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FC St. Pauli made a successful start to their pre-season campaign, winning 2-0 at fellow second-division side Hannover 96 on Saturday afternoon. The Boys in Brown were the better team in the first half and took a deserved lead on 36 minutes through Finn Ole Becker. Though Hannover stepped up a gear after the interval, Simon Makienok doubled the advantage a quarter of an hour from the end.

In goalkeeper Nikola Vasilj, defender Jakov Medić and forward Etienne Amenyido, head coach Timo Schultz named three new recruits in his starting lineup for the opening pre-season friendly at Hannover. In a bright start that saw both teams looking to get forward, it was the Boys in Brown who fashioned the first clear-cut chance on four minutes. Lukas Daschner had the goal at his mercy but was denied by a fine reaction save from Hannover keeper Martin Hansen. Daschner had another opportunity seven minutes later, only to be denied by Hansen a second time. And two minutes after that the Boys in Brown went closer still when Leart Paqarada curled a free-kick against the foot of the post from nigh on 25 metres.

At the other end, Nikola Vasilj was called into action for the first time in the 16th minute, keeping out an effort by Marvin Ducksch. The rebound fell to Valmir Sulejmani, but Jakov Medić threw himself in the way of the shot to block. Soon after that, Boys in Brown hit back on the break, and when Maximilian Dittgen pulled the ball back for Christopher Buchtmann in space, the midfielder rifled the ball just wide. The Schultz XI continued to impress going forward, stringing together some really good moves with their quick passing play. At the back, there were one or two gaps that Hannover sought to exploit, albeit to no great effect.

With 29 minutes gone, Afeez Aremu sent Amenyido on his way, his shot from the edge of the area flew a good metre over the top. A goal was in the air, and it came seven minutes later. After a decent move involving several players, the ball found its way to Finn Ole Becker, who kept his composure and slid a shot into the bottom left-hand corner to open the scoring. All in all, the Boys in Brown were well worth their one-goal lead at the break.

Schultz rang the changes at half-time, with Jannes Wieckhoff the only player to re-emerge for the second half. Under-19 midfielder Max Brandt had the first decent chance almost immediately when an underhit clearance fell to him, his shot was too high, however. Hannover edged the possession after that and fashioned an excellent chance to equalise through Sebastian Kerk, but with only Dennis Smarsch to beat he missed the target by some distance. It remained a high-intensity affair, but there were no further goalscoring opportunities for the time being.

That was to change on 73 minutes, though the celebrations were short-lived when Guido Burgstaller put the ball in the net, only for the match officials to rule the goal out for a narrow offside. Two minutes later, the ball was in the net again and this time it stood. Kyereh fed Burgstaller, who knocked a low ball in from the left for Simon Makienok to tap home from close range. Hannover could have pulled one back in the 79th minute, but Marcel Franke placed his header just over the crossover. And when Nick Gudra tested Smarsch a final time on 86, he was equal to it.

Head coach Timo Schultz after the game: "In the first half it looked like football. You could see some of our routines are already in place. The new lads did well without exception and showed why we signed them, but we also functioned well as a group. I'm pleased with the clean sheet as well. We're placing the focus on our defending in the first few weeks because we really need to step up there. We might be in pre-season, but I wasn't pleased with our mental alertness. The three biggest chances for Hannover came from quickly taken throw-ins. That shouldn't be happening. It was a good performance overall but there's still room for improvement."

Hannover 96

Hansen (Zieler 46') - Stolze (Eichhorn 46'), Falette (Franke 46'), Ennali (Maina 46'), Lamti (Hult 72'), Frantz (Kaiser 46'), Stehle (Twumasi 46'), Ernst (Bokake 46'), Ochs (Gudra 72'), Sulejmani (Kerk 46'), Ducksch (Weydandt 46')

Head coach: Jan Zimmermann


FC St. Pauli

Vasilj (Smarsch 46') - Wieckhoff (Ohlsson 65'), Ziereis (Dźwigała 46'), Medić (Brandt 46'), Paqarada (Ritzka 46') - Aremu (Benatelli 46'), Becker (Coordes 46'/Makienok 65'), Buchtmann (Knoll 46'), Daschner (Kyereh 46') - Dittgen (Burgstaller 46'), Amenyido (Zander 46')

Head coach: Timo Schultz


Goals: 0-1 Becker (36'), 0-2 Makienok (75')

Yellow cards: Hansen, Twumasi

Referee: Eric Müller (Bremen)


Photos: Witters

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