FC St. Pauli 1-2 1. FC Union Berlin: Eisern continue promotion march

1. FC Union Berlin won five 2. Bundesliga games in a row for the first time as they closed the gap on leaders VfB Stuttgart with a 2-1 win at FC St. Pauli.

It was also their first ever away win against the Boys in Brown, with Sebastian Polter setting them on their way in the first half. After they missed a hatful of chances, Damir Kreilach scored the second just after half-time.

Aziz Bouhaddouz pulled one back late on for St. Pauli, but they weren’t able to force an equaliser, thus preventing them from moving away from relegation danger.

Just one enforced change for visitors

These two sides have started the second half of the season in fantastic form, yet still find themselves at opposite ends of the table. Union, with four consecutive wins, started the game in second, whilst St. Pauli’s four wins in their last five had been enough to lift them out of the bottom three.

After coming from behind to beat 1860 Munich last weekend, Ewald Lienen stuck with the same starting eleven. Jens Keller had to make one change to the side that beat Würzburger Kickers though, with the suspended Roberto Puncec replaced by Emmanuel Pogatetz.

They were looking for their first ever win at the Millerntor, but they had been victorious when the two sides met in the capital in October, with Philipp Hosiner and Kenny Prince Redondo scoring first-half goals in the 2-0 win.

Polter scores but Hedlund misses further chances

The game started fairly evenly. The first good chance came to the hosts, with Cenk Sahin hitting the side netting. He had an even better chance a little later on, however his excellent run into the box was wasted with a shot easily saved by Daniel Mesenhöler. For Union, Michael Parensen and Felix Kroos both struck off target.

Union would take the lead in somewhat unusual circumstances. A ball from Kroos exposed St. Pauli’s defence, with Daniel Buballa completely clueless about where the ball was. He had Polter for company, and in the end the striker put it in, inadvertently off his knee.

However, Jens Keller would have been asking his side at half-time how they failed to score at least one more. Simon Hedlund had a shot blocked by Philipp Heerwagen, who couldn’t hold on and scrambled to get to the loose ball before Polter could instead. Steven Skrzybski then played an excellent ball through to Hedlund, but his shot was straight at Heerwagen.

The best chances of all came just before half-time. It was Hedlund again first of all, who was able to break clear, but one poor touch as he approached the box was enough to allow Heerwagen to boot it away. Skrzybski then had a shot go wide across goal, with Polter not able to chase it down at the far post.

Bouhaddouz goal not enough

For St. Pauli, their only real chance before the break came from a Buballa cross which Bouhaddouz wasn’t quite able to reach. But they should have equalised 30 seconds after it. Jeremy Dudziak was able to chase down a ball from the right in the box, but the best he could do with it was shoot straight at Mesenhöler.

He was partially at fault when the visitors finally doubled their lead. Christopher Trimmel was allowed to cross in the box, Heerwagen waved a hand at it but Kreilach was able to jump uncontested by Dudziak to score at the far post.

The chances would try up for them after that, with only Kroos volleying over the bar. This allowed St. Pauli to slowly grow back into the game, especially after the introductions of Ryo Miyaichi and Lennart Thy.

They pulled a goal back with just under ten minutes remaining. Waldemar Sobota found Bouhaddouz with his cross, with the Moroccan scoring with a glancing heading at the far post.

They left themselves too much to do in the time remaining though. Union came close to securing the three points. Stephan Fürstner had a shot saved by Heerwagen, who then had to block a follow-up attempt from Kreilach. The closest the hosts came to an equaliser was in the final minute of stoppage time, but Thy went well over.