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Boys in Brown out to dampen Lautern’s promotion euphoria

FCK are back! After a four-year absence, FC St. Pauli guest at the Betzenberg again on Sunday (13.30 CET). And while the performance in the 4-3 cup win over SV Straelen will not be enough to beat FC Kaiserslautern, recent results at the Fritz Walter Stadium augur well for the Schultz XI.

His team may have booked their place in the second round of the DFB Cup, but as head coach Timo Schultz told journalists at a midweek news conference, the performance left lots to be desired. "It wasn't our best display," new recruit Betim Fazliji admitted. "We can't gloss over that."

A line was drawn under the cup-tie, however, after a video analysis session on the resumption of training on Tuesday. A win is a win, after all, and the to-do list clearly highlighted the need to work even more meticulously. The Boys in Brown have been largely reliant on set pieces for their goals thus far, which is one reason Schultz would like to see more chances created from open play.

His charges will also need to be more alert in defending the counter-attack. The Red Devils may be happy to surrender control of the ball to the Boys in Brown, given their average of just 36.1 per cent possession in the opening two league games. Yet Dirk Schuster's side have still managed to rack up four goals, with at least one coming on the break, on their way to four points from the six on offer.

Kaiserslautern continue to ride a wave of euphoria after gaining promotion last season thanks to a 2-0 win over Dynamo Dresden in an emotionally charged play-off. The core of the promotion-winning team remains, with the hole left by the departure of Matheo Raab to HSV being filled by Andreas Luthe from Bundesliga outfit Union Berlin. In Erik Durm, who arrived from Eintracht Frankfurt, the Red Devils even have a World Cup winner in their ranks. Ben Zolinski, on the other hand, a prime transfer target captured from Erzgebirge Aue, is sidelined after sustaining a knee injury on the opening day.

For all their quality, the Red Devils will look to the home crowd to help them continue their unbeaten run. And the Boys in Brown have been on sparkling form on their last few visits to the Fritz Walter Stadium, where they are unbeaten in four, a run that includes three victories. Three points at Kaiserslautern would go some way to consolidating the Schultz XI’s position in what is a very evenly balanced division this season.


Photo: Witters

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