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After completing his move last Thursday, Dimitrios Diamantakos made his first appearance in St. Pauli colours against Darmstadt on Sunday. His debut may have ended in defeat, but the 24-year-old striker was no less impressed. Though Diamantakos hopes to score as many goals as possible, of course, he attaches far more importance to the success of the team rather than his own personal targets.

"He does speak German, you just have to force him," said head coach Markus Kauczinski on the language skills of new acquisition Dimitrios Diamantakos. "If I don't understand everything, I'll continue in English," said the striker, who began in German by speaking about the challenging time he had at VfL Bochum: "We had three different coaches, each with their own mind. Under Jens Rasiejewski I had no chance of playing," said the former Karlsruhe man, who was taken to VfL Bochum by Gertjan Verbeek in summer.

Verbeek was sacked before the season got under way, however. Diamantakos made five appearances under his successor, Ismail Atalan, before being sidelined for three weeks by an injury. Once fit again, he made a further four appearances under Bochum's third head coach of the season, Jens Rasiejewski, but fell out of favour towards for the end of the year, leading to him joining St. Pauli last Thursday. Things got under way for the 24-year-old on Sunday, when he made his debut against Darmstadt. And while his first appearance ended without a win, Diamantakos was particularly impressed by the noise at the Millerntor, saying: "The atmosphere was superb, it reminded me of the derbies in Greece."

Kauczinski introduced the striker for Cenk Sahin in the 56th minute. It wasn't an easy start, though, as Diamantakos explained, having switched to English: "Darmstadt played very defensively, with ten men at the back. It was difficult for us to find an answer." The Boys in Brown pushed forward and created chances but were unable to carve out an equaliser. Like the rest of his teammates, Diamantakos drew a blank, but that is set to change in future. "My aim is to score goals and achieve more wins with the team," the 24-year-old said before adding: "but if I don't score and we win, that's also OK."

Diamantakos, who prefers to operate in the centre rather than out on the flank, welcomes the battle for places with Aziz Bouhaddouz, Sami Allagui and Jan-Marc Schneider. "Competition is good. It doesn't matter who gets the goals. What does matter is that we're successful as a team," emphasised the striker, who rejected other offers to join St. Pauli.

The fact that he played under Kauczinski during his time at Karlsruhe was also a factor in his decision in his favour of FCSP: "It makes it easier to settle in. The players have also helped me in this respect, as I've been made to feel very welcome."


Photos: Witters