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At the official news conference ahead of Sunday's visit of Fortuna Düsseldorf, head coach Timo Schultz spoke not only about our final opponents of the season, but also about his view on bidding farewell to players and the importance of ending the campaign well.

Timo Schultz on...

...the personnel situation: "Eric Smith is back in training and has played almost a full part. We'll see whether we include him in the squad, though a place in the starting lineup is out of the question. The suspended Marcel Beifus, Igor Matanović, Daniel-Kofi Kyereh and Afeez Aremu are all ruled out, of course. The lads have trained well and the mood on the training ground has been good. I think Rico Benatelli and Leart Paqarada will resume training today as well after missing the beginning of the week, so we have some options available."

...the position between the posts: "Nikola Vasilj will keep goal. He's our No1. Dennis did a great job in the cup and at Schalke and has made excellent progress in the time he's been here, but if Nikola is fit, he's going to play. I won't be changing that status on the final day."

...the possibility of his side dropping off after the Schalke game: "The season isn't over yet. We want to sign off from our fans with a win. The lads have been going flat out since Monday. Everyone was very disappointed on the way back from Schalke, of course. We threw everything at it and led 2-0 against really good opposition but in the end it wasn't enough. We have our next assignment ahead of us now in Düsseldorf and want to end the season well. I'm confident we can do that."

...the significance of the game: "It's always nicer to go into the summer break with a win, not just for us but also for the fans and everyone who follows St. Pauli, so we'll give it our best shot. It's also a chance for one or two players to stake a claim for a place in the side next season – to push to the front of the queue, show the fans what they can do and lay down a marker. And it's also a chance for one or two players to bid farewell to the Millerntor and the fans."

...the opportunity for players to put themselves in contention for a new contract on Sunday: "All players are very welcome to put in a good performance. We've already taken some decisions. It's clear we don't make things dependent on one game. Players can always put themselves in contention, whether it's for a new contract or a place in the starting lineup next season. It's an opportunity for them to show not just me what they can do but also the fans, which ought to be motivation enough in the final game."

...Düsseldorf's strengths: "They're a very homogeneous group with lots of quality in every position and they also function very well as a team. In Khaled Narey they have an outstanding player on the right and in Rouwen Hennings and Daniel Ginczek two outstanding strikers, although Ginczek is suspended. They have a very balanced squad and are even able to compensate for the loss of Shinta Appelkamp, one of the best players in the league, without any problems. It's another really tough assignment for us on the final day."


Photos: Witters


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