St.Pauli ist die einzige Möglichkeit

(Translation by @parneq)

Well. We had quite a different assumption about the course of the day. But shit happens. However, that must not happen, especially not during a derby. It happened anyway but remains fucked up. That’s it.  
However, that doesn’t turn the heading into something invalid.
This is our review of the derby, written by Tim and Maik. 

Tragedy is alike love – without any happy end. (Part 1, by Maik)

The thrill was real. Since days, everywhere. Tingling throughout the whole city, because this derby promised to be different than all the derbies of the previous decades. A meeting on an equal footing and thus bearing the chance to annoy the neighbours during their way to promotion. And for us: nothing left to lose but to win everything. However, it all turned out differently. 

On Thursday, a delegation of USP visited the team to tell them the things a team wants to hear before such a game in order to play without hesitations. To treat oneself for a fucking great season in a game at home, a burning stadium. Go out, warm up, have fun and beat the suburb, if possible. 

On Saturday evening, there was a thrill of anticipation in the whole quarter. With the women’s football team in the Feldarena stadium (they however lost…), with the women’s handball squad in the Budapest Street (they won!), with the Millerntor brigade in the 1910 e.V. museum, infront of the Jolly, infront of the club’s headquarter. Roughly estimated, there were 1500 people around, speaking a funny mixture of languages from several countries from all around the world. Everything remained peaceful, but an awesome picture was taken on the square in front the south stand. 

On match day, there was a buzzing all around the stadium. At a very early stage, it was unbelievably crowded both inside as well as outside the stadium. Everything was prepared for the historical chance to defeat the title of the town’s championship or even better to renew it with a win. 

It all started great on the stands. Before the match started as well as when the “Aux Armes” chant began, one had the feeling that everything could fit this time. Props to the club as well as the crew around the stadium announcements to play “Wer wird deutscher Meister” [“Who is getting to win the German championship”] as a welcoming song for the guest’s supporters. With an according cause of the match, this could have become the song of the day. However, all of sudden this all disappeared. 

The hoped for weightlessness with which the boys should have entered the match (the feeling that they could only win without nothing left to lose) was gone. The great mood on the stands? Existed on the south stands, but nowhere else. 

Even on the visitor’s stands it was rather calm, everything appeared as a copy from the earlier match of the season and a 0:0 draw was more than likely again. 

We did not play towards the visitor’s goal, the HSV didn’t do anything forceful either, until this one bloody free-kick that changed what had been kept together so difficultly until then. 

I am not a football expert yet and won’t be any in the future, a job that could be done much better by Tim (see the text further down). Anyway, yellow cards are by no means a signposting towards a match of quality or mentality, but if a team does not get a grip in the match this is definitely something to consider, maybe only to re-charge the increasing lethargy on the stands back into energy on the pitch. (Former player Timo Schultz once stated in our podcast that this could of course be a part of a team’s tactic and that according roles are appointed within the team, at least if you are playing for a club whose supporters can be a decisive factor for a match.) 

Well, let’s focus on the things with which I am much more familiar: Everything else around the pitch. 

The choreographies on every stand before the match started: Awesome! (Well, except the crowd flag supposed to cover the whole north stand which we should ignore…) The pyro-show before the match and during the second halftime: fantastic (Of course, you can have a different opinion on pyrotechnics in football stadia in general, but please do not use any profile pictures in social media or wall papers showing any the use of pyros then, otherwise you are approaching danger thin ice!). 

I highly assume that the according penalties from the DFB have been already put into the club’s budget and that no one is protesting seriously about this issue. To publicly state other views slightly different by club officials might be related to the anticipated public image of the club. However, in this case one has to precisely distinguish the different moments before the match, during the half-time break and during the match including related match interruptions. Pyrotechnics during the match are a bit trickier, however, I still perceive them as okay, as long as nothing of the pyrotechnics is thrown onto the pitch and there’s no safety threat for anyone around. I myself would not hold such devices, however the world won’t stop spinning because of that. If it would have stayed like this we would not have to discuss such things now. 

But let’s start with the south stand. Before the match started, a black block met up towards the Gegengerade, all of them wearing (alike the previous evening) red neckties. If you are wondering about the reason for this uniform dress, remember the news that HSV supporters mistakenly punched one of their own supporters into the face because they were considering him as a St. Pauli supporter. And because there were groups from everywhere in Europe visiting it might appear smart being able to recognise each other as supporters for the same team. However, this black block group later caused the need for discussions that we, as the community of St. Pauli supporters as a whole, have to face within the next weeks. (see also: Magischer FC Blog). 

