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ANOTHER TOUGH ASK AT SANDHAUSEN

Before the first international break of the 2020/21 season comes around just three games into the season, the Boys in Brown go to SV Sandhausen on Friday evening (18:30 CET) looking for another three points after the 4-2 home win over Heidenheim.

Four points from the first two games was not necessarily to be expected after the bitterly disappointing 4-2 reverse in the DFB Cup at fourth-tier outfit SV Elversberg. All the more pleasing, then, that the Boys in Brown put yet another early Cup exit behind them and remain unbeaten in the league after taking four points off two excellent teams. Head coach Timo Schultz said those points were a "deserved" reward for the effort his players had put in, but also emphasised that they still had "a lot of work to do to have a good season and win matches."

Schultz’s charges go to SV Sandhausen hoping to continue their unbeaten run yet fully aware it will be no easier than it was against Bochum or Heidenheim. "It's another tough ask for us," said Sebastian Ohlsson after the home win on Sunday. Sandhausen are now an established feature of the second division since gaining promotion in 2012, ranking third in terms of league membership behind VfL Bochum (2010) and the Boys in Brown (2011). They have performed consistently well, and last season was no different. Their tenth-place finish was something they had achieved only once before, in the 2016/17 season. As so often, Sandhausen’s first objective in their ninth campaign at this level is to collect enough points to stay up, though no one at the club would object if they were to finish in the top half of the table for the first time.

Sandhausen have strengthened well at any rate. Besides Diego Contento (Fortuna Düsseldorf), a Champions League winner with Bayern Munich in 2013, Daniel Keita-Ruel (Greuther Fürth) also moved to the Hardtwald, immediately demonstrating his goalscoring ability with all three goals in the 3-2 opening-day win against SV Darmstadt 98. He is not the only one the Boys in Brown will need to keep an eye on, however, as former St. Pauli man Aziz Bouhaddouz and Kevin Behrens are always good for goals, too.

The same can be said for the Boys in Brown thus far, and especially for Daniel-Kofi Kyereh, who has contributed three of the six goals already scored this season. And in Guido Burgstaller, who will feature in the squad for the first time after signing from Schalke 04, head coach Timo Schultz has another striker at his disposal who will hopefully contribute to a successful season with more goals.

First things first, however, and that means winning at Sandhausen, which is no easy task, as recent visits have shown. The Boys in Brown have won just two of their eight outings, most recently in March 2016. Nevertheless, that record and a poor run of form away from home over the last 18 months are irrelevant for Schultz: "What happened in the past doesn't interest me,” he said. “We always want the three points whether we're at home or away and the Sandhausen game is no different in that respect."

 

Photos: Witters

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