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Hürzeler: "No normal game but still only three points to be had"

The Boys in Brown go to Holstein Kiel on Friday for an eagerly awaited showdown between the sides in first and second place (18.30 CET). In the run-up, head coach Fabian Hürzeler looked ahead to the top-of-the-table clash in conversation with the media.

Fabian Hürzeler on...

...his squad: "All the lads will be available, including Etienne Amenyido. Erik Ahlstrand is always an option, as is every other player. He's got closer to the team and Simon Zoller is back as well. Against Braunschweig we had to leave players out who would have liked to be in the squad. We have various options for replacing the suspended Elias Saad."

...the return of captain Jackson Irvine: "It wasn't his best performance against Braunschweig, but he leads from the front and gives structure to the team. He has a feel for a stable foundation, whether from set pieces or in open play, which makes him so important for the team."

...the value of ex-Kiel player Hauke Wahl: "It's definitely special for him to return to his former stomping ground. Hauke is valuable not only as a player on the pitch but off it, too. He always has a good feel for his teammates, which makes him a special player and a special person. He doesn't make himself the centre of attention, he makes sure everyone else is OK. That's laudable and something you don't come across too often in football. We're very glad to have him. Hauke has also come on in footballing terms with us."

...the newly laid pitch: "We're really looking forward to the new pitch. When I left the training ground yesterday, half of it had been laid. The groundstaff worked long hours yesterday, much longer than I did. I stood on the pitch yesterday and noticed the turf was green again."

...the comfortable 5-1 win in the reverse fixture: "We have to be honest and say that lots of things came off that day and we scored with our first two attempts on goal. We were very effective, almost every shot went in. We can't let that deceive us now."

...opponents Holstein Kiel: "We're up against a team who can generate tremendous power. Kiel play high-intensity football and have a good mix of structure and a certain freedom and wildness to their play. They have good decision-makers on the pitch in players such as Lewis Holtby and Steven Skrzybski. They know what space to take up positions in. It's a big ask for us but we're looking forward to it."

...first against second: "It's no normal game and yet there are still only three points to be had. We know how important this game is. What's important for me is that we concentrate on the things we can influence on the pitch. By that I mean playing football and defending well. We'll need that against Kiel because they have good individual quality in the squad and play decent stuff. We have to stay true to our style, keep playing bold football and do certain things better compared with recent games. In tactical terms we have to play with much more clarity. We'll need a certain intensity at Kiel and that starts with the personal duels."

...his unresolved contractual situation: "I've said all I have to say in recent weeks, some things have to stay inside the club. The parties have exchanged views and I'd like clarity."

Photos: Witters