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GONTHER: "THE TEAM IS ALIVE!"

In the last home fixture of the year against VfL Bochum the Boys in Brown went to the limit one more time, but ultimately a 1-1 draw was all they had to show for their efforts. After the game captain Sören Gonther looked back at the 90 minutes before turning his thoughts to the second half of the season and 2017.

"The only thing we can be accused of is that we were too passive once and everyone left it to someone else," said Gonther after the 1-1 draw in the final encounter of the first half of the season against VfL Bochum. He was referring to the situation in the 20th minute when the visitors took the lead through Peniel Mlapa. Going behind didn't make things any easier for Ewald Lienen's side, as the visitors defended very deeply and closed down the space even more, especially after the red card for Timo Perthel.

"We put pressure on and threw ourselves into the tackles from the first minute. We created several chances we didn't take and should have gone in level at the break," a frustrated St. Pauli skipper said after the final whistle. The Boys in Brown laid siege to the Bochum goal and never gave up. They finally got their reward in the 74th minute when Aziz Bouhaddouz latched on to a loose ball for a deserved equaliser. It was to stay 1-1 to the end. "To be left with just a point at the end was bitterly disappointing," concluded Gonther.

Lienen's men end the first half of the season bottom of the table with eleven points. "We really wanted to go into the winter break on 13 points, but we take a positive energy into the new year and the second half of the season. We're unbeaten in our last three games," said Gonther, who believes the story of the season so far is told by the situation in the third minute, when an artistic effort from Bouhaddouz bounced up and hit the bar instead of going in. "If you want to describe our season, that's the best way to do it," he said.

Though his side were held to a draw, the 30-year-old skipper was keen to point out that nothing is lost: "We're in touching distance of the other teams, who like us got just a point on the final day. The gap isn't a big one." Gonther went on to explain why he goes into the second half of the season in a positive frame of mind: "The team is alive! That's been clear in the last few games. We believe in ourselves and will do everything in our power to finish the campaign with at least two teams behind us. I'm sure the second half of the season will be better than the first. We'll see how much better at the end."

 

Photo: Witters

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