coach: Torsten Frings


FC St. Pauli

Himmelmann - Dudziak, Avevor (Flum 68'), Hornschuh, Buballa - Sobota (Litka 81'), Nehrig, Buchtmann, Møller Dæhli (Sahin 59') - Allagui, Bouhaddouz

Head coach: Olaf Janssen


Goals: 1-0 Grosskreutz (9'), 2-0 Kempe (pen. 49'), 3-0 Stark (81')

Incidents of note: Heuer Fernandes saves an Allagui penalty (67')

Yellow cards: Holland, Mehlem – Avevor

Referee: Arne Aarnink (Nordhorn)

Attendance: 14,500


Photos: Witters