FC St. Pauli wins again against Hansa Rostock. And how! As in the home games before, the game was already decided in the middle of the 2nd half. Although there was still room for improvement, FCSP was too strong for a weak Rostock team. The decisive factor was not only that FCSP was once again superior in terms of play, but also that they produced impressive numbers in terms of tackles.
(Cover picture: Peter Böhmer)
As expected, FC St. Pauli’s starting line-up was changed in only one position: Maximilian Dittgen came in for Christopher Buchtmann. As a result, Daniel-Kofi Kyereh moved to the ten-man position. Fortunately, Leart Paqarada, who had knee problems during the week, could also start.
Compared to the previous game against Sandhausen, a lot has changed at Hansa Rostock. The line-up changed three times: For Ridge Munsy, the suspended Calogero Rizzuto and Simon Rhein, Kevin Schuhmacher, Jonathan Meier and Björn Rother came into the game.
Hansa also changed their formation (again). This was not surprising, as Hansa coach Härtel likes to adapt his formation to the opponents anyway. Against FC St. Pauli, he opted for a 3-3-3-1 at the start but switched to a 4-1-4-1 after just 20 minutes.
Conversion – Adaptation – Conversion – Adaptation
The first minutes of the game were chaotic. Both teams pressed hard and wanted to set a first scent mark right at the beginning. Rostock succeeded a little better. But I doubt whether this was due to a good division of space. All the players on the pitch were too chaotic and restless. The first chance, created from several second balls, came from John Verhoek. It should have been a kind of wake-up call for FCSP. A short time later, Jackson Irvine scored the 1:0 after a successful attack. Successful because the ball could be moved in the last third and the centre-focused defence of Rostock was put into motion. Hansa Rostock’s left side, which had been completely reshuffled, did not look quite as successful. With the early goal, FC St. Pauli got off to a perfect and almost customary start.
Shortly after the lead, FC St. Pauli made a change. Because Rostock’s 3-3-3-1 was somehow exciting and not necessarily to expect to FCSP’s pressing. As a first reaction to the build-up play with three centre-backs, Daniel-Kofi Kyereh pushed forward so that the three Rostock players could be tackled directly. However, this resulted in an enormous amount of space in the centre. Björn Rother simply had no direct opponent, as Afeez Aremu did not (yet) advance from the six-man position in the pressing.
However, Rostock did not know how to use the space in the first ten minutes in the build-up and shortly after the lead, FC St. Pauli made a direct change: Kyereh now acted man-oriented on Rother and the forward duo Dittgen/Burgstaller first closed down the space and later pushed up in coordination to direct the ball to one side.
Hansa coach Härtel reacted to FCSP’s change after just over 20 minutes by breaking up the three-man backline and forming his team into a 4-1-4-1. Lukas Fröde moved one position forward, as did Björn Rother. Jonathan Meier moved from left midfield back to the full-back position. However, the set-up with three players behind the ball was not completely dead, as Fröde fell between the two centre-backs from time to time.
After just over half an hour, a good ten minutes after Hansa Rostock had switched to a 4-1-4-1, Timo Schultz again called on his players to run at Rostock with three players when the opportunity arose. And this time it was also noticeable that Aremu pushed forward more clearly. This made FCSP’s pressing a little more effective.
Having the ball is not the same as wanting the ball
The consequence of this not quite clear and then partly a very wait-and-see pressing variant of FC St. Pauli was a lot of possession for Rostock. 57% in the first half. That was no problem for FCSP in view of the lead. In fact, it was more of an advantage because Rostock, apart from last week against Sandhausen, is simply not used to shaping the game. How unaccustomed this is could then be seen in the course of the first half. Rostock tried, again and again, to shift the game from the centre of defence. The idea was to play into a superior number by having both outfield players push into the goal area. FC St. Pauli, however, was quite unimpressed or well prepared and pushed quickly with two men into the shift.
FCSP’s second goal is also well played out, but also very weakly defended by Rostock. Again it is a shift that causes the disorder. Again, the offensive players are completely blank in the Rostock penalty area. So while FC St. Pauli took a 2:0 lead with their first two offensive actions, nothing came from Hansa Rostock despite having a lot of possession. The intended shifts were mostly attempted but were sometimes hard to beat in terms of sluggishness. “Dude, that’s absolutely nothing what the Rostock team is offering” is what I wrote in my notes on the first half.
Apart from the two goals, this was also partly true for FC St. Pauli and their offensive efforts. The ball was won many times and in good positions. But the team made relatively little out of these transition moments, given the space Rostock gave them.
