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Ziereis: "We're all up for it and desperate to be in the team against Kiel"

Newly appointed captain Philipp Ziereis was in demand from the media ahead of the opening game of the 2021/22 season against Holstein Kiel this Sunday. At a press conference on Wednesday the centre-back spoke about his new role and much more besides.

Philipp Ziereis on...

...the sense of anticipation ahead of the new season: "We're all excited. It's such a fantastic league this year. In general, you always look forward to the start of a new season, of course, but there'll be lots of derby games and a number of clubs who won't always be in the second division. There are some really special matches among them."

...the type of captain he is: "A relaxed one (he laughs). The lads can carry on having their fun. We're a very homogeneous group and my role won't change all that much now I'm captain."

...how it feels to be playing in front of fans again in the north German matchup with Kiel: "I think we all saw in the dress rehearsal against Hertha what kind of an atmosphere you can have even with only 2,500 fans in the ground, and there'll be a few more on the opening day. It won't be full just yet but it's simply more fun when you have a few people in and the atmosphere is there. And if you aren't tingling with excitement before the first game, you may as well pack in playing football, and that tingling sensation is definitely there, especially with there being a few more fans in the ground."

...forthcoming opponents Holstein Kiel: "It'll be an evenly matched game. No one knows where they stand at the start. Kiel have had a few departures but they're still a very good team with a number of players who've been around a long time."

...his personal progress: "It's obviously easier when you're full of confidence. We've worked very hard as a group and also individually on our build-up play with Loïc Favé. Part of it also comes from playing a lot and having everybody's backing, which helps you to maintain a rhythm. And not being injured so often, as has happened to me in the past unfortunately. I'm itching to play, stay fit and become a better player with the lads. Even though I'm getting on a bit, you never stop learning as a footballer."

...the quality of the squad: "We've brought some good lads in who will add to our quality. And then there are players who were here last season, such as Lukas Daschner, Max Dittgen and Simon Makienok, who have come back from holiday top fit. We've gelled better now and know what we want to do. We're all up for it and desperate to be in the team against Kiel. That raises the quality, and that's good."

...some small targets for the new season: "Getting through to the next round in the DFB Cup for a change wouldn't be bad (he laughs). We simply want to get off to a good start and pick up as many points as possible, though we'll take each game as it comes."

...the conclusions from pre-season: "We weren't always at our freshest in the warm-up games, but that's normal during the pre-season preparations. Overall, we performed well. It was important for the new players to get to know how we operate and how we want to play, and we had good opponents for that. We can be very satisfied all things considered."

Photos: FC St. Pauli