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Luca-Milan Zander is the club's third new signing of the summer transfer period. On his first day with Olaf Janssen's squad the 21-year-old right-back faced the media and spoke about his development as a footballer and the new challenge at the Millerntor.

Luca-Milan Zander was born in Weyhe, where he also took his first steps as a talented young player. Having quickly caught the eye of neighbours Werder Bremen, he joined the Bundesliga outfit at the age of 11 and progressed through the youth academy to the club's second string, where he was handed his third-division debut by Alexander Nouri. Under then head coach Robin Dutt he made his Bundesliga debut soon after that. Zander made 31 third-division appearances last season and captained the team on three occasions.

"I spoke to Werder a couple of weeks ago and we came to the conclusion that the match practice would do me good," the right-back said. Zander repeatedly made the transition to the senior squad in his first few years as a professional, but given the stiff competition in Bremen found it extremely difficult to secure a first-team place. "I want to progress and develop as a player," he said. "St. Pauli is the next step for me."

St. Pauli, in turn, can look forward to a very versatile player who in the system employed by Werder Under-23 coach Florian Kohfeldt not only fulfilled defensive tasks in a three- or four-man defence but also had the freedom to get forward. Zander is thus happy to wait and see how he will fit into Janssen's plans. "If the cover's there, I like to push forward and get involved in the link-up play," he revealed, "but I'm equally happy to cover the backs of my teammates."

Zander has followed the fortunes of his new colleagues on TV in recent years and briefly played alongside Clemens Schoppenhauer at Bremen. He also spoke to former St. Pauli man Florian Bruns, who had only positive things to say about the club and the city. "My hope now, of course, is to establish myself and make as many appearances as possible," said Zander. With that in mind, he has committed to the Millerntor for two years to enable him to "identify more with the project and the feeling in the team".


Photo: Witters