BOYS IN BROWN HOST KARLSRUHE IN BATTLE FOR 15TH PLACE
Sunday, 26. February 2017, 21:14 Uhr
Matchday 22 concludes at the Millerntor on Monday evening when St. Pauli welcome Karlsruhe to Hamburg (kick-off: 2015 CET). Up for grabs in the battle between two sides level on points in the battle against relegation is 15th place, the final safety berth. Ewald Lienen's side aim to celebrate the installation of their new pitch with a win, of course, and climb out of the drop zone for the first time since mid-October.
Of the four teams who entered this weekend's round of matches on 18 points, Arminia Bielefeld went first on Saturday, picking up a point in a 2-2 draw at promotion chasers Hannover. And with Erzgebirge Aue failing to make ground after a 4-1 defeat by Dresden in Sunday's Saxony derby, the Boys in Brown now have an opportunity to move clear of the relegation places with a win over Karlsruhe.
Lienen, who ran the rule over the new Millerntor turf with his squad on Saturday, is spoilt for choice in selection terms. Joel Keller (tight thigh muscle) is the only player unavailable. Attacking midfielders Mats Møller Dæhli (calf strain) and Kyoungrok Choi (thigh strain) returned from two-week injury layoffs during the week and could make an appearance. "The battle for places is doing us good. Everyone's going full throttle, everyone wants to be involved," said Christopher Buchtmann, goalscorer in the 1-1 draw at Bielefeld last week.
After taking seven points from their last three games (only league leaders have done better in February), the Boys in Brown go into the game full of confidence. In contrast, things haven't gone to plan for the visitors recently. Though Mirko Slomka guided his side to a 3-2 win over Bielefeld in his first game in charge in late January, the next three fixtures against Bochum (1-1), 1860 Munich (1-2) and Union Berlin (1-2) produced a solitary point. That means Karlsruhe have now won just one of their last 11 league matches.
The Badeners will be hoping to turn the corner at the Millerntor, where have tasted victory on each of their last three visits, and reclaim 15th place. But they come up against a hungry St. Pauli side who are looking to build on their recent run of form and secure that 15th spot for themselves.