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TOUGH DUISBURG CHALLENGE ON KAUCZINSKI'S DEBUT

FC St. Pauli end the year with the visit of VfL Bochum on Monday, 18 December, but before they do, they entertain MSV Duisburg on Sunday (1330 CET). Under the stewardship of new boss Markus Kauczinski, the Boys in Brown aim to return to winning ways against the impressive promoted side, who have been busy collecting points in recent weeks.

It's been a tempestuous few weeks for the Boys in Brown. On the back of a winless run stretching back to early October and two heavy defeats at Fürth (0-4) and Bielefeld (0-5), the club reacted by replacing head coach Olaf Janßen with Markus Kauczinski. The latter has had just three days to prepare the team for Sunday's visit of MSV Duisburg.

"Every single player has already shown what he is capable of, and the same goes for the team," said Kauczinski at his unveiling on Thursday. "We need to rediscover that in the little time we have." In the three training sessions before the game the new boss set out to do just that, with the aim of producing a performance good enough to beat the Zebras.

Kauczinski will be without no fewer than seven players for his debut against Duisburg after Philipp Ziereis, Ryo Miyaichi, Marc Hornschuh, Richard Neudecker and Clemens Schoppenhauer were joined on the injury list by Christopher Buchtmann and Mats Møller Dæhli during the week. On the positive side, Aziz Bouhaddouz has recovered from a cold and looks set to play, as does Luca Zander, who suffered a blow to the calf in training. Captain Bernd Nehrig also returns from a one-match ban.

MSV travel to the Millerntor with injury problems of their own, albeit not on the same scale as the Boys in Brown. MSV coach Ilja Gruev will be without Zlatko Janjic, Andreas Wiegel (both knee) and star man Moritz Stoppelkamp (six goals, two assists), who is ruled out by an ankle injury sustained in the recent 2-0 home win over Greuther Fürth.

The Zebras have impressed on the road so far (four wins, one draw, three defeats) and will be looking to continue a recent run of form that has seen them take 14 of a possible 21 points to climb from 15th to seventh in the table. Safe to say that Duisburg, who Kauczinski described as a compact and physically strong unit, are the league's form side at the moment.

No one is any doubt, then, that Sunday's game will be no walk in the park, but as Kauczinski put it at the pre-match press conference: "We have a tough job ahead of us, but I'm confident we can win here."

 

Photo: Witters

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