PAQARADA: "THEN THE WATERWORKS OPENED"
Sunday, 28. May 2023, 20:13 Uhr
They wanted to sign off with a win, but in the end a far superior St. Pauli side could only manage a 1-1 draw at home to Karlsruhe. After the final whistle, head coach Fabian Hürzeler reviewed the performance, while Leart Paqarada, Luca Zander and Igor Matanović looked back on the 90 minutes and their time at the club.
Fabian Hürzeler: “We totally dominated the game and had lots of possession. In the first half we didn’t have the good fortune to turn the momentum into an early goal. That would have changed the dynamics and the course of the game. We had a huge chance to take the lead through Karol Mets but then got caught on the break and conceded. The second half was all about being patient. Finding answers against teams who sit back is one of the most difficult things in football. That’s going to be a big challenge next season along with man-oriented defending. It has to be our aim to create more clear-cut chances against deep-lying backlines and not just have shots that can be blocked and aren’t a genuine threat. It’s up to my coaching team and me to come up with answers. The fans definitely deserved a win today. I’m sorry we didn’t manage it because the support has been amazing all season. We have to live with the point today. Fifth place is OK, but we wanted more. I’m looking forward to the new season with my team.”
Leart Paqarada: “The final game was another tough one. It was very intensive because of the heat and the fact that KSC operated with a man-to-man defence. We conceded a strange goal even through we’d been very dominant. I then got the goal somehow and if you dream about the way you want to sign off then obviously that’s how you’d want to do it. It was an incredible moment when I went off. It was very loud and the tears were welling up, and when everyone sang You'll Never Walk Alone the waterworks opened. Though you enjoy the moment, you can’t really process it at the time. I’m simply extremely proud and grateful. I’ve developed as a player and as a person in my three years here. I’ve always tried to repay the trust that was placed in me, including when my move was announced.”
Luca Zander: “It was nice to be on the pitch in that atmosphere and have a chance to get stuck in again. I’m simply glad to have experienced the last six years here and meet some incredible people, be they teammates or fans. I’m happy more than anything else because I’ve had a great time here. They told me St. Pauli wasn’t a normal club when I came, and I can confirm that after the six years. The fans and the club are very special and I’m glad to have been a part of it. I look back fondly on my first goal and the DFB Cup game against Dortmund. You get goosebumps every time you run out because of the support from the crowd. I learned so much here, not only as a footballer but also as a person, and I’m incredibly grateful for that. I don’t know yet what lies in store for me. A decision will be taken in the next few weeks.”
Igor Matanović: “Many thanks to the coaching team for giving me the chance to have another 30 minutes after my injury layoff. It was special for me after almost 13 years. It’s sad that a chapter has come to an end, but I had a really nice time here. I want to come down a bit during the break but also get properly fit because I was out injured a long time. I want to get back to 100 per cent and then start pre-season at Frankfurt. I want to be top fit because another level awaits me at Frankfurt. I’m sure to come back to the Millerntor. I appreciate what the club have done for me.”
Photos: FC St. Pauli/Witters