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Schultz: "I'll have no objections if I can maintain my average"

Saturday evening's meeting with Hansa Rostock (20.30 CET) marks the start of the end-of-season run-in for the Boys in Brown. Ahead of the matchup with one of the league's form teams, head coach Timo Schultz took time out to speak to the media at a news conference on Thursday morning.

Timo Schultz on…

...filling the holding midfield role: "Eric Smith sustained a calf injury on Tuesday and will be sidelined for a couple of weeks. Jackson Irvine has only done running work so far. We're being really cautious as far as he's concerned and will assess today what makes sense and what we can countenance. In Afeez Aremu and Rico Benatelli we have another two players capable of performing the role exceptionally well, so I'm not worried about how we fill it. We have enough alternatives."

...Daniel-Kofi Kyereh, who secured World Cup qualification with Ghana: "I've been in contact with him as with all our other international players. It's great for him that they've done it and he was able to play a part in it. He made his flight and will hopefully be back in Hamburg in good time. He'll stretch his legs again today, but I expect him to travel with us to Rostock and play."

...the rivalry with Rostock: "I know about the explosive nature of this fixture. A healthy rivalry on the pitch is fine, but I hope everything off it stays peaceful. We're all looking forward to the game and are happy the ground can be full to capacity again. It has the potential to be a festival of football and we don't want to offer space to anyone bent on causing trouble."

...the special conditions surrounding the fixture: "We played in a similar cauldron at Magdeburg at the beginning of the season and managed to hold our own and come away with a win. We experienced similar conditions at Dresden, too. We've progressed over the course of the season and are a settled side now. We all know what to expect there. We have to discuss it and be prepared for it and we have to select the right tools, especially when things aren't going so well or are getting hectic. We have some experienced players who are used to it and able to deal with it. I expect them to lead from the front."

...his personal record as a player of three wins in three games: "I'll take the three-point average. The 3-2 home win over Rostock (in September 2008) was one of the best games at the Millerntor in terms of the atmosphere. St. Pauli against Rostock is always something special and I expect it'll be another special occasion on Saturday evening as well. I'll have no objections if I can maintain my average."

...the opposition and the progress they have made since losing 4-0 in the reverse fixture: "All you have to do is look where they are in the table and how many points they have. They're much more stable now and have won their last three games against really good teams and deservedly so. We know exactly what their strengths and weaknesses are. You can't compare the first game with this one. We start from scratch again and we're at Rostock, where it'll be very lively. We're preparing for a rough ride but are optimistic we can take three points back to Hamburg. We want to play our game and put in a good performance."

...the tight promotion race: "Right down to seventh/eighth place all the teams are still in with a shout. All you need is a run of three wins in three games and you're back in one of the top two places. We know it's extremely tight but we have a huge opportunity, especially when we play the other contenders at home, to put ourselves in a really good position."


Photos: Witters