A gripping 2. Bundesliga contest was goalless at the break, but Richard Neudecker’s header early into the second half.
Christopher Buchtmann then scored his second fo the campaign late on the make sure of all three points, meaning that his side lead the table at this early stage ahead of the rest of the weekend’s games.
Himmelmann keeps effective Darmstadt at bay
For their first home match of the new season, St. Pauli coach Markus Kauczinski made two changes form the victory against 1. FC Magdeburg on Sunday. Luca Zander and Waldemar Sobota were replaced by Jeremy Dudziak and Neudecker. New signing Henk Veerman was named on the bench. Dirk Schuster made just one alteration from the win against SC Paderborn 07, with Marcel Heller able to come in for his second debut following his return from FC Augsburg, after missing that match suspended. Marvin Mehlem made way.
The first half of the opening 45 minutes were anything but a spectacle. Yannick Stark never came close to scoring with a chance he had for the visitors, whilst for St. Pauli Johannes Flum struck wide after some scrappy play around the Darmstadt box, before Christopher Buchtmann tried to catch out Daniel Heuer Fernandes just ahead of the halfway line, but he couldn’t get on target from that range.
Soon after that his side had a much better chance. Mats Møller Dæhli’s cross found Flum, but his header was over onto the roof of the net. Darmstadt then had a free-kick, taken by Tobias Kempe. Aytec Sulu met it with his head, but was denied by the incredible reactions of Robin Himmelmann, whose fingertip save put the ball over.
The hosts had been playing the better football but the visitors continued to have the better chances. Some good play from Darmstadt led to Fabian Holland finding Serdar Dursun, but Himmelmann palmed away his shot, before denying the Lillies’ new striker a couple of minutes later. It would remain goalless at the break.
Neudecker and Buchtmann score for hosts
It took less than seven minutes after the restart for the deadlock to be broken. It was the hosts that did it, with some smooth passing play before Møller Dæhli crossed the ball into the box. He found Neudecker at the far post, and Heuer Fernandes couldn’t scramble back in time to stop his header going in.
Darmstadt remained in the game, with Slobodan Medojević headed a Kempe free-kick wide, whilst Kempe himself also went wide with a slicing shot that would have left Himmelmann struggling to get back if it had stayed on target. Neudecker meanwhile struck over the bar, before Allagui wasted a superb opportunity.
Played through by Møller Dæhli, and staying onside, he took one touch too many to allow Heuer Fernandes to make contact with the ball, although Marcel Franke still had to clear to prevent a second bite of the cherry. Franke could soon have brought Darmstadt level at the other end, but his header on the end of a Kempe free-kick was an easy save for Himmelmann.
Darmstadt captain Sulu then got away with a cynical and needless kick out at Jeremy Dudziak off the ball, which caused a small kerfuffle between the players. The referee and his assistant missed the incident, or thought nothing of it, with Medojević and Philipp Ziereis instead being booked for their part in what followed.
With just over five minutes remaining, St. Pauli made the three points safe. Neudecker was involved again, running through the box, keeping Medojević at bay, before then putting the ball across goal, past Heuer Fernandes. Buchtmann was there on the far side of the net for an easy tap in, a second goal of the season for him to follow the equaliser against Magdeburg. Sobota, off the bench, hit the bar after that, but victory was already assured.