• Boro Breakdown

The Low-Down on Dejan: A St. Pauli Perspective

In the January transfer window Boro goalkeeper Dejan Stojanovic joined 2. Bundesliga side St. Pauli on loan until the end of the season.

Neil Warnock had mentioned before the switch that the Austrian-born shot stopper wanted to be closer to home, but was unable to visit family over the Christmas period due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The 27-year-old's move to Teesside has yet to bear fruit, despite seeing out the latter stages of last season ahead of Aynsley Pears.

He has, however, enjoyed far greater fortunes in Hamburg, with Ben Bray from Southend based fan club St. Pauli On Sea, giving us an insight into his progress.

Stojanovic joined St. Pauli in the January transfer window, with long-serving keeper Robin Himmelmann still at the club at this point. What was the goalkeeping situation like at St. Pauli? Were you in need of a new number one or did Dejan simply out-perform Himmelmann? "It had become apparent that Head Coach; Timo Schultz had lost confidence in Himmelmann and had started to experiment with Brodersen, who despite being young and still developing to a degree, wasn’t up to Himmelmann’s level. "I was a big fan of Robin’s and thought he should’ve been given a chance to compete before effectively being released but if the management team had decided to move on from him, they had to bring in someone else and I have to say that Stojanovic has been excellent since coming in and has dare I say it, probably been an upgrade on all the keepers that were here on his arrival."

You were struggling massively in the league before his arrival, picking up just the one win against Heidenheim in September, but since his debut against Holstein Kiel you’ve only lost twice. How much of an impact has Dejan had on the turnaround? "He’s been massive for us and has pulled off saves that have won us points but equally it’s been a transitional year for the club under a new head coach and with a high turnover of players and I think we found the right balance in terms of system and personnel which has led to the upturn in form but Dejan has played a massive part in us being more solid at the back."

What is the general fan consensus on Stojanovic and his performances for the club? "I think the general consensus is that he’s been superb since coming in."

I saw a lot of praise towards him for his display in the Hamburger Stadtderby last month. Has that been one of his stand-out games? "He was excellent that night but equally he’s been brilliant in a number of games. He made outstanding 1 on 1 saves against Darmstadt and Karlsruher which ultimately led to us picking up 3 points and a point respectively."

What have been his biggest strengths this season? "His shot stopping is excellent but also his cross claiming, command of the area, one on ones and distribution. He really has impressed in a number of areas."

Any particularly noticeable weaknesses or low moments? "He made a rare error against Paderborn at the Millerntor last month where he misjudged the bounce from a header which gave them a 2nd and a 2-0 win over us ending a 6 game unbeaten run but equally he made several good stops in that game and has, overall been magnificent for us."

And finally, can you see him remaining at the Millerntor next season? "I'd love to see him remain at the Millerntor. He's become an integral part of the side and if we can't retain him either on a further loan or on a permanent deal, he is going to be very difficult to replace."

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