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FC St. Pauli go to Erzgebirge Aue in the first of the five remaining fixtures of 2019 on Friday evening (1830 CET). The fifth-placed hosts will be keen to maintain their impressive form this season, while Jos Luhukay's side approach the game determined to end not only a run of five league matches without a win, but also a lengthy barren spell in the Ore Mountains.

The Boys in Brown signed off into the final international break of the year with a 1-1 draw against Bochum two weeks ago. A first win since the end of September was within reach, but ultimately they had to settle for an equitable share of the spoils. "We're on the right track," said both Johannes Flum and Waldemar Sobota after the final whistle, bemoaning the lack of reward for what had been anything but poor displays recently.

Luhukay's side have had almost two full weeks to prepare for the run-in to Christmas and now go to Aue targeting the first three of the 15 points available on Friday evening, a tough ask by any standard. Aue are having their best season in nine years and have already amassed 20 points. Not only that, the Violets remain unbeaten at home (four wins, draws) this term.

With the Boys in Brown still chasing their first win on the road, it is thus a meeting of opposites. And Aue has not been a happy hunting ground recently. The last four visits all ended in defeat, a negative streak the Boys in Brown are desperate to bring to an end. "Runs are there to be broken and it's time we got a result at Aue," said Philipp Ziereis, the only player to have started all four of those defeats.

It remains to be seen whether Ziereis will start again on Friday evening, but given the lengthy injury list – Luhukay will have to make do without 15 players – the defender is almost certain to feature in the team. What is certain is that Aue, who are without a win in three, will be without Jan Hochscheidt. The Saxony outfit's most dangerous player was sent off in the 1-1 draw at Karlsruhe and is suspended. A welcome break, as Hochscheidt has scored Aue's last three goals against the Boys in Brown.


Photos: Witters

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