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FC St. Pauli kicked off the second half of the campaign with a 3-0 defeat at Holstein Kiel on Friday evening. The home side did the bulk of their work in the first half, racing into a three-goal lead thanks to goals from Fin Bartels, Finn Porath and Benedikt Pichler. Kiel controlled the proceedings after the break and looked the likelier side to score, with the Boys in Brown ultimately lacking the means to make a game of it.

FCSP coach Timo Schultz named an unchanged side on his return to his former stomping ground. His counterpart Marcel Rapp, on the other hand, made two defensive adjustments to the team that drew 2-2 with Sandhausen last time out. Simon Lorenz deputised for Hauke Wahl, who has a cold, while Jonas Sterner slotted into midfield in place of Mikkel Kirkesov.

The Boys in Brown came flying out of the traps and threatened on several occasions in the opening stages. Kiel custodian Thomas Dähne had turned efforts from Jackson Irvine and Kofi Kyereh away for a corner by the time the first four minutes were up. And when Guido Burgstaller flicked an Eric Smith shot towards goal with his head in the fifth minute, the keeper could only look on as the ball flew just wide of the left-hand upright. But then, the home side took the lead with their first attempt on goal after eight minutes, Fin Bartels converting on the rebound after Nikola Vasilj had parried a Lewis Holtby shot.

It remained a lively affair with chances at both ends, with the Schultz XI proving perhaps a little too hesitant in front of goal on several occasions before the game entered a brief lull midway through the half. Kiel were content to sit back and wait for a chance to break but had little joy against an alert St. Pauli rearguard. For their part, the Boys in Brown lacked precision in their attempts to knock the ball in behind Kiel's high defensive line.

Marcel Rapp's side threatened here and there, especially when Bartels was involved. Having just gone close with a header on 27, he turned provider for Finn Porath a couple of minutes later. The Kiel midfielder was left with the simple task of tapping home from close range after several defenders had been unable to clear their lines. Fabian Reese could then have added a third but directed his shot wide of the left-hand upright. Irvine came close to pulling one back when shooting just wide after some excellent work by Burgstaller four minutes before the interval. But the evening went from bad to worse on the stroke of half-time when Pichler popped up alone in front of Vasilj, rounded the keeper and slotted home to make it 3-0.

Nikola Vasilj is unable to prevent Fin Bartels from opening the scoring for the home side.

Nikola Vasilj is unable to prevent Fin Bartels from opening the scoring for the home side.

Timo Schultz reacted by making a triple change at the half, Rico Benatelli, Finn Ole Becker and Christopher Buchtmann replacing Marcel Hartel, Eric Smith and Igor Matanović. Yet the home side remained the busier side up front and fashioned several decent opportunities early on through Pichler, Bartels and substitute Fiete Arp. As things began to flare up, the Boys in Brown continued to struggle to carve out any promising chances, with attempts from Irvine and Buchtmann around the hour mark failing to trouble the keeper.

The game lacked the tempo of the first half but when there was a threat it was usually Kiel who posed it, as in the 68th minute when Vasilj had to react smartly to turn a Phil Neumann header over the crossbar. At the other end, Benatelli went close with a shot from distance on 79, though Arp and Reese had both had chances to extend the home side's advantage a couple of minutes earlier. Despite the efforts of both sides, there were to be no more goals and though the Boys in Brown went into the second half of the season with a defeat, they remain on top of the table during the winter break.

Holstein Kiel

Dähne - Neumann, Lorenz (Erras 71'), Thesker, Sterner (Korb 71') - Bartels, Mühling, Holtby, Porath (Sander 63'), Reese - Pichler (Arp 54')

Head coach: Marcel Rapp


FC St. Pauli

Vasilj - Zander (Dittgen 67'), Ziereis, Lawrence, Paqarada - Smith (Benatelli 46'), Irvine, Hartel (Becker 46'), Kyereh (Amenyido 78') - Burgstaller, Matanović (Buchtmann 46')

Head coach: Timo Schultz


Goals: 1-0 Bartels (8'), 2-0 Porath (29'), 3-0 Pichler (45'+1)

Yellow cards: Thesker, Arp – Ziereis, Paqarada, Dittgen, Becker

Referee: Dr Robin Braun (Wuppertal)

Attendance: 8,700


Photos: Witters