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FC St. Pauli won 2-1 at Hertha BSC on Saturday night and remain undefeated with eight games gone. Johannes Eggestein gave the Hürzeler XI a first-half lead before Marcel Hartel extended the advantage with a 70th minute header. Hertha’s Derry Scherhant grabbed a consolation goal on 83 but it was not enough to prevent the Boys in Brown from going top of the league.

The Boys in Brown guested at the Olympic Stadium for the first time in 11 years on Saturday evening. And in Hertha BSC, Fabian Hürzeler’s charges were up against a relegated team for the second game in a row, having already beaten Schalke 3-1 at the Millerntor last week. Hürzeler named an unchanged side, the only adjustment seeing the return to the squad of Jackson Irvine after his recovery from a twisted ankle and an ATFL sprain in his right foot. Hertha coach Pal Dardai also plumped for the same 11 players who started the 3-2 injury-time win at Holstein Kiel.

Ten minutes in it was the Boys in Brown who had the first sight of goal when Dapo Afolayan laid the ball off for Marcel Hartel to fire a shot narrowly past the angle from a central position. Though Hertha stepped up their attacking efforts, they were unable to fashion any meaningful opportunities to shoot and the Hürzeler XI continued to dictate the proceedings. And on 25 minutes they and the 11,000 St. Pauli fans were celebrating the opening goal. Elias Saad burst forward into the box and squared the ball to Johannes Eggestein, whose initial effort was saved. The striker was quickest to react, however, and prodded the ball past Hertha keeper Tjark Ernst into the net for his first goal of the season.

Nikola Vasilj was not called into action until the 32nd minute. The header from Hertha Goalgetter Smail Prevljak was too centrally placed to trouble the keeper, however. At the other end, a corner created a threat in the Hertha box, where Eric Smith went to ground under a challenge from Andreas Bouchalakis, prompting Deniz Aytekin to award a penalty. After a VAR intervention, however, the referee had another look at it in the review area and decided to reverse his decision – much to the annoyance of the Boys in Brown. In the final minute of time added on, Saad had an opportunity to double the advantage following an impressive break involving Eggestein and Hartel, but the Tunisia international drove his shot into the side netting.

Johannes Eggestein opened the scoring in the 25th minute.

Johannes Eggestein opened the scoring in the 25th minute.

The Boys in Brown emerged for the second half unchanged, while Hertha boss Pal Dardai introduced Danish new boy Gustav Christensen for Marten Winkler. Four minutes in, Saad had another opportunity to make it 2-0 following a neat move and an Eggestein backheel, but his shot rolled inches wide of the left-hand upright. When Hertha did threaten, it was usually down the left through the lightning-quick Fabian Reese, who whipped the ball into the box on 56. Tabaković was shaping to shoot until Hauke Wahl produced a fantastic sliding tackle to defuse the danger.

The home side continued to look shaky at the back, however, as on the hour when Ernst knocked the ball a touch too far forward, allowing Eggestein to dispossess him, but the Boys in Brown were unable to capitalise. Hürzeler’s continued to knock the ball around with elan and created further chances without finding the target. Then, in the 70th minute, Jackson Irvine returned to action after several weeks on the sidelines and soon found himself in a huddle of players celebrating the second goal when Hartel headed in off the underside of the crossbar.

Hertha refused to give up, however, and on 79 Reese’s curler looked to be heading in until Nikola Vasilj made the save. Four minutes later, there was nothing the keeper could do to keep out a shot from Derry Scherhant to set up an exciting finale. But the Boys in Brown defended with passion to seal a 2-1 victory, their first at Hertha in 33 years, and climb to the top of the table.

Hertha BSC

Ernst - Karbownik (B. Dárdai 70’), Leistner, Kempf, Dudziak (Hussein 59’) - Winkler (Christensen 46’), Bouchalakis, M. Dardai, Reese - Prevljak (Scherhant 70’), Tabaković (Niederlechner 80’)

Head coach: Pál Dárdai


FC St. Pauli

Vasilj - Wahl, Smith, Mets - Saliakas, Hartel (Boukhalfa 90’), Metcalfe (Irvine 70’), Ritzka - Afolayan (Treu 85’), Eggestein (Albers 70’), Saad (Amenyido 85’)

Head coach: Fabian Hürzeler


Goals: 0-1 Eggestein (25’), 0-2 Hartel (74’), 1-2 Scherhant (83’)

Yellow cards: Christensen, B. Dárdai – Hürzeler

Referee: Deniz Aytekin (Oberasbach)

Attendance: 66,113


Photos: FC St. Pauli/Witters