1. FC Nuremberg – FC St. Pauli 2:3- Where there is a will, there are 3 points!

1. FC Nuremberg – FC St. Pauli 2:3- Where there is a will, there are 3 points!

“Here in Franconia, we’ll play you to the wall!” – Well, not quite played against the wall, but FC St. Pauli got the three points anyway. It was a gripping game in which FC St. Pauli won through two early goals and one goal at the right time. It was a question of willpower, especially in the 2nd half, and less dependent on whether tactical systems worked out. With 32 points now, FC St. Pauli remains top of the league. That feels pretty good.
(Cover picture: Peter Böhmer)

You can find an analysis worth reading from the point of view of 1. FC Nuremberg at clubfans-united.
You can also listen to Casche’s “After the match” interview with Flo Zenger, who discusses the game in a very well-founded way. (Both in German language only)

The line-up

FC St. Pauli made two changes compared to the successful match against Sandhausen: Jackson Irvine started for Finn Ole Becker in the half position. I can only speculate, but perhaps the physicality was the deciding factor here (the second half would show how important that was).
In the attack, Igor Matanović replaced target player Simon Makienok. He was not even in the squad. Since all the strikers in the squad are currently fit, such blatant decisions are likely to occur in the next few games. Against Sandhausen, Etienne Amenyido was not in the squad, now Makienok was (Update: According to Sky, Makienok was absent due to knee problems – thanks for the information!) Apart from Burgstaller and Kyereh, there are likely to be further hardship cases of this kind in the coming weeks with this fairly ideal personnel situation.
1. FC Nuremberg also changed their starting line-up in two positions compared to the game against Sandhausen: In attack, Manuel Schäffler and Erik Shuranov came in for Nikola Dovedan and Taylan Duman.
Both teams operated very similarly in the basic formation with a 4-4-2 and a midfield diamond. And both implemented this formation consistently.

Expectations met

Right in the 2nd minute, actually, all that makes up 1. FC Nürnberg’s offensive became visible: Mats Møller Dæhli dribbled into the final third, laid the ball off and in the end, the FCN fired a shot from the second row. That’s exactly what we described in the preliminary report, the many shots outside the penalty area and Mats’ dribbles.

But what wasn’t in the preliminary report was Nuremberg’s pressing behaviour. Because I had described it as rather waiting. It was waiting, but only as long as the FC St. Pauli centre-backs had the ball. As soon as someone else received the ball, a really remarkably well-oiled and mostly very well-tuned pressing machinery took hold. This pressing from FCN determined the entire game. The high intensity of the game, the few pauses for breath, the unsettled play of FC St. Pauli, all that emanated from the Nuremberg pressing.


So let’s take a closer look at this pressing: It is not that different from that of FC St. Pauli. However, especially the two FCN eights, Lino Tempelmann and Tom Krauß, and also Mats Møller Dæhli showed how intensive pressing works.
When FCSP had possession of the ball, the FCN arranged themselves in a kind of 4-3-3, with many small pairings on the field. Only the respective full-backs had a little more space. This was Nuremberg’s intention because the pressing was supposed to start when one of the FCSP wing-backs received the ball and made a few metres forward with it. Then a kind of net of FCN players closed around the outside defender. They were directly tackled, depending on how high they were, either by the half-backs, the full-backs or even Møller Dæhli. The FCN forwards tried to cut off the passing path back to the centre-back. In doing so, FCN created a great pressure situation for the FCSP outside defenders.

To get out of this pressure in a controlled way, there were several possibilities: One of them would be the pass back to the centre-back (as long as the FCN forwards had not yet cut him off), so to speak, stopping the attempt to get through on one side. But that, in particular, did not work very well. Loïc Favé said at the press conference after the game that he would have liked to see a little more play around the back again in these situations in order to use the space on the other side via a quick shift. A second possibility to play out of this pressure is the “flight forward”. The players in the half positions were important for this. And Igor Matanović. Because it was up to them to present a passing option for their own full-backs. Marcel Hartel and Jackson Irvine always had problems breaking away from their opponents. Matanović usually succeeded, as no centre-back followed him when he offered himself deep. Consequently, FC St. Pauli’s play was always at its best when Matanović collected the balls.

