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LATE EQUALISER SPOILS REGENSBURG PARTY

In Sunday's crunch match between two of the chasing pack the Boys in Brown secured a 1-1 draw at SSV Jahn Regensburg. Henk Veerman opened the scoring on 39 minutes in front of a sell-out 15,210 crowd at the Continental Arena, only for Sebastian Stolze to level just before the end.

Head coach Markus Kauczinski made one enforced change to the side that drew 1-1 against Heidenheim last time out, handing Henk Veerman his first start in two months for the suspended Johannes Flum. Christopher Buchtmann dropped back into holding midfield alongside Marvin Knoll, while Veerman partnered Sami Allagui in a two-man attack. After defeats on their last two visits to Regensburg (3-0 in September 2012 and 1-3 in April 2018), the Boys in Brown went into the game looking to finally get a result there and leapfrog VfL Bochum, Greuther Fürth and Union Berlin in the table.

Backed by some 2,000 travelling fans at the packed Continental Arena, Kauczinski's side made a decent start and fashioned the first opportunity for Veerman in the sixth minute. The Dutchman ran onto a long ball from Mats Møller Dæhli and went for goal from a tight angle, only to be denied by SSV custodian Philipp Pentke. At the other end, Robin Himmelmann was called into action just 60 seconds later, but the effort from Regensburg's prolific striker Marco Grüttner proved no problem.

In the ensuing period there was little of note to report, but the home side gradually seized the initiative and conjured up two shots from distance within a minute on the quarter-hour. Jann George flashed a shot wide from the right corner of the box and then Benedikt Saller battered one over the top. It was a much closer affair on 24 when Andreas Geipl pulled the trigger from the edge of the area, his effort zipping just wide of the left-hand upright.

With Kauczinski's team struggling to unlock the compact home defence, Daniel Buballa tried his luck with a cross into the box towards Veerman. His header from some way out was gathered comfortably by Pentke, however. Moments later Geipl found George with a neat through ball at the other end. From the inside-right channel, the latter turned and unleashed a shot that Himmelmann did well to stop with his outstretched foot. The hosts maintained the pressure and carved out further chances for George, whose effort was blocked by Buballa, and Hamadi Al Ghaddioui, whose header was snapped up by Himmelmann.

Yet within a minute, the Boys in Brown found themselves ahead. Allagui laid the ball off to Møller Dæhli on the right and his low ball in produced an air shot from Asger Sörensen. Veerman was lurking behind the Regensburg defender and prodded the ball home from close range to give his side a half-time lead.

Henk Veerman is denied by Philipp Pentke in the sixth minute but he made no mistake six minutes before the interval.

Henk Veerman is denied by Philipp Pentke in the sixth minute but he made no mistake six minutes before the interval.

Both sides emerged unchanged after the break and it was the Boys in Brown who made the better start. Three minutes in, Marvin Knoll smacked a free-kick into the wall from a central position 20 metres out and then Buchtmann pulled the trigger on the counter. His shot from 22 metres was too centrally placed, however, and posed no problem for Pentke. Soon after that, Knoll had a pop from range following a corner, but the ball flew well over.

The home side gradually began to threaten again and after a tame volley from Al Ghaddioui had been blocked Grüttner was presented with an opportunity from a promising position. His shot on the turn ended in the stand behind the goal, however. Three minutes later Geipl dragged a shot wide of the far post. The next chance also fell to the hosts. Saller met a low corner first time but Philipp Ziereis was perfectly placed to make the block and thrash the ball out of the danger area.

Kauczinski was then forced to make a change when Buballa picked up an injury He was replaced by Luca Zander, who was making his first appearance since early September. The former Bremen man slotted in at right-back, with Dudziak switching to the left.

In the 72nd minute Regensburg worked a fantastic opportunity to equalise with a neat passing move into the box. Saller slipped the ball to the unmarked Al Ghaddioui, albeit slightly behind him. The Regensburg striker was unable to get any power on the shot as a result, and the chance was gone.

The hosts cranked up the pressure, but the next chance fell to Allagui, who charged forward before driving a shot wide of the post on 74. With the game heading into the closing stages, Kauczinski sent on fresh legs in the shape of Ersin Zehir for Buchtmann and almost immediately his side had a golden opportunity to put the game to bed. After winning possession the Regensburg half, Neudecker attempted to thread the ball through to Allagui. It ended up with Veerman, however, who fired a shot straight at Pentke from inside the box. At the other end, Al Ghaddioui sliced a shot wide two minutes later.

Substitute Sebastian Stolze made no such mistake with three minutes of regulation time left. After Grüttner had hit the post and Sargis Adamyan had seen a shot palmed away by Himmelmann, Stolze smashed the ball into the net off the keeper's knee to level the scores. Regensburg scented victory and pushed forward again in search of a winner, but the brown-and-white rearguard stood firm to at least secure a point.

SSV Jahn Regensburg

Pentke - Saller, Sörensen, Correia, Nandzik - George, Geipl (Stolze 77'), Fein (Lais 60'), Adamyan - Grüttner, Al Ghaddioui

Head coach: Achim Beierlorzer

 

FC St. Pauli

Himmelmann - Dudziak, Ziereis, Avevor, Buballa (Zander 68') – Møller Dæhli (Miyaichi 88'), Buchtmann (Zehir 80'), Knoll, Neudecker - Allagui, Veerman

Head coach: Markus Kauczinski

 

Goals: 0-1 Veerman (39'), 1-1 Stolze (87')

Yellow cards: Ziereis, Dudziak, Buchtmann, Miyaichi

Referee: Sven Waschitzki (Essen)

Attendance: 15,210 (sold out)

 

Photos: Witters

 

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