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Sports

Energie Cottbus

Cottbus coach Bojan Prasnikar

It will take all of Bojan Prasnikar's determination to keep his team in the top flight

Cottbus coach Bojan Prasnikar pulled off a near miracle last season, saving the tiny eastern German club from relegation after a horrid start. His mission this time round is exactly the same.

"We don't need to beat around the bush," the hard-nosed Slovenian has said. "We're among the teams fighting for survival."

Their situation is somewhat better now than in 2007-08, when they had to replace both their top goal scorers and their team captain. That said, their only new additions are relative unknowns, mostly from eastern Europe.

That's traditionally been Cottbus' strategy -- and the results in the past have been mixed.

If the team plays hard and unselfishly right from day one, they should have a fighting -- and given Cottbus' bone-jarring style, we do mean: fighting -- chance to stay up. But they have to be worried about the fact that all three of the newly promoted teams are bigger and wealthier.

Major arrivals: Emil Jula, Savo Pavicevic, Marco Kurth

Major departures: none