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The Boys in Brown continue their league campaign with a trip to SV Darmstadt on Saturday, where Rico Benatelli and Co. will be hoping for a repeat of the successful restart against Nürnberg. In midweek the midfielder took time out to answer questions from the Hamburg media at a virtual press conference, during which he spoke about...

…the first game without fans: "It was a new feeling for me and almost everyone else in the team and one that was difficult to prepare for. We tried to get used to it during training at the Millerntor, but at the back of your mind you also know it isn't always going to be like this, of course. When you have the backing of the fans it's a special atmosphere, especially at home with our 30,000 crowds, and we missed it."

…taking personal responsibility at home: "We had a lot of internal meetings, including with the doctors, who explained everything to us and gave us tips. We're trying to comply to keep the risk of someone becoming infected as low as possible."

…the fear of becoming infected on the pitch: "I'm not really scared. When you play you're focused on winning the game. We're also being tested on a regular basis, so I have a good feeling."

…changes to the game: "The next few weeks will provide more clarity on whether the changes were one-offs or not. The emotion of the crowd has an effect on the players on the pitch. It can give us a boost and drag the opposition down. That's not the case at the moment. I saw some of the games in Bundesliga 1 and 2 on TV and the standard was high in spite of the long break. It was fun to watch."

…keeping fit: "We did a lot of running work before we resumed full training, but the workload in full training is completely different and a week to prepare for the restart was not long at all. We tried to make the best of it, and in terms of our running stats it's looking very good."

…his relationship with Jos Luhukay: "My relationship with the coach is good. We spent a lot of time together in small group training but that wasn't a factor in me being in the starting lineup. The beginning of my time at St. Pauli was not so nice, so I'm all the happier that the tide has turned for me. I'm proud of myself for not giving up and then taking my chance and I hope it'll carry on like this, but it's also important not to be satisfied and instead to keep working and improving. I hope I can have more years at St. Pauli. It's a pleasure to play football here."

…his inclusion in the starting XI: "You can never be sure of playing. When we resumed I tried to stake a claim in the practice matches and show I was fit. I was really happy to make the starting lineup."

…bogey team Darmstadt: "I've already heard from the lads that our recent record against Darmstadt isn't the best, but we have a good chance of improving it now. I'm optimistic going into the game."


Photo: Witters


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