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Hürzeler: “Have to be wide awake at the back for 90 minutes”

The Boys in Brown entertain FC Schalke 04 on Saturday evening (20.30 CET) in the first of three primetime matches in a row. Head coach Fabian Hürzeler sat down with the media on Thursday morning to look ahead to the visit of the Royal Blues.

Fabian Hürzeler on…

...the injury situation and Simon Zoller: “Everyone is fit and available to play with the exception of Jackson Irvine. His recovery is going well and he’s already started some running work, so we hope to have him back on the pitch soon. Simon pulled out of yesterday’s training session due to a problem with a nerve but it’s nothing serious. He had an injection and will be back on the training ground today. If he’s fit, I could throw him in from the start. He’s desperate to play and full of energy, but we have to be careful and not want too much, too soon. The season is a marathon not a sprint. Having a full squad to dip into in the decisive phases will be important. That’s what we’re working towards and that’s why we aren’t going to expose the players to any unnecessary risks.”

...winning for the first time after four consecutive draws: “Results are obviously important for our development. Our primary concern is how we play football, how we develop as a team and how individual players develop. I’m convinced the results will come then. The result against Kiel gave us confirmation, which brings confidence and assurance to the group and every individual. Whether it’s win in a friendly, a league game or a DFB Cup tie doesn’t matter, but you can tell that the confidence and the mood in general has increased after the win over Kiel. That’s in the past now, and so we went back to work very quickly with all our focus on Schalke. Our credo will always be to keep working hard. The win against Kiel will have more value if we can repeat it against Schalke.”

...opponents Schalke 04: “We’re up against a team with very good individual players. They’re always capable of scoring – no matter what phase of the game. They have a lot of individual quality in that respect, be it a Thomas Ouwejan free-kick, a Sebastian Polter header or a dribble by Paul Seguin, Lino Tempelmann or Assan Ouédraogo. They kind of take it for granted that they’re capable of scoring in any phase of the game, as they showed against Magdeburg when they responded well to setbacks. We have to stay firm and focused at the back for 90 minutes, something we didn’t manage in every phase of the game against Kiel. Off the ball we expect them to stay true to their man-on-man style of defending all over the pitch, and I do think we’ve found good solutions to that this season. The task now is to refine the solution to this man-oriented defensive style and implement it even more rigorously. And then I hope we’ll see a great game at the Millerntor.”

...our own style of play: “We’d do well to stay true to our style and keep defending the way we have been doing. We’re expecting lots of one-against-one duels against Schalke and we simply have to be better there. Keeping the mistakes to a minimum is crucial for us. As soon as we make simple mistakes, they’ll exploit it. We have to be more rigorous in our positioning on the ball and make fewer mistakes than we did against Kiel, especially in our build-up play. We want to play football, of course. We want to bring our philosophy and our principles to the pitch. We’ve done that in every game so far – regardless of whether we’re home or away and regardless of whether it’s a 1.30 or an 8.30 kick-off.”

Photos: Witters