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SV Darmstadt 98 are the visitors for the first home game of 2018 on Sunday (kick-off: 1330 CET). Just 63 hours after the 3-1 win at Dynamo Dresden, the Boys in Brown are looking to recover quickly and extend their positive run of three games without defeat.

Admittedly, Markus Kauczinski's side have had little time to recover from the successful outing to Dresden and prepare for the visit of Darmstadt. The fixture list is the fixture list, however, and you have to get on with it. "Unusual", was how Waldemar Sobota, who more than left his mark on Thursday evening with two goals and an assist, described the scheduling of two matches within the space of three days.

"There's nothing we can do about it, so we're taking it as it is," said Sobota. "But on the back of the win at Dresden it'll definitely be a bit easier to cope with the strain." A goal conceded just before the end was the only blot on a strong defensive performance coupled with clinical finishing that yielded a deserved win in Saxony. "We start from scratch again against Darmstadt, but we can go into the game feeling confident," added Kauczinski.

The league resumption may have gone swimmingly from a brown-and white point of view, but that joy was put into perspective by the events in Darmstadt on Wednesday, where the game against Kaiserslautern had to be abandoned with the score at 0-0 after Jeff Strasser collapsed during the interval and was rushed to hospital. Our best wishes for a speedy recovery go out once again to the Kaiserslautern head coach!

Under new boss Dirk Schuster, who returned to his former club before the winter break, the Lilies are desperate to end a run of 12 games without a win (six draws and six defeats). To help achieve that, Darmstadt have bolstered their squad during the winter transfer window, bringing in not one but five players, including striker Dong-Won Ji on loan from FC Augsburg and Romain Brégerie on loan from FC Ingolstadt.

Darmstadt may be longing for their first win since the 4-3 defeat of Arminia Bielefeld on 17 September 2017, then, but the Boys in Brown are just as motivated to shake off the heavy legs and get off to a successful home start to the year with their third win on the bounce.


Photo: Witters