Timo Schultz’s first 2. Bundesliga game in charge of FC St. Pauli ended in dramatic fashion with Daniel-Kofi Kyereh snatching two late goals to earn a point against VfL Bochum – from whom the new coach can learn a lot.
After embarrassment against SV Elversberg in the DFB-Pokal last week, this was an encouraging performance, even if there is still a lot to work on.
Going forward they looked bright, albeit with a noticeable lake of quality in the final third, not helped by the lack of a genuine number nine, with Kyereh, more used to have someone like Manuel Schäffler to play around, having to fill in with Simon Makienok and Boris Tashchy injured.
That was until his brace in the final ten minutes of the game, smashing the ball in on the rebound from a Manuel Riemann save before beating the Bochum goalkeeper one-on-one just a minute later. Evidence that the former Wehen Wiesbaden man’s goal-scoring abilities should not be underestimated.
At the back, there is still work to do, highlighted by Robert Žulj’s free-kick for the first goal which went right through a crowded box without response. Schultz’s selection meanwhile seemed logical, not like he picked it on a dart board as it often seemed with Jos Luhukay last season.
This will all do as a start. But if shaking St. Pauli out of its coma to be more permanently successful, Schultz has to trust the process. Evidence of this is what has happened at the Ruhrstadion over the past 12 months.
A year to the day, Thomas Reis was coaching Bochum for just a second time, a 1-1 away draw at Sandhausen. He inherited a mess. After Robin Dutt had catapulted out and a squad rebuild had been botched, he was left with a side unsure of itself and with a chronic inability to defend.
Like Schultz and St. Pauli, Reis had played for Bochum and had spent the majority of his coaching career moving through their youth system, with only a brief detour to Wolfsburg.
Reis initially changed little, but over the months that followed he tightened up the team and made incremental changes –such as bringing Robert Tesche back from the cold or rebuilding the confidence of Jordi Osei-Tutu – that would ultimately flower after the long corona-break.
Sure he had his share of luck – that break allowed Vasilios Lampropoulos and Robert Žulj to properly bed in, and Maxim Leitsch getting fit proved a huge plus – but Reis’ patient approach last season reaped huge rewards, and leaves his side as genuine dark horses for promotion this season, something that seemed unthinkable a year ago.
The home team did little to dispel the confidence with their slick display in front of a buoyant returning crowd for 80 minutes at least, a seemingly-impending victory capped with a nicely worked goal, Silvère Ganvoula setting up Simon Zoller. The late collapse was more reminiscent of the bad old days last season, however, but could be little more than an early-season aberration.
The result alone is enough reason for encouragement, but if Schultz is looking for further inspiration for his rebuilding job, he didn’t have to look far on Monday night to find it. It’s amazing was a little patience can bring in football.
VfL Bochum 2-2 FC St. Pauli
Bochum: Riemann; Gamboa, Lampropoulos, Leitsch, Soares; Losilla, Tesche; Zoller (Bonga 79’), Žulj, Holtmann (Blum 82’); Ganvoula.
St. Pauli: Himmelmann; Ohlsson (Lankford 83‘), Avevor (Ziereis 83’), Buballa, Paqarada; Wieckhoff (Zander 77’), Knoll (Becker 65’), Benatelli, Dittgen (Daschner 77’); Zalazar; Kyereh.
Goals: Žulj 26’, Zoller 76’; Kyereh 84‘, 86‘.
Referee: Robert Schröder.