Sure, the derby is different to every other game of the season and due to this fact one has to accept that the acceptable limits of certain things have to be shifted slightly. As such, several dick-fights on wallpapers about who ran away from whom in which situation have to be accepted in this regard. This is not the standard I am used to, and thus I can easily miss out on that in further occasions, however, on the other hand this is also only affecting those people who engage in such things. And from a little distance, the same could be stated about the highly celebrated presentation of HSV supporter items on the stand. However, this is exactly the one border crossed too much and I really hope that we are not in need to engage in such things of the Ultra-culture any further and that we can leave such things to other clubs in the future. Was this a one-time only occasion due to the derby? Well, let us then all hope that the two club’s paths do not cross again for several years. Anyway, this has to and will be further discussed with the groups on the south stand.
(Addition: Clear words from the Supporter’s clubs council

And this brings us to the next stand, my beloved Gegengerade. Are you kidding me? Derby, town’s championship and except “Wer wird Deutscher Meister?” and “Aux Armes” the loudest thing you screamed was “We are St. Pauli and you are not!” towards the own south stand? You raised your middle fingers towards the south stand when the in-between match score was 0:3 but did not deliver any recognisable support during the previous hours? Well, the team on the pitch did not push you either but hey, don’t you have to give them credit no matter what? If not, then please shut up in regards to other stands and their handling of the derby. You can certainly discuss those things after the match but not when the neighbour’s club and its supporters are still within the stadium and make fun of you. Don’t we have any self-respect anymore? 

Individuals, who silently attended the match in Block 2 and whose biggest physical exercise until then was to use their smartphones to capture choreographies and pyrotechnics all of a sudden became powerful machines who screamed at their own ultra-supporters with double raised middle fingers that they should piss-off or shut-up? Holy cow, you are pissing me off! As clearly demonstrated by yourself earlier, your core competency is to shut-up, but you really consider yourself allowed to tell others that they do not belong to the St. Pauli supporters squad? To exactly the same people who cared in the previous nights about the glass of our pubs and prevented it to be destroyed by HSV’s supporters? Or who prevented the St. Pauli sign made of stone to not get painted in black, white and blue? That’s totally okay, you don’t have to care about such things, that’s fine. But please do not tell those people who did what you exactly did not that they are no longer St. Pauli supporters. I do not appreciate everything that happened yesterday (see above), however I am completely certain that “these” people put a lot of great passion and commitment into our club, just as we all do. And yes, I highly assume that you have the same amount of passion and commitment, so please let us all use it to the benefit of our club and not to particularly fight each other during a derby. 

(Additional thoughts, Wednesday March 13th 
With two more nights to think about, I’d like to add the following: 

Certainly, the protest against the mess that happened is not worse than the original mess itself. However, I better like to write about the stand I can influence (which in my case is the Gegengerade) than about the south stand. The guys there can for sure solve this issue due to the existing structures themselves or have enough pressure from “the outside” now respectively. Both, structure and pressure is however clearly lacking for the Gegengerade. Inside the stadium, it was relatively clear to me that most of the hateful raised middle fingers were not part of a differentiated consideration about the incidents that were happening in the south stand but were rather general protest against “the ultras” itself. Everyone, who could clearly oppose my view raised above should however not feel offended either. Furthermore, if you want to read similar views written with a more timely distance and in a much calmer way, please refer to the Magischer FC Blog (probably not in English…). However, we were aiming to point out our view in time and against the already appearing public mob in social media or as written by tabloid papers. This is why some of my words might appear more offensive than necessary. 
And now: Let’s talk to each other and proceed. We do the same. And next Tuesday, there will be some members of USP as guests in our podcast.) 

And what should we do now for the rest of the season?  
Proceed, always proceed. Maybe united. 
Because St. Pauli is the only possibility. //Maik 

But one thing is taken for granted: tragedy knows St. Pauli (Part 2, by Tim) 

I had a tingling in my stomach as well. This had to be the derby fever, I assumed. Or it was the slightly approaching of a nasty gastrointestinal disorder which the rest of my family already suffered from for more than a week now. Everyone, except me. In my case, it was the derby fever for sure. And I was expecting some positive outcome for us this time. The HSV was not doing well during the last couple of games. We, instead were performing fairly good. And the table of the league also promised a match on an equal footing. Which it was not. On many different levels. Not on the pitch. Not on the managers’ benches. And last but not least, not on the stands. But let’s review it step by step. 

As I already wrote in the outlook article on the derby, for the HSV, a lot depends on the fact, if or if not both full-backs join the defensive midfielder occasionally. Eventually, this was only the fact for the right-back Sakai. However, I was wrong with my assumptions on the possible line-up. The hsv responded immaculately to FCSP’s line-up with putting Janjicic as a second defensive midfielder next to Mangala. Additionally, Özcan was put into the midfield, while Holtby and Jatta started as substitutes. Surprisingly, FCSP replaced Møller-Dæhli (who somehow suffered the same disease like my family) with Allagui and even more surprisingly, the against Paderborn well defending Sobota with Neudecker. 

