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In the run-up to the league assignment at Union Berlin (Sunday, 1330 CET), head coach Markus Kauczinski took time out on Friday lunchtime to talk about the injury situation and the opposition at the pre-match press conference.

The St. Pauli boss was clearly excited about the prospect of Sunday's visit to the capital. "We're looking forward to a hard-fought contest," he said. "We'll be fired up when we run out on Sunday and will do our utmost to win."

Union, whose league campaign has started with a 1-0 win over Aue and a 1-1 draw at Cologne, stand in the way of a third victory on the bounce and Kauczinski feels they will be the usual awkward opponents. "Union have outstanding individual quality in every department. At Cologne last time out, they showed they can be a threat for anyone, but we're dangerous opponents as well. I'm expecting a clash between two evenly matched teams."

Joining Marc Hornschuh and Jan-Philipp Kalla on the injury list are Sami Allagui (broken rib) and Christopher Avevor (bruised tibial plateau). "With Sami we'll have to see week by week. What's needed now is to rest the injured area until he's out of pain again," said Kauczinski. "Jackson is still in pain as well but we hope he'll be available again next week."

Asked who would replace Avevor at the back, Kauczinski said he had two solutions in mind: "We've practised two options in the last few days. Either Marvin Knoll will drop back into central defence or Florian Carstens will step in." It's a similar situation in attack. "Dimitrios Diamantakos or Henk Veerman will start up front," said Kauczinski. "I'll delay a decision until just before kick-off."

The return of Luca Zander and Christopher Buchtmann from injury will intensify the battle for places somewhat. "Squad selection is always dependent on the situation for each game," Kauczinski explained. "I can't say yet who will make the trip and who won't."

One thing that is certain is that the DFB Cup defeat against Wehen Wiesbaden will not play a role on Sunday. "We've analysed the Wiesbaden game and saw there were things we didn't do well," said Kauczinski. "The key thing in the end is how you deal with it. The defeat hasn't knocked us back."

The focus is fully on Sunday's game now: "We're all really up for it and want to continue our positive run in the league," the boss concluded.


Photo: Witters