U21 | 08/02/2019

U21 - The Great Escape

Laux: We won’t go down

While the FC first-team play against FC St. Pauli on Friday evening, the under-21 squad get their Regionalliga West season back underway away to Alemannia Aachen. Under-21 record appearance maker, Marius Laux describes the previous weeks and preparation from his perspective.

We’ve trained enough, we’ve played enough friendlies. After almost two months without a competitive game, we’re finally starting back into the league campaign. After the Hinrunde, where our young team have received a few setbacks, we have already played four Rückrunde games before Christmas. The first two were symptomatic of the first half of the season. Against Kaan-Marienborn and Bonner SC, two rivals in the battle for survival, we suffered bitter defeats. But thankfully we were able to bounce back and win the following two games against TV Herkenrath and Rot-Weiß Essen. The 1:0 win in the last home game against Essen was our best performance to date. Therefore we went into the Winter Break with a positive feeling, even when we’re second-bottom and the way to safety is still a way off.

The self-confidence is back

I used the Winter Break to switch off from football a little and spend the time with my family. This time always gives me a lot of strength. The motivation to get back to training and take on the mission of survival only grew at home and while skiing in Osttirol. On the 9th of January, we had our first training session of the new year and the four weeks of preparation have flown by. The positive feeling, that we went into the Winter Break with, has only got stronger. We have tough training sessions and five friendlies behind us, which we all won. The opponents were all Oberliga teams and while it is a league below us, the wins in these games did not come easily. The guys in the Oberliga can also play football.

In the friendlies, there are normally regular substitutions, so that you’re not so tired in the preparation as in the regular season. However, this year it was different. From the first training session, we treated every game like a league game. Our goal is to win every remaining game this season. Obviously that is the basic goal that you have as a footballer, but when you’ve played as weak of a Hinrunde as we did, then it’s hard to go into the next game full of self-confidence. Now we’ve rebuilt this self-confidence back, step by step. But we can only cement that, when we win games in the league.

The previous season was a similar one to the situation we are in now. We started the season badly, there was a change of manager and the new trainer was the same as André Pawlak. Under him, we managed to buck the trend last year and I am very confident that we can do it again. The speeches are similar, as well as the sessions and how we want to play football. I have the feeling that our team have developed enormously in these two months. The individual players are also back to their best.

We have footballing class

But where the real value lies, is to show all of this in the remaining league games. The current situation is not easy and especially so for almost all the young players in our team. All have been well coached and training in the youth academies, lots of which come from 1. FC Köln. The boys are used to playing for the places at the top of the table, rather than fighting against relegation. The footballing class, that undoubtedly everyone in this team has, is often enough to win games at youth level. In the Regionalliga, that’s a little bit different. It’s about staying together as a team, both physically and tactically. If that happens more regularly in the Rückrunde, then we can show how good we are. Wins will logically follow.

The positive development is there for all to see. But it will take time. The road to survival is long and we will have to deal with one or another setbacks on the way. But I am sure, that it will continue as always: the under-21s won’t get relegated. The Great Escape can begin!

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