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Two days before the visit of VfL Bochum for the final game of the year, head coach Ewald Lienen fielded questions from the Hamburg media at the pre-match press conference.

"We've only had a short week of training this week," the 63-year-old said, looking back at Sunday's outing at Fürth and ahead to the forthcoming meeting with Bochum. In light of this, Lasse Sobiech, Richard Neudecker and Bernd Nehrig, who returned from Fürth carrying minor knocks, were still in recovery training on Wednesday. "The rest of the squad have been working hard on the training ground, however," said Lienen.

On the injury front the St. Pauli boss was forced to report that Marvin Ducksch has sustained a thigh strain and will miss out on Saturday. The former Dortmund man joins Jan-Philipp Kalla, Christopher Buchtmann, Philipp Ziereis, Robin Himmelmann and Jeremy Dudziak on the casualty list.

In VfL Bochum the Boys in Brown face a decent footballing side, according to Lienen. "Although they lost some key players in summer and have had some injury problems in recent weeks, they are still very dangerous, as their goal tally shows," he said. "They overload their attack with several players and try to create chances that way," he continued, commenting on their strengths. "But that style of play harbours dangers as well," he added, moving on to their weaknesses, "because Bochum have conceded lots of goals after losing possession."

Asked about his side's recent upturn in form, Lienen said it came as little surprise. "You only win games if you work hard on yourself. That's what the lads have done in recent weeks and ultimately the results come then. Obviously it's a pity it didn't happen earlier because the players had applied themselves well before but there's nothing we can do about it now. We'll continue working in a focused way to get a good result in our final game this year."

Lienen knows, of course, that a decent result against Bochum will put his side in a better position going into the second half of the season. "Football isn't a request show, however," he warned. "Considering how long it took us to jump from six points to ten, everyone knows what needs to be done."


Photo: Witters

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