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The Boys in Brown travel south on Saturday (13:00) looking to build on a decent performance in the 2-2 home draw with FC Nürnberg against a Darmstadt side whose weekend game at VfL Osnabrück was postponed due to COVID-19 and will now take place next Wednesday. At the pre-match news conference, head coach Timo Schultz spoke to the media about...

...the injury situation: "Besides long-term casualties Christopher Buchtmann, Ryo Miyaichi and Luis Coordes, Jannes Wieckhoff and Marvin Senger are still a bit short. We're gradually increasing their workloads and easing them back in. There's also a small question mark over Christopher Avevor, who took a kick from Manuel Schäffler. We need to clarify whether it makes sense or whether it's better to rest him. The last two sessions will give us the answer. James Lawrence has completed two training sessions now and it was important for me to see him out on the pitch again. He's a quality player but has to get used to the stresses and strains of playing again after his layoff. I don't know whether we'll take him to Darmstadt yet. We'll discuss it with him later."

...the loss of Guido Burgstaller: "First and foremost, it's bitterly disappointing for Guido because it was already apparent that he lacked match practice. In that situation, every game and every training session does you good, and now he's been knocked out of his rhythm again. Given the nature of his injury, though, we can be glad it's nothing serious and hopefully he'll be recovered and fit again soon. That's the main thing. We'll obviously be happy when he eventually returns to the training ground because he's a big gain for us, but we have other quality players in the squad to make up for his loss."

...his team's points haul and performances so far: "We knew we had some tough opening fixtures. Our points total is a good reflection of how we've been playing. We put in two thrilling performances against Heidenheim and Nürnberg and got four points. At Sandhausen, we gave our best performance in terms of structure but came away with nothing. People like to say these things equal themselves out over the course of a season, and that's already been the case for us in the first four games. In terms of performances and spirit, we're on the right track. We can still do better, though, and we'll have to if we want to win a few games on the bounce.

...the increasing COVID numbers and awareness-raising in the squad: "We obviously remind the lads of the need to wear a mask at all times, make space and be alert in their everyday routines. So it's important for them not to mix in a crowd and perhaps get their girlfriends to do the shopping. I really hope the numbers don't increase any further and we encounter even bigger problems. It's going in the wrong direction at the moment. We have no choice but to wait and see what happens in the next few days and weeks. Let's not kid ourselves, we can't take anything for granted. We've seen other teams have COVID cases. We're doing everything we can to make sure we don't have any and everything remains under control."

...SV Darmstadt 98: "They're a very good footballing team and very solid. You can see they know what to do at every stage of the game. They did well last year, albeit under a different coach, and have gelled as a team. Not only do they have excellent individual players like Serdar Dursun, they also function very well as a team. They've made a good start and I think they'll be a force to be reckoned with in the long term."


Photos: Witters