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The relief was tangible after the 2-1 extra-time defeat of Schalke in the second round of the DFB Cup. Here’s the pick of the reaction.

Head coach Fabian Hürzeler: “We made a sedate start, our positioning and passing was below par. Schalke did well, they covered a lot of distance in closing down the space. We made a few minor adjustments in the second half and dominated the game after that. We had lots of players in and around the box but weren’t resolute enough in the final third even though we won a lot of second balls. Schalke defended well but we kept at it, which made it difficult for them to break out. Schalke are always a threat and have high individual quality, but we were very alert at the back. The patient way we played after the equaliser and in extra-time and repeatedly switched the play from left to right was very impressive. All in all, we deserved to win.”

Jackson Irvine: “Cup games are all about winning. They’re about finding a way to win. We were very dominant today. We controlled every phase of the game. We kept calm, stuck to our game plan and got the result. Schalke were very compact but as the game wore on, they lost their discipline. Our passing was quicker in the second half. In the last three games, we’ve always done better in the second half. We have a strong squad, I’m not worried that we won’t have time to recover before Friday’s game at Elversberg.”

Sascha Burchert: “I was told to get ready two or three days ago. Competitive games are great fun. They’re the reason you play football and go to training every day, so you’re ready to help the team, even though I didn’t have so much to do today. Schalke kept leaving the keeper free, so I didn’t need to find too many solutions with the ball at my feet, and the defence frequently kept the ball away from our box as well. I enjoyed it, though. I try to remain active when I don’t have too much to do. We communicate well and today holding the last line had the highest priority. We didn’t want to get caught on the break and did that very well from the second half on.”

Marcel Hartel: “It was important to win today and go through to the next round. We were very dominant in the second half and totally deserved the equaliser. We were the better team in extra-time as well. I’m glad it didn’t go to penalties, as I don’t know how I would have approached mine. We have to recover well and go flat out again on Friday. We’ve done well in the second half recently. We’re finding creative solutions for coming up with answers. We’re not invincible, we wouldn’t have gone behind if we were. It’s a sign of character that we don’t give up or get ragged. We’re all there for each other.”

Karel Geraerts (Schalke coach): “I’ve seen a lot of St. Pauli games in the last ten months and they play good football, so congratulations on going through. We did all right in the first half. We were very compact and defended as a team. We got the goal at an important time and St. Pauli only had one really good chance in the first half. It’s tough to lose. St. Pauli put us under a lot of pressure in the second half, but I’m still proud of the team, they went to the limit.”


Photos: FC St. Pauli