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Hürzeler: "We have to be mentally prepared and avoid any surprises"

FC St. Pauli return to second division action at Greuther Fürth on Saturday (kick-off: 13.00 CET).  In the run-up to the match, head coach Fabian Hürzeler spoke about...

...replacing the suspended Karol Mets: "There are three options. There's David Nemeth, there's Adam Dźwigała and there's the option of going to a back four. We still have two days to decide which option to go with. It'll be a question of how Adam and David train and how ready they are. It's also about what fits the opposition."

...arguments for Nemeth or Dźwigała: "Adam showed in the second half of the season that he's always on the ball when he plays. He knows our philosophy and understands what we expect of him. He's a very reliable defender who also has strengths on the ball. Anyone who saw David before his injury knows how good a player he is and how composed he is on the ball. He's a modern defender who has good basics on the ball, is solid off it, and is good in the tackle and in the air. I'm happy to have both of them in the squad. They're excellent characters who offer us added value in footballing terms."

...the progress made by Elias Saad: "He's a prime example of the players FC St. Pauli sign. Elias has shown how things can go when you work yourself hard and have the intrinsic motivation to improve every day. You see it in the progress he's made. He came here and had problems getting used to the intensity and having to do lots of work off the ball. With his persistence and his desire to improve every day, he gradually worked his way into contention. We eventually threw him in and he swam free. One trait of his is that he's not afraid to make mistakes. We're very happy with his progress, but he still has huge potential for more and we're delving into that with him. There'll be ups and downs in his development and it'll be important for us to give him support and be there for him. I think he has a great future here at FC St. Pauli."

...opponents Greuther Fürth: "They play with unbelievable intensity - both on and off the ball. They started the season well in terms of their performances and played very well despite losing 2-1 at Kiel. What sets them apart is that they have players with great depth, such as Tim Lemperle and Armindo Sieb, who have the pace to get in behind the defence. They also have speculators in the team in Julian Green and Branimir Hrgota, who repeatedly drift out wide. Those two have an excellent right and left foot respectively and can shoot from distance. Fürth stand out with their compactness, ball-oriented pressing and counter-pressing. They transition very quickly when possession is won or lost, you do notice that. We had problems with it in the return fixture last season, so that's a warning for us and we're looking forward to the challenge of doing better. It'll be important to keep calm. We have to be mentally prepared and avoid any surprises."

...Fürth's high press: "I think they'll adopt a similar style. It's in their DNA and their philosophy. The progress we’ve made puts me in a positive frame of mind. The home game against Fürth was four or five months ago and we're a bit further down the line now. We've improved substantially on the ball and are also better individually. The assuredness of being able to deal with the high press gives us much more flexibility and the capacity to find better solutions. Against Düsseldorf we found better solutions when we were pressed higher up the pitch. We need a good shape, a degree of assuredness in our passing and the courage to keep playing the ball out from the back. Mistakes are part and parcel of the game and will happen, but the added value of bypassing the press is there."

...our own start to the season: "Six points were up for grabs, and we got four. That means we dropped two points, but we pay attention to the performance as well. At Kaiserslautern, it didn't meet our standards. We did better against Düsseldorf and also put in a professional performance in the cup, so I can be satisfied. The weeks leading up to the international break will be very important. We'll come up against teams who'll push us to the limit, so I expect us to be professional about it and take the maximum points haul."

Photos: Witters