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Tenacity coupled with efficiency the key to success at Braunschweig

After failing to secure their first win since mid-August against Heidenheim last time out, the Boys in Brown go to Eintracht Braunschweig on Saturday (13.00 CET) determined to end a run of six games without a victory. That will be no easy task, however, against a side unbeaten in four. As well as reproducing the tenacity they showed against Heidenheim, the Schultz XI will also need to be effective if they are to take all three points.

The Boys in Brown came agonisingly close to securing their third win of the season last week when Heidenheim defender Norman Theuerkauf cleared an Igor Matanović shot off the line in second-half stoppage time to deny the Boys in Brown a last-gasp victory. Despite a good performance, the Boys in Brown had to settle for a point, as so often recently. "Nevertheless, the lads took a lot of energy from the game," said Schultz during the week. The second clean sheet of the season gave reason for satisfaction, the only problem was that the ball just wouldn't go in at the other end.

After a winless run of six games and with no win on the road in more than six months, the Schultz XI are hoping the tide will finally turn at Braunschweig. Asked about his side's much-cited finishing problem, the St. Pauli boss emphasised the need for his players to keep their belief and rediscover their scoring touch in training. What the Boys in Brown have been lacking this season is effectiveness, as evidenced by a few stats. Though the Boys in Brown have registered the second-highest number of attempts on goal in the league (164) after Paderborn (182), they rank just mid-table in terms of goals scored (15). In addition, no other team has allowed fewer attempts on goal (99), and yet they have already shipped 14 goals.

The clean sheet against Heidenheim, when the Boys in Brown played with tenacity from the off and rarely gave the visitors a sight of goal, was a step in the right direction. They had some good chances, too, yet no goals to celebrate. That will hopefully change at Braunschweig, where Schultz may be able to field both captains in Leart Paqarada, who resumed full training in midweek after sustaining a thigh strain at Regensburg, and Jackson Irvine, who has served his one-match ban but did report a minor injury during the week.

Yet what about Braunschweig, who have had a mixed start to the season? In their first six league games, Eintracht collected a solitary point, though they did manage to eliminate Hertha BSC in the DFB Cup. Not until week five did they register their first league goals in a 2-2 draw with Fortuna Düsseldorf. After a hefty 4-1 defeat at Arminia Bielefeld, the turnaround came when Braunschweig came from behind twice to beat Nürnberg 4-2 at home. More points followed with the 2-1 defeat of Karlsruhe and two 1-1 draws against Hannover and Kaiserslautern, meaning the newly promoted side are now unbeaten in four.

Also worthy of mention, even though it was only a friendly, was the 7-0 win over league rivals Holstein Kiel. Braunschweig, who place much emphasis on keeping a tight ship at the back and switching the play quickly, are now in full flow, something that is also down to striker Anthony Ujah, who arrived from Union Berlin after week two. The 31-year-old has scored four of Braunschweig's last eight goals and been instrumental in the upturn.


Photo: Witters

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