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MEIER HEADS THE WINNER AT PADERBORN

FC St. Pauli secured a narrow 1-0 victory in an entertaining game at SC Paderborn on Saturday. Alex Meier crowned an excellent team performance with a headed strike in the 81st minute after having what seemed to be a perfectly good goal chalked off in the first half.

Markus Kauczinski's side travelled to the Benteler Arena looking to build on a focused defensive performance against FC Ingolstadt seven days earlier. The St. Pauli boss was forced into two changes, however. Birthday boy Mats Møller Dæhli moved into the No10 position for the suspended Christopher Buchtmann, leaving Ryo Miyaichi to cover on the flank, while Jan-Philipp Kalla came in for the ailing Luca Zander at right-back. The visitors also made two changes to their starting lineup. Christian Strohdiek deputised for the suspended Sebastian Schonlau in central defence, and Babacar Gueye replaced Ben Zolinski in attack. SCP coach again had to do without key man Philipp Klement.

Paderborn have been very impressive at home this season and hit the ground running, Sven Michel forcing Robin Himmelmann into his first save from the inside-left channel with no more than 20 seconds on the clock. Roared on by another packed away section, the Boys in Brown penetrated the opposition penalty box for the first time in the fifth minute. Miyaichi delivered the ball in but Waldemar Sobota was unable to make a proper connection. Aside from the one early shock, Kauczinski's side kept their defensive shape very well against the league's second-most prolific attack. A direct free-kick from Marlon Ritter that produced another save from Himmelmann on the quarter-hour was all the home side had to show for their efforts in the opening stages.

The best chance of the half to that point fell to Michel after a one-two with Gueye on 22. Fortunately, his shot clipped the outside of the post on its way out for a goal-kick. At the other end, Alex Meier got underneath an effort when promisingly placed two minutes later. And on the half-hour Kalla's attempt from distance was always curling wide. The ball did find the net in the 35th minute, however, from our first corner of the game. Justin Hoogma and Ersin Zehir pinged headers around the box and Meier bundled the loose ball over the line from close range, only for Bibiana Steinhaus to rule the goal out for offside. A tight decision, and perhaps the wrong one.

After finding themselves on the back foot for much of the first period, the Boys in Brown ended the half in the ascendency, but it was the home side who had the next opportunity three minutes before the interval through Uwe Hünemeier. His header from a free-kick flew straight at Himmelmann, however, and the two sides went in level at the break.

Neither coach made a change at half-time. Unlike in the first half, however, it was the Boys in Brown who fashioned a chance straight from the kick-off. Miyaichi slipped the ball to Meier on the edge of the box, and his attempted dink forced an excellent save from Zingerle. The two sides largely cancelled each out after that, although the Boys in Brown were more active than they had been in the first half overall. That left more space for Paderborn going forward and they almost took advantage in the 60th minute. Thankfully, Daniel Buballa stepped in at the last second to deny Kai Pröger, who then made way for Tobias Schwede. Meier continued to carry a threat and was presented with another opportunity three minutes later when Miyaichi collected the ball and crossed to the former Frankfurt striker, who came off second best against Zingerle.

Both coaches introduced fresh attacking players for the closing stages in Jan-Marc Schneider for Sobota and Zolinski for Gueye. The Paderborn striker made an immediate impression with a solo run into the box and it took a brilliant save from Himmelmann to prevent the Boys in Brown from going behind. And then, as so often in recent week, came the Meier moment. Marvin Knoll whipped in a free-kick and the goal machine shrugged off the challenge of Hünemeier to head home from close range nine minutes from time.

Kauczinski's charges left nothing untried in their bid to see the game out. With three minutes left, Zehir picked up a second yellow card for a foul in midfield and was sent off. The St. Pauli boss threw on two specialist defenders in Florian Carstens and YiYoung Park for the attack-minded Miyaichi and Møller Dæhli. Paderborn threw everyone forward, but the Boys in Brown stood firm. Hünemeier headed against the bar on the stroke of full-time and then it was all over. There wasn't much in it, but Paderborn were left to reflect on their first home defeat of the season.

 

SC Paderborn

Zingerle - Dräger (Shelton 85), Hünemeier, Strohdiek, Collins - Vasiliadis - Pröger (Schwede 62'), Ritter, Tekpetey - Gueye (Zolinski 69'), Michel

Head coach: Steffen Baumgart

 

FC St. Pauli

Himmelmann - Kalla, Hoogma, Avevor, Buballa - Knoll, Zehir - Miyaichi (Carstens 87'), Møller Dæhli (Park 90'), Sobota (Schneider 67') - Meier

Head coach: Markus Kauczinski

 

Goals: 0-1 Meier (81')

Yellow cards: Tekpetey, Zingerle, Strohdiek – Kalla, Zehir, Schneider, Buballa

Red card (two yellows): Zehir

Referee: Bibiana Steinhaus

Attendance: 14,504

 

Photos: Witters

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