Eintracht Braunschweig need to start making up for lost time, according to midfielder Mirko Boland, who risks missing his first game of the season against Hoffenheim on Saturday.
A pulled muscle in his leg is threatening Boland's ever-present record this season, and he says he will only play if he is 100 per cent fit ``otherwise I can't really help the team''.
Whether he plays or not, Boland hopes Braunschweig will make a positive end to the calendar year which brought Bundesliga football back to the club for the first time in 28 years, but which has not exactly gone according to plan since the summer.
``The good thing is we're still in shooting distance, but we can't settle for that,'' he said on his club's official website.
``The fact is we've picked up too few points. There were some games we could have got a lot more out of and we've got to work hard on ensuring we take these chances in future.
``We've got to focus on ourselves and start picking up points.''
A win at the Eintracht Stadion would not transform their season, but it would at least cast it in a different light going into 2014, when the battle to stay up will intensify.
``We're coming through a difficult time and the only way we can get through it is by pulling together,'' he said.
``That is why I'd like to ask the fans to support us as they have done, and even a bit more so that we can go into the new year with a good feeling and positive energy.''
A look back at the two games Braunschweig have won this season says a great deal about how strong the promoted side can be on their day.
They got the better of fifth-placed Wolfsburg and current title challengers Bayer Leverkusen.
``You don't just beat those sides easily,'' said Hoffenheim coach Markus Gisdol. ``(Braunschweig coach) Torsten Lieberknecht has demanded a reaction from his side in order to give the fans something to cheer in the last home game of the year, so that will also give them extra motivation.''
Gisdol, whose side have conceded more than any other in the Bundesliga this season, is set to keep his faith in goalkeeper Jens Grahl, even though he fractured his jaw against Dortmund last weekend. He is set to play with a mask.