I took a little time writing these lines. After the match on Saturday, I was extensively involved in transforming full glasses into empty ones with visitors from Glasgow. On Sunday I had a brunch with the family (a real challenge considering the many empty glasses on Saturday) and in the afternoon I was baking cookies with my kids and their best friends. In the evening I cooked kale and watched American football. It was necessary to take this distance. A match that really really pissed me off. So, just a brief report. And little tactics, because I don’t feel like dealing with this shit intensively.
St. Pauli loses against Hannover at home with a final score of 0:1. And to be honest, I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t believe what was happening in the second half. It’s not because of the empty glasses from Saturday that I can’t remember any obvious goal-scoring chance we had. There just wasn’t any. To a single one. Of course, it’s not necessary to discuss it, but Hannover only had one. Early, in minute seven. And it caused us to see a horrible match. Really horrible.
While Hannover was able to comfortably settle down in their half of the pitch we had to invest a lot and looked more unsystematic than we had in a long time. But it wasn’t a lack of effort or will. No, Hannover just did a very good job and we seem to have qualitative shortcomings in certain positions, which made it extremely more difficult for us to deal with the leeway.
Hannover did indeed understand how to set the focus in pressing on the right positions. Our central midfielders Mats and Waldi were put under so much pressure. Occasionally there were placed by four opponents. That was poisonous to our game because our approach to get to the outer lanes via our central midfielders was made much more difficult. But it wasn’t that we never managed to get the ball where it was supposed to go. No, we simply didn’t manage to work with the options we were able to create. Be it due to inaccurate passing, wrong positioning or unsuccessful dribblings. That really was hard to bear with.
This aggressive style in their pressing pulled us the teeth, particularly since we didn’t manage to act similarly aggressive. In the aftermath, that’s exactly the point that still massively annoys me. We needed half an hour to realize that we urgently need to resist their extremely aggressive pace. I really wish that someone would lead the way in situations like these. Schulle or Nehrig, they’d just cut in between. Johannes Flum would have done the same yesterday. But he’s injured. We’ll get to that later.
You could easily notice that both teams we’re under huge pressure to finally get a good result again. Avoiding errors was key. Yes, Hannover didn’t put much effort in the attacking game. However, I had the feeling that they wouldn’t have been any more active even if they didn’t score. At least we were able to handle their offensive attempts in turnover situations quite well. So it wasn’t our defensive order that was to blame on Saturday.
Which brings us to the point of taking a closer look into the offensive approaches. If the attacking center is put under so much pressure, as it was done by Hannover, there are actually two options: Right at the front in the center or on the outer lanes.
Upfront in the center, Henk Veerman was pretty much left alone on his post. It wasn’t that the team didn’t feed him with long passes. Caused by the pressure applied on our midfield there were quite some long passes aimed in his direction. But if this variant is the emergency solution for a blocked offensive center, which is the absolute standard for all teams, then it should also be played to the end. In the last season, we had found a reasonable line-up, with one player waiting for the deep offshoot and two others waiting for the second ball, diagonally to the left and right of the targeted player. Nothing of that was to be seen on Saturday. The offensive wingers, Waldi as well as Mats, stuck to their positions and were just too far away from Veerman. As a result, it absolutely didn’t matter if he would win or lose the duel since every second ball went to Hannover anyway.
The second option to counter Hannovers game is the offensive outer lanes. Here it’s all about winning 1-vs-1 duels because due to Hannovers focus on the center there was some space available (at least for a short time until Hannover shifted). While our squad is opulently stocked with more than 30 players, and I’d like to say with players who are to be considered as an upper-tier for the second division. Seriously, Ryo needs a break. He had a great start into the season but it seems his battery seems to be empty. Also, Gyökeres needs a higher pace (about 5km/h) if he’s supposed to fill this position. Sometimes it would be enough if there was a little competitive pressure in the training. They’re both set. But not because of top performances. We simply don’t have any alternatives here. Christian Conteh’s injury is just as bitter as that Luis Coordes had to skip the training for quite some time. Matt Penney, who did play on this position before is injured as well. And we don’t even have to talk about Cenk Sahin. Honestly, some of the players I just mentioned aren’t even part of the optimal line-up. Something’s got to happen. Quickly. Surely every team in the second division noticed how much we got into trouble with our offensive concept when our central offensive midfielders were put under pressure. And as unwilling as I am to write this line, but our approach to winning the second balls must also be trained.
All right, that’s enough of Saturday’s game. Enjoy the Advent calendar. Look forward to the match in Regensburg, because it can only get better after Saturday-
//Tim (translated by Flo)
p.s. This section goes here. It just doesn’t fit into the previous text.
Before the whistle, it got quiet in the stadium. Sabine, Tjark, and Frank said goodbye in the last few days. And only a few days before Gabi, whom I unfortunately never met, said goodbye as well. You’ll read a nice obituary in the magischerfcblog (No link, because their website was down when I was writing these lines.) I have never met Sabine and Tjark either. However, I met Frank Schwolow. When I was visiting a match in Nürnberg, between the drunken crowd, an older gentleman suddenly appeared who somehow seemed to be above things. After a nice conversation and some other short meetings at FCSP training sessions (I didn’t go their often, Frank did), I can tell that Frank was one of the biggest FCSP fans I ever met.
You’ll never walk alone!