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Boys in Brown target another result at Bielefeld

Having negotiated the hurdles posed by top sides Stuttgart (0-1), Braunschweig (2-1) and Dresden (2-0) with credit, Ewald Lienen's team now ready themselves for the first meeting with immediate rivals for Bundesliga 2 survival at Arminia Bielefeld on Sunday (1330 CET). The Boys in Brown are intent on the momentum from these matches to the Alm to secure another result on the road.

After the 2-0 home defeat of Dynamo Dresden midfielder Bernd Nehrig described the league table as a "pleasant snapshot". He and his teammates had occupied bottom spot for four long months until victories over Braunschweig and Dresden saw them hand this mantle to Erzgebirge Aue. More than that, they also moved past Sunday's opponents Arminia Bielefeld into 16th place. For Cenk Sahin, scorer of the second goal against Dynamo, it was an "important step", but nothing more. More steps need to follow on the road towards second division safety. Nothing has been achieved yet. On that, everyone is agreed.

The upturn in fortunes that set in before the winter break will hopefully continue at Bielefeld. Having conceded just three goals in their last six league fixtures, the best record in the league along with SV Sandhausen, Lienen's men will again be looking to build from a solid defence. The Boys in Brown are also finding the net with increasing regularity. This, coupled with the improvement at the back, has seen them deservedly emerge victorious from their last two encounters.

For Arminia, in contrast, the last few weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster. A 3-2 defeat against fellow strugglers Karlsruhe was followed by a vital 2-1 win over 1860 Munich. Jürgen Kramny's men then beat fourth-tier outfit Astoria Walldorf 6-5 on penalties in the DFB Cup before slipping to another league defeat, this time 3-1 at Union Berlin. Like the Boys in Brown, Arminia have collected 17 points from their 20 matches to date, but of these 15 have come at the Schüco Arena, where they have won four out of the last five.

"It's going to be a tough game," said midfielder Waldemar Sobota ahead of the first of three clashes against teams from the bottom end of the table. "It won't be one jot easier than our previous matches." But after taking six points out of nine against promotion-chasing sides, the task now is to take points off our immediate rivals. Apart from Kyoungrok Choi (thigh strain), Mats Møller Dæhli (calf strain) and Joel Keller (tight thigh muscle), Lienen has a full squad to choose from in the quest to secure a third away win in succession.


Photo: Witters