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FC St. Pauli round off the 2022/23 season with the visit of Karlsruher SC on Sunday (15.30 CET). At the pre-match news conference on Friday morning, head coach Fabian Hürzeler sat down with the media for a final time this term.

Fabian Hürzeler on…

...the injury situation: “Basically, everyone’s able to train and is available to play, but I have to weigh up the risk and assess whether it makes sense to include someone the squad because I only include players in the squad who are fully fit. David Nemeth, for example, is coming off a long injury break, which is why any decision will be taken in consultation with the medical department. There are 23, 24 outfield players on the training ground, so I’m keeping my options open as to who’ll be in the squad.”

...Christopher Avevor, Luca Zander and the other five players who’ll be bid farewell after the game: “I first got to know Christopher Avevor when I started here and soon realised he was an incredible personality who knows what being a pro is all about. He was a mainstay of the club, the team and the coach at the time. Then he picked up an injury, unfortunately, which made it difficult for him to come back. I came to know him as a very open, helpful person with strong opinions. As for Luca Zander, one of the closest relationships I’ve had in the three years I’ve been here has been to him. It wasn’t easy for him in the second half of the season because he didn’t play much, but he was always there for the team and the players who didn’t play. He has an incredibly fine feeling for situations on and off the pitch. Luca has been a big help to me in my job. He’s a good player with another couple of good years ahead of him."

...opponents Karlsruhe: “We’re up against one the best teams in the second half of the season in Karlsruhe. They have all the attributers you need for tempting opponents into certain areas and provoking losses of possession before switching the play incredibly well. With their diamond shape they have a system made for that type of game. We know it very well because we were good at it ourselves for a long time. For us it’ll be important to have a clear structure in possession and prevent them from closing down the space in order to win possession. If we lose the ball, we need to transition well straightaway, get momentum in our counterpressing and keep a tight grip on things. They like to play football and have a good structure in possession, so we’ll have to work hard to stay compact. The final game of the season will be a big challenge.“

...the reasons for the outstanding second half of the season: “It’s important to me to emphasise that it isn’t down to me. The credit goes to the players, who have worked very hard and put into practice what we’ve focused on in training. They’ve gelled as a team faced with this challenge. I also have a super team around me who‘ve given me fantastic support and have always been there for me. They live and breathe St. Pauli and have so much passion for the club. Another part of the truth is that we made some good individual signings in the winter. They’re three factors that have made for such a good second half.”

...the excitement ahead of the end-of-season party at the Millerntor: “First of all, we have a chance to make sure there’s a party in a fitting atmosphere. How big the party is after the game is down to us. It’s also important for me that the players who are leaving us get a worthy send-off. They all deserve one irrespective of how much they’ve played. They did their utmost to be successful with FC St. Pauli and invested their passion in the club.”


Photos: Witters