Uwe Huenemeier is aiming for a top flight promotion double with Albion - only this time with a happier ending.

The German rock is on target for the Premier League with the Seagulls after leading former club Paderborn into the Bundesliga.

Huenemeier knows all about the pressure of a promotion run-in. Paderborn finished surprise runners-up in a close race three seasons ago to make it to the Bundesliga for the first time in the club's history.

They ended up six points behind Koln and two clear of Greuther Furth to pull off what the Archbishop of Paderborn described as a "footballing miracle".

Now Huenemeier, who missed most of Albion's near-miss last season with groin damage, is backing them to come through a similarly fraught tussle with Newcastle and Huddersfield at the head of the Championship to book a place in the Premier League for the first time.

The central defender told The Argus: "As the season is coming to an end, the pressure is getting bigger. More and more press come to training, asking you what is going to happen.

"In our last match (Paderborn) at home we needed to win it. We were 1-0 down, but we turned it around in ten minutes and in the end won 2-1, so it was really, really close and everybody was really tense.

"You have to cope with the pressure, but if you have a good run and you know you are capable of performing well, you can do it.


"We have a really experienced team. We have been in this situation last year. Now we want to go one step further and I think we can do that."

The fairytale at Paderborn (below) was shortlived. They put up a brave fight against the likes of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund - where Huenemeier began his career - and actually led the Bundesliga for four weeks.

The Argus: They were relegated in the end and, since Huenemeier left to join Albion, have gone down again and are now languishing near the foot of the third tier.

Huenemeier cannot see anything like that happening to the Seagulls. He reckons if they go up they can stay up.

He said: "We've performed well over the past two years and you can see with Middlesbrough and Hull, they still have a chance of staying in the Premier League.

"Probably they were on the same performance level as us last year and we are probably a bit better than last year, a bigger squad performing even better.

"Of course, you have a chance. When you go up you want to stay up."

Paderborn's decline and Albion's rise from their own relegation troubles the season before Huenemeier signed has vindicated the 31-year-old's decision to quit his homeland and move to England.

"Absolutely," he said. "Personally it was the right decision. I was aware it could be a big chance for me here. We as a club have taken it.

"When I came to Brighton, it wasn't really my goal because the season before, the team ended up close to the relegation zone.

"But after my first season here last year, you could see what the club is made of and of course it would be a big dream of every one of us to get to the Premier League.

"On the other hand, I would like to at least see Paderborn stay up in the third league and we could get promoted. That would be really good for me and for Paderborn as well.

"I'm following every match. The other night they lost again, so they are struggling badly over the last two years. I'm really sad about that.

"It's close to my home town, those two years were so far the best of my life. We got promoted, we played well in the Bundesliga. It was a really big surprise for us."

The Argus: Albion have never lost a Championship game with Huenemeier on the pitch. He had already gone off with the groin injury (above) which sidelined him from league action for 14 months in the home defeat by Middlesbrough that ended the unbeaten start to last season.

That record will be put to the test at Leeds tonight, but he has Lewis Dunk - "the best defender in the league" - to help him cope with ex-Seagull and top scorer in the Championship Chris Wood.

"He's doing really, scoring goals in nearly every game that he's playing," Huenemeier said. "He's really clinical in front of goal, doesn't need a lot of chances.

"They are pressing high, so we are aware of that and, of course, we are aware of Chris Wood. He is always on the edge of the back four, scoring goals. We have to be ready for it."