Working Class Heroes

I didn’t plan to write a blog post. I really didn’t. I planned to spend Sunday’s evening within the Redzone and with listening to the singing talents of Fabian Klos’ girlfriend at The Voice of Germany. (Really!). But the FCSP somehow put a spoke in my wheel. Every one of us does exactly know how matches around noon against Sandhausen/Heidenheim/Ingoldstadt/Aalen/Regensburg are usually turning out: crappy for us. Instead, the FCSP showed a top-notch performance, played brilliant football, particularly during the first half and thus quasi forced me to re-watch the match again in the evening for an analysis. Goodbye The Voice, goodbye Redzone, hello Millerntor!

But first of all, I want to dedicate my dearest respect to those who fought the bloody rain and instead aimed to block a demonstration of some fucked-up Nazis. 800 counter-demonstrators vs. some 60 fruitloops is a great turn out. I am quite ashamed that I didn’t manage to join them, but I am extremely proud at the same time that there are still enough people to block Nazis regardless of the weather etc. Respect! Keep on doing so!

For sure, one of the most beautiful choreographies which I have ever seen at the Millerntor.

Before the match, another smile was triggered in my face due to the stadium’s playlist which played “Working Class Hero“ by John Lennon. If intended or not, in my opinion, this was a nice gesture towards the suburbs, which recently aimed to mimic a working-class club (a club, hahaha). And as we are just focusing on all the other stuff: Everyone who did throw a beaker yesterday is sincerely invited to join our next episode of the Millernton podcast. Yes, we’re talking about you, you dumbass! Please, bring your plastic beaker so that we can throw it in your face. We are looking forward to seeing you!

However, I wasn’t really in the mood for a joke before the match. I was rather worried that we were facing a really hard-to-crack nut with the SV Sandhausen. Th best defence of the division. This was for sure because the same backline of four was on the pitch for the ninth competitive match in a row. This is honestly said something we could only dream about. All in all, there are only three players of Sandhausen currently injured and thus not in the squad. On our side, including the just-injured Brodersen (by the way: get well soon!) we have 12 injured players by now.

And nevertheless, it was just as usual for this season: The FCSP started with a nearly perfect match plan into the match. I do not know the internal arrangements and duties in detail, but I am pretty sure that there’s a relation between the topping-up of the department of match-analyses during the summer and the great turn out of the match plans. I would claim that except for the match against Kiel, the FCSP was the much better team during every first half of every single home match of the season. A fact that I clearly ascribe to the team of managers. Let it go on like this.

The FCSP started with Sobota instead of Conteh and Gyökeres instead of Diamantakos and Buballa substituted Lawrence as a central defender. Almost similar to the derby, the FCSP played a sort of a 5-3-2 formation against the ball, in which the wingers focused the opponent’s fullbacks. And it was also a sort of a 5-3-2 as Diekmeier was highly positioned when the SVS was in ball possession so that Sobota was forced to join the last line of four. Gyökeres was often joined by Mats in the first pressing line. If the situation allowed it, it was also Knoll sometimes who instead of Mats formed the first line. 
Most of the time, the SVS did not take a lot of risks and tried to play long balls to their striker Behrens, who was for a long time the only player of the SVS in the front.

Ballpossesion of Sandhausen. The FCSP acted with a highly variable formation in which either Knoll or (mostly) Möller Daehli formed the first line together with Gyökeres. Behind this first line, a line of three was formed frequently as Sobota marked Diekmeier man-to-man.

Behrens was mostly well guarded by Östigard of whose way to solve duels I was highly impressed. The performance of this guy was simply phenomenal yesterday. And while I was particularly praising the performance of Daniel Buballa during the derby, it was this time Leo Östigard who went to the front and whose performance acted as a role model for the team. Hence, the SVS could not really make use of their ball possession for most of the time. With the substitution of Bouhaddouz, the pressure when long balls were played could be slightly raised during the second half, however, I would rather name it a ‘crowbar method’ than a well-thought-through system, when the SVS was in ball possession. And thus, my description of the offensive attempts of the opponent is coming to a premature end.

This is the 5-3-2.

