Moenchengladbach/Hamburg. Leart Paqarada wears a collar which he is very hesitant to remove. It should therefore Sunday at recovery training wore, he also wore the shiny accessory during FC St. Pauli’s friendly match against Borussia Mönchengladbach. Until he was no longer allowed to wear it because referee Robin Braun Paqarada asked Paqarada to remove his jewelry after five minutes. Which didn’t stop the 28-year-old from simply shining himself and the second division 15. leading to a surprising 1-0 (1-0) win at Borussia Park.
Paqarada had entered the lawn in a good mood. The evening newspaper revealed the reason shortly before the start of the match: the co-captain of the neighborhood club, whose work papers in Hamburg are limited at the end of the season, signed a three-year contract with the club of Bundesliga 1 .FC Köln, valid from 1 July. Neither Paqarada nor FC St. Pauli officials would comment on the request. However, there is no bad blood from browns and whites. Players entering the last six months of their contract are allowed to negotiate with other clubs without informing their own.
FC St. Pauli lose Leart Paqarada
St. Pauli did not seriously expect to be able to employ their best player beyond the summer, but for well-known sporting reasons they were also unwilling to sell him in this winter transfer window. Now Paqarada is leaving on a free transfer and he is using what could be his last chance to qualify for the Bundesliga.
Last summer, FC Schalke 04 would have offered around 1.5 million euros, but St. Pauli was naturally too little. At the time, nothing more came out. Paqarada, who always responds in a friendly and professional manner when addressing the media, sometimes closes off and has no permanent adviser. Instead, players’ agents deal with him selectively if necessary.
For St. Pauli, Paqarada can hardly be replaced on equal footing
At the turn of the year, contact with the consultant who last took on these tasks for the left foot would have diminished. Another agency stepped in and rumors of interest from Major League Soccer in the US made the rounds. Instead, the homecoming of Paqarada, born in Aachen and trained at Bayer Leverkusen, because “half of the Bundesliga is chasing him”, as Cologne sporting director Christian Keller put it. . Although the 44-year-old has yet to confirm that he has signed the hunted man, he gave some deep insight: “I think he is the best left-back in the second division and I think this would be great if he played for us.”
For St. Pauli, Paqarada can hardly be replaced on equal footing. However, this is not yet a problem. For good reason: Captain Jackson Irvine may be the vocal leader and crowd favorite, Eric Smith the defensive man, but Paqarada is the relentless engine the offensive game is obsessed with. After missing out on promotion last year, you could see his frustration at least at the start of pre-season – as well as Kiezclub’s veto of a move to the Bundesliga. Some fans have occasionally complained about his body language, annoyed dismissive gestures towards his co-workers, eye rolling. And yet: it is precisely these teammates who chose him as captain, who continue to trust him blindly.
Subjectively, Paqarada’s performances seemed a little less productive than the outstanding performances of the previous season. But the objective values say something completely different: according to research from the “Millerton” blog, the Kosovo international has even improved.
Leart Paqarada is the best second division full-back
Be careful now: in the first part of the season, no full-backs in the second division: more crosses, more passes in the final third, more passes in the opponent’s penalty area, the highest number of successful passes in each of these categories, more successful passes near the opponent’s goal played, more progressive passes, and higher assist rate. In short: Leart Paqarada is the best second division full-back and St. Pauli only goes as far as his star can carry the team.
“He has been playing regularly for years, has a high level of understanding of the game and technical ability, is very smart when it comes to building play and can bring a lot of goal threats into the opposition’s penalty area,” Keller said, summarizing what was seen in Mönchengladbach. The model for David Otto’s dream goal hack (24th) of course came from Paqarada.
Brilliantly staged: the laid-back Paqarada
Like most of his colleagues, he also benefits from the 5-2-3 system practiced under new coach Fabian Hürzeler. “It works very well, explains Marcel Hartel, because we have three attacking players ready immediately after recovering the ball.” The bottom of the table in the Bundesliga, whose test was the dress rehearsal for the resumption of the championship next Sunday against Leverkusen, no one is as brilliant in the scenery as the relaxed-looking Paqarada.
Moreover? “Do we have to be even better at playing the last pass, seeing the free man,” said Hürzeler, who, based on the list of potential champs, sounded more critical than he actually wanted. “We were brave, the mentality was good, even when we were pushed back in the second half. But we don’t overestimate a friendly win,” he added.
Meanwhile, Paqarada sprinted through the mixed zone in the background. His goal: the Gladbach Hut. shirt swap. The bodice he got remained his secret. The only certainty is that it won’t be his last collectible in the Bundesliga.
FC St. Pauli: Vasilj – Saliakas (Wieckhoff 80), Dzwigala (Boukhalfa 80), Smith (Beifus 61), Mets (Medic 46), Paqarada (Ritzka 80) – Irvine (Fazliji 61), Hartel (Aremu 46) – Metcalfe (80th Saad), Otto (61st Maurides), Daschner (80th Matanovic). Aim: 0: 1 Otto (24th). Arbitrator: Brown (Wuppertal). The viewers: 5572.
Updated: Mon. 16/01/2023 at 04:30
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