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KSC next target for ravenous Boys in Brown

FC St. Pauli head southwest with the wind in their sails for Saturday's game at Karlsruher SC (13:00 CET), a matchup that merits top billing in view of the current form of the two protagonists. The Boys in Brown aim to prove their desire to win to collect the next three points for survival in the second division.

Football is a fast-moving business. Eight weeks ago, few would have expected Timo Schultz's side to open up a ten-point cushion to the relegation play-off place. The situation looked precarious until a new spirit flowered during the interval at Würzburg. That 1-1 draw was followed by the return of several players from injury, while the new signings slotted in perfectly. The new-look table may have lowered the pulse rate, but after seven wins in the last eight games, and the cherry on the cake in the form of another derby triumph, no one is about to put their feet up.

At the pre-match news conference, Schultz hinted at his side's ravenous hunger for victory, an appetite fuelled by the chemistry within the squad. The upturn in fortunes is tangible, underpinned by a string of impressive performances on the pitch. The St. Pauli boss has found his formation, a lineup that has gelled and not been blown apart by injuries, though Finn Ole Becker and Leart Paqarada are doubtful for Saturday.

For all the outstanding form displayed by the Schultz XI recently, however, Karlsruhe go into the game with positive memories having won the reverse fixture by three goals to nil. The home side have amassed 35 points since then, more than any other team in the same period. After a shaky start to the season, Christian Eichner has turned his side into promotion candidates, and Saturday's encounter will provide an indication of how realistic a proposition a return to the top flight is.

One reason for the transformation is that the KSC arsenal is no longer restricted to the dangerous set pieces of Marc Lorenz and Marvin Wanitzek, whose outswinging corners, for example, are primarily aimed at marksman Philipp Hofmann. Supremely organised off the ball, their early pressing game has seen them evolve into one of the best sides in the league. It is no coincidence, and certainly no one-off, that Karlsruhe are challenging at the top. Yet the same can be said of the run on which the Boys in Brown embarked in January.

 

Photos: Witters

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