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Eggestein: "Everyone wants the other to succeed"

FC St. Pauli go into the weekend's top fixture at Karlsruher SC on Saturday evening (20.30 CET) targeting the next three points. After training on Wednesday, striker Johannes Eggestein took time to answer questions from media and look ahead to the game against a Karlsruhe side who have been resurgent in the second half of the season.

Johannes Eggestein on…

...the gap to third and fourth place: "Footballers always see things a bit differently. We see how tight the games are even when we dominate. Against Paderborn we also saw the impact it can have when a team pulls it back to 2-1. Games in the second division are always closely contested and even. That's why we're careful to take each game as it comes and then try to win it. We have a big lead, for sure, but we've earned it. You have to see a lead through to the end, though. Things can get exciting again in the last few games, so we won't go shooting our mouths off and instead will focus on ourselves. We have a tough away game ahead of us. Karlsruhe are one of the best teams in the league at the moment. They press very high, which will be a challenge for us."

...compensating for injuries: "On the one hand, we have a good foundation as a team – we get on very well and everyone wants the other to succeed. On the other, we have a good tactical foundation as well. We have a good connection on the pitch and the players who start on the bench know what they have to do when they come on. Our patterns of play are clear. That's our hallmark and what makes us good. If a player is ruled out, it's not as if we make any special preparations during the week. We prepare for it all season with our tactical measures and our teamwork. I can't tell you how many video analyses the coaches have sent me. The players are kept busy and involved, so everyone is ready for action even if they haven't played for a few weeks. If a player is ruled out, you can replace him with the things you've already prepared."

...his role in the game: "I don't consider myself an out-an-out striker, more a half-nine, or in the No10 position. I'm also on the move a lot in the half-spaces, especially in the build-up. That often works to the advantage of other players, as with the first goal against Paderborn. What I think characterises our play is that we're a well-honed team with the right players in the right positions. This year, it's often been Cello (eds: Marcel Hartel) playing up front and scoring."

Marcel Hartel (left) already has 15 goals this season, while Johannes Eggestein has seven.

Marcel Hartel (left) already has 15 goals this season, while Johannes Eggestein has seven.

...goals and assists leader Marcel Hartel: "He's made huge strides and is now doing a good job of converting his work on the pitch into goals and assists. He was a different type of player when we played together in the Under-21s. I've followed his progress at his various clubs since then and he's come on very well. He's always been a valuable player for his teams, though less so in terms of scorer points in recent years."

...the end-of-season run-in: "We're responsible every week for training hard to get into the condition where we can perform well and dominate the game at the weekend. The coach makes that point time and time again. That's how we stay on our toes, and it allows us to show it week in, week out. We don't crumble after a defeat then either. We have to guard against getting casual and thinking we've already done it and will win the next game anyway. We get back on track when a game doesn't go our way. I'm confident we can nail it in the last few games."

Photos: Witters