UNBEATEN RUN COMES TO AN END AT DÜSSELDORF
Wednesday, 21. April 2021, 21:28 Uhr
FC St. Pauli lost 2-0 at Fortuna Düsseldorf on Wednesday evening, thus failing in their bid to claim a fifth win in succession. The Schultz XI started well enough but fell behind to a 26th minute strike from Felix Klaus. An improving Fortuna side doubled their advantage through Kevin Danso three minutes after the restart. And though the Boys in Brown continued to press, they lacked answers in attack. Düsseldorf squandered several opportunities to extend their lead and eventually ran out deserved winners.
A busy schedule of three games in nine days prompted Timo Schultz to rotate his squad despite the recent unbeaten run, making three changes to the side that cruised to victory over Würzburg. Guido Burgstaller returned to the attack in place of Max Dittgen, while Afeez Aremu and Tore Reginiussen got the nod over Rico Benatelli and Philipp Ziereis. Tactically, there was no change to the midfield diamond. The hosts went into the game buoyed by two wins on the bounce. Unlike his counterpart, however, Fortuna coach Uwe Rösler opted for continuity and named an unchanged side, leaving former St. Pauli man Rouwen Hennings to start on the bench again.
Fortuna pressed early from the off and would have registered the first clear-cut opportunity of the game three minutes in after Dawid Kownacki won possession had the Polish striker not come from an offside position. A similar situation led to the first St. Pauli chance at the other end on 14, but Omar Marmoush was unable to get the better of Fortuna keeper Florian Kastenmeier. Apart from that, a focused defensive performance from both teams ensured there were few attacking highlights in the opening stages.
St. Pauli were the busier side and had the edge in terms of possession, duels won and pass completion rate, but it was Fortuna who opened the scoring in the 26th minute. Dejan Stojanović parried the initial effort from Kristoffer Peterson but was powerless to stop Felix Klaus netting on the rebound. The home side seized the initiative on taking the lead and had further chances through Klaus from a free-kick and Peterson, and they maintained their advantage until half-time despite a late rally from the Boys in Brown.
The second half began like the first with Düsseldorf attacking the Boys in Brown early, forcing the latter into hitting long balls. This tactic saw the home side win a couple of quick corners, the second of which was headed home by centre-back Kevin Danso. More chances followed. Leonardo Koutris got forward to be denied by Stojanović and both Peterson and Marcel Sobottka fired off target. A free-kick from Marmoush and a distance effort from Zalazar posed the only threat at the other end.
With Düsseldorf gradually dropping back, Timo Schultz introduced Benatelli for Aremu and then Jannis Wieckhoff for Finn Ole Becker. His team continued to push forward in an attempt to reduce the deficit, leaving themselves open to the counter, and Peterson, Kownacki and substitutes Shinta Appelkamp and Hennings all squandered opportunities to put the result beyond doubt. A late header from Burgstaller could have made for an exciting finish, but Kastenmeier produced a fine reflex save to keep it out. Hennings passed up another chance to make it three on the stroke of full-time and it ended in a deserved 2-0 win for the home side.
Kastenmeier - Zimmermann, Danso, Krajnc, Koutris - Sobottka, Bodzek (Borrello 77') - Klaus (Iyoha 68'), Prib (Piotrowski 68'), Peterson (Appelkamp 77') - Kownacki (Hennings 81')
Head coach: Uwe Rösler
FC St. Pauli
Stojanović - Paqarada, Lawrence, Reginiussen, Zander - Aremu (Benatelli 56'), Becker (Wieckhoff 65'), Kyereh (Daschner 73'), Zalazar - Burgstaller, Marmoush (Dittgen 73')
Head coach: Timo Schultz
Goals: 1-0 Klaus (26'), 2-0 Danso (48')
Yellow cards: Peterson, Piotrowski – Kyereh, Lawrence, Reginiussen, Paqarada, Hain (goalkeeper coach)
Referee: Michael Bacher (Amerang-Kirchensur)