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Boys in Brown set for high-intensity affair at Rostock

FC St. Pauli go to Hansa Rostock on Sunday (13.30 CET) looking to add to their points tally in Bundesliga 2 after sweeping aside newly promoted Magdeburg last time out. The Schultz XI are steeling themselves for a high-intensity encounter against a combative and physical Rostock team who will be keen to show a different side to themselves after the 4-0 reverse at Darmstadt.

The home win over Magdeburg was important and left a positive feeling following the disappointment of the first defeat of the season at Kaiserslautern the previous week. "All in all, it was a deserved victory against an extremely good footballing side. I'm proud of the way the lads went flat out in the heat and imposed themselves on the game from the off," said a delighted Timo Schultz after the game. The Boys in Brown had shipped nine goals on their previous four competitive outings, so the first shutout of the season gave cause for good cheer. "Home win and a clean sheet - a perfect Sunday," as captain Jackson Irvine put it.

Next up after Magdeburg are Rostock - again on a Sunday – and the Boys in Brown are aiming for a repeat performance on the Baltic Coast. Preparations have been meticulous, and Nikola Vasilj and Adam Dźwigała are the only absentees. "We know what to expect," said Schultz, with Rostock's aggressive and physical style of play in mind. Jens Härtel's charges left Darmstadt feeling dejected last week after a resounding 4-0 defeat. "We have to brush ourselves down and show a different side to ourselves against St. Pauli," the Rostock boss said afterwards. The tone was set for a day to forget as early as the third minute when goalkeeper Markus Kolke overlooked Phillip Tietz when teeing the ball up in his own penalty area. The Darmstadt striker seized the opportunity and nipped in to score before Kolke had time to react.

It was Rostock's third defeat in five competitive matches, though it has to be said that the opening schedule packed a punch, with the exception of the DFB Cup tie at fourth-tier VfB Lübeck, which ended in a 1-0 loss. It pitted them against three teams who featured in the promotion race last season in Heidenheim (0-1), HSV (1-0) and Darmstadt (0-4) as well as relegated Bundesliga outfit Bielefeld (2-1). Now, the Schultz XI are the next side who challenged at the top last term. The Boys in Brown ultimately missed out in their promotion bid, partly because of a 1-0 reverse at Rostock in early April that was followed by another five games without a win.

The Schultz XI will have the backing of more than 2,000 travelling fans in their quest to get a result on Sunday. After the events on the most recent outing to Rostock, it is to be hoped that things will remain peaceful, as Schultz emphasised in the run up. "I'm looking forward to the game and appeal to both sets of fans to travel to the game peacefully and without any fighting. That doesn't belong in football, even when it's St. Pauli against Rostock." On the pitch, the players will be allowed to get stuck in, of course, as long as everything stays fair, and hopefully the Boys in Brown will emerge victorious after 90 minutes of intensive action!

Photo: Witters