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The pre-Christmas period kicks off at Arminia Bielefeld on Friday evening (1830 CET). Yet although the Boys in Brown have all been brought up well, they won't be wasting any time thinking about presents, preferring instead to invest all their energy on picking up three points.

Friday's game marks the beginning of three busy weeks for Olaf Janßen's side. After six matches without a win, there can only be one objective, and that is to do whatever it takes to collect all three points.

"The lads had a really bad conscience after Fürth last Sunday," said goalkeeper coach Matze Hain. The coaching staff have used the intervening period to go over the mistakes made in the 4-0 defeat and then switch the focus on Friday's important game. "They wanted to go all out right on the first day," he continued, delighted with the team's reaction during the week. Bite, aggression and application, the qualities the players are determined to show Janßen on Friday evening. A decent performance on the pitch will be needed as well if they are to take anything from Bielefeld.

Games between the two sides have been close-run things in the not so recent past. Not since the Boys in Brown dispatched Arminia 2-0 at the Millerntor on 23 September 2000 has a game been decided by at least a two-goal margin. The two meetings last season were the usual tight affairs. Cenk Sahin scored in second-half stoppage time to seal a 2-1 home win on matchday 3, and in the reverse fixture Fabian Klos struck in the third minute of time added on to deny Ewald Lienen's side a 1-0 away win. Janßen thus knows exactly what to expect. "They won't roll out the red carpet for us, on the contrary, they'll throw everything at it," the St. Pauli boss said in the run-up.

What needs to be done when there's no red carpet is no secret to Matze Hain: "We have to go out there, give it all we've got and defend ourselves against everything that might come. We won't surrender anything without a fight." Indeed, the Boys in Brown have nothing to give away this December.


Photo: Witters