KAUCZINSKI SAYS TASK NOW IS TO FIND CONSISTENCY
Friday, 23. February 2018, 19:56 Uhr
FC St. Pauli entertain KSV Holstein Kiel in the first northern derby at the Millerntor in ten years on Sunday. At the pre-match media conference head coach Markus Kauczinski talked about the third-placed Schleswig-Holstein outfit, the injury situation, and his team's game plan.
"It's my first northern derby and I'm looking forward to it, I think everyone's looking forward to it," Kauczinski told the assembled media representatives to kick off the proceedings. "We've put in some positive performances recently but in Kiel we know we're up against a team who are challenging for promotion. We want to play to our strengths, defend well, and play some football as well."
Wide midfielder Cenk Sahin could return to the squad after recovering from a muscle strain. "Cenk resumed training this week and I'll delay a decision on whether he's ready for a place in the squad," said Kauczinski, adding that Clemens Schoppenhauer's operation had gone well. The central defender, who celebrated his 26th birthday today (Friday), dislocated his shoulder again before the game at Ingolstadt and will be out for the rest of the season.
One selection issue is settled, however, as Kauczinski revealed: "Yiyoung Park will play on Sunday. He's played well in recent games, so I've no reason not to let him play." The South Korean deputised for the injured right-back Luca Zander in both the 0-0 draw with Nürnberg and the 1-0 win at Ingolstadt.
The Boys in Brown took four points from those two games to take their total to 31 for the season, six points behind Kiel in the promotion play-off spot and seven points clear of Greuther Fürth in the relegation play-off spot. "Things can change very quickly in this league," said Kauczinski when asked if his team could return their focus to the top end of the table. "If we'd lost last week, we'd be nine points behind Kiel now, so it's a bit too soon for that. Every game is important, so I'm a bit loath to describe this one as a potential season changer. Things take time and we're on the right track. We've shown what we can do and that we're a threat for anyone. The task now is to find consistency."
A solid performance against attack-minded opponents will be needed if his side are to continue their recent good run of form. With 43 goals scored, the Storks boast the second-best attack in the league. "Kiel are a close-knit team and are having a good season, but that's no surprise," said Kauczinski before adding: "It's not the first time a promoted side that have stayed together are having a good campaign on the back of automatisms and the euphoria. That simply shows how important continuity is, but we'll be looking to counter that. I'm expecting a special atmosphere, the game and the people feed off that."