Upbeat Boys in Brown go to Hannover
Friday, 10. September 2021, 14:45 Uhr
FC St Pauli resume their league campaign with a trip to Hannover 96 on Saturday (13:30) CET. The Boys in Brown will go to Hannover feeling confident, having ended a run of 13 winless away games last term with a 3-2 success in the Lower Saxony capital that kicked off an outstanding second half of the season.
When the Boys in Brown look back at last season, the match at Hannover 96 will no doubt stand out as one to be remembered. Timo Schultz's side had gone 13 games without a win and were deep in the relegation mire, but after a decent performance in a 1-1 draw with Holstein Kiel in the preceding home game, they went to Hannover and secured a long-awaited victory. An early two-goal lead thanks to strikes from Rodrigo Zalazar and Guido Burgstaller in the opening ten minutes was cancelled out by two Genki Haraguchi goals within the space 120 seconds in the second half. The all-important winner came in the second minute of time added on when Leart Paqarada dispatched a cross into the middle for Igor Matanović to prod home and spark scenes of unbridled jubilation.
The rest, as they say, is history. Victory at Hannover was the starting point for an outstanding back 17 matches that saw the Boys in Brown secure their second division status with games to spare in late April. The Schultz XI have continued to impress this term, as evidenced by a tally of ten points from the first five games and third place in the table. "When you consider everything that's happened since that win and the shape we're in now, we can all be proud of the journey we've taken, not forgetting that we still have some way to go," remarked Schultz, whose team have amassed the highest number of points (49) and the most victories (15) in the 2021 calendar year. There will be no resting on laurels, however, and the Boys in Brown go to Hannover determined to add to those totals on Saturday.
For our opponents, in contrast, neither last season nor the start of this one went according to plan. After an unsatisfactory 13th place last term, the Lower Saxony outfit, who offloaded striker Marvin Ducksch to rivals Werder Bremen just before the end of the transfer period while bringing in Lukas Hinterseer, Gaël Ondoua and former St. Pauli midfielder Tom Trybull (who is in quarantine after testing positive for coronavirus), were slow out of the traps and sit 17th on just four points. A meagre return of two goals scored is compounded by the ten they have conceded.
Head coach Jan Zimmermann, who took charge from TSV Havelse in the summer, saw his side score three times in a friendly at Bundesliga leaders VfL Wolfsburg last week, however, a game that eventually ended in a 3-3 draw. "The fact we came back after going behind was good for the morale," said Zimmermann. "It's simply the case, however, that every mistake we make is punished right away. We have to put a stop to it. There were lots of good things in evidence, though, and we'll take the positives out of the game."
His team have mostly been made to pay for the mistakes they have made this season, and so victory over the Boys in Brown, to build on the sole win so far at home to Heidenheim (1-0), is a must. The Schultz XI, on the other hand, will be out to keep the mistakes to a minimum as they bid to ensure a repeat of January's 3-2 success. It won't be easy, that much is certain, but the lasting upturn in form since that memorable day has shown that this team is more than up to the task.