It all started so wrong for FC St. Pauli. And air of impending doom hung over what has become Germany’s Politischen Derby with Hansa Rostock visiting. The threat of violence was once again on the cards with the neo-nazi supporters of Rostock visiting the radical left kult team of Hamburg. In fact the game was delayed for five minutes at the start of the second half when Rostock Ultras set off flares that engulfed the Millentor in a cloud of impenetrable smoke. Trainer Dieter Eilts was enlisted to calm down the visiting fans and riot police had to enter the stands. Order was restored, although further flares were set off late in the game.
Hopefully the scene after the game will remain calm unlike the reverse fixture this year.
On the pitch, Hansa Rostock, the league’s worst road teams stunned one of the Zweite’s best home sides with 2 goals in the first five minutes with goals by Henri Myntti and Fin Bartels. After that, the game turned quickly pedestrian with no team dominating and few chances (ten total outside of the goals) for the remainder of the first half.
The problem for St. Pauli was penetrations. Man-mountain Morike Sako was employed as lone forward, but Holger Stanislawski’s midfield lacked the creativity to play off long balls to him and they were equally inept at penetrating into the final third. David Hoilett, who has been a sensation since joining on loan from Blackburn, was marked out of the game in the first half by Oczipka and Retov. With changes needed, Stanislawski made a move so bold, that even Jose Mourinho would be impressed. He used all three substitutions to revamp his midfield during the break.
Björn Brunnemann, Florian Bruns and Rouwen Hennings came on for Timo Schultz, Filip Trojan and Alexander Ludwig. The impact was immense and immediate, and set the stage for 45 of the most enthralling minutes of football anywhere in Europe this year.. St. Pauli grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck with the subs leading the charge. Hansa found themselves on the back foot and defending frantically. The first goal came in the 54th when Kevin Schöneberg tripped Brunnemann in the box and Sako converted the penalty. 20 more minutes of sustained pressure followed with another blatant penalty being ignored and chances squandered by the home side.
In the 71st minute a long free kick into Hansa’s box, bounced off a defender’s head and fell to a ghosting Hoilett who leveled the game. Rather than standing on their fight back to parity, St. Pauli continued to show initiative and 12 minutes later Brunemann got free on the left and floated a cross to Hennings in the middle of the box. The ball bounced past the substitute and fell once again to a ghosting Hoilett, who fought off the goalie to slot home the winner.
St. Paul set the stall at that point, and even thought they lost Sako late to a second yellow, they were able to hold on secure the full three in one of the Zweite’s games of the season. And in doing so, they possibly put the nail in the coffin of their ideological opposites in their effort to stave off relegation.