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FC St. Pauli returned to Hamburg with three crucial points on Sunday after winning 2-1 at Hannover 96. We spoke to both coaches and a number of players after the game.

Head coach Fabian Hürzeler: "We didn't start well and you could see a certain instability in our play both on and off the ball. Hannover mounted some good pressure and made lots of runs in deep. We needed some time to adjust and get our game going but gradually got better and better. Taking the lead did us good but we conceded the equaliser almost immediately before the break. We then wanted to build on our good phase from when we scored and we had some good spells on the ball and created some set pieces, one of which led to the second goal, and we defended very well after that. I'm proud of the response from my team, even though it wasn't our best performance. It's something we can build on and we'll keep working hard to do that."

Nikola Vasilj: "We showed real character today and I'm incredibly proud of the team. This away win was incredibly important. I had a bit more to do than in the last two games, but it was important for us to come through these moments. The defence did a great job and kept calm under pressure. Our rhythm and our build-up play were better in the second half. I hope this important win will give us a boost but that's totally down to us! Today was a big step but we aren't there yet."

Jackson Irvine: "It's hard to put into words. Today was about getting three points no matter how against a team with a lot of quality, so I'm obviously very pleased with the win after a sluggish start. We gave the ball away too easily and Niko kept us in it with some great saves. The longer the game went on, the more we found our rhythm and then we're difficult to stop. We talked a lot about the pressure during the week, so it was about trying to relax without getting casual or losing intensity. We tried to come up with different solutions. We now have a short week in front of us and then two very exciting games."

Dapo Afolayan: "I'm very happy to have helped the team with my goal. It's tough not being there for the team, especially when you're injured. We needed everyone today and everyone gave their all. It was an exciting game between two evenly matched teams. We took an important step closer to achieving our goal, but we don't want to look too far ahead. We're focusing on the next game because that's something we can control. For my booking I didn't feel I was getting enough protection from the referee after my marker had committed several fouls against me, but that's part of the game. The referee was really good and had the game under control."

Stefan Leitl (Hannover head coach): "St. Pauli were fortunate to win. We had very good structure in our play and lots of good opportunities. If we'd taken the lead, we'd have had more power and could have imposed our game on them even more. We defended badly on two occasions and the defeat resulted from those two goals, which is very annoying because I do think we could have taken more from the game. The performance overall was OK, but we lost and that's the annoying thing."


Photos: FC St. Pauli