Because FCN pressed so intensively and FCSP often chose to run forward, the game became enormously restless. There were few, really very few, lulls. FC St. Pauli was either under high pressure in their own half, with a high tempo in the opponent’s half because they had successfully outplayed the pressing, or in quick reverse movement because Nuremberg was just playing out the switch situation with tempo.

The high, the intensive pressing, it is something like the only antidote to FC St. Pauli this season. And although FC Nuremberg did a really good job, because it was well coordinated, they were 2-0 down after ten minutes.
The reason for this was not only that FC St. Pauli played well from the pressing (a situation that led to the throw-in before 1:0) or switched well (Smith’s outside-half pass paired with Matanović’s good movement led to 2:0), but above all the weak foot of Leart Paqarada. After less than ten seconds, Nuremberg’s Tom Krauß went fiercely one-on-one with Paqarada, hitting his left knee. After all, that was the knee that was causing him problems a few weeks ago. “All right”, Paqarada seemed to have thought, “then I’ll do it all with my right”. He opened the attack before the 1:0 with his right, crossed to Burgstaller with his right and scored the 2:0 after Burgstaller’s pass with, of course, his right. Good for him who has such a “weak” foot. Nevertheless, I hope that his left knee has not suffered too much damage and that Paqarada will be ready for action again next week.

Left broken? Then just with your right! – Leart Paqarada showed in Nuremberg that his right leg does not only function as a supporting leg and hopefully he will be fit again very soon.
(c) Peter Böhmer

High pressing = A lot of problems

But even the 2-0 lead of FC St. Pauli could not hide the fact that the team has problems with such pressing. FC St. Pauli became dangerous whenever they either played out of the pressing and were able to shift the side (i.e. exactly what Loïc Favé was missing) or FCN stood too deep and entered the pressing too late.
But before a big problem is conjured up for FC St. Pauli: Against well-tuned high pressing, especially against the pressing of Nuremberg, all teams in the division have problems. So FCSP does not have this problem exclusively. And we are talking about problems in a game where FC St. Pauli led 2-0 early on.


Nevertheless, it has to be clearly seen that 1st FC Nuremberg was at least equal in terms of scoring chances (I stick to my guns: If Köpke and Lohkemper get fit, Nuremberg is one of the strongest teams in the division with this pressing). This was not necessarily because FCN controlled the ball more often in the final third. The club simply succeeded more often in ending these situations with a shot on goal, while FCSP was usually lacking somewhere in the passing game. Especially the ten minutes after the 2:0 were critical, as FCN really created a whole bunch of good situations in this phase and Nikola Vasilj prevented goals from being conceded several times. It was only after the goal that FC St. Pauli regained more control of the game and remained the better team until half-time.

Already in the first half, Lars Ritzka came in for Leart Paqarada. FCSP then had to make a change on the other side for the second half: Adam Dźwigała replaced Sebastian Ohlsson. This left only Philipp Ziereis from what had been the regular back four for weeks. It’s only logical that the processes, especially in the build-up play, don’t sit well. Nuremberg’s pressing demands a lot, especially from the opposing full-backs. Accordingly, Ritzka and Dźwigała were under enormous pressure, and despite all their efforts, FCSP’s possession game was not up to scratch. And that was especially true at the beginning of the second half. I would like to make the claim that with Simon Makienok in the squad, the game would have been different. He would have been substituted, as he was against Bremen, and FCSP would have simply outplayed FCN’s intense pressing and played to their individual strengths on the offensive.

Defensively, however, the team was stable, even if in some situations at the very last moment (Ziereis and Irvine each made one save). Lars Ritzka had problems in the build-up in this phase, but on the other hand, he won all his defensive duels. Nuremberg’s pressure, however, was increasing by the minute. And what is true for FCN is of course equally true for FCSP with the same formation: if the team stands too deep, it gets into trouble. FC St. Pauli got little access to the game in this phase. Afterwards, FCN coach Robert Klauß said that his team repeatedly tried to play over the core area where FCSP wanted to press, i.e. the space where the half positions start. The FCN succeeded in doing so.

