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Can St Pauli plug their leaky defence before the winter break?

JAMES NALTON reviews the Hamburg side’s recent form as minds turn towards the Bundesliga 2 play-off places

ST PAULI are about to embark on a group of fixtures that could see them back in the race for promotion by the time the winter break arrives.

They currently lie 11 points off the top of the table but are only six behind the third-place promotion play-off spot.

A string of four 1-1 draws were interrupted in disappointing fashion by a 1-0 defeat against Union Berlin, despite a valiant effort from the boys in brown. Union currently occupy that all-important third spot but are not yet out of reach.

“It’s tough to come away with nothing tangible from a game like that,” said St Pauli director of sport Uwe Stoever after the defeat.

“Not many teams will put in a performance like that at the Alte Foersterei. The players fought with passion and played some good football but were unable to take their chances. We’re not enjoying any luck at the moment, but we’ll stick at it!”

The international break gave the club an opportunity to regroup and, as they had done in September, they arranged a friendly in order to keep the players match fit and work on a few of the problems the side currently have in front of goal.

Denmark’s Odense BK were the visitors to the Millerntor and, though St Pauli conceded, they also scored three to give them a morale boost going into their next group of league fixtures before the winter break.

Olaf Janssen’s side have conceded a goal in their last five fixtures, including the friendly, and are now without a win in four league games.

However, the impending run of games sees them face sides in the bottom half of the table whom they should be expecting to beat.

Turkish attacker Cenk Sahin’s return to the line-up against OB should see him back in the Bundesliga 2 picture, and the return of their tricky creator should add to the goal threat in terms of both scoring and creating.

First up is Sunday’s meeting with Jahn Regensburg at the Millerntor. The newly promoted side returned to the division thanks to their 3-1 aggregate defeat of 1860 Munich in the promotion play-offs at the end of last season.

They have already improved on their performance from last time they were in the second tier, notching up five wins so far this term, but St Pauli will be expecting to defeat the Bavarians on home turf in Hamburg and will hope that a victory gives them a boost going into the subsequent game at second from bottom Greuther Fuerth a week later.


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