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FC St. Pauli had to settle for a scoreless draw against Hannover 96 on Friday evening. A sell-out crowd of 29,546 saw a host of chances for the Boys in Brown but the all-important goal just wouldn’t come.

Head coach Fabian Hürzeler was without his captain Jackson Irvine due to a one-match ban. Irvine’s Australia teammate Connor Metcalfe slotted into the right-hand side of centre midfield in his place. Elias Saad returned to the side, as did Eric Smith after recovering from a groin problem. The Swede replaced Adam Dźwigała in the back three. Hannover made one change to the side that beat Braunschweig in the Lower Saxony derby last week, Nicolo Tresoldi coming into the attack for Andreas Voglsammer. 

The motto for the game was “No place for racism”. In association with sponsors congstar, the aim was to draw attention to the fate of refugees and the humanitarian catastrophe that unfolds every day in the Mediterranean. At last 28,000 people have drowned since 2014 fleeing from war and persecution. A humanitarian catastrophe that goes largely unnoticed. The South Stand also drew attention to this important issue with a banner bearing the slogan "Sea rescue is not a crime".

Both teams looked to pass their way into the danger area with one-touch football in the opening quarter of an hour. A good example of that came in the 16th minute when Elias Saad was sent down the left wing. After beating a couple of defenders with some neat stepovers, he picked out Johannes Eggestein in the middle, whose shot on the turn produced a smart reflex save from Ron-Robert Zieler. Seven minutes later the ball was in the net. Dapo Afolayan’s cross slipped through the box as far as Elias Saad, whose piledriver almost knocked defender Phil Neumann into the goal along with ball. The celebrations proved short-lived, however, as Afolayan was a whisker offside in the build-up.

Saad was in the thick of things again ten minutes after that, dribbling into the box from the left before aiming a shot towards the far corner, only to see it go a touch wide. Hannover, in contrast, failed to register a single attempt on goal in the first period against a well-marshalled St. Pauli rearguard.

Sea rescue is not a crime read the giant-sized banner in the South Stand

Sea rescue is not a crime read the giant-sized banner in the South Stand

Hannover coach Stefan Leitl reacted at the break in a bid to introduce some fresh attacking impetus, throwing on Andreas Voglsammer for Nicolo Tresoldi, who was on a yellow. Yet it was the Boys in Brown who registered the first attempt on goal through Elias Saad, but his shot from the left-hand side was too centrally placed to trouble Zieler, who had no problem gathering the ball. The Hürzeler XI continued to set the tone as they sought to play their way into the box, either with neat one-touch football or intelligent switching of the flanks. Nikola Vasilj, who was making his 75th appearance between the posts, didn’t have a single shot to save in this phase of the game. 

With a quarter of an hour to go Hürzeler freshened up his attack with the introduction of Luxembourg international Danel Sinani for Dapo Afolayan. His side continued to press in search of a winner but were unable to find a way through the packed Hannover ranks. The ball simply wouldn’t go in, despite a whopping eight minutes of stoppage time, and it ended goalless. The Hürzeler XI are now unbeaten in 13 league games this season.

FC St. Pauli

Vasilj - Wahl, Smith, Mets - Saliakas, Hartel (C), Metcalfe, Treu - Saad, Eggestein (Amenyido 90’+1), Afolayan (Sinani 75’)

Head coach: Fabian Hürzeler


Hannover 96

Zieler (C) - Dehm (Muroya 80’), Neumann, Halstenberg, Arrey-Mbi - F. Kunze, Leopold (Christiansen 90’+7), Schaub (Ernst 76’) - Nielsen, Tresoldi (Voglsammer 46’), Köhn

Head coach: Stefan Leitl


Yellow cards: Saad –  F. Kunze, Tresoldi, Voglsammer, Zieler

Referee: Richard Hempel (Grossnaundorf)

Attendance: 29,546 (sold out)


Photos: FC St. Pauli