Lasse Sobiech and Cenk Sahin scored the vital goals for St. Pauli as they closed the gap on second-bottom Erzgebirge Aue to two points. Suleiman Abdullahi scored his first goal for Braunschweig in second half stoppage time, but it wasn’t enough to prevent them dropping bac below Hannover 96 at the top.
Both teams, along with VfB Stuttgart, are locked together in the top three with the same number of points and goal difference, with Braunschweig and Stuttgart on the same number of goals too.
Top versus bottom clash
Braunschweig had started second half of season with 1-1 draw at Würzburger Kickers, but despite being knocked off the top of the 2. Bundesliga by Hannover on Monday, Hannover’s heavy defeat at SpVgg Greuther Fürth on Friday meant they came into this game back in first place.
St. Pauli remained rooted to the bottom after being beaten by Stuttgart exactly seven days earlier. They were desperate for a win and to avoid a repeat of the 2-0 defeat to Braunschweig back in August.
The hosts came into the game unchanged, but there was one change for St. Pauli, with Marc Hornschuh coming in for Daniel Buballa, who was suspended after his fifth yellow card of the season against Stuttgart.
Sobiech header stuns Braunschweig early
Patrick Schönfeld volleyed over the bar early on from a Domi Kumbela lay-off, however it was the visitors who surprisingly struck first. Sobiech out-jumped Schönfeld to meet a Waldemar Sobota corner, with his powerful headed beating Jasmin Fejzic.
St. Pauli were doing well to keep Braunschweig quiet, but the hosts slowly started to turn the screw, with Kumbela criminally missing the perfect chance to equalise. Schönfeld found him with a cross from the by-line, and with Philipp Heerwagen to his right and an open goal to his left, Kumbela completely scuffed the shot towards the grateful St. Pauli goalkeeper.
This was Braunschweig’s best spell of the half, but they couldn’t capitalise on it. Christoffer Nyman was unable to make the most of a Kombela cross, before later heading wide another cross, whilst Onel Hernández’s shot from outside the box curled away from goal.
St. Pauli became more of a threat again in the latter stages of the first half. Yi-Young Park, playing in just his second first team game, excellently ran into the box from the left wing, but his eventual shot was blocked by Fejzic, whilst Bernd Nehrig fired over and Sobota had a shot deflected away from goal.
Cenk seals win despite Abdullahi consolation
Neither side crafted any chances early in the second half, despite the game remaining relatively open. St. Pauli did suffer a blow though, with the lively Mats Möller Daehli stretched off with a head injury after a collision with Schönfeld.
Braunschweig came close to equalising when an error from Park allowed Nyman to take a shot, however Heerwagen saw a chance to jump on the loose ball.
Braunschweig’s defence was then left frozen as St. Pauli cut them apart for the second goal. Johannes Flum’s pass found Sahin, with Mirko Boland failing to intercept, and Sahin had half of the pitch virtually to himself. He kept ahead of the chasing defenders, and once in the box he placed the ball through the legs of Fejzic and in.
Lennart Thy then had a chance for the third saved by Fejzic after a Sahin shot was blocked, but for Braunschweig the best chances of a consolation came in the seven minutes in stoppage time.
Nik Omladic headed wide from a free-kick, before his cross was then headed in, out of the reach of Heerwagen, by substitute Abdullahi. They might have sensed a comeback, but with only a minute to play, it came too late to prevent just St. Pauli’s third win of the season.