FC St. Pauli 4-0 Fortuna Düsseldorf: St. Pauli sweep aside shocking Fortuna
Credit: Kicker

Fresh in the knowledge that a victory on the night could bring them out of the automatic relegation places, St. Pauli manager, Ewald Lienen made several changes to the side that were defeated last time out at Union Berlin and fielded an attacking starting eleven. Dutchman John Verhoek was preferred to Christopher Nöthe upfront, as well as on loan Polish winger Waldemar Sobota, who made his first appearance since the draw with Erzgebirge Aue. Kyoung-Rok Choi and Daniel Buballa also made their way into the starting eleven, in place of Sebastian Maier and Marc Rzatkowskidie Freibeuter were without a home win since the final game of the Hinründe, a 3-1 victory against fellow strugglers VfR Aalen - With only twelve goals being scored at the Millerntor Stadion this campaign.

As for the visitors, they had endured an upturn in form since the sacking of fan and player favourite, Oliver Reck. die Flingeraner have picked up seven points from a possible twelve, in a period that included a victory over high flying SV Darmstadt 98; perhaps re-igniting the faint hopes of a return to the Bundesliga. There was only one alteration to the side that defeated die Lillien at the Esprit Arena before the international break, which saw Bruno Soares replace club captain Adam Bodzek. Fortuna will have been hoping to improve on their last away match, a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Red Bull Leipzig.

After a lively start for the hosts, the in-form visitors grew into the game and began to control large swathes of the ball. Lukas Schmitz wasted a good free opportunity and moments later Axel Bellinghausen missed an even better opportunity after Charlinson Benschop had worked some good space down the right hand flank. The veteran midfielder should have done better with his effort, but his header failed to trouble Robin Himmelmann in the St. Pauli goal.

Bellinghausen and Fortuna would regret that miss only a minute later, as the struggling hosts took their first opportunity of the game. Dennis Daube picking out young South Korean, Kyoung Rok Choi who on only his second first team appearance for die Freibeuter beat Michael Rensing with a first time right footed effort. Ewald Lienen's decision to play the youngster being rewarded before the ten minute mark.

It was rewarded even further just another seven minutes in. Daniel Buballa, who was at the center of all things good for St. Pauli early on, crossed a rather weak ball into the box which seemed destined for Michael Rensing's gloves; but after a collision with HSV loanee Jonathan Tah the ball squirmed out of the former Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen man's gloves and landed at the feet of Choi once again. Just as he had minutes before, the South Korean made no mistakes and increased his goal tally to two in as many games.

Die Freibeuter were all over the manager-less side and almost grabbed a third, but Lasse Sobiech couldn't keep his header under Michael Rensing's crossbar. Choi nearly grabbed his hat-trick before the half an hour mark, but Rensing this time did well and parried the effort before saving Julian Koch's follow up.

The visitors were being exploited in the midfield as neither wide player was helping back in the defence, die Freibeuter also outnumbered their counterparts from Düsseldorf three-to-two. Seeing this, Joel Pohjanpalo was replaced by central midfielder Michael Liendl.

But it wouldn't matter as only five minutes later, St. Pauli's lead was extended to three. Marcel Halstenberg whipped in a ball from the left flank, which John Verhoek nodded down for Waldemar Sobota, who beat the on-rushing Rensing to notch his first goal in the brown of St. Pauli. The goal capped off a superb half for die Freibeuter, in which they equaled a quarter of the goals they'd scored previously at the Millerntor Stadion this season.

Fortuna Düsseldorf came out all guns blazing in a desperate attempt to salvage anything from the game, and within a minute of the restart they went close; but Robin Himmelmann with his first action the game saved well from Charliston Benschop. Two resulting corners didn't amass to anything for the much improved visitors.

But just as in the first half, Fortuna would live to regret their earlier miss as the hosts once again punished them with their first chance. Dennis Daube playing Kyoung Rok Choi in to the by-line; The South Korean eventually crossed and there was Daniel Buballa to volley first time past Rensing.

Everything was going right for die Freibeuter and equally everything was going wrong for Fortuna Düsseldorf. The fourth goal basically ended die Flingeraner as an attacking entity; Waldemar Sobota nearly grabbed his second and St. Pauli's fifth but the Poles effort just grazed the top of the crossbar.

John Verhoek was having a superb game upfront, winning every ball that was sent towards his 6ft 2 body; the decision to drop Christopher Nöthe for him was well and truely being justified. All that was missing from the Dutchman's game was a goal.

Apart from the early Benschop chance, Robin Himmelmann had been completely untested throughout as the visitors were mianly camped inside their own half. During the remaining portion of the match the hosts were quite happy just to keep the ball, as they knew victory was imminent. For Fortuna it was just a matter of playing for respect.

The result sees St. Pauli rise up into 16th place, leap-frogging both VfR Aalen and Erzgebirge Aue; next up for die Freibeuter is a trip to face Karlsruhe SC, whilst Fortuna are in action against FC Kaiserslautern at the Esprit Arena.