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At two-down St Pauli rallied valiantly in the second half against Darmstadt but ultimately it proved in vain. After the 2-1 reverse, the consensus in the camp was that the Boys in Brown had sleepwalked their way through the first half but recovered well in the second despite being unable to ward off the defeat. The post-match reaction.

Head coach Timo Schultz: "We didn't start well. Perhaps the lads wanted too much. We weren't clear enough in our patterns, in particular in our attacking play, where we wanted to operate down the flanks more. As a result, we gave the ball away a lot and had some misunderstandings at the back. The first goal, for example, resulted from a situation where we could have cleared the danger easily. The second goal was a real speculative effort and it left us chasing the game. I can't fault the lads for the performance from the 20th/25th minute. We mounted a lot of pressure, created chances and had them pinned back. The substitutes gave our play fresh impetus. Nevertheless, we only managed to score once from 23 attempts on goal. You're going to lose when you do that. It hurts today. It was a similar feeling for Darmstadt last week but today they got the win and are delighted. We'll try to do the same at home against Nürnberg next week. Maybe it'll be easier for us now we're out of the promotion places. People will be writing us off but we can come again. We definitely haven't given up yet. We'll brush ourselves down and try to put ourselves in a better position straightaway against Nürnberg. The situation keeps changing from week to week. We've dropped points in recent weeks and have to get them back in the next few weeks."

Philipp Ziereis: "We improved towards the end of the first half and showed a very good reaction in the second. We built our attacks well and had our chances. We made better use of the space and got between their lines better. In the end we lacked that little bit of luck. All in all, there was nothing to fault in our second-half showing. We were asleep early on, though. That left us chasing a 2-0 deficit and it's tough then, of course."

Leart Paqarada: "We conceded unnecessarily in the first half, Darmstadt punished us for that. We did better in the second half and showed the quality we have. We tried everything but it wasn't to be. Darmstadt kept us at bay. I still think we can be proud of our performance, though. We'll give it all we've got in the last few games and see where that leaves us at the end."

Lukas Daschner: "We knew Darmstadt defended well. We were asleep a bit in the first half but created a lot of pressure later. We all know what's at stake. We have to go into the game with the attitude that we have nothing to lose and everything to win. We have to pick up points and then we'll see where that gets us."

Torsten Lieberknecht (Darmstadt coach): "In the first half our ball and body composure came off very well. We're delighted to get the win but we had the luck you need in scoring the second goal in a period of pressure. We needed it as well today. Our defensive line was too deep for my taste, but that's the way it was today. We're pleased but we know it's going to stay tight. We'll see what happens. Huge thanks to the crowd – not just our fans but the entire stadium. They were that extra something today. It was an incredible privilege to be able to play here again today."

Luca Pfeiffer (SV Darmstadt 98): "We had some defensive problems in our last two games against other top sides, but we know what we can do. We faced a very good team today and won the game with a resolute performance and goals at the right moment."

Fabian Holland (SV Darmstadt 98): "It's always special to score here. If the ball had gone out of the ground, that's how it would have been. We're glad to stay in contention at the top and will keep fighting to the end."


Photos: Witters