Yes, guys, I teased you with the title, didn’t I?! But that’s the way it was tactically. FC St. Pauli got a point against Holstein Kiel. That might not have been expected before the game, but FCSP showed once again that they can play good football and deserved at least this one point.
(Cover picture: imago images/via OneFootball)
It was to be expected that Omar Marmoush would make his starting debut. Guido Burgstaller was not on my list. It’s good that he’s fit enough for the starting eleven again. Accordingly, FCSP could change their system quite clearly and play with two forwards.
The decision who would defend on the right fell to Adam Dźwigała thanks to Daniel Buballa’s announcing that he’s back fit and healthy again. In goal, Dejan Stojanović made a loud and solid debut.
In the course of the game, FC St. Pauli actually formed a midfield diamond, with Becker and Zalazar on the half-right and left respectively, Benatelli on the six and Kyereh on the 10. This had been hinted at more often in previous games (when Kyereh dropped into the centre from the left every now and then), but now it was finally put into practice, probably also due to the available forwards. And this diamond was the heart of FCSP’s game and ensured that they were more than on a par with the current second-placed team.
Holstein Kiel made only one change compared to the last match: Fabian Reese started on the right offensive position. However, Joshua Mees, who had been moved to the bench in his place, was to play an important role after his substitution.
The first half
It started rather hectically. And this hectic on the pitch only ended with the final whistle. FCSP pushed very high whenever Kiel was in ball possession and interfered early (always loudly guided by Timo Schultz). And that had an effect. Holstein Kiel was sure of the ball, but unusually chaotic in the build-up.
This was also due to small but fine tricks of the FCSP: Daniel-Kofi Kyereh, not necessarily known as a defensive monster, marked Kiel’s central defensive midfielder Jonas Meffert completely man-to-man. He did that well (even though Meffert rarely attempted any serious free moves) and it had an enormous effect on Kiel’s play: Jonas Meffert played only 28 passes in the entire match, the fewest ever this season. In the match against Osnabrück a week ago, for example, it was 78 and on average he plays about 50 per 90 minutes (data from WyScout). So with such a simple action, FCSP has already massively disrupted Kiel’s usual game. Sometimes it can be so simple.
Holstein Kiel was noticeably more offensive when Braun-Weiß had the ball than FCSP was the other way round. However, it was not so much a high pressing (i.e. no chasing of the ball) but rather a high blocking of the passing lanes. But the effect of this blocking was limited.
Planned chaos in the centre = Good play system
FCSP’s build-up play always created some sort of danger for the Kiel goal (especially in the first 30 minutes). And there I saw things that gave me lasting encouragement: Philipp Ziereis, for example, who has a fundamentally stable passing game to offer and often outplayed the front row with some overview (in the entire game he brought an almost legendary 75% of his long balls (8/6) to his teammates for FCSP, which would be absolute top for a central defender in a league comparison if he can call it up permanently).
In midfield, I really liked the fact that, apart from Benatelli, the exact positions of the FCSP players were simply not discernible because there was so much rotation. At times, all the midfielders pushed together with Marmoush on one side and thus created good outnumbering situations.
Clearly, FCSP was the better team in the first 45 minutes, clearly dominating the field and unusually confident on the ball. Only Guido Burgstaller and Omar Marmoush should have made something out of the many chances they had. Apart from the 8th minute (triple chance Marmoush / Becker / Marmoush), however, they were unfortunately not quite compelling chances. Holstein Kiel only developed danger when they managed to change sides in midfield. Due to the FCSP’s midfield line, these were the only free spaces that FCSP offered.
Nevertheless, it went into half-time with a 0-0 score. Once again, FC St. Pauli could not convert their superiority in the field into a score in the first half. I thought to myself during the break that I would exactly know what would happen next, but it turned out differently…
The second half
In contrast to some previous games in the season so far, FCSP was able to maintain their level and defensive stability, although Holstein Kiel came on stronger at the beginning of the second 45 minutes.
In my opinion, this was due to the fact that Kiel played around the centre and the assigned Meffert a bit more by positioning Alexander Mühling a bit further out on the right side. This challenged FCSP’s back three a bit more than in the first half.
But FCSP showed once again that they can do one thing really well when attitude and positioning are right: Transition play.
That’s how the 1-0 came about and a short time later, Marmoush almost scored the second goal. Guys, there are players where you can get the opinion of 20 experts and you still won’t be sure whether they are a good kicker or not. With Omar Marmoush, you don’t need 20 scouts, you don’t even need an expert: the talent, the class of him literally jumps out at you. A clear player who can make a difference. (Twitter)
But Marmoush didn’t score the 2-0, instead Holstein Kiel equalised through substitute Joshua Mees. His header left him quite exposed on the five-yard line between Buballa and Ziereis. For me, the fact that Mees is so free is a classic problem of a lack of coordination between the two players. Someone has to go there. Very annoying, because being behind forced Kiel to invest more. The spaces to counterattack would have inevitably opened up. And we had already seen that FCSP were good at that on that day.
In the following, the intensity remained high, but it was noticeable that both teams did not take any risks. And FCSP were also aware that they were playing their third game in six days. Nevertheless, it was FC St. Pauli who tried a little harder to make three points out of one. But the longer the game lasted, the less precise the actions became.
Personally, I saw three situations in the Kiel penalty area that probably wouldn’t have been taken back if the penalty whistle had gone, but okay, we have to live with it.
In the end, it’s “only” a point. In terms of the course of the game, FCSP would certainly have deserved the three points a bit more.
Keep moving forward! (and keep it up!)
When you see games like this, you really wonder how it is possible that FCSP offers so little in terms of play in other games. I really hope that this performance, this greed and this attitude can somehow be conserved. Of course, such a performance is then also due to the fact that players like Marmoush and Burgstaller have moved into the team. You have to be honest with yourself: There’s a lot more power up front.
This one point against Kiel, who knows what it could be worth again, even though we lost two points to direct rivals at least this weekend. There are still 19 games left for 30 points (then we’ll have reached 40 points). That’s a really high goal and we absolutely have to win, there’s no alternative. The game against Kiel was encouraging. You could see that a much better points tally is not unattainable!
// Tim (translated by Arne)