Despite all the excitement, as far as I could tell from the stand in the stadium (I did not watch any re-live broadcast of the match so far) the mismatch of the formations became obvious within less than two minutes after the match had begun when the hsv started to form up for the first time. With Bates and van Drongelen as defenders, they created a 2-3-4-1 formation. The defensive midfield was shared by the right-back Sakai, Janjicic in the middle and Mangala on the left side. The left-back Santos (what a blast!) build the next row together with Hunt, Öczan und Narey and positioned almost at the same line with Lasogga. This led to a fatal positioning when FCSP pressed in their 4-4-2 formation: Because van Drongelen and Bates could basically build up undisturbed (no, do not get upset that they were able to do just that, as we could analyse already in the game against Aue a high pressing is not the best option with these two FCSP’s strikers) there were inevitably possibilities to pass the ball behind them. So, the first line of pressing was basically completely inefficient. And if FCSP anticipated that the hsv actually passes behind this first line of attack to just start attacking after this move, this plan failed entirely. This is why most issues were simply handed over to the next line of defence. FCSP reacted with a man-to-man marking to the offensive positioning of Santos, literally meaning that Myaichi also dropped back into the last line of defence. Furthermore, both Buchtmann and Knoll were marked early by Özcan and Hunt. This is why the first line of FCSP’s defence could be overtaken fairly easy and the respective player with the ball on his foot could mostly start attacking straight away or he was directly passed at while heading forward. Also, when Hunt tried to get the pall from a little bit more behind, the hsv created themselves a favourable situation in the centre. And because of this well-played positioning of the HSV, the FCSP could not get a grip on the hsv, they could not get straight to man-to-man situations and hence, they could not elicit ball gains in the crucial areas from which to start their counter-attacks. Furthermore, this allows to explain why none of the players from FCSP did not see a single yellow card, they simply did not get into the important man-to-man situations. Are you keen for any proofs? According to FCSP did only do 19 tackles in the entire game, whereas they tackled 29 times against Ingolstadt and 36 times against Paderborn. And in both matches the FCSP played in almost the same formation. 

Heatmaps of ball possession of Sakai (top) and Santos (below). Whily Sakai acts as defensive midfield at time of possession, Santos often moved forward, especially in first half.

So, the hsv did solve the defensive 4-4-2 formation of the FCSP. But which changes could have been of any help? If Myaichi would have stick to his position, the FCSP would have had to defend man-to-man in the last line of defence. Only the role of Neudecker was a bit unclear who neither could get a grip to Sakai nor could he get constantly marked by Narey, because Narey was stuck to his wide midfielder position and thus good to reach by Buballa. So maybe, a 5-4-1 would have been the formation of choice, in order to get more grip in the centre. However, this would have been also the choice of highest security. Or, a 100% copy of the hsv formation could have done the trick either, in which the centre backs were already attacked straight away. This would have been a strategy of high risk and was as such played during the second half. But as a defence line of five defenders did not work out against Cologne this would have been – honestly said – no option either. So with regard to the basic formation, the FCSP was subject to being completely strategically defeated. If the hsv would not have played with two defensive midfielders but instead with Holtby only on this position, the plan could have worked out. Anyway, the FCSP was able to elicit some promising counter-attacks which however failed because of the own inaccuracies of the FCSP. So, on the one hand there was this enormous mismatch of formations but this did not mean on the other hand that the FCSP was without any chances, especially during the first half. Anyway, the first half remains a half to forget, the hsv appeared as clearly dominating the match and eventually they took the lead, however with a really shitty goal. 

hsv in 2-3-4-1 with own ball possession. FCSP with a classic 4-4-2. But the player orientation and offensive position of Santos caused, that is more a 5-3-2 and therefore very difficult for FCSP.

This 0:1 forced the FCSP to take more risk during the second half and that’s exactly what they did. Finally, one would like to say but quickly it appeared why they did not take this particular risk already during the first half. The FCSP now played a defensive 4-4-2 formation, attacked earlier and was thus able to disturb hsv’s build-up play. This caused a tremendous chaos on the pitch during the first minutes of the second half. But the hsv responded quite well to the changes made by the FCSP and acted very disciplined through instantly applying a defensive line with four players and with less travels of Santos. The more offensive attacking of the FCSP also caused more open spaces for the hsv, which the hsv utilized quite well. Furthermore, the hsv has to be thankful towards Mangala who just knew how to escape the constant pressing of the FCSP. This guy simply is a brilliant footballer. And of course, the more offensive formation of the FCSP in the second half was of benefit for Bakery Jatta who could make use of his enormous speed. Both goals (the 0-2 as well as the 0-3) were initiated through attacks from the left side which was almost completely unmarked (this is however explicitly no critique towards Kalla!) and which was the side on which Santos, Mangala and Jatta played. All these situations did not happen with the defensive formation during the first half. But with the hsv scoring the 0-3, the imaginative plug of the FCSP was almost completely pulled. However, the more offensive positioning of the FCSP was still the right response. There were definitely chances to either score the 1-1 (Myaichi, 46.) or the 1-2 (Allagui, 56.). 

