Holtby and Knoll on rivalry, hostility and punishment

Lewis Holtby and Marvin Knoll talk in a double interview with SPORT BILD about the Derby flair, hostilities and punishment catalogues before the explosive Hamburg hit.

SPORT BILD: Welcome to the Derby Summit, Mr. Holtby and Mr. Knoll. The tickets for the duel were sold out within a few hours, at St. Pauli within a few seconds. How many more tickets could you have got rid of?
Lewis Holtby (28): I could have opened my own ticket shop. The fans talk to me after training or write to Instagram to see if I could get them two more tickets somehow. In addition there are my friends, who of course would like to be there as well.
Marvin Knoll (27): Of course many friends have written to me as well. But especially in away games you have to put almost everyone off.
Holtby: Did you also only get one card for this game?
Knoll: Yes, exactly. This is so common that each player receives only one ticket per guest performance.

SPORT BILD: What is it like as a home team?

Holtby: We’ve got a list of them for you to sign up for. Then you have to be lucky that the interest of your colleagues is low, which of course was not the case for the Derby. Matti Steinmann alone wanted to order 50 tickets – he’s just a Hamburg boy!

SPORT BILD: The home dress rehearsal went well wrong with the 0:5 against Regensburg, Mr. Holtby. A warning shot?
Holtby: The game was a huge disappointment for all of us. That must not happen to us again. Against Fürth and in the Derby we have to present ourselves differently of course.

SPORT BILD: What significance does your duel have throughout Germany?

Knoll: A very high one. For weeks now, I’ve been approached almost exclusively about it. And when I think of the game myself, it immediately tingles. I myself have witnessed the Berlin Derby so far. In the 2010/2011 season, when I played for Hertha. Especially at the Alte Försterei there was an incredible atmosphere (1:1.; ed.). Unfortunately, we lost the second leg in the Olympic Stadium.
Holtby: Free kick goal Mattuschka.
Knoll: Right. Such a defeat is several weeks behind you, you have to think about it again and again. That’s the way it will be with the loser.

SPORT BILD: Are derbys harder than other league games?

Holtby: Yes. I experienced it as an ex-Schalker at the Derby against Dortmund: There are a lot of tougher straddles than usual. I remember how Jermaine Jones at that time re-set Kevin Großkreutz on the outer line. The ball wasn’t even nearby anymore.
Knoll: But it’s important that you have the emotions under control in such a game. I don’t want to fly off the pitch after 20 minutes in this game. In this respect, it’s more important for me to brake some players before the whistle instead of spurring them on.

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Kevin Großkreutz Honours 


Borussia Dortmund 

  • Bundesliga: 2010–11, 2011–12
  • DFB-Pokal: 2011–12
  • DFL-Supercup: 2013, 2014
  • UEFA Champions League Runners-up: 2012–13



  • FIFA World Cup: 2014

SPORT BILD: Speaking of braking: There are already public fights going on among the fans. Do you get that as a player?
Holtby: Yes, of course. I can only shake my head there. The game is all about who is the best football team in town. Even after winning, I last heard from our fans from the block about hostility towards St. Pauli, it’s going in the wrong direction. Our fans should look forward to the fact that we can finally take revenge for the last bankruptcy in 2011 – sporty!

SPORT BILD: Were you actually happy, Mr. Knoll, when HSV retired from the Bundesliga last season?
Knoll: Of course I noticed the club very intensively, although I hadn’t been to St. Pauli yet. How they saved themselves again and again. Last season they deserved to be relegated. But: I have already experienced a relegation in my career. That can also release a lot of energy when things just start from zero again. If HSV can use that, they have good opportunities to develop a better image again.
Holtby: And that’s exactly what we’re doing right now. I think that now there is much less hickhack with us, we act much better as a club. And that HSV finally has a face again, because we as a team live humanity.

SPORT BILD: What do you mean by that?

Holtby: If the ice man drives up in his car during training, we as a team like to buy the fans an ice cream. And we don’t do that for marketing reasons, but because it gives us pleasure and we have sworn to appear authentically in public. What is important now is that continuity finally comes into the club.

SPORT BILD: What about St. Pauli?

Knoll: When I came, there was already a good structure and good cohesion, which was very pleasant. Only the penalty catalogue is harder here than with my ex-clubs (laughs).
Holtby: Have you already had to pay a lot?
Knoll: So far I’ve fortunately gotten away well and only had to pay once because I wore the wrong trousers at dinner. If you are interested in Slots Heaven Bonus, then check them out!

Holtby: What does it cost for you?

Knoll: 20 Euro. With this offence our treasurer Daniel Buballa is still gracious (laughs).

SPORT BILD: Mr. Knoll, does St. Pauli belong in the Bundesliga?
Knoll: Yes. And I hope that we will be able to do that at some point.


Knoll: So is a traditional club, yes.

SPORT BILD: Is St. Pauli still the special club in Germany?

Holtby: I think so. St. Pauli is simply another club, just because of the skull and crossbones. But the big club in Hamburg is simply HSV. St. Pauli is the little neighbour who tries to annoy and prick.

SPORT BILD: Are there any friendships between the players of the two clubs?

Knoll: Yes. For example, I get along really well with Pierre-Michel Lasogga, with whom I played with Hertha. A few months ago, he also congratulated me very nicely on my move to St. Pauli. We have to take special care of him in the game. The guy is a bull – and a disgusting one to defend.

SPORT BILD: And how do you deal with the opposing fans, Mr. Holtby?
Holtby: I also go to the neighbourhood as an HSV player. Or always on the cathedral (Hamburger Kirmes; ed.), which is right next to the stadium of St. Pauli. Of course you have to listen to one or the other saying. I was last even addressed by St. Pauli fans at the stand-up paddling. Then you have to listen to an insult, but I can laugh about it.

SPORT BILD: What are your plans in case you win the Derby?

Knoll: That depends on whether the coach will give us the day off for the next day.
Holtby: I’m sure he will. The winner gets the day off.
Knoll: And in a draw?
Holtby: Let’s party together (laughs).