Ripe for a liberation

If you, as a football coach, are in a real crisis with your team, then it makes sense for the trainer to take a protective stance, invoke team spirit and publicly affirm what he believes to be a completely justified hope for an improvement soon. The technical term for this is perseverance, and this is what Mersad Selimbegovic used before the second division home game of his SSV Jahn Regensburg against FC St. Pauli. And quite consciously: “People say it’s an alibi or it’s slogans to persevere. But there is nothing other than more confidence, more determination, more fighting spirit to turn the situation around,” said the coach, adding: ” You can’t panic now. There’s still so much to play.”

Apparently, the calm trainer hit the right note, because his team showed a corresponding reaction on Sunday and returned to the road to success after eight games without a win of their own (!): 2:0 (2:0) success, afterwards there was exuberant joy in the Jahn-Sportpark. Right in the middle coach Selimbegovic, who couldn’t get the grin off his face: “I’m really happy, especially for the fans, who have suffered a lot in the last few weeks. I also emphasized this week that we give them a little something guilty,” said the coach after the game.

His team was lucky at the beginning that a free kick from Pauli captain Leart Paqarada hit the post and Jackson Irvine’s follow-up shot was cleared in front of the line by Jahn defender Christian Viet (4′). Less than three minutes later, that Viet was hit on the ankle in the Hamburg penalty area during a rescue operation by Betim Fazliji. After the intervention of video assistant Felix Zwayer, referee Nicolas Winter decided on a penalty. Andreas Albers hit a low shot and ended Regensburg’s goallessness after 547 minutes.

“We didn’t want to be naïve and hurray in the penalty area,” says Jahn coach Selimbegovic

The fact that the guests then largely took over the command was so calculated, emphasized the Jahn trainer: “That was more or less intentional, we didn’t want to press naively and with hurray in the sixteen, but stand compactly.” After all, you know how well St. Pauli can get out of such pressure situations, says Selimbegovic. Especially Johannes Eggestein (23rd) and Etienne Amenyido (32nd) missed good chances to equalize. But then Regensburg struck again, after a wide half-field cross from the conspicuous Viet, Albers rose and headed in powerfully (41st) – the 33rd second division goal of the Dane, who thus became the sole record scorer of SSV Jahn.

In the second half, the hosts, who were so out of their depth in terms of personnel that there were even places on the reserve bench, didn’t find it that difficult to get the result over time. “We played very maturely, we were a bit lucky in crucial situations, but we also defended really well,” said Selimbegovic. And drew a benevolent conclusion before the international break: “Not everything was good, but a lot was right. The basis was right, and that’s the most important thing in this league.”

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