St Pauli Take Huge Step Toward Promotion

We wrote about how exciting Germany’s second tier is last week, and this weekend’s top-of-the-table fixture only served to underline our words.

The popular FC St Pauli took on Holsten Kiel in Kiel this weekend, knowing a win could put them six points clear of their rivals. However, defeat would have seen the two teams draw level – there was everything to play for. You might expect a cagey affair with little quality as St Pauli, with nine draws to their name this season, sought to protect a single point away from home.

If you did, you’d be wrong.

Dapo Afolayan, previously of Bolton Wanderers, danced into the area to make it 1-0 early on for the visitors after 11 minutes. They then blasted their hosts with a double salvo, two in as many minutes. Marcel Hartel stroked home a cross from the right on 34 minutes, before Afolayan almost bagged a carbon copy of his first goal on 36.

Leading 3-0 at half time the game looked in the bag, even when Shuto Macino grabbed one for Kiel. Conor Metcalfe made it 4-1 just before the hour mark after combining with Aussie teammate Jackson Irvine, but Kiel weren’t done. Joshua Mees made it 4-2 on 65 minutes before Alexander Bernhardsson added a third on 82 minutes. Kiel missed a glorious opportunity to make it 4-4 through Bernhardsson before St Pauli hit the post. Twice.

The win may have given St Pauli some breathing space, but it has also gifted their city rivals, HSV a chance to catch Kiel. They won 1-0 in a contrasting game of little excitement, Ransford Konigsdorffer settling in just after the half-time break. Greuther Furth also took advantage, they were a goal down at home to Nuremberg, but after Jen Castrop was sent off, they turned things around, winning 2-1.

Meanwhile, Hannover’s good run of form came to an end as they were surprisingly beaten 1-0 by bottom side Osnabruck, who remain nine points from safety. Rostock also dropped points, losing 2-0 to Dusseldorf, and they remain in the bottom two. Kaiserslautern and Schalke, both one-time staples of the top flight, we beaten 4-0 and 3-0 respectively, making ten-man Braunschweig the only side in the bottom six other than Osanbruck to pick up a point.

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