Two teams that are fighting in different ends of the 2. Bundesliga table lock horns at the MSV-Arena when MSV Duisburg takes on FC St. Pauli in front of their blue and white faithful’s on Sunday. The home side is currently fighting for their survival in the second division and are desperate to get their first win in the league since their 3-0 thrashing of SV Sandhausen at home at the end of November.
Enis Hajri has returned to training for Duisburg lately after returning from an ankle injury that has kept him out of action since the away game against 1860 München in November. The 32-year-old has only featured once this season, against Union Berlin in September.
“St. Pauli is not an issue. I’m certain the boys can do it,” he added.
Duisburg hasn’t been able to defeat St. Pauli in 13 years, according to their official website. The last ten meetings between the two sides have ended with three draws and seven wins for St. Pauli. However, after an impressive season, St. Pauli went on a nasty blow last match day, when the club lost 3-1 at home against relegation threatened FSV Frankfurt. Duisburg on the other hand, got a hard-fought point away to Greuther Fürth last week, and the club’s goalkeeper Michael Ratajczak now hopes that his side can take additional points in front of their own supporters.
“In our situation, it really only helps when we win and get points. Nevertheless, I regard the draw [against Greuther Fürth] as a positive step and I’m sure that we have gained confidence ahead of the next heavy tasks,” the goalkeeper said while talking to St. Pauli’s official website.
“St. Pauli plays a strong game. Ewald Linen has brought the team back on track and made their defense compact. But we can take the game against FSV Frankfurt as a model and see that we need to take the aggressive duel behavior to the field of play,” he added.
Duisburg’s James Holland was shown the red card against Fürth and will therefore not take part in Sunday’s game. Andreas Wiegel (cruciate ligament rupture), Martin Dausch (hip injury) and Pierre De Wit (knee problem) all look set to miss the encounter due to injuries. On a more positive note, Victor Obinna and Simon Brandstetter both took part in a friendly game against the club’s U23 side on Tuesday, and looks set to be able to play in the crucial game.
St. Pauli fighting for promotion
St. Pauli has surprised many by fighting for promotion to the Bundesliga this campaign, instead of competing for their survival like last year. The club didn’t make any spectacular signings in the summer transfer window, but has found consistency under head coach Ewald Linen and his 4-2-3-1 formation.
Lennart Thy have mostly been deployed at the forward position, and has thanked for the trust by scoring six goals and assisting four. The 24-year-old has impressed enough to earn himself a deal with Bundesliga-side Werder Bremen, and will depart St. Pauli in the summer.
Besides scoring goals, center back Philipp Ziereis believes that keeping a clean sheet will be key in Sunday’s fixture.
“It’s clearly a question of keeping a clean sheet. The longer we keep a clean sheet, the more our strengths will be actualized,” Ziereis is quoted as telling St. Pauli’s official website.
It’s not decided yet if Ziereis will take part in tomorrow’s game, but the 22-year-old, along with Waldemar Sobota and Lasse Sobiech, took part in training on Friday and looks set to be able to participate.
Duisburg’s table position “doesn’t matter” – Ewald Linen
St. Pauli head coach Ewald Linen expects a tough game, even though Duisburg are in-between a rock and a hard place.
“I believe that the table situation doesn’t matter. Duisburg is stuck in a difficult situation, but we know that our self from last season,” Linen is quoted as telling St. Pauli’s official website.
“Duisburg will know exactly what makes it hard for us,” he adds.
St. Pauli has won ten games this season, and collected 36 points. The club is currently fourth in the 2. Bundesliga table, two points behind 1.FC Nuremberg and five and 14 points behind SC Freiburg and RB Leipzig respectively.
Sebastian Maier (muscle fiber), Ryo Miyaichi (cruciate ligament rupture) and team-captain Sören Gonther (torn knee ligament) all look to be inactive on Sunday, though the trio is expected to be back in action next month.
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