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Ewald Lienen appeared totally focused and concentrated at the press conference ahead of the key match at FC Heidenheim on Saturday. The head coach spoke about the injury situation, the opposition and the his players' confidence.

On the selection front Lienen told the gathered media that four players would be unable to make the trip to Heidenheim. "Philipp Ziereis, Jan-Phillip Kalla, Jeremy Dudziak are all out, as is Brian Koglin, who has a cold," he explained. There was positive news as far as Fafa Picault is concerned, however. "I've watched Fafa in training over the last two days and we have a good feeling about him for Saturday."

Turning his attention to the home side, the St. Pauli boss warned that Heidenheim would prove tough opposition. "Heidenheim thrive on their high pressing game and strong transitional play," he said. "They're able to put teams under pressure with long passes and win the second balls. On top of that they're good in the air and have very quick, technically adept wide players."

"One way to deal with them is to switch the play quickly as well and utilise the space they leave on the flanks," Lienen continued. "Their centre-backs are the only ones who don't press the opposition. If we can get into the spaces out wide, we have a good chance of penetrating their defence." A sound plan is not all you need in football, however, as the 62-year-old is aware. Lienen and his coaching staff have therefore been holding lots of individual conversations with the players. "We want to make the lads feel good and give them some confidence because without it nothing will work," he said.

Yet Lienen also made clear that communication alone was not enough. "We can do a lot of talking before a match, but gaining the necessary confidence on the pitch is more important," he said. "The game is about battling for survival, nothing less. I expect every player to show nothing but passion and maximum effort."


Photo: Witters