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St. Pauli slipped to a bitterly disappointing defeat in front of another sell-out crowd at the Millerntor on Sunday afternoon. Despite having slightly more of the possession it was Fortuna Düsseldorf who went in front through an unfortunate own goal by Daniel Buballa after 36 minutes, a lead the visitors protected until the final whistle. Ewald Lienen made some bold attacking substitutions but his side were unable to find an equaliser. Fortuna keeper Michael Rensing kept out the best opportunity through Aziz Bouhaddouz on 48.

The international break gave the Boys in Brown two high-intensity weeks of training to prepare for the visit of Fortuna Düsseldorf. Captain Sören Gonther made his return to the starting lineup, as did striker Aziz Bouhaddouz. Ewald Lienen's coaching team opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation with Vegar Hedenstad moving up into holding midfield alongside Bernd Nehrig.

In a cautious opening much of the play unfolded in between the two penalty areas. St. Pauli gradually eased their way into the game, creating a few half chances without ever threatening, however. Hedenstad had the first attempt of the game in the 18th minute, heading the ball towards goal from the edge of the box following a corner, only for Rensing to pounce before Bouhaddouz could strike. Fortuna popped up in front of Robin Himmelmann for the first time three minutes later, and Oliver Fink smashed his shot against the crossbar to the relief of the home crowd.

The game fell into a lull again after that brief excitement. The Boys in Brown continued to enjoy more of the ball but still they were unable to find a way through the Fortuna rearguard. Düsseldorf rarely ventured forward, but on one such foray on 36 minutes Lukas Schmitz whipped a dangerous ball into the far post, and with Julian Schauerte and Daniel Buballa tussling for the ball the latter could only chest it into his own net. Things could have got even worse for Lienen's side on the stroke of half-time when Marcel Sobottka was left completely unmarked from a corner and somehow managed to direct his header wide of the goal.

After a hard-fought first half Düsseldorf went in a goal to the good at the break after Daniel Buballa put through his own net.

The Boys in Brown came out fighting after the interval and had a great chance to level the scores three minutes in. Rensing could only parry an effort by Bouhaddouz but Kevin Akpoguma jumped in at the last moment to deny substitute Kyoungrok Choi from the rebound. The goal advantage gave Fortuna more space in which to counter, of course, and with 55 minutes gone Lasse Sobiech had to slide in to defuse an effort by Axel Bellinghausen with Himmelmann beaten.

After a spell of play in which both sides threatened the pace of the game dropped again. Fortuna kept things very tight at the back but registered no opportunities to extend their lead at the other end. Lienen was forced to react and on 73 he introduced another striker in Nico Empen for the closing stages. Yet the Boys in Brown had to remain alert at the back so as not to succumb to a knockout punch, and Himmelmann was called twice into action to keep out Rouwen Hennings. Just before the end Choi had another chance to restore parity, only to steer his shot off target.

FC St. Pauli

Himmelmann – Hornschuh, Sobiech, Gonther, Buballa – Hedenstad (Sahin 64'), Nehrig – Miyaichi (Choi 46'), Buchtmann, Sobota (Empen 73') – Bouhaddouz

Head coach: Ewald Lienen

Fortuna Düsseldorf

Rensing – Koch, Akpoguma, Ayhan, Schmitz – Sobottka, Bodzek – Schauerte, Fink (Bo rmuth 89'), Bellinghausen (Bebou70') – Hennings (Ngombo 92')

Head coach: Friedhelm Funkel


Goal: 0-1 Buballa (o.g. 36')

Yellow cards: Bouhaddouz, Sobiech, Sahin - Ayhan, Bodzek

Referee: Daniel Siebert

Attendance: 29,546 (sold out)


Photos: Witters


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