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Uwe: I’m proud of how I stepped up

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Defender Uwe Hunemeier rose to the challenge of helping Albion reach the Premier League.

By Alex Stedman • 02 April 2020

By Paul Hazlewood
Former Albion defender Uwe Hunemeier.

The German helped the side keep four clean sheets in their final ten Championship games of the 2016/17 season after stepping in for the injured Shane Duffy.

Hunemeier says he’s happy with how he coped with the pressure involved in getting the Seagulls over the line after they had lost in the play-offs 12 months earlier.  

He said, “It was amazing. I didn’t play too much because of how good [Lewis] Dunky and Shane [Duffy] were and they were the foundations of our defensive stability. 

“As a manager you don’t want to swap too many defensive players, but when Shane got injured my time came and I had to step up in an important period of the season. 

“People weren’t sure if I could go as well as Shane had or how I’d handled my injury. I’d played some under-21 and cup games but this was different.

“When it came to the last ten games everyone was asking if I could do the job, but fortunately we got over the line and I did my bit. I felt I did well and that was a big relief.  To get promotion, which everyone wanted after coming so close the year before, was incredible.”

It was secured with a 2-1 win over Wigan Athletic at the Amex Stadium, a day that will live long in the memory for both Hunemeier and everyone associated with the club.  

“We said before the match we couldn’t celebrate properly if we won because of the goal difference, but as soon as the final whistle went all the fans came onto the field!

“We had to wait for the late game that evening between Huddersfield and Derby, but it was amazing to celebrate in the stands with the fans and we had a great night after.

“Then when we got promoted, we kept that defensive competition between me, Lewis Dunk, Shane Duffy and Connor Goldson. We had a really strong group and all pushed one another to the maximum every day in training. I knew the time was right for another change though, and I look back on my time at Brighton with nothing but good memories.” 

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Catch Up Call: Calderon & Huenemeier

Hunemeier now finds himself back with SC Paderborn, the club he joined the Seagulls from.

He helped them win promotion to the Bundesliga last season after they finished as runners-up behind FC Koln in the second tier. 

“While I was with Brighton, Paderborn were relegated three times back to the fourth division. They stayed up in the third league because a team didn’t get a licence, then got promoted to the second league the season after. 

“I said to the club I’d be with them for when they got back to the second tier – thankfully they got promoted and last season was just a fairy-tale.

“We were the underdogs and we surprised a lot of people. We didn’t have the budget of other teams, but we had players who were hungry and who developed quickly.

“We are bottom of the league at the moment, but to win two promotions with the team has been great. I’ve had three promotions in five years and consider myself very lucky.”

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