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Opening game in potentially the best second division of all time – Boys in Brown start against Kiel

What head coach Timo Schultz dubbed probably the most attractive second division of all time kicked off on Friday evening, with the Boys in Brown beginning at home against Holstein Kiel on Sunday (13:30 CET). After narrowly missing out on promotion last term, Kiel will be hoping to knock on the door to the top flight once again, while the Schultz XI are aiming to rekindle the impressive form they displayed in the second half of last season and enjoy a successful campaign.

Exactly nine weeks after the final game of the 2020/21 season, FC St. Pauli return to league action on Sunday in a second division packed with big-name clubs and widely regarded as the best of all time. Werder Bremen run out in the second tier for the first time since 1981, FC Schalke 04 since 1991. Dynamo Dresden bounced back up at the first attempt, and Hansa Rostock are back in tier two after nine years in the third division. Appetising matchups aplenty, then, and not just against the aforementioned teams.

The Boys in Brown launch their campaign at home for the first time in six years, and the sense of anticipation in the camp is tangible, as expressed by head coach Timo Schultz ("We're all really excited ahead of the new season") and left-back Leart Paqarada ("We have a cracker to begin with") in the run-up.

Both men went into pre-season five weeks ago upbeat after a string of excellent performances in the second half of last season yet only too aware that there was still plenty of work to do in order to enter the new campaign having had the best possible preparation. The Schultz XI are sticking by their mantra of wanting to play attractive attacking football but have also focused on improving their defensive work in recent weeks after conceding a hefty 56 goals last term. Four of those goals were shipped in early May at Kiel, their opponents on Sunday. The brown-and-white rearguard will need to be extra resolute against the high-flying Storks, of course, while the strike force led by Guido Burgstaller will hope to replicate the threat they showed so often after the winter break last term and contribute as many goals as possible.

The Boys in Brown will be assisted in their endeavour to make a winning start against Kiel by just short of 9,000 fans. And though the Millerntor won't be packed to capacity due to the coronavirus pandemic, the atmosphere is sure to be special and give the team an added edge. Fans and players alike will be looking to give their all to ensure the 2021/22 campaign begins with a bang.

FORZA FCSP!

 

Photo: FC St. Pauli

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