And one time, in the derby in this town…

There are match reports about which you are so afraid by just thinking that you might get asked to write them. And there are days as today where they almost write themselves.
(Title photo: 
Peter Boehmer)

The morning

To meet at the home ground at around 8.30 am sounds as if there’s an away trip to North Rhine Westphalia planned when you’re again playing in the Bundesliga and kick-off is at 3.30 pm.
Or to travel to an away match in the same city by foot if the ground is close to the city centre.
Or when you have to combine walking and taking the subway if the match is about to happen close to the waste incineration plant.

Alike the year before, we had to get up early, but this time joined by Hamburg’s best weather, to get to the terraces of the south stand to warm-up our vocal cords. The standing section was completely full so some even had to use the seating area. What a great start. 

Again, we walked to the Landungsbrücken where we took the train to Othmarschen from where we hiked to the Volkspark. I would assume there were even more people joining than the year before, anyway, it was an impressive march.

The police were joining our march with staff numbers, similar to those of small states when staffing for the next ten years. However, everything remained relaxed and easy. …even with some pyro used on the way and with a dumbass red pant raising his right arm to a Nazi salute while team green was standing next to him as cool as cucumber.

However, the situation at the turnstiles remains a piece of shit at the neighbour’s ground. And it also didn’t help that the turnstiles were closed in panic when there was some turmoil inside the stadium.

This turmoil happened just after the pen finished sorting itself when some 50-100 (difficult to tell) hooded men approached the visitors stands from the home stands. Actually, I (Maik) think, a few years ago, this would have caused fright and panic within the FCSP-pen and I am glad that these times are gone now without endorsing any form of violence. I hope I will never be forced to witness a panic within the own stand including fleeing persons into the upper stands. In this case, the attack was clearly triggered by the home supporters and was resolutely defended before the police took over within moments.
In the following, pyro was shot in the direction of the visitor stands two times which exploded above our heads but without causing any harm. It might have looked more dangerous than it actually was.
Additionally, pepper spray was used frequently inside the stadium and with the supporting winds inside the ground, it traveled quite a distance. 

Speaking of violence: The attack against a restaurant at the Großneumarkt the evening before is crap. I have little doubt that the respective hsv supporters deserved it but the fun is over when uninvolved are also attacked. Just imagine the two pregnant women amongst the other visitors (NDR) of the restaurant would have gotten into trouble.
(Note: Whoever is familiar with the „Geschichten aus dem Paulianer-Garten“-stickers of the neighbours would also have giggled about the „Geschichten aus dem Paulaner-Garten“-banner. And this is not contradictory to the earlier paragraph. [*Translators note: “Geschichten aus dem Paulaner Garten is a series of TV advertisements by the Paulaner brewery in Germany which was used as a pun on the stickers clearly intending to take the piss on us]) 

The match

Finally! Finally! Finally, Henk Veerman and Dimitrios Diamantakos were in the starting line-up together. Finally, we had these combined horsepowers in the offensive section on the pitch. But the FCSP does not only win because there were two strikers of outstanding class playing in the front but also due to an unbelievable passion and some smart tactical changes during the course of the match.

The FCSP played with a backline of three and two strikers against the hsv. This is worth news anyway. The positions of the wing-backs were performed by Miyaichi and Penney, whereas the start of the latter one was a little surprise. But only a little one, as the position of the wing-back demands a lot of speed and in our team, there are only three players able to play this position  (Miyaichi, Zander and as stated: Penney). But as Zanders is rather right-footed, Penney was the choice of the day.
Didn’t we write in Friday’s Lage that Hannover 96 was able to cause some trouble to the HSV the week before by playing a  3-1-4-2 formation (a formation we already played in the first leg of the season)? Yes, and that’s why we simply rubbed some more salt into their wound and started with a similar formation again.
This specifically meant that the centre of the HSV, i.e. the central defensive midfielder Jung and the double-eight played by Hunt and Schaub were entirely marked man-to-man. Additionally, thanks to our two strikers, the deep running paths of the central defenders were blocked which was causing some more issues for our defence in the first leg.

However, this worked only part which is still a flattering description. The HSV started incredibly good and within the first ten minutes, they were able to elicit some very promising situations. How did they manage to do that?
Through a sound but also very simply positioning play: Due to the deep positioning of Penney and Miyaichi, who were both acting on the same line as our three central defenders in the beginning, combined with the consistent man-to-man marking in the centre, the movement to the flanks of both HSV’s eights caused very open half-spaces which invited the HSV’s full-backs to relaxedly enter these spaces with the ball on their feet. So, due to our own formation, we offered these areas of the pitch. Actually, every decent attack of the HSV during the first half was initiated by a run into a half-space of a HSV full-back.

If only one of these promising attacks of the HSV during this phase would have ended with a goal, it could have become a horrible afternoon. 
This subjunctive is simply fantastic!

The basic formation of the FCSP at the beginning of the match (left) and since the end of the first half (right). 

And in the very middle of this flourishing phase of the HSV there was this scene which appeared as taken straight out of a movie:

„Run… Pass… Pass… PASS!!! 
Shoot… Shoot!!! Finish it!!!!! 

This is exactly what was mumbled a thousand times in the visitor stands during the 20th minute. 

