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Schultz: "I enjoyed watching the team play football"

The 2-0 home win over Fortuna Düsseldorf on the final day saw the Boys in Brown finish the 2021/22 campaign in fifth place. With the season now over, director of sport Andreas Bornemann and head coach took time out to answer a host of questions from the media.

Andreas Bornemann and Timo Schultz on…

…the season just ended:

Bornemann: "In points terms it was our second-best season in the last ten years. Fifth place is our best position since 2015/16. We played some very attractive football for long periods, had the league's best home record and reached the cup quarter-final. In the end, though, it's equally clear we didn't do it. We managed to carry over the momentum from a good second half of the previous season despite losing key players in Omar Marmoush and Rodrigo Zalazar. We were also fortunate in that the key situations frequently went our way when games were tight. We were satisfied with the first half of the campaign, but we also said we needed to perform at a similar level in the second half. Last year didn't end well for us, though, and this year didn't start well. And yet we still had another good spell after a hard-fought win at Regensburg. We had an opportunity, and the foundations were very good. The fact we didn't do it cannot solely be down to contractual matters. It's always lots of things. I always begin any analysis from the football point of view. The teams who have now been promoted put the same team out week in, week out. When it came to the crunch, we had five yellow cards and Covid and could have moved to within two points of the league leaders with a win on the penultimate day. Even under these circumstances I saw a team that kept getting up again and showed a reaction to the end. Ultimately, there was something lacking, and we have to accept that because it’s the outcome of 34 matchdays. I'm up for giving it another go and so is Timo. We're talking about a new team now and focusing on the future."

Schultz: "I think everyone would agree it's been just about the best St. Pauli team in the last five or six years. Even I as coach enjoyed watching the team play football. Essentially the main thing for me is that within two years we put a team out with lads whose progress led to them playing some awesome football. That was really cool, and I still have so much fun being a part of their journey. It's totally normal to go through a dip during a season and we had ours either side of the winter break, but we did factor it in. Every team had one, even those who eventually got promoted. And yet we still beat Borussia Dortmund in that period and came out of it really well. If we as FC St. Pauli – with the means at our disposal, which aren't bad but still don't match those of teams who come down from the Bundesliga, for example – are to finish above them, then almost everything has to click really, and in the end it didn't."

…the lessons from the second half of the season:

Schultz: "In the first half we had 11 or 12 different goalscorers. Sometimes it's difficult to explain, but in the second half we simply lost our touch. We were no longer able to mount a permanent threat on goal from other positions. And then our opponents began to adjust better to the way we play football. Maybe we could have been a bit more flexible and a bit braver in that respect. We still had a lot of clarity in our patterns and dominated a lot of games at times. Nevertheless, we lacked that little bit of something and could definitely have generated even more power. So if we sum everything up, these may be the pivotal reasons why we didn't carry it off in the end."

…the makeup of next season's squad:

Bornemann: "It's going to be a challenge to get a well-oiled team out on the pitch by mid-July, what with the short break and perhaps some uncertainty about whether a player will leave the club or stay after all. It'll be difficult to have a full squad together by the start of the season. As far as possible departures are concerned, as long as a player has a contract with us, he's a part of our plans, especially when we have nothing on our desk requiring a decision. If it were down to me, I'd know already who'll still be here and who won't, but that doesn't mean yet that a player we'd like to sign will opt to join us so early. It's another puzzle, but our wish is to have the majority of the squad together as soon as possible."

Schultz: "In general, we have a plan as far as the players we'd like to sign are concerned, the quality of those players and the position profiles, but we're obviously preparing for any scenarios requiring a different solution. That means we're planning to make some significant adjustments rather than any specific change to the system, and we need flexible players for that. As far as that's concerned though, I'm actually very satisfied with the squad I already have at my disposal. We have a lot of really good lads in there who we believe have already shown this year that they're capable of taking the next step. Next season, when they get even more playing time, they will take the next step."

…transfer rumours:

Bornemann: "You always want to find players and make them better through their development, preferably with us, of course, but sometimes players are quicker and open up opportunities as a result. That's certainly true of Leart Paqarada, Daniel-Kofi Kyereh, Guido Burgstaller and maybe of others, too. So there's movement, of course, and there will carry on being movement. We're striving to keep the best possible team together, but we're no dreamers either, we know it could get difficult in one case or the other. We have to see what the options are for the player and the club and then weigh things up. Anything that breaks away that has functioned very well leaves a gap that has to be plugged somehow – though we know that can't be done in a week because it's a process. Then it's a question of quickly lifting the team to a level where they're capable of having another good season. The situation with Guido is that he has a contract. He's an important factor in our plans. On the other hand, there are other things in life that are important, and you have to respect and accept that. In that case, we would have to search for a solution, but otherwise the status is as you were. He's a decisive factor on the pitch and would be a big loss."

…the contract extensions for the assistant coaches:

Bornemann: "There are two different levels in these contract talks – the player aspect and the assistant coach aspect. Starting in January, we gave the players some clear indications, including that we wouldn't be making any contract offers in January and would come back to them in March or April at the earliest. The other aspect concerns the assistant coaches. That didn't go as well as it could have done. I'm sorry it dragged on the way it did and that it led to a certain unease and dissatisfaction for Timo. I accept the responsibility for that to a certain extent. There are no differences in the way we see things, but the process wasn't optimal. There's no reason why we can't announce the future collaboration in the next few days, however."

Photos: Witters