FC St. Pauli 0-0 1. FC Union Berlin: Spoils shared in Hamburg

Two well-matched teams couldn't be separated on Friday evening.

FC St. Pauli 0-0 1. FC Union Berlin: Spoils shared in Hamburg
Image credit: kicker - Getty Images
FC St. Pauli
0 0
1. FC Union Berlin
FC St. Pauli: (4-2-3-1) Himmelmann; Hornschuh, Sobiech, Ziereis, Buballa; Rzatkowski (Maier 71'), Nehrig; Sobota (Miyaichi 77'), Alushi (Picault 82'), Buchtmann; Thy.
1. FC Union Berlin: (4-1-4-1) Busk; Quiring (Quaner 83'), Leistner, Pogatetz , Parensen; Daube; Nikci, Zejnullahu, Kreilach, Redondo (Köhler 75'); Brandy.
REFEREE: Bibiana Steinhaus (Langenhagen). Booked: Sobota (38'), Brandy (64'), Quiring (77'), Buchtmann (88').

Despite the best efforts of both sides, neither St. Pauli or Union Berlin could break the deadlock in their tussle.

The first half brought fine saves from both goalkeepers, as crosses and set-pieces proved to be the order of the day.

Damir Kreilach's disallowed goal was the closest either side came, in what was a tight match from start to finish.

First half full of chances

It was a slow start to the game at the Millerntor, which was largely dominated by defensive headers from the home side. Spurred on by the 'Sankt Pauli' chants, the back-line managed to fend off several dangerous crosses.

Marc Hornschuh had to shovel a low ball from the right over the bar, with both Lennart Thy and Kenny Prince Redondo feeling the effects of some of the duels in the air. Waldemar Sobota offered up the first real sight at goal for the hosts to get excited about, though the Polish attacker's shot flew narrowly over after some good wing play.

St. Pauli were finding it hard to break the Berlin defence, who were having their fair share of chances at the other end. Emmanuel Pogatetz blazed a free header over the bar from a matter of yards out, before a tempting Redondo cross narrowly evaded the outstretched boot of the bearded Sören Brandy.

That passage of play finally sparked some attacking intent from the hosts, who were denied by an opener by Jakob Busk's superb save from Sobiech's header. A strong turn and shot from Thy came close also, but a brave block came to Union's rescue.

Any late chances in the half fell for the visitors and had it not been for Robin Himmelmann out-doing Busk from a Damir Kreilach header, St. Pauli would have been behind. Hornschuh, who failed to turn home Sobiech's saved effort, then redeemed himself with a vital challenge to curtail Brandy's run and ensure parity at the break.

Second period fails to spark

The second half was more of a midfield battle an failed to produce the early chances that the first did. Ewald Lienen's men were the team applying all the pressure but couldn't find a way through their stubborn opponents, who have looked considerably more solid at the back in recent weeks.

It was a game that was becoming an increasingly tough midfield battle, that was slowly taking its toll on the midfield men in both teams. Marc Rzatkowski and Redondo both made way midway through the half, with the managers hoping Sebastian Maier and Benjamin Köhler would spring life into their respective sides.

While Thy came close with an inventive effort at one end, Union went closer still at the other. A free-kick was floated towards the back post and Kreilach, who rose powerfully to head past Himmelmann. Just as he was wheeling away in delight, the referee's whistle went and the goal was - correctly - chalked off for offside.

It was approaching the final stages of the game when the most exciting moment of the game came for the St. Pauli fans, who saw Ryo Miyaichi take to the field for the first time. The Japanese winger came on as a late substitute, in a bid to spark the game into life.

Unfortunately, the changes didn't pay off and neither side managed to find the crucial goal. A deserved point for both that means little at this stage of the season, with the pair remaining in the same position as they stared the game. Union take on Paderborn next weekend, while St. Pauli make the trip south to face SC Freiburg.