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Professionals, 29. November 2019

“We’ll be pushed to the limit”

VfB will look to build on their win over local rivals Karlsruher SC when they travel to SV Sandhausen on Sunday (kick-off 13:30 CET).

Tim Walter and his players are in no mood to underestimate Uwe Koschinat’s in-form side, who are currently on a four-match unbeaten run. “Everyone’s expecting us to go there, control the game and get three points,” said the VfB boss. “It’s not going to be that easy, though, because every opponent brings their own qualities and gives their all. We’ll be pushed to the limit.”

Walter will have to make do without captain Marc Oliver Kempf for the next three games after the defender was sent off in the 3-0 victory over Karlsruhe last weekend. “It’s a shame,” said the 44-year-old. “We’re obviously going to miss him. It’s never a good thing when you have to change your line-up, but our squad is deep enough for the lads coming in to make amends.”

Central defenders Nathaniel Phillips and Maxime Awoudja are in pole position to replace the skipper, although Walter also regards holding midfielder Atakan Karazor as a viable option for the vacant centre-back slot. Whoever ends up filling Kempf’s boots on Sunday will be able to lean on the experience of one of VfB’s elder statesmen. “Holger Badstuber is an important pillar of our side with his experience and presence,” said the head coach. “I’m really pleased with his development and resilience. He’s worked hard for that.”

Borna Sosa is also in contention for a place in VfB’s defence in Sandhausen. The 21-year-old left-back has taken full part in training this week after recovering from concussion and could be included in the squad on Sunday. Daniel Didavi, who is closing in on a return to first-team action after suffering a muscle tear against Wehen Wiesbaden in October, remains sidelined.