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TOUGH TEST AGAINST TEAM OF THE HOUR AS BOYS IN BROWN BID TO MAKE IT THREE HOME WINS OUT OF THREE

The third home game of the season on Sunday (13:30 CET) has all the makings of an exciting assignment. The Boys in Brown play host to surprise table-toppers Jahn Regensburg. Against the only team boasting a 100% record, the Schultz XI will have to go flat out if they are to make it three wins out of three at the Millerntor.

"It's only natural for us to be angry when we lose a game," said coach Timo Schultz after the opening defeat of the new season. His side were beaten 3-1 at Paderborn in a match where "lots of things went against us". The first task this week was to analyse the setback and then quickly draw a line under it. A high-octane affair awaits the Boys in Brown against the league leaders, so their preparations have been equally intense.

The Schultz XI go into the game aiming to rack up a third successive victory on home turf following the 3-0 defeat of Kiel and the 3-2 win against HSV. As for the derby, the game will be watched by a crowd of 10,003, and the fans will be an important factor in the quest to take all three points against a resilient Regensburg outfit. Schultz, who turned 44 on Thursday, has not asked for a belated birthday gift on Sunday. Instead, he wants to see a team who are set on being creative and put in maximum effort in support of each other.

A high-energy performance will be needed against a hard-running, strong-tackling Regensburg side, of that there can be no doubt. "Pure intensity" is how left-back Leart Paqarada put it, when asked how he was expecting the game to pan out against the season's surprise package. Few would have predicted the visitors would be sitting on top of table in a league regularly described as the best and most attractive second division of all time due to the presence of teams such as FC Schalke 04 and Werder Bremen. While many of the favourites for promotion have made a stuttering start to the season, Regensburg have quietly gone about their business and picked up four wins out of four. None of these victories could be called lucky either. Regensburg are well worth their 12 points on account of a string of "impressive performances", said Timo Schultz at the pre-match press conference.

Regensburg thus bear little resemblance to the side that struggled for so long last season, only reaching safety with a 3-0 home win over the Boys in Brown on the penultimate day. On the contrary, the best defence in the league (just one goal against) has proved as solid as a rock, while the best attack has been extremely difficult to work out, with nine different players contributing the 12 goals scored thus far. A tough proposition, then, but then again, tough propositions are exactly the kind of game Schultz says his team are made for.

 

Photo: Witters

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