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Profis 24.11.2023 - 19:38 Uhr

With the own principles and courage

In his press conference before the away game at Hoffenheim on Sunday, the 05ers’ head coach explained how he wants his team to approach the demanding task ahead of them

Jan Siewert is not someone who is concerned by challenges. At the press conference ahead of Sunday’s away game at TSG Hoffenheim (17:30 CET), 1. FSV Mainz 05’s interim head coach placed emphasis on the strategy that he wants to use to approach the upcoming challenge alongside his coaching staff, the players and approximately 2,500 travelling Mainz fans. “We know how to make a virtue of necessity in Mainz,” Siewert stated, displaying his optimism, whilst he was also able to offer positive updates on certain players.

Despite some injured-related absences and a selection of players being called up for international duty, the coach used the last two weeks of training for intense work with the squad, which was supplemented by players from the U23s. The 41-year-old was mainly able to identify issues from the second half of the goalless draw against Darmstadt. “We lacked the courage to get the ball into the final third quickly enough, to stick to our positional game more clearly and to have patience in trying to create space,” Siewert explained, drawing attention to certain approaches that were more evident, for example, during the home win against Leipzig.

Putting the principles into action

In order to play with confidence, the team will need to find the right balance out on the pitch. Success in certain areas – winning possession, playing successful long balls, taking shots and scoring goals – can all contribute to creating a positive energy amongst the players.

The Zerofivers are looking to play their unique brand of football in Sinsheim, having worked on how to play both out of possession and with the ball during their recent training sessions. “How can we manage to be compact? How can we break free of our opponent’s press after winning possession and where can we look to play the ball in the final third? We were able to work on certain principles and show the team how to find the right solutions,” said Siewert.

“Do the players watch the press conferences?”

Siewert also addressed Mainz’s long injury list, with Maxim Leitsch, Karim Onisiwo, Josuha Guilavogui, Andreas Hanche-Olsen and Nelson Weiper all currently sidelined. Dominik Kohr and Sepp van den Berg are also serving suspensions. The head coach will have to wait until after Saturday’s final training session to evaluate which players, including those who’ve been on international duty, will be making the trip to Kraichgau.

Captain Silvan Widmer is likely to be named in the matchday squad, as he appears to be match-fit once again. “Silvan is a really important part of the team. He wants to do everything he can to help the team out and he’s ready to start.” Siewert also smiled at the mention of Jonathan Burkardt. “Do the players watch the press conferences? If so: Jonny, it looks like you’ll be in the squad,” Mainz’s head coach said with a chuckle. The attacker is back in team training after a long spell out of action and looks to be headed in the right direction. “He’s really fired up and brings a lot of energy on the pitch. He likes to drop deep and create space and that suits our style of play,” explained Siewert in praise of the 23-year-old, who he views as a valuable asset due to his attitude and quality as a player.

Prepared for Hoffenheim’s style of play

Hoffenheim have enjoyed a successful season so far and sit sixth in the table, having picked up 19 points from 11 games. Former Mainz midfielder Anton Stach has already established himself as a regular starter at TSG. Siewert was keen to highlight Hoffenheim’s flexibility at various positions: “You’ve got to close down space quickly against them, communicate well and keep the pressure on. It’s easy to recognise the way they like to play and we’re prepared for it,” explained Siewert.