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FC St. Pauli slipped to a narrow 3-2 defeat against Bundesliga club Union Berlin in the opening warm-up game of the winter break on Wednesday afternoon. The home side took the lead through Theoson-Jordan Siebatcheu, but Marcel Hartel restored parity from the spot on the stroke of half-time. Johannes Eggestein then headed the Boys in Brown in front, only for Tim Skarke to make it 2-2 on 67 before Kevin Behrens added an 86th winner for the Alte Försterei outfit.

Caretaker head coach Fabian Hürzeler went with a variable back three/back five for the opening warm-up game of the winter break at Union Berlin, with Eric Smith operating between Adam Dźwigała and Marcel Beifus and Leart Paqarada and Manolis Saliakas in the full-back positions. Marcel Hartel and Connor Metcalfe were asked to provide creativity in the channels in front of Afeez Aremu and to carve out openings for Lukas Daschner and David Otto. The plan came off early on, with the Boys in Brown making the better start. Six minutes in, David Otto saw a 20-metre effort from a central position clip the crossbar with FCU keeper Jakob Busk nowhere near it. The home side registered their first attempt on goal in the 13th minute, Jamie Leweling missing the target from outside the penalty area after a turnover in midfield.

The Boys in Brown repeatedly pressed high up the pitch in an attempt to win possession early. Yet this also created space at the other end for the Berlin side to exploit, as in the 25th minute when Theoson-Jordan Siebatcheu's shot from the edge of the box was blocked by an alert Eric Smith. Great defending from our No8! Just three minutes later, the home side fashioned another chance through Leweling, but keeper Nikola Vasilj was well placed to deny him. The Berlin outfit had the edge at this stage of the game. 

The Boys in Brown threatened again, however, eight minutes before the break. A whipped-in corner kick from Manolis Saliakas found the head of Marcel Beifus, but his attempt was not precise enough and Busk was down quickly to keep it at 0-0. The deadlock was soon broken, but at the other end when Siebatcheu headed in a free-kick to open the scoring. Within minutes, however, the aforementioned high pressing game paid off for the Boys in Brown. Leart Paqarada nicked the ball off a Union player in the penalty area and knocked it to Lukas Daschner, who was brought down by Robin Knoche. Marcel Hartel converted the resulting spot-kick with aplomb to send the two sides in at the break with the score at 1-1.

Back of the net! Marcel Hartel scores from the penalty spot to make it 1-1.

Back of the net! Marcel Hartel scores from the penalty spot to make it 1-1.

A new look St. Pauli side emerged for the second half, with Adam Dźwigała and Marcel Beifus the only players to continue. Among the substitutes were Sascha Burchert in goal, Under-23 player Lennart Appe, and new recruit Elias Saad, who was making his first appearance for the senior side. After a cautious opening, the Boys in Brown took the lead with their first sniff of goal. Franz Roggow found Johannes Eggestein at the back post with a free-kick, and his perfectly timed header found the net with Busk going the wrong way.

Union made a few changes after going behind and gradually took control of the proceedings. And they were back on terms on 67 thanks to Tim Skarke, who collected a through ball and rounded Burchert to score. The keeper then had to stretch when Tymoteusz Puchacz directed a volley towards goal on the rebound with just under fifteen minutes left.

In the closing stages the home side posed the bigger threat, forcing the Boys in Brown to defend with everything they had. The killer blow arrived late on when substitute Kevin Behrens nodded in four minutes from time to make it 3-2 to Union.

Union Berlin

Busk - Thorsby (Jaeckel 62'), Doekhi (Puchacz 62'), Khedira (Möhwald 62'), Michel (Behrens 62'), Giesselmann (Skarke 62'), Becker (Öztunali 62'), Trimmel (Ryerson 46'), Knoche (Baumgartl 46'), Leweling (Leite 62'), Siebatcheu (Kemlein 62')


Head coach: Urs Fischer


FC St. Pauli

1st half: Vasilj - Saliakas, Smith, Hartel, Daschner, Beifus, Aremu, Paqarada (C), Metcalfe, Dźwigała, Otto

2nd half: Burchert - Fazliji, Beifus, Appe, Ritzka, Roggow, Boukhalfa, Dźwigała (Hartel 80'), Saad, Eggestein, Matanović


Caretaker head coach: Fabian Hürzeler


Goals: 1-0 Siebatcheu (42.'), 1-1 Hartel (pen. 45'), 1-2 Eggestein (57'), 2-2 Skarke (67'), 3-2 Behrens (86')

Yellow cards: -

Referee: Richard Hempel

Attendance: 969


Photos: FC St. Pauli