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FC St Pauli will be looking to build on an impressive start to the season when they return to action at the end of January following the winter break.
The Bundesliga side go into the second half of the season as one of the form teams in the league, with their displays in the early part of the campaign in stark contrast to their inconsistent showings of recent seasons.
They are currently third in the table, and should they remain there until the end of the season they would go into the promotion playoff for a chance to play in the top flight for the first time since 2011.
However, they would rather avoid this scenario due to the fact the second division side rarely triumph in the playoff, and has only done so twice in the previous 10 seasons.
They are only three points off leaders and city rivals Hamburger SV, but in this division it is easier to fall to mid-table than it is to challenge at the top, so they’ll have to maintain their focus.
Head coach Markus Kauczinski will hope that their winter training camp in the eastern Spanish municipality, Oliva, will help with this, and he believes the break has been good for the side.
“It really was perfect. The hotel, the training ground, the way we were looked after, and the weather were just right,” said the German.
“We’ve already said we could see ourselves coming back again next year.”
The Boys in Brown are unbeaten in the last seven league games, with their last defeat coming in October at home to Holstein Kiel.
They will also be buoyed in 2019 by the return of midfielder Christopher Buchtmann, who missed the final four games of last year through injury.
“If we want to dig in at the top end of the table, we have to keep playing the way we did before the winter break,” says Buchtmann, who spent time at Liverpool during his youth.
“We can’t afford to let up or take things easy. The moment we’re satisfied with what we’ve got is the moment we start going backwards. We’ll keep taking each game as it comes and then give it all our best shot.”
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