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Next up for FC St. Pauli is the game of the weekend at an in-form Karlsruher SC on Saturday evening (20.30 CET). In the run-up, head coach Fabian Hürzeler took questions from the media at the pre-match news conference.

Fabian Hürzeler on…

...the personnel situation: "Unfortunately, Eric Smith and Connor Metcalfe are suspended, though a few players are coming back. Elias Saad returns from a one-match ban and Oladapo Afolayan has resumed full training. Philipp Treu is back running again. We'll have to see whether he's an option for the game. Carlo Boukhalfa misses out again with a minor hip problem. Erik Ahlstrand and Simon Zoller are in recovery training. Scott Banks is making progress and it's looking very good. We hope to see him again this season. The loss of Smith and Metcalfe is hard to take, but we have a deep squad and have already had to manage without players in recent games. The players who came in did well."

...the praise and appreciative words from other clubs: "We went go-karting with the staff the other day. I was first in the race because I'd set the best lap in qualifying. I wanted to stay in first place and focused on not making any mistakes so as not to be overtaken, but the guy behind me got closer and closer. Eventually I told myself  I couldn't go on like that and had to focus on myself, and that's what I did. All I saw was the action level, and after two or three laps the guy behind me had gone. It shows we need to keep the focus on us. We mustn't focus on not making mistakes, but on doing the things we can control and do well. We still have seven laps to go and we have to approach every lap as if it were decisive. Every bend can be important and decisive. We have to act, not react, and thus on the action level. That's our sole focus."

...the daily work with the team and the aforementioned focus: "I get the impression the team has taken it on board. It's a lot of theory, but in the end it's the practice that counts and we have to deliver and be convinced of what we're doing. Not everything was great against Paderborn. We again had phases in the game that we've analysed very clearly. We have to do certain things better. We've addressed this directly and tried to put it into practice on the pitch. We do that week in, week out, we always focus on the substance and try to eke potential out of the players. We keep focusing on the work in training. That's been our focus since the start of the season and we'll keep it that way."

...Karlsruher SC: "At the moment KSC are one of the best three teams in the league for me. They're a genuine top side, not just because of the way they play, but also because of their individual quality. Besides Marvin Wanitzek and Paul Nebel they also have Jerome Gondorf and Leon Jensen, who like to get forward, and Igor Matanović and Budu Zivzivadze, who can score from nowhere every game. They play very well together, press extremely high and are very intense in the build-up. That makes Karlsruhe very dangerous, especially at home. Over the last few games they have the best goal difference in the league by far because of their brave, high-intensity pressing game. They bring a certain power to the pitch as well as individual quality. That makes them a genuine top team at the moment. Their development is impressive and it's fun to watch them play."

Photos: Witters