With the appointment of Andreas Bornemann as the new technical director of FC St. Pauli, the club is now able to build a squad strong enough to field a new assault on the top three of the Zweite Liga. It is something of a tradition for FC St. Pauli to have its transfer business done and dusted long before the new season starts. But with the new technical director starting on July 1st, we’ll have to wait and see if this is possible once again. In this post, we’ll publish an overview of the comings and goings that have taken place until now.
Going: first team players
We start the overview with the players that have left our beautiful club. The most eye-catching move is, of course, the one made by Jeremy Dudziak. He has exchanged his place in the Millerntor dressing room with one in the Volksparkstadion, albeit still in the 2. Bundesliga – something he might have not expected when he put his autograph at the bottom of the contract. Given his ability to play just about anywhere on the pitch, he leaves a big place to be filled next season.
Another left-footed flair player that will be leaving us is Richard Neudecker. He was a regular starter for us in the first half of the season, but after suffering a knee injury in November, he lost his place in the squad. After playing the last 22 minutes against 1.FC Heidenheim on April 21st, he wasn’t named in the match squad for the last four games of the season. His destination, VVV-Venlo, was a bit of a surprise for us since he was linked to both AZ Alkmaar and PSV in the Dutch press. But, VVV is known for being a stepping stone to much larger clubs (Keisuke Honda, Ahmed Musa) and that is something Neudecker will be hoping for.
A third main player who has played his final game for us is Sami Allagui. Much maligned, but still considered valuable by both Marcus Kauczinski and Jos Luhukay. His contract would have been renewed automatically after promotion had been achieved, but having failed this, it means the Tunisian will be leaving the club after 55 games, 9 goals, and 8 assists. His destination remains unknown for the time being.
After cult figure Philipp Heerwagen left the club for FC Ingolstadt last summer, the club felt the need to sign an experienced replacement. Korbinian Müller was signed from SpVgg Unterhaching but was soon relegated to the position of third-choice ‘keeper behind Himmelmann and Brodersen. After being in the matchday squad only three times and starring for the U23 side 13 times, it was no surprise he will be leaving the club.
It is always nice when a player returns to his old club, and this was certainly the case with ‘Fußballgott’ Alex Meier. With Henk Veerman injured for the rest of the season, it was up to the 35-year old Meier to pick up the slack and provide some goals. This he did with 6 goals in the second half of the season. Even though there was some hope he would stay, the general feeling has always been he was just a short-term solution to an injury crisis. He will be remembered fondly, however, with the United States as his probable next destination.
Going: Youth players
Even though last season has been very successful for the FC St. Pauli youth system (with first-team debuts by Finn Ole Becker, Florian Carstens and Luis Coordes, and the further development of Ersin Zehir), the club will say goodbye to three homegrown players that just haven’t made the cut.
The best known of these is striker Jan-Marc Schneider, who has had some good games but has never been close to becoming a fixed name in the starting eleven. But with 27 games (2 goals) under his belt in the 2. Bundesliga, there will be plenty of interest for him from 3. Liga or Regionalliga clubs.
Another player is defender Brian Koglin, who seemed on his way to a breakthrough after starting in two games in a row in October/November 2016. But after that, he has receded back into the background and has only shown himself in the game against Greuther Fürth this season, receiving a red card for his trouble.
The third departee from our youth ranks is left winger Maurice Litka, who was loaned out to KFC Uerdingen last season. After not being able to nail down a starting place in the 3. Liga, his prospect of growing into one at the Millerntor were very slim indeed.
Going (and Coming): loanees
Replacing Ziereis when he was injured, Justin Hoogma did a decent job for us as the new defensive partner of Avevor. It is obvious, however, that 1899 Hoffenheim have big plans for him and the chance of him staying on permanently were never really great. A loanee who will be returning is right-back Luca Zander. By far the best player in that position (when not plagued by injuries), he was signed permanently from Werder Bremen for € 400.000 and will hopefully be playing a bigger part next season.
Coming: permanent signings
Before Zander was signed, only one new player had been announced. Tenacious midfielder Rico Benatelli will be making the move from Dynamo Dresden to presumably fill the gap left by Bernd Nehrig. With the midfield being overrun at times last season, his role will be to protect the back four and add some defensive solidity to the midfield.
With all these moves already announced, there are still some question marks hanging above the FC St. Pauli squad. One is the fate of Cenk Sahin. The Turkish winger found himself out in the cold under Kauczinski and was loaned out to FC Ingolstadt before Luhukay was appointed. It will be interesting to see if Sahin is able to convince the Dutch manager of his value as a squad player.
Another big question mark is defender Marc Hornschuh. Out injured for most of the first half of the season, he did not feature in the first team, even after his recovery. He was part of the first team matchday squad for the game against Greuther Fürth and managed only 4 games for the U23 side. With Carstens developing along nicely, Ziereis recovering and Avevor renewing his contract, the future of Hornschuh at the Millerntor doesn’t look too bright.
Other players whose future is in doubt are the ones whose contract runs out in the summer of 2020. Johannes Flum, Waldemar Sobota, and Dimitrios Diamantakos all have failed to establish themselves in the starting eleven last season, with especially Flum (31) and Sobota (32) getting on in years. It is highly doubtful if the club will decide to renew their contracts. Diamantakos is a different case, however. With Meier, Schneider, and Allagui leaving, Luhukay only has Diamantakos and Veerman as strikers and he will not be too keen on losing 50% of his strike force.
If the club really wants to push for promotion again next season, it will be necessary to add some new players to the squad. Neudecker and Dudziak will need to be replaced, and with only two strikers remaining, a new face will have to join the meager ranks up front. This means Andreas Bornemann will have to hit the ground running when he starts his new job on July 1st.