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The Boys in Brown go to FC Schalke 04 on Friday evening (18.30 CT). This morning, head coach Fabian Hürzeler looked ahead to the game at the customary pre-match news conference.

Fabian Hürzeler on…

...his expectations for the game: “A noisy atmosphere awaits us at Schalke. As a player and as a team, you have to be ready for that. Schalke are a team with lots of individual quality and they’ve put in some very good performances, especially at home, so they’re tough opposition and we have to prepare well. We’re preparing for both a back five and a back four, I can only make assumptions. They’ve done well in both systems. I think they’ll want to be pro-active at home and that’s what they’ll be. They won’t just sit back, which points more towards a back four, but they played with a back five against us in the cup game and that worked well, especially in the first half. I can easily see them playing in either system and it’s our job to prepare the team for both. Schalke are capable of scoring in every game. In the second half at Magdeburg they were clean through on goal once or twice in the second half and they had their chances in the games before that one as well. They have high individual quality in a good mix. Karaman moves a lot in the pockets, Lasme goes very deep and they have a target man in Terodde. They’re all different types of player and we don’t know how they’ll play, which makes it difficult to prepare. It’s important that we defend as a collective to take their individual quality out of the game.”

…the last away game at Schalke: “When 60,000 fans try and get on the pitch to celebrate with the players, it has an effect on you. Those are images that obviously linger in the memory. We’re trying to achieve something similar but there’s still a long way to go. It’s important to have dreams that give you an orientation. The atmosphere was very heated, in the positive sense. Some of the players were involved two years ago but it’s still something special.”

…the squad situation: “Everyone’s available apart from Etienne Amenyido. We’re taking each day as it comes with him but I think he’ll resume full training today. Simon Zoller is expecting a baby, so we’ll have to see how things develop in the coming hours and days.”

…Dapo Afolayan’s run of form: “Dapo is very critical of himself and wasn’t happy with his performances in certain phases in the first half of the season. He worked hard on himself during the winter break and is taking a more serious and professional approach to certain things. We try to do a lot of individual work with him and show him ways to make use of his strengths on the right flank, which isn’t his regular position. It’s always a question of whether a player wants to develop. Dapo has recognised that more and more with every week and is putting lots of things into practice well. At Kiel he neglected his defensive duties here and there in the second half, which I didn’t like.”

…the run-in: A season is a marathon. You have to be stable in the decisive phases, face down any resistance and be ready to overcome your weaker self. That’s precisely the phase we’re in now. I think it’s the most difficult phase of the season because you can win something but you can lose it as well. These are things that happen in your head – for the players and the group as a whole.”


Photos: FC St. Pauli

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