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Go forth, be awkward, get a result

After the convincing 4-1 defeat of Ingolstadt, the Boys in Brown go to Karlsruhe on Saturday (13:30 CET) aiming to deliver another good performance and return home with a result again following back-to-back away defeats at Paderborn and Hannover.

With four convincing victories in four games, things could not have gone any better for the Boys in Brown at the Millerntor. In contrast, they have picked up just a solitary point from three games on their travels, so the time is rife for that to change at KSC. The Schultz XI would dearly love to to win away from home again, something they have not done since the 3-1 success at Erzgebirge Aue back in April. The head-to-head record does not augur too well, however, as the Boys in Brown have managed to win on just three of their 17 visits to Karlsruhe. On the positive side, they have lost only four times, with the other ten meetings finishing all square.

Another way of looking at it, then, is that the Boys in Brown have returned home from Karlsruhe with at least a point on 13 occasions. The last ten outings have brought just one defeat, a 3-0 reverse in April 2015, so it's not the worst record in the world. Yet statistics and the results of past encounters will have no bearing on the outcome of the 18th meeting of the two sides on Saturday, of course. And as head coach Timo Schultz has repeatedly emphasised when asked about such things, all games start at nil-nil.

Having been at their best for almost the entire 90 minutes against Ingolstadt and in the three previous home games, his team will strive to put up another strong showing against a Karlsruhe outfit who won 2-1 at Schalke last time out. The Boys in Brown will have to match that level on Saturday if they want to come away with a result. For as Schultz pointed out immediately after the defeat of Ingolstadt, they cannot afford any let-up in effort in this division. "We've seen from our away performances and sometimes at home as well that we can't afford to drop off even ten per cent," our head coach said.

Any fall in commitment could prove fatal against opposition of the calibre of KSC, who have lost only four of the 28 games they have contested in 2021 and made excellent progress under head coach Christian Eichner. After a difficult start last season, KSC quickly found their feet, and a 3-0 win at the Millerntor in early November marked the start of a gradual ascent into the top half of the table. Not until the final third of the season did they begin to falter, going nine games without a win between March and May. That slide did not prevent them from ending the campaign with a respectable sixth-place finish, however. This season, Karlsruhe have performed well for the most part, losing just once against Nürnberg, the only team still to boast an unbeaten record.

The Boys in Brown, for their part, have been beaten twice this season, a 3-1 reverse at Paderborn after going most of the game with ten men, and a 1-0 loss at Hannover, where a lack of resolve in the final third and too many mistakes condemned them to defeat. They will thus be all the more determined not to return to Hamburg empty-handed a third time. "We can be extremely awkward for any team if we 'get our horsepower' onto the pitch," said Schultz in the run-up before adding: "When we press the ball aggressively in defence, get forward and gamble successfully, we're capable of beating anyone in this league."

So remember, lads: be as awkward as possible for KSC on Saturday, get your horsepower onto the pitch, and claim your reward by claiming at least a point and preferably all three!


Photos: Witters