Pre-match report: FC St. Pauli – Hamburg SV (Matchday 23, 20/21)

Pre-match report: FC St. Pauli – Hamburg SV (Matchday 23, 20/21)

Monday, 1st of March 2021, 20.30 – Time for another chapter in the history of the town championship.

If you fancy some more information about the match, please listen to the VdS of Michael with Marco (in German language only) or read the history of the town championship (also in German only).

FC St. Pauli: Who is able to play, who misses out?

There aren’t any changes compared to the previous weeks. The staffing situation has even further improved a little bit. At the pre-match press conference, Timo Schultz reported that beside the just out of surgery Christopher Avevor, both long-term injured Ryō Miyaichi and Christopher Buchtmann will miss out. For some time, Buchtmann has re-joined team-training and even though he isn’t an option for the derby yet, he’s at least back at the (training-) pitch.

Luckily, Schultz also reported that Finn Ole Becker could re-join the full team training. This hadn’t been the case for every unit of last week and so I started to worry who could possibly substitute him.

Hamburg SV: Who is able to play, who misses out?

All of the players currently missing are belonging to the defence. HSV-manager Daniel Thioune reported at the pre-match press conference that Toni Leistner and Klaus Gjasula will again miss the match. Also, Amadou Onana will miss out (pity!) because he was sent off the pitch in Würzburg after receiving his second yellow card.

Back from his match suspension is Stephan Ambrosius. Also, Rick van Drongelen, who was a key figure in both duels last season, is back on deck and could actually be playing.

Daniel-Kofi Kyreh and Aaron Hunt could meet again in the second leg. (c) Peter Böhmer

What’s on offer from HSV?

Many would like to attribute a sporting crisis to HSV. This is true if you just look at the results from the last matches (only two points out of the last three matches).

However, by just looking at the results, it’s easily neglected that HSV was the absolute better team at both draws against Aue and Fürth. However, the loss against Würzburg was actually a worrisome performance. But to attribute a crisis out of that is IMHO far too much.

To briefly sum it up, HSV is amongst the best teams of the division. Based on the xG-values, they have the fifth best forward section (FCSP is currently at fourth) and the best defence throughout the season.

And if you think that their offensive isn’t that strong, just keep in mind that they score far more goals than expected according to their xG.

Their defensive strength is also reflected by the Instat-index: After 20 matchdays, there are five defensive players of HSV amongst the Top10 ranking of the best players of the second division. It’s no surprise that according to this ranking the HSV is the best team of the division.

What contributes to their defensive strength?

There are two things contributing:


1. HSV is by far the strongest team in the division when it comes to defensive duels (65% of won duels – a really good value)
2. HSV seldom loses any balls (the second least value of the division to be precise – and nevertheless or because of this, with 59.3% HSV has the highest value with regards to ball possession in the division.) – this causes only very little transition play moments for the opponents.

And offensive wise, it’s rather class than mass which makes HSV the best offensive of the division based on the number of goals scored (so far already 48). But with 243 shots on target HSV is at rank 13 only, but they also have the second fewest shots on goal outside the box, so they choose their finishing places quite precisely. This is also clearly demonstrated by the fact that HSV had the most ball contacts in the opponents box in their books.

Formed a powerful defence and an effective offense at HSV: manager Daniel Thioune
(Martin Rose/Getty Images/via OneFootball)

Some weeks ago, I emphasised that the FCSP was the most powerful team of the division when it comes to dribbling. Meanwhile, they lost this rank – to the HSV. The neighbour won almost 58% of its duels in this regard.

But it’s not just the dribbling that hinders stopping their offensive: HSV is a true pass-monster the closer they approach their opponent’s goal. Despite having the highest rate of ball possession and being the second-highest team to play passes in general, the HSV is rather reluctant to play long passes but prefers to rather play short passes. And they do so pretty successfully the closer they come to their opponent’s goal: Almost 9 passes per match are played successfully in the opponent’s goal vicinity, the highest rate of the division.

Which players are responsible for this?

I already named the players who are responsible for the strong defence. When it comes to the offense, there are first and foremost Sonny Kittel and Bakery Jatta: Kittel, especially strong in this season, is thereby involved in plenty of passes (he’s leading when it comes to “deep completions”, amongst the top10 with regards to interface passes, Top 5 in terms of assists and Top5 when outplaying chains). Jatta, on the other hand, is rather successful through dribbling (he’s involved in more than six dribblings per match and wins 67% of them (top3)). And if you clicked on the link to the index-values, you will know already: there were six of ten HSV-players listed at the top10 of the division. Next to five defensive players there was also Bakery Jatta.

And in front of him, there’s Simon Terodde, who has with 0.89 goals per match an identical rate to Guido Burgstaller (xG of 0.75) and he’s scored 19 times already during this season. In the first leg, he actually shot both goals for HSV.


I could also sing a hymn about the 8 position (at least offensive-wise) or the right defensive flank which is dangerously well covered by Gyamera and Vagnoman. Or I could simply name Moritz Heyer.

Instead, I rather point at Sven Ulreich. Because at wyscout, he’s listed on rank 18 of 22 goalies with a -0.21 value on prevented goals per 90 minutes. Purely based on the statistics, he will be the weak spot of the otherwise really strong team of HSV which is deservedly amongst the top-notch teams of the division.

Possible Line-ups

Let’s be quick: Unless there are any injuries on short notice, the FC St Pauli won’t change their starting eleven.

At HSV, due to the suspension of Onana, there has to be a change in the line-up. And because of the fact that the 3-4-2-1 formation which lost 2:3 against Würzburg didn’t deliver the expected result, a return to the previously performed 4-3-3 will be more than likely.

In general, I have a rather hard time when I imagine the midfield diamond of the FCSP against this formation. Because the FCSP has to block the wings somehow. The so far played pressing won’t be enough when HSV will form a triangle, for example with Gyamerah, Dudziak and Jatta (because there’re only Paqarada and Zalazar as opponents). The FCSP has either position their forwards widely to block the wing-backs or the FCSP wing-backs have to move up towards HSV’s wing-backs (and the rest has to follow). This demands a good tuning and is thus a little risky but otherwise, I see the half-spaces completely lost for the FCSP.

But formations, so far shown performances and the current status are all playing a subordinated role in a derby only. And I don’t have to motivate anybody anyhow, don’t I?
Hamburg is and remains brown-white!


//Tim (translated by Arne)

(if not marked separately, all statistic used sourced from wyscout)

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