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Paqarada: "Important for me to end the season with 100 per cent heart and passion"

Captain Leart Paqarada faced the media on Wednesday afternoon for the first time since the announcement of his decision not to extend his contract, which expires in summer, in order to join FC Köln.

Leart Paqarada on...

...the winning run: "On the one hand, it gives us a certain degree of confidence and assurance. On the other, I think they were all hard-fought victories, some of which could have gone the other way. Basically, though, we're looking very solid. Our rehearsed patterns of play are working, and we're all getting to know each other and understanding what the coach wants better and better."

...the league table: "Hardly anyone in the squad was giving the subject of relegation much thought before the second half of the season. We knew we were capable of getting out of trouble and that's what we’ve done. Having said that, hardly anyone is now saying we can go all the way to the top end of the table. We'll see what the next few weeks bring. We now have two games before the international break and we want to do well in them. We try to pick up points week in, week out. If we do that, we'll keep climbing. Let's see what happens. In the next two games we can put ourselves in a good position to carry on working positively after that."

...being dubbed favourites at home to Fürth: "I don't know if you can say with any confidence that teams are clear favourites in the second division. The last few weeks point in our favour, there's no denying that. In the end, I'm expecting an open game. Fürth have their strengths and we have ours. We want to take ours into the game and claim all three points."

...joining FC Köln this summer: "Apart from looking for a flat or a house, I'm not even thinking about it yet. Köln will happen eventually; it isn't going anywhere. I'm enjoying my time here and will leave with a tear in my eye because I'm having a really good time. I continue to give 100 per cent on the pitch. I'm having a lot of fun and the season can carry on like this as far as I'm concerned. Even if we'd lost six in a row, the tear in my eye would still be a very big one. I feel at home here even on a bad day. We have a great setup where you can work really well. The conditions are top-notch and the fans are incredible. The club gives you a lot - irrespective of the results."

...talks with director of sport Andreas Bornemann about staying at the club: "Andreas and I have had a good relationship for as long as I've been here - very communicative and very open. We talked about it, that's normal. He then accepted and understood my decision."

...his personal goals for the rest of his time at the club: "The first reaction when a move is announced is, 'Oh, the captain is leaving the club, is his mind still on it, his heart still in it, and can he continue leading the team?' That's why it's important to me to end the season with 100 percent heart and passion. I'm grateful to the club and I'm not being an idiot about it now just because I'll be gone soon. There's one more thing I want to achieve besides more goals and assists and that’s 100 appearances. It would be great to get there after the years I’ve spent with the club."

Photos: Witters