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Ostigard glad to be back in action

Albion defender reflects on restart experiences in Germany.

By Alex Stedman • 03 June 2020

By FC St Pauli.
Leo Ostigard back in action for St Pauli last month.

When Leo Ostigard and St Pauli stepped back out onto the field in the Bundesliga 2 last month, it ended a 70-day hiatus from football. 

The on-loan Seagulls defender and his team had drawn 2-2 away to SV Sandhausen before play was halted due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Fast forward just over two months and a single goal from fellow Albion loan man Viktor Gyokeres gave them a 1-0 home success over Nuremburg and the wheels were back in motion. 

“We were all glad to be back out on the field because, like so many players, we’d gone a long time without playing football,” he said. 

“It’s different without the fans but you have to do your best. It’s a strange feeling and you do realise how much they can help to motivate you.

“The main thing for us, though, is to be out on the field again doing what we all love.”

By St Pauli
Leo Ostigard in action against Hamburg SV.

The crisis encouraged clubs and players to get creative during the lockdown to maintain fitness levels, with Ostigard and Gyokeres doing their best to keep up to speed ahead of the return to action. 

“We did a lot of training during the period. Viktor [Gyokeres] and I did a lot of running around the park local to us in Hamburg,” the 20-year-old added. 

“We did a lot of FaceTime and Zoom calls with the team as well – we’ve tried to make the best of the situation and I’ve done my best to keep in good shape. 

“Everything that’s happened during the Covid-19 crisis has made people think differently and of course it changes you. When you’re not playing football, you feel how much it means to you.”

By Paul Hazlewood
Leo Ostigard in pre-season training with Albion.

St Pauli are four places below their hosts ahead of their visit to ninth-placed Bochum this Friday.  

As will be the case when the Premier League resumes later this month, the match will be played without supporters and Ostigard has noticed their absence. 

“You really miss the fans, especially at a club like St Pauli where they’re so passionate and loud, following us in big numbers both home and away. 

“To go from playing in front of 30,000 to nobody is a big step, so you have to prepare mentally for that before matches, think about things even more and visualise what you want to do from the first minute. 

“I have to make sure I’m concentrating for every minute of the match.”

By Paul Hazlewood
Pre-season training with Albion before the start of the season.

Nine games in six weeks are what’s required to finish the campaign by the last weekend of June, but the Norwegian defender says it’s a period he’s relishing. 

“I like the busy schedule because as a player the matches are the thing you enjoy the most. 

“Lots of leagues around the world have this sort of routine – the Championship in England is similar.  

“Now we have to try and play as well as we can in our remaining games, and then we can have a break at the end of the season.”

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