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FC St. Pauli celebrated their seventh home win in succession in the rearranged fixture against SV Sandhausen on Wednesday evening to return to the top of the table. Guido Burgstaller and Daniel-Kofi Kyereh set the Boys in Brown on the road to victory with two early strikes before Immanuel Höhn pulled one back in the second half. But Kyereh added his second 11 minutes from time to secure the points.

Head coach Timo Schultz made five changes to the side that lost 4-0 at Darmstadt for the rearranged fixture against SV Sandhausen, two of them in the back four, where James Lawrence and Sebastian Ohlsson began in place of Jakov Medić (broken nose) and Luca Zander (slight cold). In midfield, Eric Smith and Finn Ole Becker replaced Afeez Aremu and Jackson Irvine, who both dropped to the bench, while Simon Makienok came in for Etienne Amenyido in attack. Sandhausen boss Alois Schwartz, in contrast, named the same team that was unlucky to lose 2-1 at home to Nürnberg last time out, a disputed goal in the third minute of second-half stoppage time tarnishing a decent performance.

The Boys in Brown ran out in front of 23,401 fans determined to make it seven home wins out of seven and return to the second-division summit, having surrendered top spot to Darmstadt just a few days earlier. Nevertheless, the visitors registered the first attempt on goal with just 30 seconds on the clock, but Pascal Testroet's overhead kick proved no problem for Nikola Vasilj. And the first attempt at the other end? Well, that ended up in the back of the net, and what a strike it was! Finn Ole Becker dinked the ball over the top for Daniel-Kofi Kyereh to chase, and his backheel just short of the byeline found Guido Burgstaller, who curled a delightful shot from the right-hand edge of the box into the top-left corner. One-nil after just one minute and 54 seconds!

A few minutes after a deflected effort from Eric Smith had fizzed just past the left-hand upright, Burgstaller would have added a second, this time from the other side of the box, had SVS keeper Patrick Drewes not pushed the ball over the crossbar. No question about it, the Boys in Brown dominated the opening stages, moving the ball around nicely and causing the visitors problems with their forceful attacking play. Kyereh was the next to try his luck from a Burgstaller pass but ended up screwing his shot badly off target. Moments later, however, Kyereh was able to celebrate. Smith sent Marcel Hartel on his way down the left and his cutback was converted by the former Wiesbaden man, who slid in close to the penalty spot to make it 2-0.

It remained very much one-way traffic, with Sandhausen pinned back in their own half. Makienok pulled the trigger from the edge of the area, but Drewes hung on. Slowly but surely, the visitors began to edge forward, without ever mounting a serious threat on Vasilj's goal until Testroet headed a deflected Bashkim Ajdini cross a whisker past the upright on 29. Stung by that, the Boys in Brown went straight back up the other end, where Burgstaller almost made it three. Drewes was able to prevent the shot finding the left-hand corner, however.

SVS coach Alois Schwartz had seen enough, introducing a striker in Charlison Benschop for midfielder Janik Bachmann in the 35th minute. Sebastian Ohlsson hammered a shot over the top following a free-kick just before half-time, and there was still time for Kyereh to hit Drewes with an attempted dink from close range, leaving the Schultz XI to go in well worth their two-goal lead at the break.

Sebastian Ohlsson and Daniel-Kofi Kyereh celebrate with Guido Burgstaller after his second-minute opener.

Sebastian Ohlsson and Daniel-Kofi Kyereh celebrate with Guido Burgstaller after his second-minute opener.

The two sides emerged unchanged for the second half and the Boys in Brown continued to dictate the play, disrupting Sandhausen's build-up with their early pressing game. Chances remained a rarity, however. A hefty collision involving Nikola Vasilj, Simon Makienok and Sandhausen's Aleksandr Zhirov led to a lengthy spell of treatment for Vasilj and Zhirov, but both were eventually able to continue.

With the visitors better organised at the back, the tempo of the game dropped. The Boys in Brown struggled to launch any effective attacks, and some wayward passing meant the fans had to wait until the 63rd minute for the next attempt on goal, but Leart Paqarada fired well over from distance. Schultz reacted with a double change, throwing on Rico Benatelli and Igor Matanović for Eric Smith and Simon Makienok.

It was Sandhausen who threatened next, however. Ajdini delivered the ball in from the right and Philipp Ziereis had to step in to clear for a corner with Testroet shaping to shoot. When the ball came in, it was flicked on by Benschop and Immanuel Höhn nodded in at the back post from close range to halve the deficit for the visitors. Two minutes later, there was a tense wait for the home fans when Höhn appeared to bring down Matanović in the box. It went to VAR, but no spot-kick was given even though Höhn clearly made contact with the left shin of Matanović.

The game entered the closing stages and Schultz introduced Adam Dźwigała and Jackson Irvine for Sebastian Ohlsson and Finn Ole Becker. Four minutes later, a perfectly executed move involving Irvine, Burgstaller, Matanović and Kyereh ended with the latter sliding the ball past Drewes. But was he offside when Matanović played the pass? It went to VAR again, and after what seemed an eternity but was, in fact, only three minutes, the goal was given and the Boys in Brown were three-one up.

Burgstaller headed wide from a Paqarada free-kick near the end of regulation time before Kyereh missed out on hat-trick from close range following some great work by Matanović. Maximilian Dittgen, on for Burgstaller, clipped the outside of the post with a shot and Vasilj had to nip in to deny former St. Pauli man Christian Conteh. And that was the last of the action. Seven home wins out of seven meant the Boys in Brown were back on top of the table.

FC St. Pauli

Vasilj - Ohlsson (Dźwigała 74'), Ziereis, Lawrence, Paqarada - Smith (Benatelli 65'), Hartel, Becker (Irvine 74'), Kyereh - Makienok (Matanović 65'), Burgstaller (Dittgen 90')

Head coach: Timo Schultz


SV Sandhausen

Drewes - Diekmeier, Höhn, Zhirov, Okoroji - Bachmann (Benschop 35'), Zenga - Ajdini (Soukou 87'), Ritzmaier (Conteh 69'), Esswein (Ouahim 69') - Testroet

Head coach: Alois Schwartz


Goals: 1-0 Burgstaller (2'), 2-0 Kyereh (14'), 2-1 Höhn (68'), 3-1 Kyereh (79')

Yellow cards: Dźwigała – Ajdini, Höhn

Referee: Max Burda (Berlin)

Attendance: 23,401


Photos: Witters