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Boys in Brown kick off pre-season

After a three-week summer break, the Boys in Brown kicked off the 2023/24 season with the opening training session early on Monday evening. Head coach Fabian Hürzeler focused mainly on working with ball during the 90-minute workout. In Nikola Vasilj, Karol Mets, Betim Fazliji and Connor Metcalfe, four international players, were missing, while summer signings Hauke Wahl and Philipp Treu trained with their new club for the first time.

In sweltering temperatures of 25 degrees Celsius, the Boys in Brown were one of the first teams to resume training along with Kaiserslautern. The session began with the usual activation in the gym at 17.20 CET before Eric Smith became the first player to take to the pitch half an hour later. The warm-up was followed by various game-replication drills and passing exercises. The final drill of the day was very lively, with the players showing plenty of urgency.

"It was a bit like the first day at school today," said head coach Fabian Hürzeler after the start of training. “There was some nervous tension but also lots of excitement. In my opening team talk I told the players what I expect of them and what we want to work on. We've given the players a steer on where we're going.” Looking ahead to the new season, he continued: "We want to be more consistent, not only in terms of our results, but also our performances and development. That'll be the biggest challenge. If we manage to achieve consistency, I'm convinced we'll have success."

New recruits Thomas Barth, Hauke Wahl and Philipp Treu with head coach Fabian Hürzeler.

New recruits Thomas Barth, Hauke Wahl and Philipp Treu with head coach Fabian Hürzeler.

Debuting on the training ground along with new performance coach Thomas Barth were new acquisitions Hauke Wahl and Philipp Treu. Wahl, who came from Holstein Kiel, and Treu, from SC Freiburg II, left a very committed impression, as did the rest of the group. "I was given a very warm welcome,” said Wahl after the opening session. “It was quite easy really as we've faced each other plenty of times before. I felt very much at home right away and it was a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to getting to know the lads better in the next few days." Treu, 22, had no grounds for complaint either: "It was a lot of fun. You always look forward to the first training session after the summer break, all the more so today with the new team. The guys gave me a very warm welcome in the dressing room."

The squad wasn't complete on day one, however, for good reason. Nikola Vasilj, Karol Mets, Betim Fazliji and Connor Metcalfe are away on international duty, while Jackson Irvine is still labouring with a calf injury he sustained in the final game of last season against Karlsruhe. The midfielder came outside just before the end of the session and completed an individual workout. Striker Maurides did the same before the session started.

Etienne Amenyido was able to take part in most of the session, while David Nemeth was involved from start to finish. Elias Saad, on the other hand, was absent due to a muscle problem. In Kevin Jendrzej, Lennart Appe, Luca Günther, Robin Müller, Bennet Winter and Julian Ulbricht (Under-23s) and Eric da Silva Moreira (Under-19s), who was a member of the German Under-17 squad that won the European Championship in early June, seven young talents joined the first time for the opening day's training.

Photos: FC St. Pauli/Witters

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