Greg Burgstaller will lead the St. Pauli line into their second season under Timo Schultz, off the back of a spectacular second half to the 2020/21 campaign. - © kolbert-press/Burghard Schreyer via images/kolbert-press
Greg Burgstaller will lead the St. Pauli line into their second season under Timo Schultz, off the back of a spectacular second half to the 2020/21 campaign. - © kolbert-press/Burghard Schreyer via images/kolbert-press

St. Pauli: 2021/22 season preview


German cult club St. Pauli will be looking to build on a spectacular second half of last season to scare some illustrious rivals in the race for a seat at German football's top table next term.

Last season

After a close shave with relegation in 2019/20, St. Pauli were looking to avoid the same level of drama last term and, while they succeeded in eventually finishing well clear of the bottom three, drama was still intrinsic in a rollercoaster campaign.

St. Pauli would not be St. Pauli without a bit of entertainment, though, and after a run of just one win in their first 15 games, things were starting to look ominous. A 2-2 draw with city rivals Hamburg, who were top at the time, was a rare moment of joy for the club's suffering fans, until two wins to bring the first half of the season to an end lifted them out of the relegation zone for the first time since Matchday 8.

Although the second half of the campaign started with a 3-2 defeat to eventual champions Bochum, the club finally clicked into gear under the guidance of their former U19 coach Timo Schultz, winning five on the spin to leave the relegation zone in their wake. After only their second defeat of 2021 – a 2-0 loss at home to Paderborn – another four-game winning streak ensured safety. Three straight defeats saw them slip to their final position of tenth, but the first season under Schultz came to a safe landing, despite some in-flight turbulence.

Guido Burgstaller will be looking to point St. Pauli in the right direction after top-scoring with 10 last term. - Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

New arrivals

The signing of Australia international Jackson Irvine stands out, with the prolific midfielder joining from Scottish club Hibernian FC. After four years in Scotland, Irvine enjoyed the best season of his career to date with Burton Albion in the English Championship, scoring ten goals in 2016/17. He chipped in with a fair share of goals and assists at Hull City before returning to Scotland last year, and St. Pauli fans will be hoping he has brought plenty of goals and assists with him to northern Germany.

The midfield is where Schultz has made the most changes, with Swedish midfielder Eric Smith arriving from Gent and Croatian youngster Jakov Medic joining from Wehen Wiesbaden. Up front, former Borussia Dortmund youth player Etienne Amenyido has joined from Osnabrück, and he will be looking to link up with last season's top-scorer Guido Burgstaller.

What to expect

St. Pauli's faith in Schultz ultimately paid off, and with minor changes to the squad this summer, he will be working largely with the same players he managed to transmit his playing philosophy to over the course of last season. Disregarding the final three games of the season, when neither promotion nor relegation were a possibility, St. Pauli had the best record in the division during the second half of the campaign, and even when those three defeats are included, they picked up just four points fewer than Greuther Fürth and three less than Bochum, who were both promoted.

The northern Germany club will therefore be keen to latch onto that form, with a few squad improvements to help them take the next step. Although the next Bundesliga 2 campaign promises to be one of the most competitive on record, with heavyweights of the calibre of Schalke, Werder Bremen and St. Pauli's city rivals Hamburg, there is always room for a surprise and Schultz's men will fancy their chances as one of the dark horses, especially if they can hit the ground running and build up some momentum in the first half of the season.

Fans will be flocking back to the Millerntor this season, hoping to see St. Pauli mount a successful challenge for promotion. - Cathrin Mueller/Getty Images

Opening fixtures

St. Pauli 3-0 Holstein Kiel
Erzgebirge Aue vs. St. Pauli (Sunday, 1 August)
DFB Cup: Magdeburg vs. St. Pauli (Saturday, 7 August)
St. Pauli vs. Hamburg (Friday, 13 August)
Paderborn vs. St. Pauli (Saturday, 21 August)
St. Pauli vs. Jahn Regensburg (Sunday, 29 August)
Hannover vs. St. Pauli (Saturday, 11 September)
St. Pauli vs. Ingolstadt (Sunday, 19 September)
Karlsruher vs. St. Pauli (Saturday, 25 September)