But FC St. Pauli is a real top team this season. One of those teams that can break free even in difficult phases when the match plan doesn’t work out. In the 64th minute, Adam Dźwigała scored in the middle of 1. FC Nuremberg’s best phase to make it 3:1.
This goal ended the pressure phase of FCN. The 3:1 was definitely an effective goal. The phase of will followed. And FC St. Pauli had enough of that.

I can see a little bewilderment on Adam Dźwigała’s face. I didn’t begrudge him the goal.
(Sebastian Widmann/Getty Images/via OneFootball)

Only a few minutes after the 3:1, Nuremberg restored the old distance. The reason for this was, once again, a standard. After FC St. Pauli had not conceded a goal after a standard for a long time during the season, it was quite close against Bremen several times and then against Darmstadt and Sandhausen it rang after a standard. Nuremberg also scored from a resting ball. By head after a corner. As against Darmstadt, it was Jackson Irvine who had to defend against the opponent’s supposedly best header. Whether planned or not, there is a mismatch here. Yet Irvine showed, especially in the second half, what makes him so important for FC St. Pauli: Offensively, he played many good balls, moved well in space and, above all, made few mistakes. Defensively, and this became quite clear yesterday, he is at least as important (he won 11 of 13 duels).


The FCN goal could have put more pressure on the Nuremberg team. Instead, FCSP managed to take the pressure off in the final quarter of an hour. After the goal, 1. FC Nuremberg did not create any more chances worth mentioning. This was also due to the fact that Guido Burgstaller ran into his opponents at full sprint until the last minute and really threw everything he had in the tank. He literally went ahead. But from my point of view, it was also due to the fact that FCN changed their formation shortly before the goal: Instead of a 4-4-2 with a diamond, the team now operated in a 4-4-2 with two sixes. As a result, the pressure on the FCSP half positions eased. I don’t know enough about the procedures under Robert Klauß, but “never change a running system” looks different.
As the game progressed, fatigue seemed to set in slowly but surely. With 120 (FCSP) and 117 (FCN) kilometres run, disproportionately many of them in sprints, both teams reeled off a fair amount of metres (Heidenheim is the top team in the division in terms of mileage with an average of 118km). In the end, FC St. Pauli controlled the game rather coolly.

Guido Burgstaller not only drove the team to peak performance with his tireless runs.
(c) Peter Böhmer

Keep on moving, front-runner!

Two games to go and then you can draw a line under the first half of the season. With 32 points from 15 games, FC St. Pauli is on course for promotion. Also thanks to games like the one in Nuremberg, where the team played itself free due to its own will. That was certainly not always the case. But now, week after week, we see a team that is bursting with self-confidence. A team that can be so confident because the squad can absorb personnel setbacks particularly well. Medić injured? Just bring in James Lawrence and show everyone how to build calmly despite the pressure. Paqarada injured? Lars Ritzka comes in and does a clean job on the left side, precise as clockwork? Smith and Ohlsson still can’t last 90 minutes? In comes Afeez Aremu, who is known to be one of the best defensive sixes in the division. Oh yes, and Adam Dźwigała, who is showing undreamed-of attacking skills. And by the way, with all these stories written in Nuremberg, it almost gets forgotten that Fabian Hürzeler and Loïc Favé seem to do a tremendously good job on the sidelines not only yesterday but for more than a year.
The game against Nuremberg showed that FC St. Pauli cannot play every opponent into the ground. But winning games like that shows that FCSP is a real top team.

Keep moving forward!

//Tim (translation by Arne)

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12 thoughts on “1. FC Nuremberg – FC St. Pauli 2:3- Where there is a will, there are 3 points!

