Duisburg fact file
Tuesday, 26. March 2019, 13:13 Uhr
With the second division campaign entering the final quarter following the last international break of the season, the Boys in Brown play host to MSV Duisburg at the Millerntor on Friday evening (1830 CET). As usual, we've taken a closer look at our next opponents.
The 2018/19 campaign took an international break for the fourth and final time last weekend, but for MSV Duisburg the enforced absence has lasted a week longer. Their home game against FC Cologne on 16 March was postponed when the pitch was left resembling a ploughed field after third-division outfit KFC Uerdingen, who also play their home games at the MSV Arena, had entertained Fortuna Cologne two days previously. Duisburg were unbeaten in three and would have liked to have played but the game will now go ahead on Wednesday, 10 April (1830 CET). The Zebras filled the gap by arranging a friendly against Dutch top-division club FC Utrecht, which ended in a 6-0 drubbing.
Torsten Lieberknecht assumed the reins in Duisburg just under six months ago. Since he took charge 17 games ago, the Zebras have won five, drawn four and lost eight, to which can be added a win and a defeat in the DFB Cup. Lieberknecht's record against St. Pauli is not the best, to be fair. Three wins and three draws compare with seven defeats for an average points haul of just 0.92 per game. The former Braunschweig boss has a worse return against just one other current second-division team and that is Holstein Kiel (one win, two draws, three defeats for an average of 0.83 points per game).
Nerves of steel
Duisburg's last four goals have all come from dead-ball situations (three from free-kicks and one from the penalty spot). In left-back Kevin Wolze, MSV boast a player with a particularly cool head. The MSV captain scored from the spot for the seventh time in succession in the recent 1-1 draw against Regensburg. That was his fifth goal of the season. Wolze managed a very creditable nine goals last term, five of them from the spot. The 29-year-old has taken a total of 19 penalties for MSV Duisburg (since summer 2017) and VfL Wolfsburg II (2008 to 2011) to date and missed only once, back in March 2011. That mishap did not prevent the Wolves reserves winning 1-0 at HSV II.
Sudden aerial threat
At the turn of the year, Duisburg were the only team who could perhaps be accused of not using their heads. Unlike the Cologne goal machine, which produced 14 headed goals in the first 18 games of the season, MSV drew a complete blank in the air. This year it is a completely different story. The Zebras have notched five headed goals already, more than any other team.
The Boys in Brown should prepare for a physical encounter on Friday, as MSV can certainly put it about. The Zebras sit next to bottom in the fair-play table, having picked up 67 yellow cards, two yellows x2, and one straight red. Only FC Ingolstadt have a worse disciplinary record (59/5/2). Lukas Fröde is MSV's most disciplined player with eight yellow cards and one red. Other players with a "yellow streak" are former St. Pauli man John Verhoek and Fabian Schnellhardt (eight cautions each), Stanislav Iljutcenko and Kevin Wolze (both seven) and Andreas Wiegel (six).