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DARMSTADT TRIP TO END ON A HIGH

St. Pauli travel to Darmstadt 98 on Friday evening (kick-off: 1830 CET) aiming to continue their unbeaten start to the season. Yet caution is advised against the former Bundesliga side, of course.

"Remember when..." is a phrase football supporters often use when reminiscing about past triumphs and defeats involving their favourite club. St. Pauli fans are no different, of course, and 24 May 2015 is a date that's sure to feature prominently in stories such as these. For that was the final day of a nail-biting 2014/15 season, a day on which the Boys in Brown secured their second-division status after a breathtaking surge in the run-in.

Because Erzgebirge Aue were held to a 2-2 draw at FC Heidenheim that day, the Boys in Brown were able to live with a 1-0 defeat at Darmstadt. They had beaten the drop, something that had long looked nigh on impossible. The result also ensured the home side were promoted to the Bundesliga, and so euphoria broke out in both camps. Just one of many brilliant moments football is renowned for.

That is all in the past, however. After two years in the top flight, Darmstadt are back in the second tier, and when the two teams run out on Friday that memory will be nothing more than a side note. For Olaf Janssen's team the task will be to continue their decent start to the season and, if possible, add three more points to their tally. Though the Boys in Brown have had to deal with going out of the cup at SC Paderborn on Monday, goalkeeper Robin Himmelmann believes the game comes at exactly the right time: "We haven't had a lot of time, which can also be a good thing," he said. "It's an early opportunity to put the defeat behind us. We have to recover quickly and want to go all out attack again on Friday."

The Lilies got off to a winning start to the campaign with a 1-0 defeat over Greuther Fürth at the Böllenfalltor and followed that up with a 1-1 draw at FC Kaiserslautern. Torsten Fring's side may have gone out of the cup at newly promoted Jahn Regensburg last Friday, but that will have done nothing to weaken their determination to take all three points on Friday.

"We were disappointed with the way we went out, but we've drawn a line under it relatively quickly," said Frings. "We're sure we'll show a reaction on Friday." As the emphasis there would appear to be more on attack rather than caution, Himmelmann and Co. will need to take heed.

The scene is set for a high-octane reunion at the Böllenfalltor, then. Though we won't see both teams celebrating like they did just over two years ago, the emotions will be running high, and the Boys in Brown will be doing their utmost at any rate to leave Darmstadt on a high.

 

Photo: Witters

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