What was pleasing, however, was how FC St. Pauli organised their build-up play. In contrast to previous games, the two centre-backs were given a lot of space and time by the opponent. So they could either dribble in themselves or, in central midfield, the players rotated out of the opponents’ guard and were easily playable. This rarely worked as well (and was so easy?) as against Rostock. But FCSP also created few scoring opportunities from the spaces that were available there. It’s almost paradoxical, but I think there’s still room for improvement in FCSP’s offensive play, despite another four goals. This can also be seen on the pitch when the players themselves are annoyed about inaccurate passes and wrong running routes. What will it be like when they unleash their full power?
Miracle values in the duel statistics
FC St. Pauli against Hansa Rostock is a special game. A game in which all fans wish or rather expect their team to put everything into it, especially physically, to go into every duel with full commitment, to run every necessary metre until nothing more is possible. FC St. Pauli succeeded in this: Only one player on the pitch (with more than 30min playing time) won less than two-thirds of his defensive duels (Maximilian Dittgen won “only” 50%). All other players have considerably higher rates. FCSP has won just under 3 out of 4 duels (more precisely: 74%). That is a very good rate. Even the highest of the season, although the team was already enormously strong in duels in the last games.
More importantly, I would even go so far as to call it game-changing: FC St. Pauli also won over 60% of their offensive duels. Here, a rate of just under 40% is “normal” for any team. Anything above that is really good. You very rarely see 50%. But yesterday’s 61%, holy cow, that’s mighty.
If you turn the page, the result is, of course, a shocking one for Hansa Rostock. With Verhoek and Meier, there were only two players who won more than half of their defensive duels. To put it mildly, what Hansa offered in terms of physicality was absolutely unacceptable.
What John Verhoek did in the 26th minute is also unacceptable. It is absolutely unclear to me why this was not assessed as an assault. The ball is gone, the tempo is completely out of the action and Verhoek makes extra metres so that he can ram his shoulder against Jakov Medić’s jaw. A very pathetic foul that immediately makes me lose all respect.
However, Jakov Medić only seemed to be spurred on by this action. Twice he straddles the ball with his head(!). And the way he rushed back after a standard at the end of the first half and successfully straddled the ball in front of the Gegengerade: madness. It had something of the Brunnemann tackle that we mentioned in our article on the history of this duel. Once again, a very strong performance by Medić.
2nd half: No goal? – Then let’s turn it up a notch!
When I write that I had the feeling that FC St. Pauli didn’t deliver everything offensively in the first half, I mean exactly what we saw for a short time in the second half. After the goal in the 50th minute, which was rightly taken back, it seemed as if the team was spurred on by exactly that. The ten minutes until 3-0 were a demonstration of offensive strength.
The game is decided and over with the third goal. From then on, Hansa Rostock positioned themselves very deep and tried to manage the deficit so that it would not end in complete disaster for them. However, this was not successful, as Simon Makienok proved shortly after his substitution that he can also score dirty centre-forward goals. Two goals against HSV, now one against Rostock. If he also scores against Dresden on Wednesday, he should finally become the collector of FC St. Pauli’s lost hearts.
Front runner, No.1 in the city, cog sunk – “that’s not my Pauli anymore”.
3:0, 3:2, 2:0, 4:1, 3:0, 4:0 – FC St. Pauli’s results in their home games so far are impressive. The sixth home win in a row means that the team remains at the top of the table. The dominance that FC St. Pauli is putting up this season, especially at home, almost leaves me speechless. Once again, the game was already decided midway through the second half, so players like Paqarada were spared and Etienne Amenyido was able to get his first minutes. What really baffles me is that it is usually the opponents who resign. They don’t even try to catch up anymore. They try not to concede six or seven goals. FC St. Pauli doesn’t even have to put its game into administration mode. The opponents do that themselves, almost submissively.
Yet for a long time, it was ourselves! Most of the time, we went away from home, lost 0:3 and were ultimately happy that the opponent didn’t score half a dozen goals. The current run is quite surreal for me because it seems to be turning things on its head. The constant destruction of their own options by the team offering complete grit after good performances, giving away games they thought were safe, away defeats, lower mediocrity and complete refusal to play – I had become so used to all this. Now the exact opposite seems to be the case. Fittingly, it’s Dresden on Wednesday for a place in the last 16 of the DFB Cup. What a time to be a St. Pauli fan!
Keep moving forward!
//Tim (translation by Arne)
(Unless otherwise marked, all statistics are from Wyscout)