Eventually, the score was 0-4 (and I am still wondering what the heck did Santos search for on the half-right just before the 0-4???). The final result hurts on so many levels and additionally we have to talk about ourselves: 

First things first, I have to admit: I love pyrotechnics. They look marvellous if used within a choreography. However, I would never light such a torch in the stadium myself, as I am too scared to get sued for this. Anyway, I consider pyrotechnics a great form of support and I would like to clearly differentiate the following writing from the general pro/contra discussion about pyrotechnics. From my point of view the match interruptions by Brych were not all reasonable. For sure, if there is fume from the torches all around, you have to wait for the fume to disappear. But does a match really has to be interrupted because of some burning torches on the stands? I do not see any risks for the players or the match or even for the supporters on the stands. However, possibly there are regulations a referee has to follow up on, but I have no idea about that. 

I would also like to talk about boundaries related to the use of pyrotechnics. For example, tracer ammunition or more general pyrotechnics thrown to the pitch clearly cross such boundaries. That’s not okay by any means. The same is true for fire crackers which are too loud and unpredictable. Furthermore, I do not see any equal effect of support compared to torches or smoke bombs. And this is where I want to draw my personal boundary. 

A further boundary should be drawn when a match is tending towards its cancellation. And it doesn’t matter at all, if you share the same concerns as the referee. And if you allow me to raise a wish for further use of pyrotechnics, my wish would be that such technics are only used as part of a choreography but not solitary on its own. Especially not if it has been announced that a match tends towards its cancellation. 

However, this is still all fine with me. I don’t have to embrace such things but I can manage to live with them. Much more difficult for me is to accept the behaviour of certain supporters on the south stand (I’ll later also write about the Gegengerade). This behaviour that has been precisely named as “Mackertum” [which translates to something like the hostile behaviour of blokes] by the Magischer FC-blog before. I was always struggling to accept the hostile behaviour towards any away supporters and I do not know which benefit is provided by such behaviour to the own team? Please, do not get me wrong, teasing each other is definitely part of the game. But does a considerable number of supporters on the south stand really have to spend almost the entire second half on presenting and burning support items taken from supporters of the away team? Furthermore there is this constant Mackertum on the fence. What sort of support is that? Is this support at all or just serving some egoism of the people sitting there? If this is not considered support at all, we should get rid of it. Because it does not serve anyone. Or does anyone really think “Mate, the burning of their stuff clearly defeated them!” or that such behaviour support the own team by any chance? I think some people clearly crossed the boundaries. We, as the FCSP are not known for such things and we should keep it like this. 

That’s why we have to talk. And no, it’s not done by simply standing on the Gegengerade and raising the middle finger towards the own group of supporters or to catcall them. We have to ask ourselves the same question: what kind of support is this? For sure, the Gegengerade cannot stand the glorified comparison to itself to some twenty years earlier. It doesn’t have to either. But whoever is able to catcall and offend the own supporters for minutes could also spend the same amount of energy into the support of the own team. Instead we are fighting each other! During the derby. How dumb is that? Of course, there is frustration involved when the score is 0-3 but to mumble such bloody things such as “F*ck USP” does not prove any knowledge about the own support culture. However, no one has to exactly know every single supporter group on the south stand. I do not know them either. But especially in this case, being offensive towards USP appears short sighted and is definitely not solving any problem. And if anyone spotted the situation in the stadium precisely, he/she should have been able to confirm that such behaviour derived from areas of the stand in which USP is usually not gathering. Nevertheless it is a future task for USP as the leading supporter group on the south stand, to face and fight this increasing Mackertum within the stand. However, this should have been discussed internally and for sure not during a derby. 

Whatever remains is the insight that on both sides, on the pitch as well as on the stands that a lot of work lies ahead of us. For sure, this 0-4 defeat will be presented to us more often than we wish for. Because a derby like this does not occur in every season. And to be honest the current position in the table makes it even more likely that there will be no such derby and a chance for a revenge in the next season. However, from a sportive perspective, an away-win in Sandhausen can somehow mitigate the damage that has been caused to the table by this derby. Forza! // Tim

– Text and pictures Stefan Groenveld: „Zuviel Größenwahn
– Text Magischer FC: „Nachdenklich
– Text Magischer FC: „Dann beginnen wir mal mit dem Reden
– Text and pictures Zaphod Beebleblox: „Die Hölle war schon heißer
– Text Admit Nothing: „Derbydays
– Text Outside Left: „Toxic masculinity“ (English)
– Statement Fanclubsprecherrat
– Text Kiezkicker: „St.Pauli, wir müssen reden