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Dittgen: "You can't let up an inch because otherwise someone will overtake you"

The 4-1 home win over FC Ingolstadt 04 was followed by a 3-1 victory at Karlsruher SC, the first on the road this season. Maximilian Dittgen, who returned to the starting lineup against Ingolstadt, contributed to both wins with excellent performances. The versatile attacking player has no intention of letting up, not simply to keep his place in the side, but also to chalk up another success with his teammates against Dynamo Dresden.

His answer was hardly surprising. "Things are going well for me at the moment," said Maximilian Dittgen when asked about his current frame of mind. "My family and I are fine. We're all healthy, so I can't complain." And the left-sided midfielder has provided good reasons to be cheerful himself just recently. In his first start since the second round of matches in the home game against Ingolstadt, he gave a strong performance and notched his first goal of the season with a deft header. That showing earned him another start at Karlsruhe, where he followed up with another good display.

"I feel comfortable in our system, and I feel comfortable in my position. I'm used to the role now and the interplay with the lads is going very well," said Dittgen, who partnered Guido Burgstaller up top and impressed in both games. The former Wiesbaden man missed the derby due to the birth of his second daughter and had otherwise been restricted to just a few cameo appearances, with his only other start coming at Aue in late July, so he has no intention of ending up on the bench again any time soon. "It's important not to relax now but to keep going and keep performing week in, week out, to earn my right to start," he continued, all too aware of the quality in the squad. "You can't let up an inch because otherwise someone will overtake you. I want to carry on playing from the start, of course. To do that, I have to stay fit and go flat out in every training session because things can turn so quickly. You have to stay on your toes and not give the coach any reason to make a change."

Maximilian Dittgen celebrates after heading his side two up against Ingolstadt.

Maximilian Dittgen celebrates after heading his side two up against Ingolstadt.

With this mind, Dittgen has been going full throttle since preparations for the visit of Dresden began on Tuesday to stake his claim for a place in the starting XI. The fleet-footed forward brings bags of energy and pace to the pitch, as evidenced by the way he won the corner that led to the opener against Ingolstadt and set up the all-important third goal at Karlsruhe by winning the ball near the penalty area. "I think that closing down the ball is one of my strengths. It's certainly one of the reasons why the boss is picking me," he said.

A fifth home win in a row is the target and the support of fans will hopefully carry the players over the line. "The fans will get the last few percentage points out of us. We've seen that in our recent home games and in the results. It's so good to have them back. They give us a lot and I think we give them a lot too when they see us giving everything and performing well," said Dittgen, who is keen to start again, as he did against Ingolstadt and Karlsruhe, and do his bit for three points with a good performance.


Photos: FC St. Pauli/Witters