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LATE ALBERS STRIKE RULED OUT IN FÜRTH STALEMATE

FC St. Pauli and Greuther Fürth played out a scoreless draw in front of 12,207 spectators at Sportpark Ronhof | Thomas Sommer on Saturday afternoon. The 40th meeting between the two teams was an evenly balanced affair and the first to end without a goal in 23 years. The Boys in Brown squandered several opportunities in the closing stages, and Andreas Albers had a late goal ruled out for offside.

This is a fixture packed with tradition. Today’s matchup was the 40th between the two teams – hardly surprising, given they are first and second in the all-time Bundesliga 2 standings, with the Boys in Brown leading the way. Head coach Fabian Hürzeler made five changes to the side that saw off Atlas Delmenhorst in the first round of the DFB Cup. Adam Dźwigała made his first start of the new season for the suspended Karol Mets, while Lars Ritzka, Dapo Afolayan and Connor Metcalfe came in for Philipp Treu, Andreas Albers and Danel Sinani. Goalkeeper Nikola Vasilj also returned between the posts instead of cup custodian Sascha Burchert. Fürth made just one adjustment, defender Maximilian Dietz regaining his starting berth ahead of Damian Michalski.

With the thermometer hovering around the 30 degree mark when the game kicked off, cool heads were required, but Dźwigała had to turn on the turbo in the sixth minute, showing all his experience to tidy up against Tim Lemperle and defuse the opening chance of the game. Fürth keeper Jonas Urbig was called into action for the first time on ten minutes, intercepting a whipped-on ball from Connor Metcalfe intended for the advancing Elias Saad. Despite enjoying more possession in the opening stages, the Boys in Brown struggled to find a way through the home rearguard. The Zorniger XI tried a more direct approach in the 18th minute when Branimir Hrgota picked out Lemperle, who fired a first-time effort just past the post from the edge of the area.

The home side registered the next big chance on the half-hour when Simon Asta broke into the box from the right and hit a low drive towards the far corner that fizzed a whisker past the upright. Suitably buoyed, Fürth gained the ascendency and the Hürzeler XI had to have their wits about them at the back, but they stood firm and the first half ended goalless.

Marcel Hartel attempts an acrobatic overhead kick but narrowly fails to make contact.

Marcel Hartel attempts an acrobatic overhead kick but narrowly fails to make contact.

The St. Pauli boss made two changes for the second period, Austrian defender David Nemeth slotting into the back three in place of Adam Dźwigała to make his first second-division appearance of the season after returning from a long injury layoff in the cup at Delmenhorst last week. Up front, Danel Sinani replaced Dapo Afolayan, who was on a booking.

His side hit the ground running and immediately tried to set up camp in the Fürth half. An Eric Smith free-kick that flew a good metre wide of the near post carried a promise of more to come. Marcel Hartel went closer in the 54th minute when Smith turned provider for the advancing No10, but his angled effort from the right-hand channel rolled beyond the far post. Then, with an hour gone, new signing Scott Banks was handed his second division debut. The Scottish winger came on for Connor Metcalfe, who had been booked a few minutes earlier. 

In a game low on chances, the Boys in Brown went in search of a winner in the closing stages, and Hürzeler added fresh legs up front in the shape of Andreas Albers. The best chance to clinch it came at the other end, however, when Dennis Srbeny toe-poked wide from close range to the relief of everyone in brown. Almost immediately, there was even greater danger when Irvine nipped in to deny Hrgota at the last moment and the ball trundled narrowly wide of the target.

Yet the best chance of the entire game fell to the Hürzeler XI five minutes from time when Albers, lurking in the goal area, got on the end of a Banks delivery from the left, but unfortunately got slightly underneath it and the ball flew over the top. The game finally exploded into life in time added on when Hartel met a Jackson Irvine cutback close to the penalty spot, only to direct his shot too centrally, allowing Urbig to get down quickly and gather. Soon after, Albers rifled a low drive into the far corner of the net, but the celebrations were cut short when the goal was ruled out for offside, ensuring the game ended in a stalemate.

SpVgg Greuther Fürth

Urbig - Dietz, Jung (Michalski 88’), Itter - Asta, Wagner, Green, Meyerhöfer (Haddadi 71’) - Hrgota (Abiama 88’) - Sieb (Srbeny 57’), Lemperle (Petkov 71’)

Head coach: Alexander Zorniger

 

FC St. Pauli

Vasilj - Wahl, Smith, Dźwigała (Nemeth 46’) - Saliakas, Irvine (C), Hartel, Ritzka (Treu 88’) - Metcalfe (Banks 64’), Afolayan (Sinani 46’), Saad (Albers 79’)

Head coach: Fabian Hürzeler

 

Yellow cards: Michalski – Irvine, Afolayan, Saad, Metcalfe, Nemeth

Referee: Tom Bauer

Attendance: 12,207

 

Photos: FC St. Pauli

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