So let’s finally get to the things which simply enrich my life: brilliant football. The FCSP acted with a nice-to-watch rotation in the centre. And exactly this rotation did cause a huge mess on Sandhausen’s side. It is by now no longer an untypical picture of the play of the FCSP when Marvin Knoll moves towards the front and joins the attacking line. And this time against Sandhausen, Luhukay did literally carry Knoll too far. If he couldn’t be found at a central position in a defending formation, I would claim that he is a striker now. And Knoll and Gyökeres were frequently joined by Mats and on the very right flank by Miyaichi. Thus, a happy line of four was formed at the front which forced Sandhausen’s defending line of four and some other players to stay behind (and except for Ryo, this line also showed a lot of movements – Gyökeres did move to the flanks plenty of times: that suits him very well).

Yes, it is Sobota who is just carrying the ball on the defensive midfielder’s position. And Marvin Knoll is actually one of the two strikers. And Ryo is positioned on the very outer flank so that he couldn’t even make it into the picture.

The real party was then happening behind the attacking line: When in ball possession, Waldemar Sobota was dropping into the centre and sometimes even on to the 6 and was changing back and forth with Becker until one of them could receive a pass and initiate an attack. Anyway, there was an immense rotation happening in the centre as also Mats and Knoll were not positioned in the front line for the entire time. And when these rotation moves were initiated against each other (for example when Knoll moved from the 8 to the front and Sobota dropped to the 6), this eventually lead to a lot of confusion in Sandhausen’s defending order and thus created a lot of space for our players. I did not watch any of the other matches of Sandhausen before the match but if they usually act with a man-to-man orientation in their centre, this was exactly the right answer to their system.
Additionally, the FCSP presented themselves enormously improved in their combination play with very short moments of holding the ball and a great triangle play, especially on the right side (hey, Ryo, you’re doing great!) Freude schöner Fussballzauber (*Wordplay of Beethovens Ode to Joy, would translate to something like “simply enjoying football magic”), this is our FC St. Pauli.

Many arrows. Difficult to show the movements of the FCSP players in a graphic. Knoll and MMD often moved to the top, while Sobota acted as six in the build-up and Becker moved a bit to the left. And then all four players made different rotation movements. What’s certain is that Ryo was on the far outside and Himmelmann in goal.

And so, the only thing the FCSP could be blamed for is that they did not aim for an early match decision. Some system adjustments were made for the second half in which Mats moved to the left flank where he waited for the ball. This was probably no order of the managers but rather his deep affection for the Gegengerade which made him chose this side. Yes, we love you too, Mats! Especially, if you’re capable to conjure such a football on the turf. Well, an expected goals-value of 3.3 (1.7 for the SVS) definitely speaks volumes. But as the SV Sandhausen and its crowbar-method were also able to elicit some promising chances it could have turned critical at some stage. But it didn’t. We keep the points because we can. Fantastic, guys!

The longed-for test of character, on an early Sunday afternoon under challenging weather conditions against an (I am very sorry!) opponent who is not really capable to raise my pulse noticeably, was impressively won by our team. The base for this is work, honest work. Just real Working Class Heroes. And so the FCSP is nothing less but the team of the moment. And we will ride that wave now. Yes, but up to where actually?

//Tim (translated by @Parneq)

Beautiful pictures as usual by Stefan Groenveld: A sovereign win

All the other stuff including some more information on the choreography before the second half can, as usual, be found better and with more detail at the communist’s propaganda medium of the FCSP: The fourteen who were washing up the dishes (Unfortunately, in German only).
More information on missing derby stickers and further enlightenment about derby curses can be found at Beebleblox: Almost a series…

p.s. A few more words about the SV Sandhausen: After a good start into the season with an absolute stable defence and a lot of points there’s now a little negative series starting. For sure, the three millions of Euros for Förster (who was transferred to the VfB Stuttgart shortly before the transition period came to an end) are an amount of money which could not be denied by the club (especially as the player was really keen to transfer to Stuttgart). Anyway, it appears as he’s missing, especially if the results before and after the transfer are taken into account. And only because I really like to listen to the VdS/NdS-podcasts with Stefan, I hope that the club will be able to close the gap which was caused by this transfer.

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