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Ritzka: "There'll be lots of great games"

Lars Ritzka was the first of the new signings to meet the Hamburg media at the start of the week. The left-back, who moved to the Millerntor from third division side SV Verl, took time out on Monday afternoon to talk about his new teammates and the upcoming season, among other things.

Lars Ritzka on…

...whether he is more excited or tense ahead of the new season: "Definitely more excited, I would say. They were saying last season that it was the best third division ever and now you hear the same being said about the second. There are obviously some top sides in there who'll definitely want to go up. That's why I'm more excited than anything else. There'll be lots of great games." 

...his reception and previous contact with his new teammates: "In football you get on with everyone straightaway because you have so much in common. It's a bit different from when you're at school. I already knew Philipp Ziereis. We have a mutual friend in Tjorben Uphoff, who used to play for FC St. Pauli, and I'd already played against Jakov Medić, Etienne Amenyido and Daniel-Kofi Kyereh, so I know some of the lads from that."

...his first contact with the club and eventual move: "I don't really how and when the first contact came about exactly. My agent takes care of most things in the background and only gets me involved when things become more concrete, as was the case with St. Pauli. He didn't really have to sell the move to me. I already knew St. Pauli was an awesome club with great fans. The talks with Andreas Bornemann and Timo Schultz were more about the club's footballing approach and how things are done here and what I could expect. There was contact with other clubs but I myself only spoke to St. Pauli and we gelled straightaway."

...the attractiveness of the second division: "The traditional clubs are lived by the fans. I'm looking forward to playing in front of a full house again when fans are allowed back in – it doesn't matter who we're playing. I'm confident the fans will create a good atmosphere when they're allowed to."

...the battle for the left-back position with Leart Paqarada: "Our relationship is still good at any rate (he laughs). You always have competition in the professional game. Everyone wants to play, of course. At the back of your mind, you have to remember it's the team that's important. If I'm good enough to make the first team, I'll be happy, of course, and if my rival comes out on top I'll obviously be annoyed. But then I'll just have to get better and that's what I demand of myself."

...training to be a teacher as well as playing professional football: "After I left school in Hannover, I realised I'd like to impart knowledge, work in a group and help people. My subjects are sport and maths. Sport needs no further explanation. I was always good at maths at school and then I enrolled as a student in Hannover to see if I liked it. After my move to SC Verl, I carried on with it in Bielefeld, but I had to break off my studies when we got promoted because attendance was compulsory and that wasn't compatible with professional football. I can see myself going back to being a student but that depends on my career a bit as well."


Photos: FC St. Pauli