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After the 2-2 draw against Nürnberg, the second home game in a row in which the Boys in Brown not only played well but also dished up some exhilarating football, they now go to SV Darmstadt on Saturday looking for a repeat performance and their first result at the Böllenfalltor in 28 years. It will also be the first time this season that they play behind closed doors.

Darmstadt announced on Thursday morning that the game would have to take place without a crowd due to the rising number of infections. That means the Boys in Brown will contest a competitive game behind closed doors for the first time this season. Playing in front of empty stands at the Böllenfalltor is nothing new for them, however.

Five months ago, they suffered a comprehensive 4-0 defeat at Darmstadt in their second game back after the ten-week coronavirus stoppage. Despite being the better team for long periods, they still found themselves a goal down with an hour gone. The first quadruple substitution in Bundesliga history was meant to bring about the turnaround, but it didn't. The Lilies, who introduced only one fresh player at the same time, the prolific Serdar Dursun, stepped up a gear and went on to win comfortably.

Much has changed in the last five months. The Boys in Brown have played some refreshing and thrilling football so far this season - as in the 2-2 draw with Nürnberg on Monday evening. "It was an excellent performance from the word go," said keeper Robin Himmelmann after the game before adding: "About the only thing we can be faulted for over the 90 minutes is not winning the game."

Speaking of winning, that is something St. Pauli have not managed to do at Darmstadt since the first meeting of the two sides there back in March 1983. Their next eight visits also failed to produce a victory, and the last of only two draws came a very long time ago. Finnish striker Ari Hjelm it was who secured our last point at the Böllenfalltor, a 1-1 draw on 11 December 1992, before five defeats (four in the league and one in the DFB Cup) followed.

The Boys in Brown, who will be without Guido Burgstaller on Saturday after the striker underwent surgery on an abdominal vascular injury in midweek, go to Darmstadt targeting their first result in nigh on 28 years with another helping of exhilarating football. If Timo Schultz's charges can build on the performance against Nürnberg against a Darmstadt side who sat out last weekend (their game at VfL Osnabrück was postponed until next Wednesday when several VfL players were forced to self-isolate after two cases of COVID-19 in the squad), there is a good chance they will be able to return to Hamburg with a result in the bag at long last.


Photos: Witters