Fortuna Düsseldorf have returned to the top of the 2. Bundesliga with a 2-0 win over FC St. Pauli.
A lucky early goal from André Hoffmann put the hosts ahead but they were second best for much of the first half. That changed in the second, with Takashi Usami making their lead a more comfortable one.
Aziz Bouhaddouz got a late consolation however Fortuna take advantage of 1. FC Nürnberg’s defeat to SpVgg Greuther Fürth to overtake the former leaders, whilst St. Pauli drop to tenth.
Hoffmann goal puts Fortuna ahead
Following their capitulation against SSV Jahn Regensburg last weekend, Friedhelm Funkel made three changes here, with Julian Schauerte, Marcel Sobottka and Genki Haraguchi in for Jean Zimmer, Adam Bodzek and Benito Raman. St. Pauli had come from behind to beat Holstein Kiel, doing Düsseldorf a favour in the process, and they saw two changes, with Johannes Flum and Jan-Marc Schneider in for Bernd Nehrig and Sami Allagui.
The hosts had flown into a 3-0 lead last week and although they didn’t reach those heights here they had a good start again. Takashi Usami’s corner found the completely unmarked Hoffmann, who met the ball with his torso which was enough to beat Robin Himmelmann, who was not happy at his defender’s failing to pick Hoffmann up.
St. Pauli were the better side after the goal, but they struggled to create a chance better than the one for Jeremy Dudziak, with his shot always going wide. That was though until a Waldemar Sobota cross should have been turned in by Christopher Avevor, but he miss the ball and Bouhaddouz couldn’t make a connection either. Rouwen Hennings had the only real chance for Düsseldorf, failing to hit the target after trying to chip Himmelmann.
Düsseldorf then benefited from a massive bit of luck. Wolf received a back pass and looked to immediately clear it up-field, but instead it came straight of Bouhaddouz and rebounded towards goal, hitting the post. The St. Pauli striker also had a chance from a corner just before the half-time whistle, but Wolf denied him and he would probably have been given offside anyway.
Usami goal is enough despite Bouhaddouz consolation
Fortuna came out for the second half with a lot more purpose than they had had before it. A corner was volleyed back into the box, finding an unmarked Oliver Fink. He took a touch but he hit his shot into the ground and wide. Haraguchi then struck wide as well after a break on the right. St. Pauli had chances too, with Bouhaddouz going over and a curling shot from Schneider going the wrong side of the post.
St. Pauli then had their goalkeeper to thank for staying in the game. Schauerte got past Avevor and found Hennings, who was denied excellently at close range by Himmelmann. An even better save came just after, after he kept out a cracking effort from Usami that was probably headed for the roof of the net. The resulting corner also saw Niko Gießelmann head wide of the far post.
They kept pushing, with a Fink shot saved, however Himmelmann was to be beaten soon after. Schauerte found Sobottka, who set up Usami for another attempt from outside the box. This time it was out of reach of the St. Pauli goalkeeper, and nestled in the bottom corner. Substitute Raman then had a chance to make the lead even better saved by Himmelmann.
In the first of four added minutes, St. Pauli were handed a lifeline when a shot from the returning Cenk Sahin was diverted into the net by Bouhaddouz, with Allagui’s cross having taken a deflection. It was only a consolation though, and Fortuna were able to celebrate a return to the top of the table.