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Schultz: "It's always a puzzle you have to piece together as a coach"

Within 45 minutes of his contract extension being announced, head coach Timo Schultz was taking questions from the media at the news conference ahead of Saturday's visit of Erzgebirge Aue.

Timo Schultz on…

...the personnel situation: "Daniel-Kofi Kyereh is at the Africa Cup and Afeez Aremu is still carrying a knock, but otherwise we only have the long-term absentees Christopher Avevor and Jannes Wieckhoff. Everyone else is romping around the training ground and available to play, apart from Luca Zander, who is still catching up after being ill with Covid-19. Simon Makienok feels a twinge in his knee occasionally but he's in full training and ready to play."

...the battle for places and picking the starting XI: "The battle for places is in full swing. We have alternatives in every position and in some cases duels for a berth in the starting lineup. The task now is to determine which lads are in the best form, on the one hand, while going through the game in our heads and looking at what we're up against, where we'll have to react and what alternatives we need, on the other. It's always a puzzle you have to piece together as a coach with a view to the squad and the starting lineup."

...the risk of Guido Burgstaller being suspended for the derby: "He needs to play his usual game, stay sharp and focused, and lead from the front. We have the game against Aue in front of us and all other games are of no concern to us now."

...the significance of a good start to the new year: "It's always good to finish with a win. We didn't do that and so now we want to start with a win. We've always done well to concentrate on the next game, our performance and what we want to do. We added quite a few things at training camp. Whether we win or lose, the next game comes around just three days later. You always have to approach things step by step. If we win, it doesn't mean all is good, just as it won't mean all is bad if we lose. We go into the game with the clear objective of taking all three points and will do our utmost to put in a good performance and win the game."

...the possibility of being able to play in front of fans after all: "As I coach, I have to disabuse myself of the notion that I take perfect decisions, and it's the same for the politicians, who'll be in two minds at the moment. Some things you can understand, some you can't. We'll take things as they come. I obviously hope we can have as many fans in the ground as possible. The third round of the DFB Cup, at long last, against Borussia Dortmund followed by the derby three days later would have been proper festivals of football, but our focus is totally on the Aue game for the time being. I'd be delighted if we have a few fans in because it does make a difference when there a couple of thousand there rather than none at all."


Photos: Witters