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Himmelmann glad to get going again

In an injury-plagued first half of the season, Robin Himmelmann was the only St. Pauli player not to miss a minute of the league campaign. Our No30 will also be between the posts for the opening game of the year at Greuther Fürth. Ahead of the season resumption, we spoke to Himmelmann about the winter break, clean sheets and, of course, the match at Fürth.

Hey Robin, with the season kicking off again in three days, we'll begin by asking: how keyed up are you?

I don't usually feel it until just before kick-off. The break wasn't all that long – there's no long wait like you have in summer – and it flew past. I'm glad we're getting started again.

The team signed off with back-to-back wins against Wehen Wiesbaden and Arminia Bielefeld. Were you able to take that positive feeling with you into the winter break?

It's been a while since those two wins, so we weren't celebrating them last weekend. The points were very important – not just for us ourselves, but also to show the outside world we can win games and weren't left saying we gave another decent‑to‑good performance but came away empty-handed. The preparations went very well and everyone worked at a very high intensity. We want to pick up the momentum again despite the interruption.

Against Bielefeld you kept a clean sheet again after going ten games having conceded at least once. How good did it do you?

It didn't just do me good, it did the whole team good. We'll make things a lot easier for ourselves if we manage to keep more clean sheets, but I can live with conceding if we end up winning, like we did against Wehen Wiesbaden. We know we can't score three goals every time like we did in those two games, so we'll be working hard not to concede.

How do you assess Fürth?

On a good day, Fürth are a tough nut to crack and we have to be ready for that. On the final day last season, we lost in the last minute. The season before that we got hammered 4-0. We did win the previous two, though, so as you see, anything is possible. I'm expecting an evenly balanced contest this time. We have to focus on our own game and in so doing cancel out their strengths, which are in attack.

Talking of their attack, Fürth won the reverse fixture at the Millerntor 3-1. How did you see that game?

We made the worst possible start when Jackson (Christopher Avevor - Ed.) got injured and we conceded the first goal straight after. Looking back, I'm not saying it was a shock for us, but we couldn't drag ourselves out of the situation after that. We weren't stable enough to come from behind back then and we hadn't gelled on the pitch. We were still getting used to playing together.

Fürth ruined the opening home game but you can get revenge on Tuesday evening. Having said that, you haven't won away from home since the 1-0 victory at Paderborn in early March last year. How frustrating is it to keep coming away without the three points?

It's very frustrating! There's no explanation for it. I can remember phases when we were playing really well away from home and people were asking why it wasn't going so well at the Millerntor with the fans behind us. I've no idea how these runs come about. Obviously, no one goes into an away game saying it doesn't matter whether we win or lose. We should never have won at Paderborn really, but still took all three points. I can't explain why it hasn't come off since then. We've been very close on occasions, I'm thinking of the game at Dresden, for example, but it wasn't to be.

What's the key to making a successful start on Tuesday evening?

The clean sheet we've been talking about would definitely help. We have to be totally concentrated and focused and bring our game to the pitch from the off. Mistakes will happen, but we have to keep them to a minimum and then give nothing away ideally. We're away from home but we want to make our presence felt in attack. It'll be important for us to score one and keep a clean sheet. We're certainly capable of that. From the outset, we'll be out to make clear we're convinced we can win away from home in spite of our away record.


Photos: Witters