10 in a row!
Pauli have done it! Hartel's goal seals the deal on a 10th straight Bundesliga 2 win, and it's a hugely significant one in terms of promotion. Heidenheim slip down to third, with Pauli now just four points further behind.
Big stop from Müller
Otto is clean three and tries to curl the ball into the far corner but Müller reads his intentions and produces a big save!
Over from Busch
Pauli only manage to half-clear a corner, with the ball falling to Heidenheim defender Busch just outside the area. He smashes a powerful shot at goal but it lacks prevision and goes wide.
Attack the best form of defence
This seems to be Pauli's motto in the closing stages as they push forward and camp out in Heidenheim's half. They haven't had much of a sniff of goal either, but they're doing a good job of keeping the ball away from their own area.
Struggling in attack
Off the bar!
The visitors go so close to a second! David Otto, who has only been on the pitch for three minutes, charges forward on the counter, shifts the ball on to his left foot and lets fly from 20 yards. Goalkeeper Kevin Müller is well beaten but the ball cannons off the bar!
Needing a goal and with around 20 minutes left, Heidenheim bring on two new faces in attack.
So close from Kleindienst!
The Heidenheim forward has his third clear chance of the game, receiving the ball inside the penalty area, left of centre. He gets a shot away but it's deflected wide for a corner.
You shall not pass
© IMAGO/Eibner-Pressefoto/Roger Buerke/IMAGO/Eibner
Hope for Heidenheim
Frank Schmidt's side have never failed to score at home this season...
The onus is on Heidenheim to find an equaliser and they're doing their best. The hosts are keeping the ball well and spreading it around quickly, but Pauli are organised at the back, crowding the centre and denying them any space to work in as soon as they approach the penalty area.
Heidenheim were the favourites for the win at kick-off, but Pauli's odds are improving with every passing minute...
Winning chances (almost) doubled
Afolayan is fouled wide on the left, giving the visitors a chance to pack the penalty area from the free-kick. It ultimately comes to nothing, though.
The home side resume the game, no changes from either side during the interval.
Not much in it
The visitors will obviously be the happier of the two teams at the interval thanks to Marcel Hartel's stunning strike into the top corner. It had been evenly contested until then, but will it change the dynamic in the second half?
They couldn't, could they?
Should this result hold it would a tenth (yes, 10!) straight league win for the Boys in Brown. It would lift them to within four points of fourth-placed Heidenheim.
Out of the blue!
What. A. Hit. Turning into the Heidenheim area on the left-hand corner, Hartel strikes the ball sweetly and it arrows into the top corner. A bolt from the blue, but a brilliant finish!
Saliakas in space
Pauli find a rare pocket of space on the right. Saliakas swings it into the box but he's only got the outnumbered Daschner to aim for, so Heidenheim clear easily.
He's been waiting all game for a chance and now he's had two in quick succession. The ball sits up nicely for the division's 20-goal top scorer but he snatches at it with his left foot and skews it well off target from 18 yards.
Kleindienst goes close!
The best chance of the game and normally you'd bet your house on Kleindienst putting this one away! A brilliant cross from the left is swung into the middle, where Kleindienst is arriving unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box, but somehow he puts his diving header wide of the goal!
Safe to say neither side has been at their best in the final third so far, but there's still plenty of time to change that.
Target practice needed
Busch has a pop
Pauli struggle to clear their lines and the ball falls for Busch, in a central position about 25 yards out. He's charged down as he strikes the ball first time though, and his powerful effort sails off target.
Heidenheim suddenly find themselves with numbers forward as Pauli retreat into their box, but Maloney's cross from the right doesn't beat the first man.
© IMAGO/Eduard Martin/IMAGO/Jan Huebner
A tad scrappy
Neither side has been able to settle into a rhythm as yet. Lots of challenges and high balls but not much by way of goalmouth action.
Beste heads wide
A long throw from the right finds its way to Beste, about 12 yards out. He heads towards the back post but his effort bobbles just wide.
Break in play
Maloney receives treatment after a hefty challenge. He's wincing and limping as he gets up but looks to be alright to continue.
A sweeping team move from the visitors on the counter but Afolayan's cross into the middle is hoofed clear.
And we're off!
Pauli, kitted out all in white, get the action started.
All 11 starters for Heidenheim are German, whereas just two of St. Pauli's players are. The others hail from eight different countries: Bosnia, Greece, Croatia, Estonia, Kosovo, Poland, Australia and England.
Heidenheim starting XI
Müller - Busch, Mainka, Siersleben, Föhrenbach - Maloney - Pick, Schöppner, Thomalla, Beste - Kleindienst
Eicher, Theuerkauf, Geipl, Sessa, Burnic, Köther, Keller, Schimmer, Kühlwetter
Pauli starting XI
Vasilj - Dzwigala, Medic, Mets - Saliakas, Irvine, Hartel, Paqarada - Metcalfe, Daschner, Afolayan
Burchert, Fazliji, Beifus, Zander, Ritzka, Aremu, Eggestein, Saad, Otto
These teams have an almost identical record in previous fixtures. Of the 17 Bundesliga 2 encounters to date, both have won seven times, with three draws. Heidenheim marginally edge it on goals, having scored 24 to Pauli's 21. Heidenheim also won the first six meetings against Pauli on their own patch, but have lost the last two, conceding four times in each game.
Watch: Kaiserslautern 2-2 Heidenheim
Watch: St. Pauli 1-0 Regensburg
What they're saying - Heidenheim
"St. Pauli play with different formations and a new 3-4-3 system, which is implemented very flexibly," said head coach Frank Schmidt at his press conference on Thursday. "They’re good in possession and have a very high pass completion rate. It's outstanding that they have only conceded three goals in nine games, and if they continue to score regularly, they will be at the top of the table.”
© IMAGO/H. Langer/IMAGO/Langer
What they're saying - Pauli
"They don't have any real weaknesses in my view," said head coach Fabian Hürzeler at his media briefing earlier in the week. "They work and tackle extremely hard and switch the play really well. They punish individual errors very effectively. They're also extremely dangerous from set pieces. On top of all their tactical ability, they also have players of huge individual quality. We know how strong they are at home. It's a big challenge for us. For me, Heidenheim are the league's most complete team and Frank Schmidt is an incredible coach."
Hot streak to end all hot streaks
St. Pauli have not been on the promotion radar for much of this season - even at the start of March few pundits would have called them serious contenders. And yet an astonishing winning run, comprising all nine Bundesliga 2 games in 2023, has thrust them firmly into the mix. They've scored 17 and conceded just three in that period, so are very much the form side coming into this one.
Watch: Previous meeting: St. Pauli 0-0 Heidenheim
To put this game into context, well, it's a big one. Heidenheim are currently second in the table on 51 points, four behind leaders Darmstadt and one ahead of third-placed Hamburg. Pauli are in fourth on 44 points, so really need a victory here if they're to have any hope of promotion. Remember, the top two go up automatically and the team that finishes third faces a two-legged play-off against the third-bottom team in the Bundesliga.
Hello and welcome!
Thanks for joining us for build-up and live coverage of this promotion six-pointer between Heidenheim and St. Pauli!