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Darmstadt
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D. Selke (60)

Lieberknecht ahead of relegation duel with Köln: "We feel comfortable in our snail's shell."

By Peter Weis   @PeterVicey

Ahead of Friday night's bottom-of-the-table clash, both Köln trainer Steffen Baumgart and Darmstadt gaffer Torsten Lieberknecht referred to their teams' respective position in this year's relegation race as a contest between several "snail's pace" clubs. 
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Neither SV Darmstadt 98's Torsten Lieberknecht nor 1. FC Köln's Steffen Baumgart seemed to harbor too many illusions about their coming showdown in tomorrow evening's 2023/24 German Bundesliga round 13 curtain-raiser. Baumgart even went so far as to predict that "there won't be many chances for either team."


"It's a relegation battle between six or seven teams," Baumgart emphasized, "the 'snail's race' will continue."

Darmstadt's Lieberknecht used the exact same German word "Schneckenrennen" to describe this year's relegation race. The recently returned gaffer of the newly promoted side then proceeded to own the mantle and over-extend the old footballing adage of a "relegation-six-pointer".

"I would even say it's a nine-point game if the match-day goes perfectly," Lieberknecht noted, "We feel comfortable in our snail's shell. We look out from time to time. The important thing is that we extend our antennae out forward a bit. It's the equivalent of extending a pair of ambitious arms up. If we can do that at the end, we've won the 'snail's race'."

The topic of Liberknecht's personnel and tactical in the upcoming fixture shall prove interesting; something the SV head-coach was happy to keep mum about. After deploying inexperienced attacker Aaron Seydel and defender Jannik Müller as the vertical spine of his team last week, Lieberknecht was careful not to reveal if either one would start this time.

Lieberknecht did confirm that, with keeper Marcel Schuhen once again healthy, young net-minder Alexander Brunst would once again return to the bench. Braydon Manu, Fraser Hornby, and Christoph Zimmermann remain out injured. Benched striker Luca Pfeiffer could return at the expense of either Seydel, Mathias Honsak, or even the out-of-position-deployed Tim Skarke, but Lieberknecht offered up no information.


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