In the Hamburg derby, FC St. Pauli came away with a 3-0 win over Hamburger SV at home in a game layered with drama and clouds of smoke from flares in both the home and away ends. St. Pauli’s home victory came with ease due to an early red card by Sebastian Schonlau in the 28th minute after he pushed attacking midfielder Etienne Amenyido in the back during a 1v1 with the keeper. At the half, it was an even score line and manager Timo Schultz switched St. Pauli from a 4-2-3-1 to a 5-3-2 and that jump started the offense while securing the defense, too, leading to a clean sheet. Academy graduate and target man Igor Matanović got a true support striker in this formation, and it helped him get an assist in the box to Marcel Hartel in the 74th minute. In the 80th minute, Schultz swapped Matanović for David Otto who went on to score the third goal of the match on a powerful header off Lars Ritzka’s cross.
A player I have been tracking, Hamburger’s Ransford-Yeboah Königsdörffer, started in this match, too. He started out on the left and struggled a bit in an inverted role, but swapped spots and played his traditional right winger role well as an aggressive presser and ball carrier. In the second half, due to the red card and then his over-aggressiveness, Königsdörffer went from left wingback and the second striker. In the latter role, he had a nice move cutting inside to the box with his right foot and getting a power shot away, although easily saved. Königsdörffer did his best to make change in a match made challenging by a red card. His teammate Ludovit Reis who impressed me in a previous match, was the most creative player on the pitch. The best player both offensively and defensively, though, was St. Pauli left wingback Leart Paqarada. He changed the tone of the match every time he was on ball, whether attacking or defending.
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, rewatch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: Croatia
- Age: 19
- Date of birth: 31/03/2003
- Club: Eintracht Frankfurt
- Career: FC St. Pauli, FC St. Pauli (Loan)
- Position: Center Forward
- Preferred foot: Right
Igor Matanović is a tall and lanky target man-style center forward that stands at 194 cm. He is on loan at his youth club St. Pauli for two seasons until next summer after a deadline day transfer to Eintracht Frankfurt in summer 2021. He is a forward with very average pace and athleticism for his size. In this match, Matanović displayed great use of his length and body control which aided him in fulfilling his instructions in Schultz’s tactics. Despite his slight frame, the Croatian center forward showcased his strength that he has plenty of time to build upon.
Matanović was targeted a decent number of times in direct build up from the goalkeeper and displayed his aerial ability. He was able to box out on the ground and in the air, taking advantage of his frame. He had an above average success rate in aerial duels overall and was mostly accurate when distributing the headers, especially in these limited opportunities to do so in the direct build up. On one direct buildup, Matanović won an aerial duel jumping high in the air and played a decent through ball to his support player when heading the ball backwards. Although given limited opportunities in the direct build up, he was given hardly any in the short build up that St. Pauli utilized so often. It could have been because of his inconsistent first touch that was soft sometimes and heavy more often. He hardly had any touches of the ball but had control of an aerial ball with his right foot nicely on one possession and dished it out left into space for his teammate to advance to the box as he cut inside parallel. Outside of that he was not given much chance to display his passing or dribbling ability with his feet. He had the assist on the Hartel goal before he was subbed off but was going for goal first before hitting it back to get the assist while sliding. Matanović did contribute to a goal with his creation in the end.
When St. Pauli pushed forward and added tempo to the attack, Matanović mainly ran the middle channel, making runs in behind and getting into the middle of the box for crosses and to summon danger. This was where Matanović showed his class. His job was to stay central and attack the posts. The Hamburg-born forward had plenty of chances to finish fall to him in the box but was unlucky not to finish any of them. His best opportunity came when he hit the back right post on a flicked right footed shot after receiving a left wing cross toward the front post. Another finishing chance arose on a through ball down the left side of the box that he tried to place with his right foot, but the defender put in enough pressure to affect his angle and the keeper saved it easily. In another chance, Matanović controlled a cross from Paqarada into a pass with his chest to the box to create some danger. On a run onto a through ball in the box, he was not quick enough to get there, which could be a problem against higher competition. Overall, Matanović uses his body well to maximize his strengths on the attack, especially in the box.
His main duty out of possession was to press high and aggressively. As a presser, Matanović was a quality asset due to his length that frustrated players trying to advance in the buildup. He was able to press to cause back passes but got too aggressive once and fouled hard by running through the passer. When possession turned, Matanović was ready to press immediately. He also blocked a pass in the press and displayed good knowledge of defensive positioning in cutting out passing lanes. On another occasion, Matanović pressed the goalkeeper and overwhelmed him into a rushed back pass out of bounds. When pressing, he did all he could to regain possession.
Rating – A2
Eintracht Frankfurt certainly found a young player with upside last summer in the Hamburg born and trained (with St. Pauli) target man. Matanović has all the traits to be a reliable target man scorer in the Bundesliga or top of 2. Bundesliga, but must take a couple years to get there based on this performance. He is still putting it all together—Matanović needs to fill out his frame and work on his dribbling and control. If he can put it all together, Frankfurt may have gotten a steal from St. Pauli to add to their attack in a couple seasons.