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Sobota: "Everyone's fired up, everyone wants to start"

Football returns to the top two tiers of German football this weekend after an absence of more than two months. The Boys in Brown resume a campaign brought to a halt by the corona pandemic in mid-March with a home game against FC Nürnberg. Midfielder Waldemar Sobota is looking forward to the restart and hoping the Boys in Brown can deliver a good performance despite the circumstances and go on to claim all three points.

"I should know that," said Waldemar Sobota when asked how many points the Boys in Brown have, what position they are in, how the last competitive match ended and who scored our last goal. "We've got 30 points and are 11th, I think. We drew 2-2 at Sandhausen and Dimi got our last goal," he answered. Having not kicked a ball in anger since mid-March, the midfielder is really happy to be back in action against Nürnberg on Sunday. And he's not the only one. "We're all glad to be playing again," said Sobota, who resumed full training with the rest of his teammates last Thursday after several weeks of training first alone and then in small groups. "We've been taking each day as it comes and it's noticeable how the quality has improved with every session. The aim is to build on that now to go into the game feeling positive and ready to put in a decent performance."

Sobota was unable to say much about Nürnberg's current form – hardly surprising after an absence of more than two months. "It's liking starting anew, but we still have to know how Nürnberg lined up and how they performed in their last few games. In the end we're just focusing on ourselves. We have to prepare as best we can and that's what we'll do," said the attacking midfielder, who hopes the team can use the remaining sessions to "fine-tune the usual patterns and runs".

While the Boys in Brown have been able to train together again as they did before the break, they will be without the support of the fans against Nürnberg. "It's a completely new situation for all of us. These are exceptional circumstances. I've been playing football for a few years now and I've never experienced anything like this before," admitted Sobota, for whom it will be the first competitive game without a crowd. No one enjoys playing behind closed doors and Sobota is hoping the fans will be back soon. "Our fans always push us forward and are an important bulwark for us, but we have to go with the new situation and perform to our best without them," stressed the Pole.

"It'll be a strange feeling in the first few minutes, that's for sure. We have to ensure we settle down quickly and deliver a top performance despite having no fans and no atmosphere behind us," the midfielder said before adding: "It'll be a question of mentality. It'll probably be tough but when the game kicks off I'll try to put the circumstances to one side and focus totally on my game."

Like Sobota, the whole squad is desperate to play and take all three points off Nürnberg. The battle for one of the coveted places in the starting lineup is intense. "Everyone's fired up, everyone wants to start the game. Some of our injured players have returned during the break, so in that respect it did have its positive side. We'll need every single player over the next few weeks," said Sobota, who is focusing entirely on Nürnberg for the time being, however. "We need to be ready when the game kicks off. We're professional footballers who go into every game to win. The game against Nürnberg is no different," the midfielder concluded.

Photos: Witters

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