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BOYS IN BROWN EXIT CUP AFTER 2-1 DEFEAT AT UNION BERLIN

FC St. Pauli lost 2-1 at Union Berlin in the quarter-final of the DFB Cup on Tuesday evening. After Kofi Kyereh had given the Boys in Brown a 21st minute lead, the home side equalised on the stroke of half-time through Sheraldo Becker. Substitute Andreas Voglsammer then settled it for the hosts with 15 minutes left.

After the win in the league at Ingolstadt, the signs were there that injuries would force Timo Schultz to make changes to his side for the cup-tie at Union Berlin just three days later. Philipp Ziereis was unable to make the trip to the capital, with Marcel Beifus replacing the skipper in central defence to make his competitive debut for the club. Also new in the back four in front of Dennis Smarsch, who kept goal as usual in the cup, was Luca Zander at right-back. Up front, Maximilian Dittgen got the nod over Simon Makienok. Marcel Hartel and Leart Paqarada both went off at Ingolstadt after picking up knocks but fortunately were able to start. The home side made two adjustments to the side that beat Mainz 3-0 last time out, cup goalkeeper Frederik Rønnow and Taiwo Awoniyi starting in place of Andreas Luthe and Andreas Voglsammer, who both dropped to the bench.

In view of the horrific events in Ukraine, football pales into insignificance, as the two teams made clear by observing a minute's silence before kick-off and wearing armbands as an expression of peace and solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

The Boys in Brown were forced onto the back foot from the off, but the home side's early momentum brought them two corners and nothing more. At the other end, Beifus tried his luck with a shot from distance that was no problem for Rønnow. In a busy opening, Union captain Christopher Trimmel was unable to capitalise from a free-kick in a decent position. After that, the pace slowed slightly with both teams adopting a deeper defensive line until a 17th minute effort from Awoniyi failed to trouble Smarsch.

In an evenly matched contest, the Boys in Brown fashioned a few chances of their own and got their reward on 21 minutes in the shape of the opening goal. Kofi Kyereh won a free-kick just outside the penalty area, and when Hartel knocked it short, the Ghana midfielder curled a low shot past the wall and into the bottom corner. The home side stepped up the pressure in response to going behind and threatened on several occasions but were repelled each time by a St. Pauli foot or head. In the 32nd minute the home side went close again when Smarsch produced a smart save to tip a Sheraldo Becker shot over the bar.

On 39 minutes, the brown-and-white casualty list grow a little longer when Dittgen was forced off by injury and replaced by Lars Ritzka. The left-back was in the thick of things straightaway and his cross was nearly met by Guido Burgstaller in the six-yard box. The Schultz XI were beginning to escape the home side's stranglehold by this stage and make their presence felt at the other end. Yet on the stroke of half-time Union took advantage of an opportunity on the break to restore parity. Smarsch lost his footing coming out of his goal and was unable to deal with Awoniyi's shot properly, allowing Becker to follow up on the rebound and send the teams in level at the break.

Timo Schultz introduced Finn Ole Becker for Afeez Aremu at the start of the second half, with Jackson Irvine taking over from Aremu in holding midfield. With 54 minutes gone, an underhit clearance by Smarsch set pulses racing briefly. It flew straight to Timo Baumgartl, but Jakov Medić was perfectly placed to meet his header before it could cross the goal line. Unlike in the first half, the Boys in Brown were able to make more of a game of it early in the second, giving little away at the back, albeit failing to create any chances despite putting some nice moves together.

In the 69th minute, the home side demanded a penalty when Voglsammer went to ground under a challenge from Medić. Referee Florian Badstübner waved the claims away, however, and there was no intervention from the VAR. The Boys in Brown then suffered a cruel stroke of luck six minutes later. Medić looked to have things under control in a challenge with Voglsammer, only to lose his footing, allowing the striker to bear down on Smarsch and notch Union's second with relative ease. Hartel almost came up with the perfect response ten minutes from time, but his shot through a crowd of players flew wide of the left-hand upright. Schultz responded by throwing on two more strikers in Igor Matanović and Simon Makienok for the closing stages.

Just before the end Voglsammer had an opportunity to put the result beyond doubt with only Smarsch to beat, but his effort came back off the post. That was the signal for the Boys in Brown to throw everyone forward, and Simon Makienok saw a shot deflected agonisingly wide following a corner.

That was the last of the action and the Schultz XI saw their cup campaign come to an end despite a battling performance.

Union Berlin

Rønnow - Jaeckel, Knoche, Baumgartl - Trimmel (Ryerson 88'), Khedira, Gießelmann - Haraguchi (Möhwald 76'), Prömel - Becker (Michel 88'), Awoniyi (Voglsammer 65')

Head coach: Urs Fischer

 

FC St. Pauli

Smarsch - Zander (Matanović 82'), Beifus (Makienok 82'), Medić, Paqarada – Aremu (Becker 46'), Irvine, Hartel, Kyereh – Dittgen (Ritzka 39'), Burgstaller

Head coach: Timo Schultz

 

Goals: 0-1 Kyereh (21'), 1-1 Becker (45'), 2-1 Voglsammer (75')

Yellow cards: Becker, Khedira

Referee: Florian Badstübner (Windsbach)

Attendance: 10,000

 

Photos: Witters

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