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HARNESS OWN STRENGTHS TO BEAT OSNABRÜCK

There is little to separate the teams in Bundesliga 2 this season, as a look at the league table reveals. The difference between victory and defeat often boils down to details or a team’s form on the day. All the clubs can do at the moment is take each game as it comes and in so doing collect as many points as possible. With this in mind, the Boys in Brown go up against VfL Osnabrück at the Millerntor on Friday evening (18:30 CET) looking to end their recent barren spell.

Details were ultimately the decisive factor in the 2-0 reverse at SC Paderborn last weekend, the second game in a row the Boys in Brown ended goalless and pointless. In a strong first-half showing, there were several moments when the contest could have turned a different way. Yet if the truth be known, the St. Pauli performance after the interval did not match that of the opening 45 minutes, allowing the home side to capitalise on their strengths.

Bringing their own qualities to the table is something the Boys in Brown will have to place their trust in on Friday evening. "We aim to go flat out and put them under pressure early,” Kevin Lankford told FC St. Pauli TV. Bold attacking football is attractive and yields plenty of goalscoring opportunities. Only Greuther Fürth (137) and Jahn Regensburg (122) have registered more attempts on goal than Timo Schultz’s charges (120), though other teams have proved more effective thus far.

The main deficit this season has been the defending, with the Boys in Brown conceding at least once, and often twice, in every competitive outing and allowing 128 attempts on their own goal. Only SV Sandhausen have been more generous at the back. "We have to defend better,” said Lankford. “Then I’m sure we’ll score a few goals and go on to win."

FC Nürnberg showed how to prise open the Osnabrück rearguard on Monday evening, cruising to a 4-1 win at the Bremer Brücke to condemn the hosts to their first home defeat. Despite the drubbing, Osnabrück can have no complaints this season, having amassed enough points to establish themselves in the top third of the table even though many of their players were forced to self-isolate at one stage and thus fall behind in training. Head coach Marco Grote is more interested in his side’s points tally rather than their position in the table, though, as he pointed out in the run-up. One thing is certain: his side will travel to the Millerntor hell-bent on making amends for Monday night’s setback.

That is just one reason why no one in Hamburg is under any illusions about the size of the task against Osnabrück. "I’m not really sure what to expect because they’ve already used lots of different systems," said centre-back James Lawrence. "We have to prepare well and focus on our own strengths.” The Boys in Brown have already shown they have the footballing qualities to beat anyone this season. The task now is to exploit their strengths to the full.

 

Photos: Witters

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