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St. Pauli deservedly beat FC Groningen 3-0 in a friendly on Friday evening. After a goalless first half Richard Neudecker opened the scoring with a magnificent free-kick before Waldemar Sobota added two more, one from the penalty spot and one with a long-range effort from over 40 metres.

The Boys in Brown took advantage of the international break to arrange a friendly against Dutch first division side FC Groningen in Rotenburg an der Wümme on Friday evening. For the players the game was to serve as a final benchmark for the game at Nürnberg a week on Monday. In the absence of his internationals and several injured players, head coach Olaf Janßen took the opportunity to try out a few alternatives and, after a high-intensity week of training, let his charges "go through the pain barrier".

Within a few minutes it had become clear that the Boys in Brown had set out to open the throttle from the outset. They kept a high line and put the opposition under pressure early, without creating any genuine chances, however. Groningen were content to sit back and went for a chance to break during this phase of the game. St. Pauli enjoyed more of the possession, but it was the Eredivisie outfit who knocked on the door first with a header in the tenth minute and a low shot that flew just wide six minutes later.

With 20 minutes gone captain Bernd Nehrig hit a long-range effort narrowly wide of the right-hand post and then he crossed for Waldemar Sobota to steer a shot off target. After that the game was more even. Both sides looked to attack the opposition goal but lacked punch in the final third. St. Pauli went close with another Nehrig piledriver on 39, while Groningen's Yoell Van Nieff dispatched a free-kick just wide of the goal two minutes before the break.

Janßen made three changes at the start of the second half, introducing Jan-Philipp Kalla, Maurice Litka and Jan-Marc Schneider for Cenk Sahin, Nehrig and Sami Allagui. The Boys in Brown again made a very bright start and quickly seized the initiative. Kalla tested the keeper from just outside the box, and then Sobota sent a low shot just past the right-hand upright. A goal was in the air and it duly arrived in the 59th minute when Richard Neudecker curled a beautiful free-kick into the roof of the net from 18 metres.

In the ensuing period the Boys in Brown really turned on the style. The newly introduced players added fresh impetus and zest to the game and their reward wasn't long in coming, Sobota deservedly doubling the advantage from the spot on 67 minutes after Kalla had been felled in the box. Litka came close to notching a third just two minutes later, and then he whipped in a cross for Zander to convert, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside. Then, in the 78th minute, Groningen showed another sign of life when Tom Van Weert hit the crossbar following a nice passing move down the left.

Janßen's side dropped back a little after that and allowed Groningen to come at them. But when they won possession in their own half with five minutes left, Sobota claimed the ball and, having spotted the keeper off his line, took aim and lofted an unstoppable shot into the net to complete his brace. The referee blew his whistle for the final time soon after to put the seal on an impressive 3-0 win for the Boys in Brown.


Olaf Janßen: "After a hard week that was not necessarily what you would expect. I'm positively surprised and it was fun to watch the lads play. In the second half the fresh players brought new energy and hurt our opponents, especially going forward. That was the key. Richie's fantastic free-kick set us on our way. Groningen opened up at the back a bit after that and we launched some very good counterattacks. And Waldi's goal from 40 metres at the end was the icing on the cake, of course."


FC St. Pauli

Heerwagen - Zander, Avevor (Koglin 79'), Schoppenhauer (Carstens 79'), Buballa - Sobota, Flum (Lee 61'), Nehrig (Litka 46'), Neudecker, Sahin (Kalla 46') - Allagui (Schneider 46')

Head coach: Olaf Janßen


Goals: 1-0 Neudecker (59'), 2-0 Sobota (pen. 67'), 3-0 Sobota (86')

Yellow cards: Neudecker (40') – Hrustic (40'), Warmerdam (56')

Attendance: 700

Referee: Harm Osmers


Photos: Witters

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