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The Boys in Brown hit the ground running last weekend when they started the season with a victory for the first time in three years. And for the first time in what seemed like an eternity at least some of you were able to celebrate a winning afternoon at the Millerntor. The 3-0 defeat of Holstein Kiel offered an initial pointer yet amounted to nothing more than the first three points in the bag. On Sunday afternoon (13:30 CET), the Schultz XI start from scratch again at Erzgebirge Aue aiming to build on last week's encouraging showing.

How good was that? A sumptuous left-foot finish into the top corner from Leart Paqarada opened the new campaign with a bang. But it wasn't just the superb goals and rapid transitions that delighted the fans, but also the collective pressing of the ball. Timo Schultz's side appear to have taken another step forward in their development and now we can barely wait for them to run out at Aue on Sunday.

One good performance is no yardstick for an entire season, of course, but the lads are welcome to bag the euphoria and take it with them to Aue. If this is the "strongest second division of all time", as the media are fond of calling it, the opening day showed first and foremost that no team is unbeatable or stands head and shoulders above the rest. Nevertheless, the Boys in Brown will need to do their homework week in, week out. Every point will be fiercely contested and determine where the journey takes us.

It's difficult to say what awaits us at Aue. In Aliaksei Shpileuski, 33, the second-youngest coach in the division behind Kiel's Ole Werner, the Saxony outfit have appointed a man who started his coaching career at a young age with the youth teams of VfB Stuttgart and then Leipzig. Before putting pen to paper on a three-year deal in Aue, he won the league title in Kazakhstan with Kairat Almaty. And though the bulk of the squad remains intact, the new boss will have to manage without strikers Florian Krüger (Arminia Bielefeld) and Pascal Testroet (SV Sandhausen).

Sam Schreck, 22, will be a familiar name to some St. Pauli fans. The former FCSP youth player joined Aue on loan from FC Groningen in the week. In the scoreless draw at Nürnberg on the opening day, Shpileuski showed he was ready to place his faith in young players by fielding wingers Omar Sijaric, 19, and Bayern loanee Nicolas Kühn, 21. The latter is another to have worn the brown-and-white jersey in the academy and later played alongside Finn Ole Becker at youth level for Germany.

Young guns, then, are likely to challenge the Boys in Brown on Sunday. The game will also have much more of an away feel to it than the equivalent fixture last season, with at least 12,000 spectators allowed in to see Aue kick off their home campaign – with the odd St. Pauli fan or two also likely to be in attendance. Whatever the case, the Schultz XI face another stiff examination in a league offering no opportunity to take a breather.


Photos: Witters