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FC St. Pauli raise their flag
Focus on the ‚Kiezkicker‘
There is no denying that FC St. Pauli is a club with its very own philosophy and a clear stance. Whilst the G20 protests were taking place in Hamburg, participants were offered the possibility to stay in the stadium overnight. Last weekend, when the right-wing political party AfD were voted into the Bundestag (German Parliament), the club used their Facebook page to make a clear „Kein Fußbreit den Faschisten“ (Not an Inch for Fascists) statement. The fans completely identify with the orientation of the club and refuse to bow to the customary practices within professional football.
When the ‚Kiezkicker‘ crumbled to a hefty 0-4 defeat two weeks ago at home to FC Ingolstadt, the team were subsequently treated to encouraging applause from the fans in spite of the result – an impressive and anything other than a common reaction in the professional game. More recently, the players placed themselves in a more positive light. During the north German derby clash in Kiel (1-0), the home fans charged the pitch and stole an FC St. Pauli flag. Striker Sami Allagui displayed true courage in helping to apprehend the culprit and returning the flag to the Pauli supporters.
Lienen succeeded by Janßen
Those responsible at the club are not really known for quickly stripping leading figures of their duties when things are not quite going according to plan on a sporting level. Last winter, with the club in 18th place in the table, FCP stuck with coach Ewald Lienen and installed Olaf Janßen as a new co-trainer to assist. The move proved fruitful and the club finished the season in a very respectable seventh place, following a strong latter half to their campaign. During the summer, restructuring at the club saw fan-icon Lienen take a step back into the technical director role, with Janßen taking over as head-coach.
Leaders on board
So far, the decision has proven a successful one. Having taken 13 points from their eight games, the Hamburg club are well-positioned in the top half of the table, just three points off the promotion places. One reason for their current stability is undoubtedly the squad planning in the summer. The impressive squad from the latter half of last season was kept together, with merely central-defender Sören Gonther heading off for pastures new at SG Dynamo Dresden. In Cenk Sahin and Mats Møller Dæhli, two vital elements in the success of the second half of last season were kept on the Kiez, whilst experienced Bundesliga front-man Allagui was brought in as a new addition.
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