Stay home and recuperate or travel and celebrate? The latter!
Saturday, 30. January 2021, 10:00 Uhr
The games are coming thick and fast for Timo Schultz's side at the moment, with an outing at FC Heidenheim on the agenda little more than 60 hours after the home game against VfL Bochum came to an end. Given that previous trips to the Voith Arena have yet to garner a single point, you could be forgiven for thinking the Boys in Brown should save themselves the bother of travelling. That is not an option, of course. So when the Boys in Brown run out on Sunday (13:30 p.m.), they do so determined to come away from Heidenheim with a result for the first time ever.
Before Thursday night's encounter, when asked about the run of six home games without a defeat against Bochum, head coach Timo Schultz said he didn't hold much store in statistics like that. "Players and coaches do have favourite grounds, though, places they have fond memories of going or feel they will always get a win", he admitted. "On the other hand, there are grounds where you know from the outset that you have relatively little chance of getting a result because you've not done well there in the past."
For FC St. Pauli, the Voith Arena is one such ground. Given a previous record of six straight defeats (two goals for and 13 against) and considering the stresses and strains of a long journey and another 90 energy-sapping minutes at the end of a busy week, the Schultz XI could save themselves the trouble and just stay in Hamburg, which would at least allow them to go into next Friday's crucial home game against Sandhausen feeling fresher. They won't do so, of course; they need every point they can get, after all, and according to Schultz it doesn't matter whether they come at Hannover, at home to Bochum, or at Heidenheim. Instead, the Boys in Brown aim to continue their upward trend, notwithstanding the setback against Bochum, at a ground where they have drawn a blank every time thus far – not even at Bayern Munich is their record any worse.
Heidenheim, on the other hand, are looking to build on a decent home record this season (six wins out of nine plus three draws) and close the gap on the promotion places with another three points. Frank Schmidt's side have conceded just four goals in those nine games, and their last defeat at the Voith Arena dates back to 6 October 2019, more than 15 months ago. Since that 3-2 reverse against Bochum, they have gone 21 home games without losing (15 wins, 6 draws). "Impressive" was how Schultz described Heidenheim's home record.
With the Voith Arena unchartered territory for the St. Pauli boss, however, the club's grim record there leaves him cold. "I've never been to Heidenheim and won't be taking the statistics with me," he said. "I'm looking forward to the game because I think we have a good chance of taking something from it," said Schultz, who is well aware how difficult that will be, however. "We know a brutal intensity awaits us," he said.
The positive home run against Bochum may have come to an end on Thursday night, but buoyed by their new-found belief in their own strengths, the Boys in Brown are more than capable of ending their pointless streak at Heidenheim with another gutsy performance on Sunday. " In recent weeks, the boys have regained the belief that they can go into any game and win it. We didn't have that before the winter. That change in mentality is what makes us strong right now," said Schultz.
So, lads, past records can get stuffed. On Sunday, at the end of a busy week, give it everything you've got, fight for every ball, attack with courage, and claim your reward with a point or three at Heidenheim!