  1. Danke für die gute Analyse (wie immer ;-))!

    Ich teile deine Ansicht, dass es auch ein Sieg der mentalen Stärke war. Auch ein Verdienst des Staff.

    Zwei Beobachtungen möchte ich ergänzen:
    Ohne Vasilj’s Leistung zu schmälern, hat Nürnberg auch mehrfach unplatziert (schlecht?!) abgeschlossen. Die geschossenen Tore (21) können da ein Indiz für eine Schwäche sein.

    Da es mir bei allem Offensivfeuerwerk häufig zu kurz kommt. Ziereis hat gegen
    Sandhausen (im rückwärts fallen per Kopf) und nun gegen Nürnberg jeweils einmal herausragend gerettet.

    Immer weiter so!

    Beste Grüße

    1. Ja, es bleibt ein Problem vom Club. Wenn man sich die Dreifach-Parade von Vasilj anschaut, dann ist sie natürlich überragend, aber eben auch mindestens zwei- von dreimal richtig schwch abgeschlossen.

  2. Moin,
    zum Thema Makienok – das Fernsehen (Sky) berichtete von einer leichten Knieverletzung, die angeblich ausschlaggebend für eine Nichtnominierung war. Zu Benatelli wurde aber gar nichts gesagt. Hier hat mich der fehlende Kaderplatz fast noch mehr überrascht, da ja z.B. Marcel Beifus im Kader war. Aber wahrscheinlich war klar, dass Ohlsson keine 90 Minuten schafft und man hatte Dzwigala schon dafür eingeplant … Dann ist natürlich ein weiterer IV (Beifus) wichtiger als eine zweite 6.

    Viele Grüße,

  3. Wirklich herausragend ist die “next man up” Mentalität. Wenn einer ausfällt kommt der nächste und spielt so als ob er nie Ersatz gewesen wäre. Mutig, ohne Angst Fehler zu machen und mit einem Plan was zu tun ist.

    Schultz macht da offensichtlich einen herausragenden Job wenn es darum geht alle bei Laune zu halten. Alle Ersatzspieler kriegen regelmäßig Einsatzzeiten und haben offenbar das Gefühl, dass sie für gute Trainingsleistungen auch belohnt werden.

    So einen Teamgeist und Kadertiefe braucht man um auch nach fast 40 Spielen oben zu stehen… aber ich fang schon wieder das träumen an 😀

  4. Mir ist noch aufgefallen, dass bei Ballbesitz unsere Halbpositionen sehr häufig auf einer Seite gezogen sind, meist Harthel nach rechts zu Irvine. Meiner Ansicht nach hat das nie etwas gebracht, insbesondere weil der Seitenwechsel nie geklappt hat. Auch Smith ist dies nicht gelungen. Trotzdem wurde das ganze Spiel daran festgehalten!???

    1. Manchmal bringt das Überladen einer Seite mit beiden Achtern auch nicht direkt in dem Raum was, sondern sorgt eher dafür, dass besser verlagert werden kann. Sieht dann nicht effektiv aus, öffnet aber Räume auf der anderen Seite.
      Gegen Nürnberg hat das Aufbauspiel grundsätzlich nicht so richtig gut geklappt. Da zählt dann auch das Überladen dazu.

  5. Danke für die Analyse.
    Wie immer sehr lesenswert.
    Für mich die 2 Aktionen, die den Willen perfekt deutlich gemacht haben: die “Luftgrätsche” von Ziere (Schäffler hatte sich doch schon Gedanken gemacht wie er gleich jubeln wollte) und der Block von Jackson.
    Echt richtig gut und wichtig und für mich immer noch 2 Aktionen, die ich richtig abfeier.
    Sehr schöner Sieg gestern

    1. Ja, die Luftgrätsche war auf jeden Fall spektakulär, auch wenn das bei nem halben Meter weiter links wohl schmerzhaft geworden wäre.
      Die Irvine-Grätsche fand ich noch beeindruckender, weil er da eben seinem Gegenspieler bis in den Raum folgt. Das spricht für seine Defensiv-Qualitäten

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