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Killer touch sought in bid to make it two wins out of two

After the 3-2 defeat of Nürnberg, FC St. Pauli go to Hannover 96 on Saturday (20.30 CET) looking for another three points in the opening game on the road this season. The Lower Saxony outfit are eager to open their account after a last-gasp 2-1 defeat at newly promoted Kaiserslautern last time out, while the Boys in Brown aim to build on their opening-day win by ending their recent losing run against the 96ers.

"It was important to get off to a good start, so we're all delighted to have got our first win," said new recruit Johannes Eggestein after the 3-2 victory over Nürnberg. It was merely a first step, though, as not everything went to plan despite the win. "There’s room for improvement," Eggestein continued, a view shared by others. Nevertheless, the Schultz XI have prepared for the trip to Hannover, where there will be a minute's silence in honour of Uwe Seeler, who died on Thursday, buoyed by Saturday’s three-point haul.

So what can the Boys in Brown expect on Saturday? A good question, since the Lower Saxony outfit underwent a major upheaval during the summer. Several players came and went, and a new coach arrived in Stefan Leitl. The former Fürth boss had to contend with a last-minute 2-1 defeat on his competitive debut at Kaiserslautern, so his team will be desperate to open their account in their first home game, of course. "They'll do everything they can to get their first three points against us. We go to Hannover feeling very confident after the win against Nürnberg, though we know we're in for a tough game," said Jackson Irvine, who put in an excellent performance against Nürnberg.

Irvine also pointed out that he and his teammates needed "to make amends" after a run of poor results against Saturday’s opponents. The Boys in Brown, having already slipped to a 2-1 home defeat against Hannover at the end of the 2020/21 season, lost both games without scoring. "Weird" was how Schultz described the 3-0 loss in the reverse fixture, when his team not only drew a blank at the Millerntor but also missed two penalties through Guido Burgstaller and Daniel-Kofi Kyereh. "It was a day when we could have played for another hour without scoring," said Schultz, looking back on a game that was also their first home defeat of last season. So if the Boys in Brown want to get a result at Hannover, where they will be backed by almost 3,000 travelling fans, one thing in particular will be required, and that's a killer touch in front of goal.

That touch was in ample evidence against Nürnberg, and so the Schultz XI go to Hannover full of confidence, knowing that recent results count for nothing when the opening whistle sounds. "It's a new season now, and Hannover have a new team and a new coach. There's no longer any comparison," said Schultz. The St. Pauli coach is still without David Nemeth and Etienne Amenyido but does have more alternatives in defence now. Marcel Beifus is eligible to play again after serving a two-match ban and new signing Betim Fazliji is a genuine option after a full week in training.

Photos: Witters