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SCHULTZ DELIGHTED WITH FITNESS LEVELS

FC St. Paul play host to Kickers Würzburg on Saturday determined to keep their run going and claim their fourth win on the bounce. Head coach Timo Schultz expects the visitors to pose a tough challenge, however, as he told the media at the pre-match news conference on Thursday morning.

Timo Schultz on...

...the squad situation: "We're in the end-of-season run-in when normally players start to run out of steam, but with us you get the feeling we're getting fitter with every week. If I asked the lads who wants to play, they'd probably all put their hands up, with the exception of Christopher Buchtmann and Ryo Miyaichi, who wouldn't have enough for 90 minutes. I'd rather have a couple of players too many than a team that picks itself. In my office there's a tactics board on the wall with everybody's name on it. Christopher Avevor is the only one top left under the injured players. It's a great situation for me, one you don't experience very often as a coach, but it's also confirmation of the good work the lads have put in all season. They work hard in the gym and prepare very well before and after training. I do expect we'll have the odd player sidelined again, though, or we might have a one-match ban. Afeez Aremu and Rico Benatelli are both on four yellow cards."

…the secret behind the absence of Covid-19 cases: "We always have our masks on and conduct regular tests. We pay really close attention to everything we can actively influence. That includes leaving doors permanently open for ventilation purposes or holding team meetings in groups wearing masks. Club doctor Volker Carrero and team manager Jonas Wömmel are doing an excellent job, they can be really pedantic about things sometimes. That goes down well with the lads and sticks in your mind. We also have a very disciplined squad, which is a key factor because they have to abide by the rules away from the training ground as well."

…opponents Würzburg: "They've looked much more stable since the winter. They were going in the right direction even under former coach Bernhard Trares. Their results in the second half of the season have been better than in the first, they won at Hannover under their new coach and got a deserved draw against Nürnberg. They're sensing their chance again and are close to getting back in touch at the bottom. The gap isn't too big. If you can win two or three games in a row, you're back in touch with the other teams or even past them, as you saw in our case. I've watched their last two matches. They switch the play very well under the new coach and are extremely dangerous from set pieces. We'll have to defend them as well as we have been doing all season. They'll approach the game from a compact defence and try to come at us in transition. They've caused opponents massive problems with that recently."

…the game plan: "When we prepare for a game, the focus is always on us and what we want to do. We're made enough progress now to have solutions regardless of whether the opposition build the play through two or three men or operate with one or two strikers. Recognising and resolving situations like that is something the lads should be able to do themselves on the pitch in most cases. We want to push forward and be active on the ball, carve out chances and keep creating things. In the last few games, we've repeatedly shown we can unlock teams by being active and dictating the play. If we can do that similarly well, I think we have a great chance of putting in a good performance. That's always our prime objective. To make it fun to watch and ideally win the game."

 

Photos: Witters

 

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