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The Boys in Brown return to league action after yet another brief excursion in the DFB Cup last week. They may not be going to the final next May, but they still get to go to Berlin, as the fixture list takes them to Union on Sunday. It will be a tough ask at the Alte Försterei, but Markus Kauczinski's team are looking forward to it nonetheless.

Any hopes of an extended run in the cup this season evaporated at the first hurdle once again after a 3-2 extra-time defeat at Wehen Wiesbaden. "I can't fault the players in terms of their application, passion and hard work," said director of sport Uwe Stöver afterwards. "They rolled their sleeves up and refused to give up." The defeat at the third-tier side has been analysed and quickly consigned to the past. "We did two days of recovery and are now over the 120 minutes," said Richard Neudecker. "We've trained well and will be able to go flat out again in Berlin."

Sunday's sell-out clash has been the sole focus in training this week, then. "The atmosphere at Union is superb, it's always fun to play there," said Berlin-born Marvin Knoll on behalf of his teammates, who will have the backing of 2,500 fans at the Alte Försterei. With four points from their first two games, the Köpenick-based side have made a good start to the season and Neudecker and Knoll are well aware of the strength they have in their squad. "We'll need to give as good as we get, that's for sure," said Neudecker. "If we can do that, we can the make an impression on the home fans and stifle the atmosphere," added Knoll. "Union are very strong opponents but we're going to Berlin to win."

That will be easier said than done, given that the Boys in Brown haven't won there in almost seven years and have mostly come away empty-handed. "We played well there last year but Union got the goal in the last minute, which was a sickener for us. We aim to reverse that on Sunday and will do everything we can to score one more than them," said Neudecker, who was on target in both the cup game at Wehen Wiesbaden and in the 2-0 home defeat of Darmstadt and will no doubt have nothing against getting on the scoresheet again in Berlin.

Another player already on two goals is Christopher Buchtmann. The midfielder, who found the net against Magdeburg and Darmstadt, resumed full training during the week after an operation on his hand that kept him out of the cup game in Wiesbaden. Marc Hornschuh and Jan-Philipp Kalla have been joined on the injury list by Sami Allagui and Christopher Avevor, however.


Photo: Witters