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BOYS IN BROWN SIGN OFF WITH EMOTIONAL WIN OVER DÜSSELDORF

FC St. Pauli secured a 2-0 win over Fortuna Düsseldorf on Sunday to end the 2021/22 season with another three-point haul on home soil. The Boys in Brown dominated the proceedings but were unable to take their chances in the first half, but goals from Marcel Hartel and Adam Dźwigała after the break gave then a deserved victory.

Eight days after the 3-2 defeat at Schalke, head coach Timo Schultz was forced to make several changes to his side for the final game of the 2021/22 season against Fortuna Düsseldorf. Marcel Beifus, Igor Matanović, Afeez Aremu and Daniel-Kofi Kyereh were all suspended, while Leart Paqarada dropped to the bench to make way for Lars Ritzka, who was making first start in the brown-and-white colours. In captain Philipp Ziereis and Christopher Buchtmann, the club's longest-serving players both featured in the starting lineup.

Before the game there was an emotional moment when a video message from former PA announcer Rainer Wulff, who passed away on Wednesday, was relayed to the fans. You’ll never walk alone, Rainer!!!

Even though there was nothing left to play for, the home faithful created another electric atmosphere inside a packed Millerntor Stadium. The Boys in Brown began brightly and fashioned the first opening in the fourth minute when Marcel Hartel saw an angled effort deflected behind for a corner, which was then headed just wide by Philipp Ziereis. Ten minutes later there was a nasty clash of heads between Hartel and Düsseldorf's Christoph Klarer. While the former was able to carry on after treatment and application of a plaster to his forehead, his Fortuna counterpart came off worse and had to be replaced by Jakub Piotrowski.

The Schultz XI continued to dominate the proceedings, but without creating any chances of note. At the other end, Felix Klaus registered the first attempt on goal for the visitors on 23, and moments later FCSP keeper Nikola Vasilj had no trouble dealing with an effort from Leonardo Koutris. While both sides looked to get forward at every opportunity, neither was able to mount a serious threat. Not until the 38th minute, that is, when the ball came to Lars Ritzka following a free-kick. The left-back let fly from all of 25 metres and Fortuna custodian Raphael Wolf had to get down low to his right to turn the ball round the post for a corner. Soon after, Jackson Irvine had a pop from distance but aimed too high. The same player was in the thick of things again in first-half stoppage time, but his header from a Hartel free-kick flew narrowly past the angle.

Banner displayed by the South Stand in honour of the recently deceased Rainer Wulff.

Banner displayed by the South Stand in honour of the recently deceased Rainer Wulff.

The two sides emerged unchanged for the final 45 minutes of the campaign. In a high-intensity opening, the game ebbed and flowed but goalscoring opportunities remained at a premium. Then, in the 55th minute, the Boys in Brown were awarded a free-kick 20 metres out following a foul on Lukas Daschner. Christopher Buchtmann stepped up and curled the ball over the wall but narrowly over the bar. With the goals flying in elsewhere, the Millerntor was the only ground in the country waiting for the deadlock to be broken at this stage. Klaus could have brought about a change to that situation in the 59th minute, but his shot was too centrally placed to trouble Vasilj.

It might have been mediocre fare on the pitch, but the fans of both teams were serving up a treat in the stands. And just as the "We love Sankt Pauli" chant was reaching a crescendo, Hartel intervened with a peach of a goal. Luca Zander fed Etienne Amenyido, who laid the ball off for Hartel to rifle a shot into the top-right corner from just outside the box. There were to be more goosebumps a couple of minutes later when captain Philipp Ziereis made his way to the dugout for the final time to a resounding round of applause from the home faithful. He was replaced by Adam Dźwigała. Buchtmann then had a chance to crown his final appearance with the goal everyone would have loved to see, but his free-kick took a decisive deflection off the wall. A few minutes later it was his turn to bid farewell to the fans, who gave him a rousing send-off. On came Rico Benatelli, who was also wearing the brown jersey for the final time.

Düsseldorf had come to the Millerntor unbeaten in 12 and went in search of the goal that would extend that run, only to run up against a brick wall in the shape of the FCSP defence. At the other end of the pitch, Maximilian Dittgen almost made it 2-0 on the break, but was denied by a smart save from Wolf. There was nothing the Fortuna keeper could do when the corner came in, however, Dźwigała directing an unstoppable header inside the left-hand upright. The visitors rallied to carve out two half chances but were unable to find a way past Vasilj. With a few minutes left, Finn Ole Becker and James Lawrence also came on to make their final appearance for the club. Then the referee blew the final whistle to ensure the Boys in Brown signed off from the fans with a home win.

FC St. Pauli

Vasilj - Zander, Ziereis (Dźwigała 67'), Medić, Ritzka - Irvine, Buchtmann, Hartel, Daschner (Becker 90'+2) - Dittgen (Lawrence 90'+2), Amenyido (Makienok 90'+2)

Head coach: Timo Schultz

 

Fortuna Düsseldorf

Wolf - Zimmermann, Hoffmann, Klarer (Piotrowski 14'), Koutris (Hartherz 66') - Tanaka, Prib (Iyoha 74') - Narey (Gavory 66'), Piotrowski, Klaus (Peterson 74') - Hennings

Head coach: Daniel Thioune

 

Goals: 1-0 Hartel (65.'), 2-0 Dźwigała (83')

Yellow cards: Buchtmann – Piotrowski, Koutris

Referee: Matthias Jöllenbeck (Freiburg)

Fans: 29.546 (sold out)

 

Photos: Witters

 

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