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Nemeth: "To run out here and see the fans is an unbelievable feeling"

David Nemeth looked unflappable on his Millerntor debut. Having just shaken off a muscle injury, the 21-year-old was something of a surprise starter in the 3-0 win over Magdeburg. Yet the Austrian oozed calmness in central defence and repaid the trust placed in him by the coaching team.

Nemeth had been looking forward to his first game at the Millerntor ever since he completed his move to Hamburg. "To run out here and see the fans is an unbelievable feeling," said the summer signing, who had not started a game since last November during his spell at Mainz. "The signs were already there in the final training session that I could go straight into the side. I did everything I could in training and really wanted to play from the start," a beaming Nemeth continued. "It took me a while to get into the game. We had to build the play quickly and I wasn't in action on the ball that much as a result, so there's room for improvement there."

After conceding nine goals in their first four competitive matches, the Boys in Brown secured their first clean sheet against Magdeburg. If the truth be told, they did have that little bit of luck you need, of course, when Amara Condé and Moritz Kwarteng both hit the woodwork early in the second half. All in all, though, the defence looked more solid than it has done recently.

David Nemeth pressures Magdeburg's Andreas Müller.

David Nemeth pressures Magdeburg's Andreas Müller.

Timo Schultz was full of praise for the performance of his team and, by extension, that of the Austrian. "You have to remember he's still young and didn't have many outings last season but was very calm and collected nevertheless," said a delighted Schultz, who labelled Nemeth an "important player" in view of his robustness, pace and composure on the ball. "David came back from a long injury layoff and so we had to see how long his strength would hold out," said Schultz after naming the centre-back in his starting XI. "We were totally convinced it would work and it did."

With Jakov Medić and Manolis Saliakas alongside him, and Eric Smith and Jackson Irvine in front of him, communication takes place in English. In an emergency, however, each player knows the football-specific commands. It augurs well for the future that there were few teething problems in evidence on Sunday.

When he was taken off in the 71st minute, Nemeth received a warm round of applause from the fans, who will have been impressed by the authority and matter-of-factness with which he played. "I just looked forward to the game instead of being nervous," said Nemeth. "I've always radiated calmness, even as a youth player." Calmness that would serve the Boys in Brown well in what is set to be a heated encounter at Rostock on Sunday.

Photos: FC St. Pauli/Witters