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ALL HANDS ON DECK!

On we go. FC St. Pauli host Karlsruher SC in a lunchtime kick-off this Saturday in the second of three successive home games and their third outing in six days. So when the points are being handed out at the end, it will also be a question of desire.

The second half against Eintracht Frankfurt was a high-intensity affair, with Jos Luhukay's side running and tackling their socks off from start to finish. Though that mammoth effort failed to produce the desired result, as we know, the Boys in Brown trudged off to a well-earned round of applause after a valiant cup struggle. Fortunately, there'll be little time for them to spend weeping into their cornflakes, as the league campaign resumes almost immediately with the visit of Karlsruhe on Saturday.

When Alois Schwarz and his team enter the Millerntor stage, St. Pauli players and fans alike will have plenty of work to do. Karlsruhe may not have a reputation for exhilarating play, but they do serve up exactly the kind of football you can and might expect of a newly promoted side. Physically robust, strong in the air and a solid defensive setup is perhaps a fair way to characterise their style. In Philipp Hoffmann, they also have a striker who is the perfect fit for this approach. The burly striker already has seven goals to his name this season and provided more evidence of his talent in the week in helping his side progress to the last 16 of the DFB Cup at the expense of Darmstadt, heading the all-important winner in inimitable fashion five minutes from time. Ample warning, then, for our backline.

The task for Jos Luhukay's side, on the other hand, will be to regroup and draw on whatever's left in the tank for the third game in six days. Doubtless the Millerntor crowd will have a huge influence on this. The fans have demonstrated in the past that they are capable of unleashing new energy in the team. Yet that alone won't be enough to overcome the KSC bulwark. If the Boys in Brown are to see off Karlsruhe, they will need to produce the right mix of effort, tenacity and imaginative football. They certainly have the quality to do just that, as we have already seen often enough this season.

Photo: Witters

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