Yepp, this is the moment where you realize within milliseconds why you did embark on a hike to Mordor on a rainy February day. The visitor stands imploded from one moment to the other, experienced the absolute ecstasy, while shock waves were lingering and some of us realised after years that they are not a pile of metal but a thing with real feelings. How Henk placed himself with arms wide open in front of the blustering mass after he scored the goal… was simply magically.

By the way, despite Henk, despite Leo, despite Buballa, we, the Millernton, would like to nominate Rick van Drongelen as FCSP’s best player of the season. Own goal in the first leg and a very badly fought duel before the first goal in the second leg. What a performance!

Immediately after the 1-0, only little changed. Besides the fact that we could score the second goal very quickly. Well, that’s definitely a way how to deal with it. And this 2-0 was a clear and effective hit against the HSV which we somehow couldn’t utilize. Becker had another clear chance during this phase.
But shortly after exactly this had happened, Becker was substituted. Nothing was pointing at an injury. Furthermore, there must have been tactical reasons for this substitution. At least, the FCSP changed its formation at the end of the first half. Because the rather open half-spaces were now better covered by Penney and Miyaichi who left the back-line and positioned themselves a bit further up. This caused a movement of Buballa and Ohlsson towards the respective flank. So this could have been the reason why Luhukay substituted someone for the centre who could drop into the back-line of three as another central defender (and Knoll is definitely the better option for this job compared to Becker/Sobota/Benatelli). But this is only my interpretation (Tim).

Eventually, since the second half, the formation of the HSV was almost completely mirrored by the FCSP. And this caused a massive disturbance of the controlled build-up play of the HSV. However, this mirroring only works out well if you win the duel situations or that if you lose them, you’re willing to run the extra meters to close the gaps again. No further question asked this worked particularly well during the second half.

Another role was played by the VAR. It was first a rather bad one because if Benatellis header wouldn’t have been disallowed, the match would have been over at an early stage… This view was apparently shared by some 3000 spectators from the home stands who left their seating sections and embarked on the “Hamburger Weg” in this second and who might not have got the information that the goal was disallowed (because Ryo was offside… doesn’t matter). 

But another magical moment happens when you witness that your team is scoring a goal in the derby, and in a moment of pure joy, you climb on the fence with a flare in your hand, ignite it … when Manuel Gräfe is raising his arm rather relaxed to signpost that the goal was scored with a handball involved while the nasty music from Mallorca is still playing in the back and the only thing for you to do is to search for a bucket of sand to extinguish your flare. 
Priceless. What a douchebag.
And there is even more fun involved when the away stands simply keep on singing the Scooter-goal-hymn… something you have to experience yourself. 
„Heeeheeeeheeeja, oooohoooh, auf geht’s Hamburg!“

And this leads us to the most important fact of the day: the tremendous will. It was really impressive to see how the FCSP was fighting for every single inch on the pitch, threw themselves into every flank, every shot and how everybody was giving everything they had for each other. You can barely highlight a single player then. The derby win was the epitome of successful team performance. Both on the pitch and the terraces. Damn, that there’s no chance to preserve it.

To come to an end and to add something to our poetry album, please find some photos and reports from the everyday life in the office attached.

And one more thing to remind you: There are HSV-supporters of full age by now who never witnessed a single goal of their professional’s team against the boys in brown (Edit:  at a home match) in the Volkspark ground, the last time they scored against us was back in 2001. (Some statistic nerds will now remind us of some U23-matches during regional league matches but this is why we wrote “professional’s team” in the first place. And amongst them, there’s no one still visiting U23 matches.)
And as a pleasant side effect, we managed to realise that no St. Pauli supporter has to celebrate its first birthday without a single away win. Since March 2019 in Paderborn, it was the first time to celebrate a win away if you neglect the cup match in Lübeck.

We will link the press conference and certainly another thousand articles about the win in tomorrow’s “Lage article”, so let’s end with a quote:

“Nothing happened besides we lost the derby.” 

Aaron Hunt, captain

We don’t need to wonder which team had the greater playing system and approach. But in matches like these, other capabilities count. It might sound odd, but on our side, we celebrated (alike the first leg) every tackle and the commitment of each player. We got four yellow cards (HSV: nil). And when you’re reading a quote like the above, you don’t have to ask any further questions. From the captain. In the derby. If Daniel Buballa would give such a statement after a defeat then I (flippa) would bite into my keyboard straight away. Instead, he tackled, shaved the opponent, collected a yellow card but now he is a derby winner.

The way back.

It was rather relaxed and having the final result in mind it was rather cautious. Pure smiling faces and rather calm discussions about Henk, the VAR, Østigård, Penney, Buballa and all the others.

When we arrived at the Landungsbrücken, the cops in their service manner started to bring the different tourist parties into an order for one more time (=Kettling) but that was the last thing to report. The rest was “being simply happy”.

With this in mind, everyone:

Immer weiter vor, (Keep on pushing to the front,) 
schießt für uns ein Tor, (score a goal for us) 
im Derby dieser Stadt, (in this town’s derby) 
machen wir die Raute platt! (we’ll defeat the Volkspark bastards!)

Traditional song from Northern Germany, origin unknown

// flippa, Tim & Maik (translated by Arne)

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