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THE German second division is one of the most closely fought leagues in European football and even the team sitting second from bottom, Greuther Furth, could approach the promotion play-off spot with a run of wins.
Fortuna Dusseldorf sit at the top of the table, just three points ahead of second-placed Nurnberg and five ahead of Holstein Kiel who currently occupy the coveted promotion play-off spot.
Beyond that, 15 points separate third and 17th, but Kaiserlslautern are rooted to the bottom of the table, eight points behind Greuther Fuerth.
St Pauli find themselves lodged in the middle of this competitive division, a position which reflects the inconsistent nature of their league campaign to date.
Markus Kauczinski’s side managed to win the first game of the Ruckrunde when a Waldemar Sobota brace helped them to a 3-1 win at Dynamo Dresden. True to form, the Boys in Brown were then beaten at home by Darmstadt 98 just three days later, kicking off the second half of the season in typical fashion.
They travel south to Heidenheim today for a midday kick-off against the team just one point behind them in the table.
“They’re on a decent run of form and have won their last four games at home,” said Kauczinski of today’s opponents.
“When it comes to scrapping and physicality, Heidenheim are one of the best sides in the league.
“We have to deploy our own strengths and create a threat by doing so. We had enough chances against Darmstadt. Now we have to make better use of them.”
The St Pauli boss has never lost at the Voith Arena, but the side he currently leads are yet to take a point there. They will be hoping that the former’s record remains intact this lunchtime as they approach the game having had the full week to prepare.
One positive from the home defeat in the previous game was the introduction to the side of Dimitrios Diamantakos, the Greek forward who arrived at the club a couple of weeks ago.
The 25-year-old, who has five caps for his country, enjoyed the experience despite the defeat. “The atmosphere was superb, it reminded me of the derbies in Greece,” said the striker whose nickname is The Spartan.
Kauczinski will be hoping that his new man up top will help St Pauli take some of the chances they missed against Darmstadt, as they aim to battle at the top of this tightly contested division as opposed to the bottom.
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