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The Boys in Brown are back in action at the Millerntor on Friday evening when they entertain third-placed Hannover 96. Head coach Fabian Hürzeler looked ahead to the contest at the pre-match news conference on Wednesday morning.

Fabian Hürzeler on…

...the squad: “All outfield players are fit .Sascha Burchert and Sören Ahlers need a bit more time and we have to wait and see from day to day. They’re minor adductor problems, but nothing structural, which is why we’re waiting to see how they develop. Scott Banks rejoined us last Saturday and will do his rehab with us. He’s glad to be back with the team. He feels very comfortable here, as he keeps emphasising. I see that he’s motivated to come back stronger and more resilient and that impresses me.“

...opponents Hannover 96: “We’re up against another top side in Hannover. They were very unfortunate to lose their last couple few away games in my opinion. They play with incredible intensity, press very high and have the players to do that. That allows them to generate enormous power. They also have tremendous individual quality such as Marcel Halstenberg, who reads and builds the play very well. He’s too good for the league really. In Derrick Köhn they have good depth and up front a good mix of players in Louis Schaub, Havard Nielsen and Andreas Voglsammer, who operate in the gaps or make use of their physicality. All in all, they’re a team with good balance between football and intensity. They deserve to be up there in my view and are favourites for promotion.“

...Jackson Irvine’s one-match ban: “We have various options. Eric Smith could slot into his position with Adam Dźwigała coming into the defence. Connor Metcalfe did well in defensive midfield against Hertha and Kiel. We also have an additional option in Carlo Boukhalfa, who’s training very well and has good presence. He’s made good progress here. So we have various options for replacing Jackson. We’ve always said we’ll need every player, so I’m glad that everyone in the squad has been able to maintain a certain level of intensity and is fit and ready.”

...the depth in the squad: “I think the availability of players has an effect on the success of the team, which is why I’m so glad to have such a good medical department. That includes the performance department, who get and keep the players fit. That’s very important for me. I have a lot of respect for and great trust in these departments. They’re experts in their field. I give them a lot of freedom and huge compliments to them. It’s very important for me that every player is fit and able to train. The lads train hard in their positions and in their roles because they’re meant to come up with as many solutions as possible during a game. We try to prepare them for that in training by including lots of repetitions of the various situations. We don’t differentiate between players who start games and those who don’t. We want to make every player better. That’s our job.“

...differences from the 2021/22 season: “The basis of the team who were so successful in the second half of the season are still with us. Various players remain in the team and are benefitting from that experience. That gives new signings a certain form of security and identity. That might be the difference from the first half of last season. They’re playing with a naturalness and confidence that comes from the results. They’ve worked hard for that. We’ve also changed the way we play a bit. We’ve found a balance between defensive stability and attacking threat.”


Photos: FC St. Pauli